Friday, January 22, 2010

Cold Calling for Introverts

Let me ask you, how many of you introverted professionals who must sell as part of your job really like to cold call, let alone having to sell your services? Now, be honest.

This is THE single BIGGEST challenge we introverted professionals face who are charged with driving revenue. We love the work we do. We're technically solid. We're subject matter experts and we know our stuff like nobody's business.

Yet, until we first sell the work we so love to do, we don't get to apply our expertise. And traditional selling frequently tells us to start with cold calling, which we all know how we feel about this. It's a catch-22. So what's an introvert to do?

We can and many of us have taken sales course after sales course. Yet from what I have experienced, those are clearly designed by extroverts, for extroverts. They tell us to use scripts, just dive in and make the calls and that it'll get easier with time. Yeah, right. Only if it were that easy. Those extroverts just don't understand us introverts.

I have never been one to hesitate contacting someone I don't know. And when it comes to speaking in front of large audiences, after some initial self-push and much practice, that's no problem now either. Yet when it comes to cold calling in the sales context, something within me shifts, something which logically I can not explain and make sense of.

I stare at the phone for hours, feeling within the pressure rise with each passing moment. The thought of picking up the phone to call a total stranger to request a meeting to ultimately sell terrifies for me. When I do finally manage to make the call, and when the voice mail kicks in, boy, what a relief. I can breath again.

Even after all these years of selling, the idea of cold calling someone on the phone with whom I have no prior contact, to request a meeting for selling purposes just isn't my thing. I can easily email them but calling is another matter. While for extroverts this cold calling seems to come naturally, I have yet to find an introvert for whom it comes so easily. Truth be told, I HATE cold calling. I much rather have root canal, without Novocain. It's not only terrifying, it feels so routine and not very intellectually stimulating.

After much struggling, I finally realize there is a better way, one that does not require us to make cold calls. So as far as I am concerned, if you are struggling with this as I do, and you never have to make a cold call again, that's perfectly fine. Given our inherent natural strengths, there are other ways, better ways that are much more in line with how we are built.

In some of the upcoming posts, I will share with you how I learned to sell without cold calling. For now, take the pressure off of yourself. Take a deep breath and relax, knowing there are other more effective ways for introverts to sell.

In the meantime, you also please write and share what challenges you face in selling and how you overcome them. This way we can all learn from each other and prosper together. I don't pretend to know everything. I'll share with you what I have learned and at the same time I want to learn from you also. So hope you'll write. Thanks in advance.


Shawn Kinkade said...


Great post - I'm not sure I'm an introvert, but I have a similar block when it comes to cold calling. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but part of my block is that it feels like a really poor use of my time.

I know a lot of people feel like it's a numbers game and that's all their is to it...and in the old world, that may have been true.

Now I think techniques like cold calling are even less effective and your time is much better spent creating interesting content and making yourself a magnet for your target market so they can find you when they need you.

Thanks for sharing, I'm looking forward to hearing more.


Vinay Kumar said...

Hi Shawn,

Check out post "What's an Introvert" to get a sense if you're an introvert or not. That'll give you an idea. I feel the same as you about cold calling. Hope you're well. Take care.


Melvin said...

It is very difficult for an introvert to talk to people directly and it is even more difficult for them to make cold calls. Cold calling requires a lot of patience and speaking ability. You have to be very polite with the customer if you want him to buy your product.

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