A lot of agency owners or freelancers selling their services online deal with anxiety when trying to reach out and find new customers. And yet, at least in the early stages, nothing is more important than interacting with customers.
The secret that most freelancers & agency owners are not aware of is that they are creating the anxiety and the pressure themselves… and just by changing how they prospect, they can virtually turn off all anxiety, and make it an enjoyable activity that they look forward to.
1. Set a Goal That is Under Your Control
Most people make the goal of prospecting to make the sale. That creates a lot of pressure, since every person you speak with is someone you have to sell. But that’s impossible, since, as a matter of fact, not everyone you speak with even needs what you’re selling in the first place.
So by setting yourself up with this goal, you’re really setting yourself up for failure, frustration and rejection, since you’re giving yourself an unrealistic, impossible task. So it’s no wonder that you encounter so many of these negative emotions.
The solution is to simply pick a more realistic goal. When it comes to prospecting, your only goal should be to determine if the person needs your solution or not. And with such a goal, you always win. If they say yes, you know you can pursue them further, and if they say no, then you know not to waste your time trying to pursue them when they don’t have a need you can solve.
2. Start with a Positive Intention
The way you see yourself determines a large share of your unconscious behavior. If you see yourself as trying to “trick” the prospect, or “get them to buy”, whether you like it or not, it’s going to show in your outward behavior. And they will, unconsciously, pick up on it, triggering defensive behavior (rejection).
I used to think that this is BS when I first got started. But it’s 100% true. If you start with a negative intention, then you’ll experience anxiety and discomfort. What you have to do instead is to start with a positive intention. I recommend setting the intention to be discovering more people who can benefit from what you have to sell.
That way, your outward behavior will be congruent with your thoughts, which bypasses cognitive dissonance, and enables you to build trust with your prospects.
3. Focus on Building Trust
And that’s our next point. Your interactions with a stranger should be focused on building trust and showing them that you’re available to help if they need it. You’re not forcing anyone to buy or do anything else – you’re simply a resource, ready to help if they need it.
So the focus of your prospecting call is to uncover if they actually have problems that you could solve. Do that in a manner that shows that you’re respectful of their agency, and they are in charge over their decision-making.
Making them feel like they’re not in charge will trigger psychological reactance, and they will oppose you just to feel that they’ve got their freedom back. When you switch from trying to take the lead to building trust, anxiety diminishes, and rejection disappears.
4. Never be Aggressive
It’s normal for confrontation to trigger anxiety. I myself was a very confrontational person when I started freelancing. And it took me a long time to realise the damage that this caused.
The problem with being aggressive is that it sometimes works in the short term. Sometimes, you may be able to get that customer who doesn’t want to listen to you to be attentive and actually do the deal with you. And because of the effort that you put into it, it feels like a huge achievement, and becomes addictive.
What you miss by being aggressive though is all the many other potential customers that you’ve lost in the process. Not to mention that there is no way to be aggressive and NOT experience anxiety, which is a normal accompanying emotion. It’s much better to be kind & polite, even when others are rude to you. You’ll win more deals that way and you’ll feel better too!
5. Stop Relying On Yourself
And finally, if you always have to show up for prospecting to occur, then it will be dependent on you, which adds additional pressure. The best way is to let prospecting happen without your direct involvement. Then there is no anxiety and no added pressure.
Is it possible to do this without spending money? Without things such as paid ads? The answer is absolutely YES. In fact, at TANDA Digital we’ve developed a system to help you do this. It enables you to prospect without requiring your time or requiring you to spend money on paid ads.
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