Leaving your comfort zone

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Leave your comfort zone is an oft-heard piece of advice on how to grow personally and generally get better at doing whatever is relevant to you. If you only ever stick to things you already know you deny yourself the opportunity to learn and experience something new.

Why is leaving your comfort zone so hard then? Well, it should be. Doing something you’re uncomfortable with initially means that the likely outcome is failure and failure is embarrassing. Sure, failure is an opportunity to learn. Embracing failure helps you doing better next time. Failing still sucks, though but that’s the whole point: If failing didn’t suck we wouldn’t really have an incentive for doing better next time, would we?

Anyway, for me one way of leaving my personal comfort zone is doing sales calls: I find it embarrassing because I don’t want to disturb people during whatever work they’re doing while I call them. Probably everyone has first-hand experience with sales people who are calling you when you least need the distraction and who are trying very hard to sell you a product you clearly don’t need. Hence, sales to many feels like an essentially seedy activity, the cliché of the slick car salesman being what many people have in mind when they think of sales.

It doesn’t have to be like this, though. You should only be selling what you believe has value and you should only be selling it to people who actually need it. As soon as you realize that you’re trying to provide value to the people you’re calling sales no longer is an embarrassing activity.

Try to figure out when your potential customer is least disturbed by your call. Service businesses often are particularly busy during certain hours and less so during other times of the day. If you schedule your calls accordingly they become less of a nuisance and therefore less embarrassing as well. Sometimes, people will be rude because you caught them at the wrong time. Don’t let this get to you.

Prepare a rough outline of what you’ll be saying during your sales call. Don’t stick to a rigid script, though. Try to talk normally adapting as the conversation develops.

One last thing from personal experience: Because I don’t really like making sales calls I tend to procrastinate them. Try to avoid this trap. This is a bit like dealing with stage fright: Dwelling upon the matter and overthinking it will only make it worse. Just get out there and you’ll quickly get more comfortable with the situation and hopefully realize there was actually nothing to worry and fear about in the first place.

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