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Call To Action Take a deep breath - it's time to overcome your fear of cold-calling.

By Cassandra Cavanah

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

About 10 years ago, a sales manager-turned-entrepreneur gave metwo pieces of advice for people about to start working at home:Stay away from the refrigerator, and avoid the television. He couldhave easily added a third: Learn how to use the phone.

You probably think you're pretty good at using a telephone;after all, you've been doing it for years without thinking toomuch about it. However, as a homebased business owner, cold-callingis so central to your business's success that just being gooddoesn't cut it. In addition to telephone prospecting,you'll probably be acting as your company's sole telephonevoice (that is, if you haven't enlisted a spouse or a friend tobe the voice of your "personal assistant"). In fact, asowner, president, CFO and head of marketing, everything you likeand dislike about using the telephone is magnified.

Still, regardless of your skill or comfort level, you canimprove your phone skills. The first step is recognizing that youcould use some additional training. The second is to put thattraining to work. We can provide the guidance--the rest is up toyou.

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