How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

Cold Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

Nobody s to be told no. We didn’t it when we were three years old, and we don’t it now.

But what happens on cold calls? We get told no. So we avoid cold calls and drop-ins to save ourselves from the rejection. But at what cost?

1. Understand That Rejection Is Better Than Avoidance

In reality, what’s the worst thing that can happen on a cold call? They say no. So don’t sweat it. It’s not that bad. You probably will never see or talk to that person again. They won’t call you and say, “You’re that sales rep I didn’t want to buy from!” The worst result is them turning down the product and leaving you in the same situation you’re in now.

It’s the two vacuum salespeople who go into town to sell door-to-door. At every house, they get the same response — no. They get to the last door, with just a few minutes before the end of the day, and one salesman says to the other, “Hey, let’s skip this one. We know they’re going to say no.”

The other one says, “So, if they say no, where will we be?”

“Exactly right here.”

Rejection doesn’t mean you lost — you just haven’t progressed yet. But you’ll never progress and never make a sale if you don’t ask. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So if you ask and they say no, at least you can move on.

2. Move Past Mean People

Yes, some people are mean and nasty. But do you really want them as customers? Probably not. So if they’re rude, shake it off and move on. A rude “no” doesn’t leave you in any worse condition than a polite rejection. So let go of the emotional attachment to these brief prospects. They rejected the product, not you. Don’t take it personally.

If you’re going to make a sale, you’ve got to make calls. It’s worth the risk of dealing with a rude person if you have a chance of making a sale.

3. Use Objections to Improve

So when you hear “no” (you will, so just accept it), use each prospect’s objections to help with your sales approach.

Why aren’t they interested? If you can find out why one customer says no, you can use the information to overcome that objection in your next pitch.

Then you can tell your next prospect how you’re different than what they expect and why that objection isn’t such a big deal after all.

Related: How to Build Trust Over the Phone With Cold Prospects

4. Be Confident in Your Product

Cold-calling anxiety is real — especially if you’re new to sales. So will you ever get over it? Absolutely, yes!

If you’re wondering how to overcome sales anxiety, the solution is confidence — in your product, pitch, and solution.

To move past the nervousness, you have to be truly confident in the solution you’re offering. You need to believe it’s good value that will help your clients.

And if you really believe that to your core, you’ll carry confidence in your voice, attitude, posture, stance, and persistence.

5. Trust Your System

Then rely on your system. If you have a plan for dealing with each potential cold call outcome, you’ll know exactly what to say, no matter how the prospect responds.

No matter what a prospect says, there are only three potential response categories: active, latent, and not interested. There’s no fourth option.

So, your conversation, identify which group they’re in, then follow your process for that response.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

6. Work in Your Strengths

Being good at sales doesn’t mean you never have anxiety. But some people’s mindsets and personality types work better with either prospecting or closing deals. So, ideally, separate the roles so that people work in their strengths.

Early on, I made mistakes by hiring people to make cold calls because I thought they would be great in sales. It turns out some people just aren’t wired that way. They can do it for a short period of time, but eventually, they’re done. However, many of them were still great at closing deals.

When it’s possible, separate your sales team into different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. If you have someone awesome at keeping clients happy, make that their main job. When someone is great at closing deals, designate their time for appointments with qualified prospects and let others make cold calls.

Want to know how to separate your team into their best roles? Read 3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

I used to own call centers. I’ve dealt with cold-calling for over 20 years in sales. I know how it feels to pick up the phone, but when it’s all said and done, don’t sweat it. Just do it. Not calling is even worse than being rejected.

Jim Rohn says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” So don’t carry around that extra weight of regretting the times you didn’t try! Pick up the phone — you’ve got this.


6 No-BS Ways to Overcome Cold Call Anxiety (Part 1)

How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

The leads pipeline looks solid.

The sales script is locked, loaded and ready.

And yet, you get that sinking feeling as you dial the numbers to make the call.

Although you might feel a total nincompoop at that moment, let us guarantee that you aren’t alone on that boat. A research study found that 50% of sales reps around the world feel anxious about making those cold calls.

The only good thing about it being a common problem is that there are also solid (read: well-tested) solutions on overcoming sales call anxiety.

In this blog post, we bring to you the playbook on how to get over the fear of cold calling. Keep calm and read on.

In this guide:

Part 1:
1. Why you might be feeling anxious about cold calling
2. How to get over your fear of sales calls 

  • Remind yourself that you're a problem-solver
  • Build a deep knowledge on your product/ customer
  • Be flexible in your pitch 

Part 2: 
2. How to get over your fear of sales calls (continued)

  • Speak from curiosity, not from an agenda 
  • Create the right environment for phone call conversations
  • Practice, practice, practice

3. Cold calling: From «survive» to «thrive» mode ✨ 

Without any further delay, let's get started! 

