In perusing my personal files for a useful topic for today's newsletter, I came across Steve Covey's seven habits of effective people. (See Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits of Effective People, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987). In reviewing his points, I begin to see how one of his supposed habits, the first, proactivity, very much pertains to the work of cold callers.
As readers of this newsletter know, I view cold calling as a kind of self discipline where one is continually faced with the challenge to keep your eye on hte ball and not allow our natural disinclination to call drag to you down. Convey argues that proactivity means that a person takes on the responsibility for his own behaviour. Taking responsibility and being reminded that this is your job, provides a helpful perspective for reinforcing your self discipline.
Convey asserts that being responsible means you do not blame your circumstances, conditions or conditioning for your behaviour. In my coaching conversations it often comes up that a caller is held back by thinking: the prospect has probably already been called on this topic a thousand times; I'm probably the fifth caller today to bug this guy about this opportunity; this prospect always hides of behind voice mail so why bother calling.
In short the condition of ones own internal projections or beliefs, provide a perfect excuse not to call and if you give in to these perceptions, your productivity immediately takes a dive. Responsibility is out the window. And who are you responsible to anyway? Just yourself? In that case you are in a weaker position. Better to publically commit to a level of activity in order to buttress your responsibility.
But of course you won't do this unless YOU HAVE TO. Urgency is a great motivator, if it isn't too late. Some years ago I ran across a formula for translating a wish into an action. O don't have the source but it went like this, the OTIUM formula: for the transition of want into action to occur you need opportunity, time, importance, urgency and means.
Urgency is the key. I would add one more element: a willingness to subordinate impulse to a value or goal. This, says Covey, is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, circumstances, by condition or environemtal factors. Proactive peope are driven by values (or goals)..carefully though about, selected and internalised values.
Urgency however, needs a catalyst, a something that stimulates you to move forward with your calls. Hopefully you have found a catalyst and one that you can and will repsond to with an exhubrant effort.