Do you dread making phone calls?

A lot of entrepreneurs and professionals do.

And I’m one of them. Of course I know I should be doing more outreach.  But I get ready to call someone who really should be working with me … and I hear my mother’s voice in my head, grousing about those “damn telephone solicitors interrupting dinner.”

No wonder it’s hard to pick up the phone! I’m just sure I’m interrupting, intruding, and irritating. So I think about the people I should call … and I do something else (anything else) instead.

And I keep thinking it would be so much easier if my potential clients would just call me. Clearly we’re meant to work together; they need to use speaking and networking to grow their business and I could help them do it with ease. They ought to just call me up and say, “Yes.”

If only.

My business coach says over and over: the way to fill a room is to pick up the phone.  The way to fill your calendar is to pick up the phone.  The way to make money is – you guessed it – to pick up the phone. In fact, she says the only way to run a successful business is to pick up the phone.

Well, maybe there is another way, but I sure haven’t found it.

picking up the phoneAnd lately, I’ve actually been making calls. Lots of them. Inviting people to join Kelly and me for On the Page & On the Stage.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.  Phoning is not fatal. Oh, yes, of course. There’ve been a few individuals who blew me off. Who dodged my calls.  Who said “no” instead of “yes.”

But I’ve also had some delightful conversations that I never would have had if I hadn’t reached out. I’ve learned some things about you.  I’ve laid the groundwork for possibilities – coaching, workshops, and speaking opportunities. I’ve connected with people who seem absolutely thrilled to hear from me.

And, I have increased the enrollment for On the Page & On the Stage.  Apparently the experts are right – picking up the phone really is the way to fill a room.

Now that I’m overcoming my Phone Phobia, I expect to be much better at following up with people I meet at networking events or speaking engagements.  I confess – I’ve been known to let things fall through the cracks for fear of making those calls; I’ve frequently failed to follow up.

And of course, you know where the fortune is.  In case you don’t know, the saying goes … the fortune is in the follow-up. In fact, they say the average sale happens after 8 – 11 contacts. But the average sales person gives up after one or two.

That’s a lot of potential business left on the table. And it’s a good reason to pick up the phone, isn’t it?

And yet, so many coaches, consultants and other entrepreneurs resist making those calls.  And I wish I had a nickel for every attorney who’s told me, “I didn’t go to law school to learn to be a salesman.”

Truth is: if you own a business, if you’re a solopreneur, if you have a professional practice … you’re in sales whether you like it or not.  Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to like it?

So I’m curious about you. And I could call you to find out.

But better yet, just hit reply and tell me two things:  If you find yourself reluctant to make sales calls, how do you psych yourself up to pick up the phone? And if you’re one of those people who relish the reach-out … do you have any tips for the rest of us?

Can’t wait to hear from you.