Overcoming Phone Phobia

Written by Scott June 17, 2010

Overcoming Phone Phobia: Making More Contact

Written by: Scott Dinsmore

Average Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Have you ever been scared to approach someone? Maybe a prospect or even an interesting looking man or woman?

We all have. Even if it’s only an email we need to write, let alone a phone call or an in-person approach, we often put off contacting new and important people until the last minute possible, if ever.

I call this Phone Phobia: The fear of making contact. But it doesn’t stop at the phone. Phone Phobia covers any type of contact whether it’s phone, email, snail mail or face to face.

Why does this happen? We know deep down what needs to be done yet we often don’t do it. We are intimidated, scared, insecure or simply lacking confidence. All for what? To avoid the ever-powerful…Rejection. That one word causes more stress and anxiety than most any other. As humans we crave acceptance and any thoughts or actions that could lead to the opposite are avoided like the plague.

But what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you’ll gain a little experience in handling an objection. Who couldn’t use a little practice there? And that’s if they turn you down. If you get a yes, then suddenly the world’s at your fingertips.

But how do we gain the confidence necessary to approach the people and prospects who are so potentially important to our futures?

I have found an answer in two words: Making Contact.

Here’s the rule of thumb: The longer you wait between contact with a person, the more intimidating it is to make future contact.

Conversely: The more contact you make, the less intimidating a person or situation becomes.

This goes for friends, family, colleagues, customers, prospects, you name it. I’ve found it fits for any type of relationship.

Think about it. The friends you see every day are totally routine and easy to interact with. But how about the ones you see every few months or few years? It takes a little more work to remember where you last left off or to think of talking points. It’s not quite as natural.

The same goes for business meetings and customers. The colleagues you see all the time don’t require much energy, but the out of town customer or board member who you only see every quarter requires a few more nerves before meeting. You have to prepare.

I have especially noticed this with sales calls. If I have not called on someone for 3 months, I get terribly nervous, especially if our last contact was me trying to sell him something. Phone Phobia sets in and I freeze up.

Sales is about relationships. Build the relationship first and let the sale come naturally. Be it personal or professional.

So I’ve started to get in touch more often, and the increased confidence and excitement has been priceless.

Avoid Phone Phobia by Making More Contact

3 Easy Methods:

1. Introduce yourself early. Even if you don’t feel qualified talking to them at this point, at least introduce yourself and say hello. Get them to pay attention to you even if it’s only for a split second. Get on their radar. This will make future contact more natural for them (and for you) and will give you a topic to follow up with. Even hearing their voice or seeing how they interact is enough to boost your confidence. If you have a big call with someone new coming up, call their office late at night to hear their voicemail message or find a video of them online. You’ll feel you know them a bit better. It all helps.

And it doesn’t just go for business prospects, but works just as well for romantic interests. If someone catches your eye, go right up and say a quick hello or at least give a smile. Ask them to take a picture of you and your friends or even give them a high five (my personal favorite). It’ll be fun and make for an easier connection later in the evening.

2. Send things of interest. Send over articles or information on topics they’ve shown interest in. This not only takes the focus off you and places it squarely on them, but it forces you to be more in tune with the other side’s interests, which is one of the cardinal rules in building a relationship. Keep a running list of the things they care about. Hobbies, books, investments, sports. This is something you should do for anyone close to you. Another word for it is “caring”.

3. Connect them with others. Keep in mind the type of people others are looking to meet. No matter what level someone is on, they are always interested in meeting certain types of people. Be the person to provide the introduction where possible. My favorite is matching up job openings with capable candidates. It is such an invaluable service to provide for both sides and if you have a big (or even modest) network, you’re likely to be able to make some valuable introductions. It just takes conscious thought to make the connections.

When you do the above, without asking for things in return, it will be less intimidating to get in touch, and the other side will be even more receptive. Do this consistently enough and these people will start to feel like old friends. In fact, that’s just what they’ll become. And who needs extra confidence when talking with buddies? It becomes natural. Phone Phobia melts away.

It’s amazing the difference this has made, not only in my eagerness to make contact but also in the likelihood that I will actually make the important call in the first place. The scarier something is, the less likely we are to do it.

Remove the fear and things start to happen.

Make Consistent Contact a Priority

In order to make contact happen, you must make it a priority to keep track of the important details. Be intent on consistently staying close to the people in your life who really matter, personally and professionally. The more often you get in touch, the easier it becomes the next time around. The more time that passes, the greater the challenge.

The solution is to commit to consistent contact and Phone Phobia will be a thing of the past.

Make making contact a priority and the confidence and succes will follow. So who are you going to reach out to today?

How has Phone Phobia effected you? What is your strategy for keeping up with the important people in your business and personal life? Please share with us in the comments section.

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Books You Might Enjoy:

Never Eat Alone
How to Win Friends and Influence People

Photo by by Jane Rahman
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