The similarity between the bird and New Zealand creative entrepreneurs is startling.
Both are nocturnal. NZ is awake at night and working hard to stay in sync with the business day of its offshore markets. Both are unique, in that they often punch above their weight. The Kiwi lays the largest eggs, in comparison to its body weight, than any other bird in the world. New Zealanders play rugby, sail and trade at a scale bigger than their size would lead you to believe.
Both have predators.
The Kiwi entrepreneur falls victim to its geographic location, of the hard slog to be recognised and known in a vast world with big players, of sheepishly (pardon the pun) avoiding the phone to prospect their creative ideas and concepts globally.
Don’t get me wrong, within NZ, much like the Kiwi bird, there are a giants of reputation and symbols of great success and uniqueness. Unfortunately, outside NZ they’re unknown, seen as small and cute, and struggle to land in foreign shores because they lack the wings to take them there.
Entrepreneurs, despite protesting to the opposite, are salespeople. They have to be.
Salespeople are a unique breed. Unique in the fact that very few are actually born capable. Many are mediocre at best and a few are truly professional and effective. They are about as rare as a flying kiwi or a telephone-prospecting entrepreneur.
But the effective entrepreneur identifies quickly that they need to pick up the phone if they are going to get into those important strategic accounts, particularly in the early days. A well constructed marketing programme is vital, but will never have the laser targeting of a well-placed call and productive conversation. Real conversations with real customers are invaluable to start ups for building empathy and gathering intel on what users value the most and ultimately where the opportunities are. This is also at the core of any good market validation plan, user centred design process or customer focussed business in general.
Every calling and every career has aspects to it that are less than desirable. Doctors don’t look forward to sniffing armpits. Lawyers don’t look forward to reading 30,000 pages of documents. Builders hate the procurement supply process, I could go on. The point is, sales people and entrepreneurs dislike telephone prospecting.
And why wouldn’t they?!
It’s a frightening task to call stranger in a far off land when you should be asleep, interrupting them and then knowing what to say in the first 10 seconds, to get their attention long enough to engage or even entertain, and then have them commit to meeting you. I should know, I have had to do it, and in the early days I outsourced it, often to poor results.
If I don’t know how to make a successful prospecting call, how can I possibly employ or hire someone else who does? I discovered this the hard (expensive) way.
I also discovered that my fear, inhibitions and reluctance were all internally self generated. That my inability to make a call, wasn’t because the calls were hard, but because I had the wrong programming and beliefs about the purpose, structure and outcome of a call.
I soon realised that, without knowing it, I was behaving, acting and conducting myself in a manner on the phone that was sabotaging my chances of success. To elaborate, I’ll give one insight. I hate receiving cold calls. I often find them poorly done, an interruption and often intrusive.
But hang on, how can I ever make a successful call if that’s how I FEEL about receiving them?
My hatred of sales calls meant that, unconsciously, my behaviour when making them was determined by my beliefs about them. This meant I self sabotaged the moment I had to call. I told myself this was not going to work. I told myself I won’t get through. I told myself that if I do they will be annoyed. I told myself I would sound like all those calls I hate.
Guess what? I did. I brought about the very things I hated because that belief determined my behaviour when calling.
Imagine if you believed the same things about being an entrepreneur?
Would you be where you are?
But that’s what makes you an entrepreneur, because most people think being an entrepreneur is tough, so tell you not to become one.
If you have gone this far, surely, you can go one step further and develop the right beliefs, programming and attitudes that, accompanied with proven technique, will enable you to call anyone, anywhere at anytime and speak passionately and brilliantly about what you do and why they should meet you?
If you want to discover how to master the art of the cold call, and overcome your fear of the phone, come and see Benjamin Dennehy international speaker and sales master trainer on 1st and 2nd November, Grid ALK.
Then grow some wings, pick up a phone and fly to distant shores!