Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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Prospecting - If it Feels Wrong, DON'T Do it! (The Go-Giver Chronicles continue)

Cold-Calling

Quoted with permission from Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann:

"You may have been taught that to be successful in sales, you need to "step outside of your comfort zone." Let's reexamine that idea. If you push yourself to a place that makes you uncomfortable, chances are pretty good you'll end up making the other person uncomfortable, too. Consciously or not, they'll sense your discomfort - and attitudes are contageous.

We human beings tend to resist discomfort; in fact, we'll typically do anything to avoid putting outselves in uncomfortable situations. Why base your entire career on something your strongest instincts tell you to avoid?"

One fine day last spring, I got a phone call from a real estate agent whose name didn't ring a bell.

This agent whose name didn't ring a bell small-talked with me for a few minutes, while I racked my brain to figure out if he was someone I should remember.

Well, when the small-talking was done, he asked me if I knew anyone moving to his town that I could refer to him. Ahhhhhh, sez Jennifer, Now I get it. He's prospecting. Well, I know it's hard to believe, but I didn't happen to know anyone moving to his area, so I told him he could send me an email with his contact information and I'd be glad to let him know if that situation changes. He bade me farewell and hung up. And I never heard from him.

I thought it was pretty funny, not to mention an abysmal waste of his time - cold-calling someone and asking for referrals - and then not even following up?? Interesting strategy.

But over the next month, I got more such calls from agents around the country. Agents whose names I DID recognize; agents who were followers of my philosophy which specifically advises against any form of referral-begging. All asking me if I knew anyone moving to their area.

Now I was confused. What was inspiring this flurry of referral-begging activity?

I gently tried to dissuade the callers from making more such calls to their spheres of influence, but they all seemed determined and even enthusiastic about it.

Well, okay. To each his or her own. Far be it from me to talk someone out of a prospecting technique they're excited about.

It finally dawned on me that these calls must be part of a corporate training program. My assumption was correct - there was a program making the rounds where participants were instructed to call 100 people per day (or maybe it was per week) and ask for referrals.

Whatever. I think it's a ridiculous strategy to abuse friendships with any sort of referral-begging, but apparently I'm in the minority there, at least in the world of real estate training. I'll just say that I don't like it when it's done to me, so it's a given that I will never do it to anyone else.

But the epilogue to this story is that I heard from one of the agents again the other day. Was she calling to hit me up again for referrals to her area? Nope. She was calling to apologize for doing it the first time. That she'd felt sick to her stomach doing it, not only to me, but to the other dozens of friends and acquaintances she subjected her pitch to. She is concerned that she'd actually damaged her friendships and was asking for advice on how to repair that damage.

My friends, if it feels wrong DON'T DO IT. IGNORE the well-intentioned (?) coaches and trainers and brokers who say you have to venture out of your comfort zone in order to succeed. Because there's a difference between overcoming a fear of something new, and doing something you feel is wrong. A BIG difference.

And you know what? You can tell the difference if you'll only pay attention to that little voice inside of you. It knows what it's talking about!

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Comment balloon 54 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • September 02 2010 12:01PM
Prospecting - If it Feels Wrong, DON'T Do it! (The Go-Giver…
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Quoted with permission from Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann: "You may have been taught that to be successful in sales, you need to "step outside of your comfort zone. " Let's reexamine that idea. If you… more