Face your fear: the causes of cold call anxiety

Sweaty palms? A racing heart? If your sales anxiety feels a “fight-or-flight” situation, there’s a very scientific explanation behind it.

As per experts at the University of Washington, when you’re afraid, the blood in your body flows away from your brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for logical thinking.

Therefore, you are NOT able to think on your feet, which in turns limits your ability to respond quickly, which in turn hurts your lead-generating results – all this turns into a vicious negative cycle and you end up concluding, “I hate cold-calling. I’m lousy at it!”

Most experienced sales experts say the most common causes of sales call anxiety are:

  • Fear of sounding a salesperson;
  • Fear of failure/ rejection; 
  • Not enough knowledge on your product/ customers; 
  • Not enough practice! 

How to tear down these obstacles one by one? Psychologists say, turn cold-calling into a daily routine – just you have your morning coffee. Here’s how to get started. 

#1. Remind yourself that you're a problem-solver and a consultant

A lot of people think of the typical salesperson as the alpha type: aggressive, pushy and…downright salesy (which is sad for our dedicated fellow sales professionals). 

If you're new, and you go in cold calling with the thought that you have to fit into a box of the «typical salesperson», chances are that you'll dread being the exact salesperson you secretly hate. 

But it doesn't have to be that way — and it's up to you to decide what kind of salesperson you want to be. 

Salespeople can — and should — be problem-solvers for their partners and clients. They can act as a trusted advisor, helper, knowledgeable consultant for their prospects, instead of shoving their own agenda down the buyers' throats. It's about win-win, not just closing a sale. 


7 Lessons For Millennials Who Are Afraid Of Cold Calling

How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

There are few things more intimidating than phoning a total stranger, interrupting their very busy day to sell them something. We’ve all been on the other side of those calls, so you know how annoying it can be to get a call from a number you don’t recognize, only for the stranger on the other side of the line to sell you something you neither want nor need.

Millennials feel this pain more than most. They’ve received more of these calls than any other generation before them and have been brought up to feel bad about interrupting people. Imagine: After being told for most of your life that it’s not nice to interrupt people, you’re suddenly doing it for a living.

But while cold calling might not be your favourite sales activity, you can’t deny that it consistently delivers results, and that there are few sales activities that can match it.

If you want to succeed in sales, then you must learn the art of making sales calls. found that to hit their targets, sales development reps needed to perform an average of 94.4 daily activities, 35.

9 of which were phone calls.

I too, was scared of cold calling

When I was first faced with the task of cold calling, I really did not want to do it. The thought of annoying someone in the middle of their day and then attempting to create a sales opportunity from it was massively daunting. I remember being given a list of 150 contacts whom I had never spoken to before nor had heard of me or my company before.

Making that first call was quite possibly one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever done. I procrastinated, looking for anything else I could do instead of picking up the phone. I went to the toilet, grabbed a drink, got my desk ready, and checked a few things with my colleagues, but before long I had run all possible distractions. Eventually, I had to face my fears.

And so I made my first cold call.

I’d love to say it went amazing, I got the meeting, and ended up with a multi-million deal.

However, it was quite the opposite.

It was terrible. I messed up my words, had a shaky voice, and fell down at the first hurdle. The second call wasn’t much better either. But I kept calling and calling.

With each call, I got better and better results, and before I knew it, I had booked my first appointment from a cold call.

What can you do if you or your team fear cold calling?

It’s totally understandable to fear cold calling. As I mentioned, it goes against the grain of what we’re brought up to do and it’s seen in such a negative way. What I found was that as soon as I started to book appointments, and as soon as those appointments started to turn into sales, that fear soon disappeared.

Cold calling is a results-driving sales activity, and it can unlock more sales opportunities than you could ever imagine. But the biggest hurdle is overcoming the fear of speaking to strangers. Here are seven tips on how to do that:

Lesson 1: Do Your Homework

One of the reasons why most people fear cold calling is because they don’t know whom they’re going to speak to. By researching the person or company before making sales calls, you can take that fear away and you’ll be able to offer more “personalized” value.

Lesson 2: Watch the Pros

Another great way to build confidence is to watch how the best people do it. Take a look at how experienced salespeople make cold calls, and take notes. Observe how they start their calls, how they build rapport, and how they overcome objections. Not only will you pick up some great tips, but you’ll also feel more confident when you make calls.

