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How to Get Over the Fear of Cold Calling - 6 Tips for SDRs

Picture this. 

The phone is ringing. Your prospect AKA a complete stranger picks up…

“Hello?” - they say.

And there you are. 

The fear of cold calling has struck again.

Sat on the other side of the line. Palms sweating. Speechless. Because you don’t know where to start, or what to even say… 😓😰😪

It’s a scary thought. And we sympathise that every SDR has gone through this experience. 

But here’s the truth - cold calling is part of your job description in sales. And it’s not as daunting as it looks. 

Because as with most things, you just need a plan of action. 

And we sat down with Ryan Reisert, who gave some pretty amazing insights on how to get over your fear of cold calling. We’ll be sharing them in this article 💥

Before you know it, your days of dreading cold calls will be WAYYY behind you. 

Scroll 👇 or use the menu to get started.

Why are SDRs scared to cold call? 

48% of SDRs are afraid to pick up the phone. That’s according to a study done by ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power.

Now, why might that be?

Well, Ryan’s theory is that SDRs are scared of cold calling because of 2 key things:

The fear of conversation and the failure of conversation.

Ryan explains what he means by this: 

“The first factor is because cold calling is a form of public speaking - you’re speaking with strangers. And it’s a very human nature-based thing. Even though you’re behind the phone, it’s scary for a lot of people. And it’s not natural.” 

And the other factor?

“The other piece of it is that there’s a really high probability you’re going to be rejected. The fear of rejection and the fear of failure is a massive thing holding most people back from doing anything.” 

As Ryan said, “there are so many talented people. Writers, artists, even entrepreneurs. And they never actually bring it to anybody, because of the fear of rejection.”

There's even a medical term used to describe people who have a fear of failure - it's called atychiphobia

Now, we can all agree that these seem like incredibly loaded problems.

So, that prompts us to ask…

How do you get over the fear of cold calling? 

Ryan identified 4 things that SDRs can do to overcome the fear of cold calling 👇

1. Accept that failure isn’t a bad thing 

Failure is a part of life.

This is important to help SDRs get over their fear of cold calling. 

Ryan said:

“You’ve got to try and be objective rather than subjective. It comes down to really understanding the numbers behind what you’re doing."

For example:

"If you know on average you’re going to get this outcome, it’s not a failure. It’s just going to happen. You’ve just got to anticipate it.” 

Ryan loves to use the analogy of baseball to explain what he means: 

“The hall of famer fails 7 or even 8 times out of 10. And that means they stepped up to the plate throughout their career, and they still had this outcome. And when we mean they failed, they struck out and didn’t hit the ball.”

But Ryan said that’s not a bad thing, because:

“More often than not, even top-performing baseball players have to expect that things aren’t going to be positive. And that’s ok!” 

The bottom line is this:

It’s ok if things don’t go your way. 

Accept it, and use it as a learning curve. And that brings us onto our next tip…

2. See your calls as learning opportunities 

With each cold call, the more you’ll learn and grow as an SDR. 

Ryan said:

“Once you’ve understood the numbers, you can start to realise that there are learning opportunities at each interaction. So even if things are going to get tough, you can start to develop the mindset that if you’re not winning, you’re learning. And it’ll only mean you’ll get better the next time around.” 

This mindset will help you get over your cold calling fear. 

3. Understand two-way convos and practice 

Ryan said to practice and talk to strangers wherever you go:

“You can then begin to understand the psychology of it all. You can ask yourself ‘how can I start a conversation and just get people talking?’ And then over time talking to strangers becomes comfortable, and you can practice your listening skills.” 

You’ll notice that your cold calling anxiety will decrease the more you talk to strangers outside of an SDR or business scenario. 

There’s also nothing wrong with role playing or practicing with colleagues. Chances are, your manager will run regular cold calling practice sessions. 

The more you practice, the more you can train your brain that there’s nothing to be afraid of. 

Which is just one of the many tactics you can use to get over the fear of cold calling.  

4. Research your ICP

Another tip to help overcome your fear of cold calling is to know who you’re talking to. 

You’ll find that you’ve got anxiety when you cold call, because you don’t know who your customer is. 

Research your prospect, and figure out:

  • The industry they’re in. 
  • The size of their business or company. 
  • Their job title. 
  • Their pain points. 

Once you’ve got this information to hand, you can work it into your cold calling script.

Oh, and speaking of which…👇

5. Use a cold calling script 

Having a cold calling script or framework in place is so important - and Ryan explains why:

“One of the most challenging things is not knowing what to say in the first place. That script is going to be your best friend. Practice and practice, until you get comfortable with delivering it.” 

But remember: one size doesn’t fit all. Don’t just regurgitate the script, and remember to understand what your prospect’s pain points are:

“Educate yourself on the changing landscape. Know what’s going on in prospects’ worlds, and then understand what you can bring to the table. Remember, you need to be a problem expert, not a product expert.” 

Check out Ryan’s B2B sales cold calling script! Press ▶️ to watch his tutorial.

💡 Tip! If you're looking for more cold calling insight, you might enjoy these articles on the difference between warm calling vs cold calling?, 20 examples of common sales objections with responses and cold email templates: 14 of the best for sales.

6. Learn from others

In your sales team, there are going to be peers that are more experienced than you. 

And that can make you feel intimidated, which can add to your fear of cold calling. 

You’ll ask yourself:

“What if I’m never going to be on their level?”

But in reality, it’s a great learning experience. 

Watch your peers, and take notes. 

What can managers do to help SDRs with their cold calling fear? 

Sometimes SDRs can’t get over their cold calling fear by themselves. As with most things, coaching and mentoring can help people improve.

So we wanted to know what can be done from a management perspective. Ryan’s first thought was

“Get on the phone with your SDRs. Let them watch you cold call. Say to them:‘let me show you all the things that we talked about.’” 

This is about leading from the front and putting theory into practice. Junior SDRs thrive when senior colleagues show them how they approach B2B sales.

Ryan added by saying:

“The other thing is to make sure you’re enabling your SDR team with good data and good messaging. They need a solid list that allows them to have one anxiety-free conversation after the next.”

That’s all of Ryan’s advice. We hope you take it to heart - and that you can put your days of dreading cold calling behind you!

Remember, it’s important to have confidence in yourself - that’s how you’ll truly get over the fear of cold calling once and for all 💥

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