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It's Your Call

How to warm up to telephone sales when cold calls give you the chills.

This story appears in the November 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Will you do just about anything, including sending out hundreds of letters, to avoid making cold calls to prospects? If so, you're not alone. Millions like you have started their own businesses, only to find that the thought of making calls to prospects leaves them paralyzed with anxiety.

As an entrepreneur, the telephone is one of the single most important tools at your command. The key to getting over your hesitation is to stop thinking about your call as a sales pitch, and instead begin practicing "consultative selling." This means uncovering and filling needs in a friendly, supportive way. Before you ever pick up the telephone to contact a prospect, ask yourself, "What does my prospect need from me, and what does my company have to offer that will help this prospect get what he wants?" Then set a goal for your call that will move the prospect closer to a buying decision, such as gaining an appointment or preparing a price quote.

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