Lesson 3: Build a Master Plan

While it is common for millennials (and most salespeople, to be fair) to be scared of cold calling, one great way to overcome this fear is to be fully prepared.

It’s often the fear of the unknown that plagues us, so make sure you’re ready.

If you know exactly what you need to say, how to overcome objections, and how to answer some common questions, you’ll feel a lot better about making the call.

Lesson 4: Practice Makes Perfect

Confidence is often built through experience. The more practice you get, the better you’ll get at it and the better you’ll feel about your skills.

Most people feel bad about cold calling when they don’t succeed at it, but do it enough times and you’ll eventually get more good conversations, and you’ll feel better about doing it.

And the quickest way to get results is to simply pick up the phone.

Lesson 5: Stay in The Zone

For a lot of sellers, the biggest challenge in making a cold call is overcoming the fear of picking up the phone. It’s usually at this point when you’ll try to do anything else aside from actually making a call.

However, once you’ve made that first call, the next ones will become easier and easier. This is why you need to stay in the zone when you’re making calls, and try to avoid any distractions that may come your way (barring an alien invasion, perhaps).

Lesson 6: Learn to Love Objections

The most difficult part of cold calling (after picking up the phone in the first place) is overcoming objections. It’s frustrating to get thrown an unexpected objection while you’re midway through an otherwise awesome pitch—it can mess up your flow.

You should feel comfortable dealing with any possible objection your prospects . you’ll soon master them!

Lesson 7: Celebrate Your Success

As I mentioned earlier, as soon as you start achieving success through cold calling, the fear of picking up the phone will eventually disappear. You should celebrate each success; you’ve earned it!

Every time you book an appointment or get a sale, give yourself a pat on the back. By making the success even sweeter and even more appealing, you’ll chip away at your fears and you’ll soon feel there’s nothing standing between you and sales success.

It’s understandable to fear cold calling. But if you can overcome that fear and master it, you’ll master sales.

Happy cold calling!


Cold Call Anxiety – Here’s How to Overcome It!

How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

I know that feeling. I know it an old friend (or arch enemy). It used to be so bad for me that I would get nauseas on the way to work in the morning. My stress level would be at an all time high, just knowing I was going to have to pick up the phone only to be turned away by gatekeepers or (rudely) shunned by decision makers. It’s an unpleasant feeling to say the least.

But here’s what I know…God didn’t lead you to this job so you could be a failure. HE didn’t bring you to a place that would make you physically sick and emotionally ill.You are more than equipped to be highly successful in this business and to overcome your challenges.

Understanding and believing that is your first step to being free of your cold call anxiety.

How Failure Helps Us Succeed

Knowing we have the capacity to overcome our challenges is the first step. Recognizing the need to change is our second.
You can’t keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect different results.

If gatekeepers aren’t putting your calls through, decision makers aren’t returning your voicemails, if deals are not closing, all those things that make selling by phone stressful, those are big bright blinking signs that you need to update your game plan.

Your sales strategy is in need of some fine-tuning.
Here’s where I would start…

The Right Sales Attitude: Helping Others

Every time you are about to pick up the phone, have the mind-set and attitude that you are calling with the intent of helping them. That’s a completely different attitude than calling to see if you can “make a sale” or “hit your quota”.

When you are calling with the attitude of seeing if you can be of some help to someone, should they reject your help, it’s easier to move on to the next prospect.

When you’re calling for the purpose to “make a sale” and it doesn’t happen, the pressure builds up, tension comes through to the next prospect over the phone, more rejection happens and it’s a never-ending downward spiral.

Having an attitude of wanting to help prospects will allow you to fend off negative feelings of rejection while helping you be in the right frame of mind when you find a prospect that wants and needs your help.

Fix What’s Broken

For every sales situation, there’s a game plan. If your current playbook isn’t working, get a new one. Find people that have a proven successful track record and can PIN POINT exact plays that need to be run in specific situations. Some top sales reps have intuition.

They instinctively know what to do in certain sales situations but couldn’t tell you how or why they did what they did to make it work.It’s hard to get help from someone if they can’t show you the how or the why – they just know. If you’re not one of those “intuitive” top sales reps, that’s OK.Make a list of where your sales call goes off the tracks.

Is it right up front when you call and get the gatekeeper? Is it after your intro to the decision maker and they say “No thanks”? Is it when you find out you’re not speaking to the decision maker and you try to get an introduction but the prospect says “no”? These are just some of the common sales situations that happen every day.

By making a list and seeking out those areas that keep you from moving the sale forward and bringing them to your sales manager for help / advice will help you overcome your challenges. And once you are prepared for the sales call from A to Z before even picking up the phone, all of that anxiety you had will become a distant memory.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of – An online sales training company.

