Last month, this column detailed two steps you can take to cope with call reluctance–observe and pattern interrupt. This month, our series on coping with call aversion concludes with two more steps you can take to overcome your hesitancy to speak to prospects over the phone.

Substitute
After you observe yourself experiencing call aversion as if you were watching yourself in a movie and then interrupt the pattern by recognizing your irrational thoughts, immediately substitute a positive experience to replace the negative one.

Clinical research psychologists, William Redd and William Sleator, discovered that self-inflicted negative messages have an enormous impact on future success. If you have been selling for even a few weeks, chances are you have made at least one successful telephone call.

You also probably recall how easy it seemed at the time, and how good you felt during and after the conversation. Get a three-by-five card, write down that prospect’s name, and record every detail of how you felt during and after that call.

Reward
Finally, after every call, give yourself an immediate “reward.” Whether you were able to speak to your prospect or not, reward yourself. A reward can be anything from a sip of coffee to calling your spouse, or even popping a breath mint into your mouth. A reward will reinforce the positive feelings of the telephone call and increase the likelihood that you will make another call.

One financial advisor with fear of intrusion–he didn’t want to appear pushy–reported his success using this four-step technique. He once felt almost apologetic for making prospecting telephone calls. They often treated him like they had absolutely no time for him—or so it seemed to him. His heart would palpitate and beads of sweat would form on his forehead as he started to dial the phone number.

When he finally observed his own phobic reaction, he was able to interrupt himself with a rubber-band snap and recall a past successful call. Then he started to make the dreaded calls, following each one with a sip of coffee as a reward. Not only did his level of anxiety decrease, he finally was able to increase his revenues from referrals, and also call past prospects for appointments.

If you are good on the phone, you’ll be light-years ahead of your competition. When you learn to recognize what call aversion is and do something about it, business will simply flow to you. Good luck and happy hunting!