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Overcoming the Fear of Cold Calling

I have found that even a top agent can get really nervous when walking into a business for the first time. Here is my answer to cold calling...

I received a great question from a top agent. He said that even though he is a top sales agent and knows how to close deals, he is still really nervous when he walks into a business for the first time. It is horrible that he many times has difficulty forcing himself to get out in the field and he asked me for any insight I might have on the root cause for this fear and nervousness. Here is my answer:


I believe the core reason why agents don’t like to cold call is their view of “Sales” and what they have to offer the merchant. The best way I can explain it is this.

Imagine that you worked for a company that gave away certified checks of $1,000 to small business owners each week. Your job was to walk into these 10 or 12 winners every week, find the business owner, let them know they had won a contest and hand them a certified check for $1,000. Imagine yourself doing this and see if you are still nervous.  Most likely the nervousness has gone away, but you still don’t like this “job.” The reason you still don’t like this job is because you feel that it is beneath you to go hand out $1,000 checks every day. You don’t really feel nervous about talking to the business owner because you know you have a great offer, but you feel that you should have a much more meaningful occupation.

So, let’s make an adjustment to this imaginary position. Let’s add in a real need and see how you feel about your job. Imagine you are the owner of a company that finds struggling business owners and gives them a grant of $10,000 and 5 free consultation sessions to help them run their business better. You have been so successful that you are fully funded by outside sources and so your only goal is to help small business owners succeed. You are well known in your community as a small business expert and the 5 free sessions brings big value. You spend all week searching for the most deserving business owner by walking in and talking to them about their business and then,once per week, you walk into one business and let the business owner know that he has been selected to receive the $10,000 grant and that you are personally going to provide him with 5 free consultations to help him grow his business. How do you feel about this job? Do you feel nervous about walking into this business? Do you care that there are customers in line when you walk in?Probably not. There are many people who would still feel nervous in that situation because they are just afraid to talk to people and those individuals are obviously not cut out for a sales job, but anyone who enjoys talking to others and has a passion for helping small business would love the job described above. So, the root cause is two-fold:

    1. You don’t really believe that what you have to offer the business owner is worth interrupting their day.


  1. You feel like your position as a “sales person” is beneath you and you should be doing something more productive with your time than walking into a business and cold calling.  How do we fix these two issues.  Let’s start by totally changing the mindset when you walk in.

First of all, you are a business owner and in all likelihood, if you do this full time for two years, you will be making about the same money as the business owner you are talking with. The only thing separating you from this business owner as far as status is time.  You are just as much of a business owner as they are, they have just been doing it a little longer. When I walk into a business, 99 times out of 100 I start off the conversation like this, “Hey, sorry to come in here announced but I was just taking care of one of my clients over at XYZ Company and I realized I had never stopped in here before, who are you guys using for your credit card processing?” I basically sound like and look like I am in a hurry and I just wanted to swing by and drop off some information for them since I was out in the area. It is like Joey on the old TV show friends saying to a girl, “I’m not the kind of guy that usually walks up to a girl I have never met before.” Obviously Joey is a player and walks up to every girl he sees, but the girl doesn’t know that and she thinks, “How nice that this shy person would single me out and walk up to me.” This is the effect you are looking for when you walk in. You are not a sales person, you are a business owner and while it is a little out of character for you to walk into a random business, your offer is so good, I felt it would be a courtesy to at least stop and provide them with some information about what you do.

Secondly, your mindset needs to shift to discovering if this is a good client for you to work with.  One thing that I bet would surprise a lot of our agents if they actually went out in the field with me is how many people I didn’t try to sell or how many people I chose not to follow up with. I have learned to identify those whom I can provide value to and who I cannot provide value to and I don’t waste my time. еКI am honestly trying to figure out if this is the right business owner for me to talk with.  I am only going to sell 30% or so of the business owners I meet, so rather than having them decide, I decide which 30% I want to work with and then I sell them. Why is all of this important?  It is important because this thought pattern puts you in control and makes you feel important.  It makes you feel like your time is valuable and that you are coming acrossе ike an important person who is careful who he chooses to work with. This will give you a lot more confidence when working with a prospect. As for the issue of not believing your offer is valuable enough, here is what I do. On average, I have found that I save my clients about $50.00 per month. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower, but that is a good average. So, I figure $600 per year is a nice vacation for the owner and spouse of this business. I also know that I am going to help them with their business by offering web design and much more so I picture this business owner leaving town for a week with his or her spouse and taking a well deserved vacation while their business back home is growing. I then realize that all of this is made possible because of my involvement with this business and I then set out to try and find the business owner who wants to take advantage of this incredible offer to have a free vacation once per year.

I hope this short article helps you gain confidence to get out in the field! There are all kinds of prospecting methods out there, but the most effective one is still just getting out in the field and meeting business owners.

Have a great day!
James Shepherd james@ccsalespro.com

Read previous post:  5 Cold Calling Tips for Merchant Services

5 Cold Calling Tips for Merchant Services

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