Register Now for Our Next 8-Week Phone Skills Improvement Program!

  • Eliminate “No, Thanks”, “Not Interested” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Learn a step-by-step process for Cold Calling and Warm Calling
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Learn more effective Sales Questions to ask (and ones to avoid)
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills

Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeksWhere: Online @ your desk, conference room or homePresenters: Michael Pedone



Conquering Cold Calling Anxiety for Sales Reps

How to Make Cold Calls When You Are Anxious

Even experienced sales reps can get a little cold calling anxiety. And yet, phone acumen is ironically, paradoxically more valuable than ever.

The reasons for this are manifold. Phone conversations reduce the need for travel and face-to-face meetings early in the selling process.

It’s an ever-more global economy which has increasing reliance on Skype, VoIP, and web conferencing tools. And the workplace is multi-generational.

An intermingling of the Baby Boomers who are more familiar with phone usage and the following generations, who are increasingly more comfortable with digital forms of expressions (email, SMS, etc).

So, it or not, the phone is here to stay. Smugly ringing off all the bells sounding its imminent demise. But what if the thought of the phone sends you into a panic attack? Or simply makes you really uncomfortable and nervous?

There’s ways to slay that cold calling anxiety demon. And we’ll discuss some below, after delving into precisely *why* phone anxiety is a thing.

The Inside Scoop from Clinical Psychology: Why We Have Phone Anxiety

It turns out, phone anxiety is a natural phenomenon for a lot of people, across all categories of humanity.

It’s also an aspect of social anxiety disorder, which affects 15 million people in the US.

As Alison Papadakis, clinical psychology professor at John Hopkins University, notes, “All we have is the voice, so that can be a bit nerve-wracking for people.” Nonverbal clues gone = anxiety spike.

And un written communication, where we have both a time buffer and deletion before sending options, real-time conversations demand more immediate responses.

And once something is said, there’s no delete button to act as if it never happened. It’s a paradigm shift from how we often operate these days, so it can be stressful. Psychologist Lindsay Scharfstein adds that, “What they’re (phone anxiety sufferers) typically afraid of is the evaluation or judgment that may happen… on a phone.”

Jeremy Jamieson, a University of Rochester psychology professor, observes that inexperience also plays a major role, and that millennials in particular often don’t understand the structure and segmentation of a phone call. It’s analogous to your grandparents not understanding the meanings of emoji. But again, phone anxiety reaches all ages and classes of people, and aren’t limited to millennials.

Justin is about to go into his awesome insights on cold calling anxiety. Before this, I wanted to share with you a “why” you need to cure the fear. When we are afraid, we seek things that can help. One of these things is…the script. Some can do these scripts very well and see results. But others — not so much.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a tweet showcasing the correlation between cold calling nerves and scripts:

Take a look at this image from Aircall:

More than half of the people you talk to love it when you don’t read from a prepared message. That’s a pretty big deal. And to get off the script — you have to be comfortable in your own skin.

Now, back to helping you conquer that phone anxiety.

Now that we have a general idea as to the reasons behind phone call anxiety, we have the theoretical framework for understanding why the following actionable solutions work. They either provide structure or get you in the right mindset.

Use a flexible framework

Many sales reps and teams use call frameworks as a guide to conversations with prospects and customers. Using a framework is helpful, and should be practiced with others in role-play situations, until it sounds organic.

The best call frameworks are designed to extract specific information and are geared towards discovering the 4 Ps of prospects – Problems, Positioning, People, and Process.

The crux of every sales effort in this brave new economy is solving customers’ problems. In order to do that, you need to know what problems your prospect is facing and how your company’s offering addresses those concerns. This should be your first priority, because if you don’t know what you’re solving, you’re wasting everyone’s time (including your own).

Once you’ve identified problems, it’s time to position your product as a viable solution if it actually can be one (emphasized because it’s really important that it’s true. Remember, in sales today, it’s about building relationships and trust, not getting a sale).

Often in sales, there’re multiple people who will be a factor in the purchase – especially in the B2B world. Therefore, you should find out during the sales call who these other stakeholders are, and who literally signs off on any final deal.

Find out as much as you can about how the prospect’s buying process operates. When do they finalize which proposals they’ll hear? What are the steps involved in evaluation and what approximate timespan is involved?

The better you can understand their process, the better you and the rest of the sales team can plan your strategy.

Dive into it

When sales calls give you dread and you find yourself lollygagging, making excuses to procrastinate, sometimes you just have to force yourself to delve in. Obviously you’ll want to make sure you’ve prepared your research and talk track, but once that’s done, plunging in can get you into the working rhythm once the initial discomfort is the way.

