When you were a kid, do you remember what you'd do when it was time to go to bed? If you were like most kids, you found ways of stalling for time that were so ingeniously innocent, they would make a CIA counter-intelligence agent smack his forehead in amazement.
Now you're all grown up, and you don't mind going to bed...but those skills never really went away, did they? If you're like most of us grownup kids, you rediscover those highly refined, imaginative evasion tactics when it comes time to make the calls.
Calls. Procrastination. For many, they go together like pancakes and syrup. Even super-successful networkers with ten successful years of the business under their belts can get the phone jitters and suddenly, unexpectedly find eight things that absolutely must get done right now...eight things that all have one thing in common: none of them are calling prospects.
There is another, more empowering truth: for most of us, once we get started, each call really does get easier than the last. It becomes interesting, then intriguing, then fun.
The trick is getting started.
The Power of a Partner
Here's a sure-fire method that will get you making more calls, more often and more successfully: team up with a partner. The accountability and commitment will make it easy for you to show up when it's time to make the calls: it's a lot harder to break a promise to someone else that you're going to show up and do something than it is to break a promise you've made only to yourself (and perhaps casually at that).
What's more, once you're there, having someone else there with you diffuses the tension and makes the whole thing less intimidating.
Often, we know what we need to do, but just let ourselves be too intimidated to pick up the phone and do it. Most of us work alone, which only contributes to this intimidation and, therefore, to our inclination to procrastinate. After all, there's no one looking over your shoulder, no one you're accountable to...and repairing the lawnmower or cleaning the refrigerator or clipping your nails or cleaning the lint out of your computer keyboard with a straightened paperclip suddenly seem irresistibly pressing. Don't worry: you're not alone and there are ways to overcome your inertia!
When you have a difficult call or encounter a challenging person, that's often the time you decide you've made enough calls for today and you'll get back to this later. This is a critical moment for your business. With a partner on the phone, you can laugh it off (diffuse the tension) in 30 seconds and most importantly, keep dialing. Once you've had this experience repeatedly, it will become habit--and it will come to you naturally even when you're making calls by yourself.
Choose someone you'd like to work with--upline, downline, crossline, it doesn't matter. The only requirement is that they are also working leads and have a style compatible with yours. Don't be afraid to ask; you may be surprised at who will be willing to buddy up with you. You may want to try calls with several people until you find someone whose style and schedule work for you and then make a commitment to a regular partnership.
Nuts and Bolts
Once you've found that person, here's how it goes: schedule two or three regular calling windows each week. Make at least two of them regular "permanent" times; you can rotate the third to accommodate call-backs as they're needed. Make sure you schedule your calling sessions several weeks in advance, so you've both allotted time and don't put it off because of full schedules. This has to be a firm commitment that you both take seriously. If either doesn't show up, it's not going to work. Remember the two benefits to this method: accountability and partnership so you both avoid procrastination and get the job done.
The best way to partner on calls is to make them all three-way calls. Here's one way to let your prospect know that you have someone else on the line. Once you've said hello and checked that your prospect has a few minutes to talk, you can say: "Barb, I've got Steve Miller on the line with me--he lives in Sacramento, and he and I are making calls together (or, we're doing some training together) today. It's a way we work in teams...and it's also how we'd work with you to help you build your business, if you decide that what we've got is a good fit for you; is that okay with you?"
You can work it out so your partner asks one of your intro questions, or gets involved in the initial part of the conversation, or he can stay quiet and just listen in. Sometimes, you'll be stuck for an answer and your partner will have it. Sometimes your partner will connect with your prospect more easily than you do and may actually help build a bridge. Sometimes it's just great to have someone there when you're finished with the call, and to take a short moment to share your excitement or decompress before moving on to the next. You'll work out your own way of working together fairly quickly, if you stick with it.
It's best to keep chatting to a minimum; check in with each other for a few minutes at the beginning of the call, and devote the rest of the time to making as many dials as you can. You want to be on your calls for the entire time scheduled (usually 60 to 90 minutes).
Calling with a partner may seem slow at first, but you'll develop an efficient rhythm in only a few sessions. Once you get going, you'll be surprised at how fired up you get; you won't want to stop!
AMY POSNER is a veteran network marketer and CEO of LeadsLab, an Internet lead service for network marketers.