If this is you, and you feel alone, don't! You only have to type the phrase 'phone fear' into google to see that there are many, many sufferers.
But for the home based business entrepreneur, fear of the phone is something that you will need to master if you want to make a success of your business because, unfortunately, few businesses will survive without telephone contact.
Even successful sales people experience periods of phone fear. Times when it's easy to find 'other' jobs that need doing first in order to avoid picking up the phone. Filing every piece of paper on the desk, making a few lists, doing the washing/ironing/cleaning .. sound familiar? So how can we overcome these fears?
One of the first steps to overcoming phone fear is to understand exactly what it is that we are afraid of. Is it fear of rejection? fear of appearing pushy? fear of not knowing what to say and becoming tongue-tied and stammering? fear of someone asking us a question that we don't know the answer to? A feeling that the person on the other end just won't be interested? It may be one, or all of these, but it's important to understand your fear in order to take steps to overcome it.
Many years ago I had a bad stammer which became worse the more I couldn't say particular words. For me, help came in the form of a group of friends who made a game out of my stammering, each trying to guess what I was trying to say as I got more and more embarrassed. At first, I thought they were laughing at me and making fun of me, but I soon realised that they too were a little embarrassed by my discomfort and were trying to help. Over time, I learnt to laugh with them when they played the game, and the laugh brought about a release of tension that enabled me to speak properly. As I became more and more relaxed in the company of other people and more confident about myself, the stammer disappeared, but I never forgot the unconscious kindness of that group of friends.
To become a success in your home based business, you have to generate a confidence to others because, after all, you are trying to convince them to join your business or buy your product. If phone fear is stopping you from doing this, take some steps to enable you to relax and feel comfortable with the telephone.
Ask someone to help you. Prepare two or three 'opening' sentences - you will rarely need more than these - and perfect them so that you say them naturally. Try not to give your prospect the opportunity to say 'no' with a poor opening like "I wondered if you'd had a chance to look at the dvd I sent you?" - far better to say something like "I'm ringing as promised to find out what parts of the dvd you liked best." Ask your friend to be your prospect and respond to you. Role play can seem very daunting at first, but if you turn it into a silly game, it will soon have you laughing at yourself until, ultimately, you will feel more comfortable.
Take this one step further from the introductions, and practice some follow-on conversations. Jot down some scripts of questions and answers with your friend and go through them until you have the answers off-pat. If you need to keep your 'scripts' by your side for the 'real' phone calls, by all means do so, but try to make yourself sound natural - it's so much better for rapport-building than sounding as if you're reading from something. Also, ask your current clients what they've found best about your products. Knowing what works helps you to feel confident when talking to others.
Next. Allocate yourself a specific time frame - say a half-hour slot - and have a go. Try rating each conversation on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is a prospect slamming the phone down on you, and 10 is a sale. Treat it like a game and you will be less likely to be overcome by fear. You'll probably find that most scores will hover somewhere in the middle, initially at least, until you become more relaxed, more knowledgeable, and therefore more enthusiastic on the phone. Practice this again and again, and your home based business is well on the way to success.
Finally, learn to Listen. Try to develop the mindset that you don't have to chase the sale on every single call. Build a rapport with your prospect so that you can genuinely help them with your product or service. Be honest if it's not the right product for them. Many times I've given people advice that at first seems detrimental to my own business, but my honesty has led to 'word of mouth' referrals and repeat business.
Above all, the telephone is not your enemy. You are! If you want your home based business to be a success, you will need to understand this and overcome it but, in the process of learning how to overcome your phone fear, you may just realise a new found self-confidence that you didn't know you had!