3Be curious about other people

Alexa Fischer, whom you might know from one-off episodes of NCIS, JAG, and Lie to Me, is a motivational speaker and career coach.

Her advice is to worry not about being clever or sounding smart, but to be curious about others.

This is an especially useful trait to cultivate, because in sales, you spend a lot of time finding out about customers, their situations, and needs – and curiosity helps you in those objectives.

To cultivate this, shift your thinking from paranoia about the call to curiosity about what you’ll learn from the person you’re calling. This removes the self-absorbing and sometimes self-defeating focus from your own performance to a prospect or customer-focused approach. And really, this is what you want to do anyway – make sales customer-centric.

Shift your thinking from paranoia about the call to curiosity about what you’ll learn from the person you’re calling. Click To Tweet

Another avenue to enhanced curiosity is to work on honing your sense of mindful living. There’re tons of resources out there, including free ones, on how to do that, so we won’t talk about them here.

The key point: Mindful living makes you observe the world around you, reviving the sense of wonder and inquisitiveness you probably had as a kid, but lost along the way – great things to rediscover to make your sales calls easier.

4Develop your social skills

Susan Cain gave a TED Talk a few years ago about the power of introverts. In the lecture, she points out that introversion vs extroversion isn’t about social ability. Instead, it’s about the source of your stimulation and energy – being around others for extroverts, having alone time for introverts.

Therefore, you can develop the necessary social skills. Start small – talk to the person next to you in line at the coffee shop or the grocery store. Call your close friend who also has phone anxiety and practice together.

Even if these encounters don’t go glowingly, remember that it’s a process of skill acquisition. That takes time. Insert all kinds of clichés about taking it day by day or ten thousand-mile journeys beginning with a first step – it’s all true in this case.

5 Review your sales calls

This might be as horrifying as making calls for some of you. But one of the best ways to improve is to listen to recordings of your previous calls – especially with someone more experienced, your sales manager. Break down the call into its components and see where you did well, and where you need to improve.

This close reading, or perhaps better said, screening, requires you to play close attention to the fine details of your phone interactions. It’s also great for monitoring your progress (“Hey, I sound a lot more confident at the start than I did two weeks ago!”) and locating the spot areas that require the most work.

Yes, it’s awkward. Yes, many people hate the sound of their own voice (primarily because the voice in our head is different from what others hear). But through time and exposure, we can become used to our own voices and more comfortable listening to recordings so that we can discuss ways to improve our sales calls and phone skills.

Know your elevator pitch you know your hometown

Sales reps’ ability to close begins with knowing the ins and outs, the very minutia of what they’re selling. After all, if you don’t know it intimately, how can you expect your prospects and clients to do so?

More to the point, know not only the intricacies of your offerings, but understand how those details apply to solving problems your prospects and clients have. With this information, you can develop a short, 30 seconds maximum elevator pitch.

Why does this matter? It gives you the basic framework for how to highlight your company’s product/service to potential customers – including how your solution resolves an issue they’re having.

Reframe your thinking to one of helping, not intrusion

Many people with phone anxiety are also empathetic and caring.

They know what it’s to be intruded upon by an annoying telemarketer or sales person, and so have a tendency to think of themselves as that irritating individual who is interrupting a busy prospect’s day.

That type of thinking permeates the atmosphere of the conversation, and the person you’re calling picks up on that negative energy.

No surprise at all when they reject you then, is it? They’re just picking up what you’re putting down. But if you shift your thinking from intrusion to assistance, you can change that energy and be more confident in sales calls.

Framing your thinking to one of helping prospects and customers not only makes for more positive energy, it also reduces the stress and pressure on you. Click To Tweet

The marketplace these days dictates that buyers want their sales reps to be trusted advisors – not just order takers. Put yourself in that mindset. You know your offering and how it solves problems for your customers, so you’re not being a pest. You’re helping them alleviate an issue that’s been bothering them far more than you ever think you could.

Framing your thinking to one of helping prospects and customers not only makes for more positive energy. It also reduces the stress and pressure on you. You’re, of course, trying to qualify or convert them.

If your primary focus is one of advising, it’s a much less stressful experience for both you and whoever you’re calling. After all, if they reject you, that’s cool.

They just opted not to take your advice right now.

Phone anxiety is a common problem, with a variety of logical causes. But there’re also plenty of ways to reduce, and eventually vanquish entirely that fear. Just follow these guidelines, and you’ll be cheerfully chatting away to customers and prospects, converting and closing with your advisor-first stance.


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