In Part One of this series, I talked about ways to shift your mindset if your occupation requires you to sell, market, or perform services over the phone. I dealt with two of the most common fears – fear of the unknown and fear of rejection.
The next two fears are more pervasive – fear of failure and fear of incompetency. These two fears are capable of stopping you from doing just about anything.
The good news is that both are simple – though not easy – to manage. Just as with any fear, conquering these two fears involves a shift in mindset and a little bit of good, old-fashioned hard work.
Fear of incompetency is probably the easier of the two fears to manage. It’s natural to not want to look like a fool, especially in front of a customer, client, or anyone you don’t know. However, there are some key truths to keep in mind:
- People are usually thinking about themselves and their own problems more than they’re thinking about you. So, you’re probably being much harder on yourself than they are.
- Most customers know less about your product or service than you do. And the ones who know more are always eager to flex their egos and show off. So, let them spew out everything they know! It puts them in a good mood and makes them more likely to buy.
- Your standards for competency are probably unreasonable.
It’s common to think that you have to know everything before you can talk to a customer. You have these morbid daydreams that the customer is going to ask you some obscure, detailed question that you’ve never heard of, you’re going to look stupid, and the customer is going to rain abuse upon your head. There are two easy fixes for this fear:
- Study, study study. Learn your industry. Spend a little bit of time every day learning something new about what you do for a living. I don’t care if you love or hate your job. Becoming knowledgeable about what you do is a matter of personal integrity. If you really hate it that much, then start looking for something else. But in the meantime, become an expert in your field.
- Adjust your definition of “incompetence.” You are not incompetent just because you can’t answer every question under the sun. Your average customer has an average problem that you can probably help them solve. For everything else, get good at saying “That’s an awesome question. I’ll find out for you and let you know.”
Fear of failure is a bigger beast, though. Failure has real consequences, such as a reprimand from your boss, loss of a client or money, even loss of a job or business. The only thing that has worked for me is to become super tough inside. I have my own definition of failure that has nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. I feel like a failure when I:
- Don’t do my best
- Don’t do what I say I’m going to do
- Don’t go the extra mile to help a client, or the organization
Any other expectation someone might put on me is their problem. These personal standards are mine alone. As long as I live up to them, I can never be a failure in my own eyes. And if I were to ever fall down in any of these things, I would dust myself off and do better next time. Failure is not final – it’s temporary.
What is permanent is how you view yourself. Phone skills have more to do with mindset than fancy tricks and techniques. Fix your mind, and the phone becomes your friend!
Next time, we’ll discuss the last thing that trips some of us up – laziness and sloth.
Until then, keep growing, keep sharing, keep loving, keep crushing it. And stay safe!
Raven B. Kushner, NMLS #1905164, is a mortgage loan officer based in Houston, Texas. She is licensed in both California and Texas, serving all counties in these states. For more information, or to be pre-approved, please contact her at (818) 423-0318 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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