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Beating Phone Fear Subconsciously

Jul 24, 2008
Phone fear is based, usually, on the fear of rejection, and fear of rejection is pretty darn typical in any type of sales position. I mean, seriously, who wants to get yelled at, hung up on, or even politely told, "No thanks."? Not me, not you, not anyone. All of my students and most of my clients and audiences suffer some kind of phone phobia. People are afraid of looking silly, messing up, getting rejected or forgetting what they wanted to say. In fact, when I have students of clients role-play with me, they frequently forget what they had planned on saying. They just go blank. Ever happen to you?

Now before you pull out the old, "use a script" defense, let me tell you something. Scared is scared, period. If you think someone reading a script sounds less afraid or sounds more confident, call me about some ocean front property I'm trying to unload here in Sacramento! Truth is, scripts can and do support and enhance a telephone or in-person "presentation" so long as--and this is the big thing--the agent is confident to begin with. And even then, I encourage my clients to massage scripts to suit their own personality, linguistic style, vocabulary, etc. Otherwise, the script is straight off the shelf canned, and if you got it from a trainer, that means so did a thousand other agents.

And this isn't just about cold-calling either. A mega business coach confided in me last week that he, himself, gave a real estate agent 9 hot leads and that agent did not call one of them. Not one. And this isn't an isolated case. It's amazing how many agents fail to return calls from prospects, calls regarding their listings, and Internet leads. Leads they pay to receive, they refuse to call back. Phone fear. It's no wonder that when the typical FSBO finally lists, it's with the agent who called him, on average, 5 times. Those agents that do call, usually only call once or twice (if at all), so the constant caller gets the gold.

The real secret to overcoming phone fear is forthcoming, but first, let's lay some groundwork. It is perfectly normal human nature to want people to like you and to not reject you, so there is nothing inherently wrong with getting the general butterflies in the tummy feeling when you pick up the telephone. Top Producers pick up the phone, but that doesn't mean they don't get nervous.

I've been fascinated with phone fear for sometime now and researched it pretty thoroughly. The interesting thing is that when I interview top producers and brokers---and yes, brokers have phone fear too (how do you think they recruit agents?), I find that everyone of them admits to 1) feeling a bit nervous; and, 2) incorporating the tactics I will share with you. Whether they were born confident, which I doubt, or developed it through personal and professional development and training, the results are the same: they pick up the phone, they get the deals. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Because of my own training in psychotherapy, hypnosis, I am huge proponent and student of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind houses all of our fears and past programming. For instance, most of the time when you react to someone and then later on wonder what in the heck you got so mad about, it was a trigger from a past experience that set you off, even if you have no clue what it was. All that said, I've found the strategies I teach for top producing success are perfectly suited for phone fear...again, reiterating the idea that if you worked through phone fear, much of your business would improve (of course you must market and communicate well also). So going around the conscious mind via hypnosis can be quite effective in quelling your fears. We are currently producing a hypnotic CD on phone fear, but you can find others CDs or hire a professional hypnotist (gets pricey) to get the ball rolling.

Visualizing, seeing yourself successfully making the calls, is another key component. And just don't visualize yourself on the phone; see and feel yourself smiling, setting the appointment, and thrilled beyond description about how easy it is to initiate contact. See and feel the person at the other end just as pleased as punch that you called him. Make it as real as you can manage. Creative visualization really is key to getting your subconscious mind open to the idea that picking up that telephone could be a good thing.

Feel the fear and use it. So many of us hide from fear like it's an enemy. It's not. It's your ego's way of telling you that you're doing something new and uncomfortable and so it feels threatened and wants you to run for cover. When we step outside of our comfort zone, fear is a natural occurrence. Unless you're being chased by a big bear, chances are you will survive a phone call. Virtually all the top producers I have interrogated about phone fear have confided that they feel it too, but unlike the rest of us, they USE it. They transmute it into enthusiasm and energy. And guess what? That passion comes shining through at the other end of the phone. Don't you love to talk to people who seem to be bursting with enthusiasm?

These are the three most effective means I know of to deal with the subconscious mind concerning phone fear. You can also add positive affirmations, too. For instance, writing , "I LOVE calling prospective clients," "Talking on the phone is a fun and profitable," etc. Affirmations, when repeated, posted on your computer screen, or written down daily can really add to your effectiveness.

If you'd like to receive an email when our "Phone Fear" segment, covering both conscious and subconscious approaches, is on our Internet radio show, we'll have live discussion and call-in questions, drop me an email at Tamara2@surewest.net
About the Author
Tamara Dorris, MA, "The Real Estate Therapist" has been in the industry for nearly 20 years, in an adjunct professor of real estate, an author, agent and past marketing communications manager for the Ca. Assn. of Realtors. Order her Free Report, at http://www.WealthyRealEstateAgent.com or visit her site at
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