The first call is the hardest! (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)
I remember June 19, 2003 like it was yesterday. It was my 2nd day working for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, and I was about to make my first “cold call” (aka telemarketing sales call).
As I prepared to dial the prospect’s phone number, I felt a huge knot form in my stomach, and I felt my heart rate shoot up. My workspace was in ear-shot of about 10 colleagues, so everyone around me would hear every word I said on the call. All sorts of “what if” worries swirled through my head. “What if I say something stupid?” “What if I don’t know what to say?” “What if the person on the other end of the line hangs up on me?”
I dialed the number, desperately hoping that the person on the other end of the line would not pick up, allowing me to leave a phone message instead. Unfortunately, I was met with “Hello?”
The next 2 minutes were a blur, but I managed to speak. The prospect ultimately said she was “not interested,” but she was polite. I thought to myself, “that actually was not that bad.”
Let’s fast-forward three years to June 19, 2006. It had been 3 years since the day of my first cold call. Since my start, I had made thousands of calls, and the year before, I had ranked as the company’s #1 Salesperson out of a staff of 25 sales reps. That morning, I was seated at my same workspace, preparing for the day ahead of me, and the director of inside sales for the Wizards came over to my cubicle to introduce a new colleague to me. He asked me to teach her how to make a cold call.
As I made the call, I felt completely different than I did on that same day 3 years earlier. There was no knot in my stomach, and my heart rate stayed constant. That morning, I actually wanted the prospect to pick up the phone. I was prepared and I was confident. I had faced a fear head-on, and I had run right through it. Telemarketing had “slowed down” for me to use a phrase often uttered by NFL QB’s after their first few years in the league.
The only “what if” that entered my mind that morning was “What if I had never made that first call?”
Thanks for reading!
College Speaker and President of Idealize Enterprises