May 142013
 

I’m a software engineer. Total nerd, truly. These last few weeks I’ve been studying up on Neo4j because I’m designing my own web app that has a social network component (no, it has nothing to do with self improvement or seduction). Last night I spent two hours getting angularjs to work in ASP.NET MVC.

At work, I program a majority of the day. But I’m a partner at a startup, and with only 5 employees, my job is not only to program. I am also partly responsible for the growth of the company. What I do directly impacts the success and failure of the business. We will either strike it rich one day or go out of business in six months (I’m confident in the former). I thrive in high stress, high stakes environments.

This past winter I started learning about marketing and read a few books on that. We began implementing some of these ideas at work too. However, if I really want to help the company succeed, I need to be able to sell our software. Programming it isn’t enough.

I’ve never done this. My sales partner gave me a few crash courses and so I started picking up on the general themes. But I’ve never actually picked up the phone and got on a sales call before. Holy shit — scary as fuck.

But why is it scary? I took a step outside my body (as The Power of Now tells you – see recommended readings) to observe my emotions as a third party. I pick up the phone — my heart is pounding and I can feel the fear all over my body. This is amazing. My brain is having some chemical reaction to make me feel this way. And I realized something. This feeling is no different than the feeling you get when you’re afraid to start a conversation with a girl at a bar. It is absolutely pointless to have these feelings, but my brain is making me feel them anyway. Stupid brain.

Shit. Making sales calls isn’t even my job. Why am I subjecting myself to this?

Why not, though? I recognize that by being able to handle myself with confidence on a phone call where a prospect is asking tough questions and being able to maintain control is a great skill. I’ve obtained this level with women and socializing, so why not on a sales call? It all has to do with experience. I know that I need to make calls — learn the ropes — get comfortable in order to reach that confidence level where I am unfazed by clients. This is the same process as when I was starting out approaching women. Just do it over and over again until you become natural at it. All the while, reading books and educating yourself to keep you on point and using best practices. It’s really not that different.

Solution? Ignore your brain. It doesn’t know what’s best for you.

To help warm myself up, my sales guy is giving me all the inbound leads that are super shitty. These are leads where I know that we won’t accept a project from them because they don’t have enough money. I’ve done about 5 of these calls so far and it’s really not that bad. People are people all the same. The interesting perspective on this is that I’m calling to “qualify” them — meaning to see if they are a viable fit to be a future client. This is the same way you should be approaching women. Approach them to see if they are a viable fit for you. You don’t have to prove yourself to them.

  One Response to “SOLD! Making sales calls helps me overcome social anxiety”

  1. Dating is a great analogy. Getting numb to the sting of rejection is an essentially skill for any successful entrepreneur to master.

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