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Calling on High Status Prospects

Posting Date: November 21, 2006

Salespeople often have mental blocks when it comes to prospecting. Low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority leading to the fear of rejection make some salespeople tense and uneasy about calling on prospects that they feel are “better” than they are socially or economically. These salespeople will not call on senior executives or professional people because they don’t feel “good enough.”

Recently, an older salesman told me about several people he had gone to school with who were now senior executives in major corporations. He was proud of his friendships with these people, and had maintained them over the years. I then asked him how many of them were his customers. The answer was, “none.” His fear was holding him back from approaching them even though he knew they were buying large quantities of the service he sold from other companies.

Many salespeople are afraid to sell to their friends and associates for fear that they will disapprove of him or be critical of his career choice. Sometimes, salespeople are ashamed of being in sales in the first place, and as a result they are afraid to offer their products or services to anyone they know.

The most common type of fear is that associated with approaching strangers, people you don't know and you have never spoken to in the past. This generalized fear of rejection is the greatest destroyer of all of promising sales careers. It is the fear that a person will say something like, “No, I’m not interested.”

Some of your very best customers will be people who respond negatively to your first approach. This is to be expected. The average person in America is bombarded by hundreds of commercial messages every single day. The television, radio, newspapers, magazines, mail, and telephone bring solicitations for countless products and services. Their initial reactions, because of this message overload, will almost invariably be discouraging. They are busy, if not overwhelmed, with their activities and the demands on their time. Your job is to be calm, patient, and persistent, and to realize that nothing that a prospect says to you can affect you in any way, because it's not personal.

There are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:

First, prepare thoroughly for every call. Do your homework. This will give you greater confidence when calling on large or important prospects.

Second, remember that no one is better than you are. He or she just has a different title or position. Be proud of yourself and of what you sell.

Then, go out and call on everyone you can think of.