We all procrastinate about something. Whether it relates to our finances, home repairs, writing projects or exercise, each of us has at least one thing we know we must do … but we don’t. (Housework tops my list!) While procrastination may simply be a natural human characteristic, it’s important to recognize that it can be harmful. And this is definitely the case when it comes to making, or not making, phone calls for your business.
How can you motivate yourself to make necessary phone calls and put an end to persistent procrastination?
Over the past 11 years of working with salespeople, entrepreneurs and startups, what I know to be true is … if you don’t pick up the phone you are generating less revenue and even putting your business at risk. For startups, not speaking directly with potential customers can – and does – result in a complete failure to launch. For small business owners, not making calls can result in a gradual decline in revenue and, eventually, the need to close up shop.
Consider following these 6 steps over the next 6 weeks to move yourself past procrastination and into productivity:
- What “harm” is your procrastination causing? Are you limiting your company’s growth? Are you abandoning a long-held dream of being an entrepreneur? Are you preventing yourself from earning an income that could provide you with financial stability or freedom? Be honest and precise about the consequences of non-action. Write it down and refer to it whenever procrastination beckons.
- Choose a specific time to make calls. Saying you’ll make calls tomorrow morning won’t help you defeat procrastination because you’ll leave it until the last possible minute – 11:59 am – and then tell yourself you’ll aim for tomorrow morning. Choose an actual time (my recommendation is 8:30 am) and block this off in your calendar. Make an appointment with your phone to make necessary calls.
- The day before, choose who you are going to call. Have their name, phone number and another other needed information ready and easily accessible. Choose a minimum of 3 people to call and a maximum of 10. Three phone calls will take you approximately 15 minutes, while 10 calls will require an hour. A call to only one person won’t generate the necessary feedback and results to truly eliminate your attachment to procrastination.
- Prepare for these calls. Speaking on the phone to prospects or clients has a lot in common with public speaking – and very few of us would get up to speak in front of a room of people without having at least a few notes handy. I’m not suggesting you write out every word of what you want to say, but do write down a few points to help yourself stay focused during your calls.
- Create a warm up activity. If you are feeling very nervous about making calls, or it’s been awhile since you’ve created conversation on the phone, call a friend or colleague first and have a quick chat. Every speaker, singer, actor has a warm up exercise they do before engaging an audience. The benefits of this activity apply to phone calls, as well. If you are part of a sales team, pair up with a colleague and role play possible conversations to further strengthen your phone skills before you dial.
- Dial a number. When the clock strikes 8:30 am – or whatever time you’ve chosen – dial one of the individuals on your list. Don’t think about it anymore. Don’t allow negative images or thoughts to prevent you from taking action. Remember, there are consequences for allowing procrastination to steal yet another opportunity. Pick up the phone – keeping picking it up. I can promise you … something prosperous will happen!