6 techniques to help you overcome cold calling anxiety

If you’re launching a new business, or looking to grow your existing business, then the chances are you’ll need to do some cold calling at some stage.

However, despite its importance within their business and the doors it can open, many business owners shy away from cold calling and find it extremely stressful.  To help you overcome such cold-calling anxieties, here are six techniques that can help you become a more confident, far less stressed, and much more effective cold caller:

1. Breathe

Breathing is important. We all know that. But how to breathe to actually release stress?

Everyone has different rhythms of breathing that will keep them relaxed. To find which one is yours place your hand on your belly and breathe in; feel your stomach rising. Breathe slowly. In and out. Make the exhale longer than the inhale.

The goal is to develop way of breathing that can calm you down before each call – or any other situation that makes you nervous. If you add this way of breathing into your everyday routine, it will not only be a tool for releasing anxiety and stress, but it can also have a positive impact on your general health.

2. Turn it around

This technique works very well for anxieties and negative thoughts or feelings. It uses your imagination to re-programme your brain in order to stop the anxiety.

Firstly, identify the emotion you would like to get rid of, then close your eyes and ask yourself:

“If this feeling were in my body, where would it be?”

After you find a place where in your body the feeling is hiding, ask yourself:

“If the feeling were and object, what would it be”?

“If the object were spinning, in which direction would it be spinning?”

Now, imagine the object spinning. Picture it clearly. After you have this firmly in your mind, ask yourself: “If I were to change this feeling and make it better, how would I make it spin – slower or faster?”

Make the object spin at any speed you need to in order to feel better. You will now slowly gain control over the feeling by controlling the speed of its movement.

You can play with your imagination; make the feeling spin in a different direction, faster, slower, and notice what difference it makes. If you take this exercise seriously, you will notice the difference and hopefully discover a tool that can help you in many situations in your life.

 3. Change your perspective

Do you have a voice in your head that tells you things that lower your self-esteem? The voice that says “It’s impossible, I can’t do it”, or “I am a failure” or any negative thoughts that bring your self-esteem down.

If this sounds familiar, here is a little trick how to weaken the voice:

Whenever you hear anything negative that your mind tells you, repeat the thought again in your mind but this time put the word SO in front of it: “So, I can’t do this?” “So, I’m worthless.” “So, I can’t achieve it”.

The statements will slowly and gradually lose their importance because you’re breaking the pattern of how they are usually presented to you. Now change the tempo, the tonality or, if you prefer, imagine your favourite comedian telling you the negative thought. Make fun of the thought. It may seem a bit strange at the beginning, but sometimes it is the seemingly silly things that can create the biggest change in your thought patterns.

4. What if the worst actually happens?

When it comes to cold calling (and many other areas of business) things don’t always go according to plan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself.

Take a moment, and imagine the three worst case scenarios that could happen when making your call. What unpleasant things could the customer tell you? What if you have the wrong information or completely forget what to say? What if you dry up and can’t speak? What if they are rude to you?

Write these worst case scenarios down and then imagine how you would get out of these situations in the most positive way – so that you can be proud of how you did. Let your imagination flow – but do be realistic.

This will teach you how to react on the spot and be more spontaneous when something unforeseeable happens.

5. Drop negative feeling

This technique works on the basis that every negative feeling has an opposite, positive feeling. For example, if you are feeling anxiety then the opposite could be joy, peace, and/or confidence.

With this technique you’ll be able to move from anxiety to its opposite feeling. Firstly, close your eyes and imagine a situation that makes you anxious. When you feel the levels of anxiety raising, identify where in your body you can feel the anxiety.

For many people it is stomach or chest. You might even see some image or colour when you think about the anxiety which can make it even stronger.

Now, imagine the anxiety is a layer that you can drop through into another layer of emotion. Just breathe out and let go of feeling anxious and change it into another emotion. What emotion do you feel? It can be fear, shyness, shame or anything that comes to your mind – there is no wrong answer.

Keep repeating the exercise until you start feeling positive, pleasant emotions inside you. This will show you that you can be in control of anxiety and can teach your body how to switch the feeling into something pleasant.

6. Believe in yourself

Many people sabotage themselves or put limitations in their way by believing they are not good at what they do. It is obvious that achieving any success with this attitude would be like trying to walk on air. Believe in yourself. Even though you are not the best cold caller or the best salesperson, you are working towards becoming better and better with every new opportunity.

Learn from any difficult experiences because that’s the best learning you can get. With every attempt you will improve your approach. And remember to note down what worked for you and do more of that next time. Feedback is the key to improving, have it for breakfast every day – and soon you’ll find that your cold calling is anxiety free.

About the author

This guide has been written for ByteStart by Dita Peskova, a Cognitive Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Personal Coach specialising in dealing with anxieties, phobias and fears. She runs a practise from Harley Street and Ealing and regularly blogs at YouniqueTherapy.com

More help on ByteStart

For more help on cold-calling, networking and making sales, read;

And, for help on other aspects of starting your own business, try these popular guides;

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