Leslie, in northern Mississippi, makes cold calls to set sales appointments while working from her home office. Leslie shared with us some of the practical ways she is able to ‘shake it off’ and quickly get her groove back whenever she encounters someone who is snarky and rude to her on the phone.
Here’s the interview:
Q. How frequently do you run into prospects who are rude to you, and when that happens, how do you shake it off?
A. In the beginning, that was one of my fears, that I would frequently encounter people being ugly to me on the phone, but in reality, it doesn’t happen very often. It doesn’t even happen as often as once a week. When it does happen, there are several things that help me to shake it off.
Find empathy. One thing is to find empathy for that person on the other end of the phone. We have no way to know what kind of bad things may have happened to that person that day. They could have been in a car wreck for all I know. I just have to remember the person may have taken the same tone with anybody else who happened to call at that time and that it has nothing to do with me. It’s about the other person and what they have going on with them.
Plug into your support group. Another way that helps me shake it off sometimes is by talking about it on one of our team meetings. Other people doing the same job understand the stress, and they will help me laugh it off and then I am able to get back on the phone.
On to the next call. Sometimes I do get people who are trying to turn my day into a negative day, and when that happens, I just remember that I never have to talk to them again and my life is not going to be disrupted over a three-minute conversation. It’s not a big deal and there’s another 500 people I can call.
Q: What can you tell people about cold calling who haven’t done it before?
A. When I start to feel nervous, I remember that I am not calling them personally, I’m calling their business about products, services or software than will help them run their business better. Even with the experience I’ve had, when it was my first time to get on the phone, I really didn’t want to do it. I didn’t feel ready. Even with some cold calling background, you can get yourself nervous, so, I finally got to a place where I recognized that I’m just making a phone call. These businesses get calls all the time. So, you’re not doing anything they don’t already expect.
Also, you’re not asking them to spend money. I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m just trying to grab a little bit of their time, to spend 15 – 30 minutes to learn about something that is going to be beneficial to their business. Instead of feeling like I’m bothering somebody, I remember that I’m calling them about something that is going to benefit their business. So, there’s not any reason for me to feel afraid to offer that to them.
Q: I’ve heard your calls and you’re a born natural for this job. What kind of work background and educational background do you have that has helped you to be so successful here?
A. I have a marketing degree, but really, owning a business has been the best education. That’s where I really learned how to do marketing and what’s important in the business world. I’ve been self-employed since 1998. My first company was a spa. When we had any downtime, in between appointments, we made phone calls to people we haven’t seen in a while letting them know about promotions and booking appointments with them to come back in. Even back in college, I worked for a dentist making outbound calls to inactive patients. I also owned a marketing company, and you can’t be shy about promoting your business. With that company, I found clients in the similar way that TeleReach reaches out to get new clients, except that it’s a bit easier now, because you guys already have the list and the other leg work which has been done for you already. I don’t have to do the research to figure out who I’m going to call. In making these calls, I feel like I’ve been doing this forever.
Q: How did you find us and how long have you been working from home?
A. I’ve been working from home since 2010 and I’ve been working with TeleReach Corporate since 2019. I was ending a marketing position with another firm and I knew it was about time to start looking, so I went onto the information meeting and was intrigued, so I scheduled an interview with TeleReach and here I am.
Q: Why did you want to work from home?
A. When my son was about a year old, I realized that I wanted to be home more. I didn’t want to miss out on the beautiful baby years and toddler years. That’s why I was determined to make working from home work for me and my family. I was used to working for myself ever since I got out of college, and didn’t see myself working for a company because I could not stand the idea of a fixed hourly wage that meant no matter how good I am at my job or how much I contribute, I would still make the same amount of money.
I don’t like the idea at all of companies that just have butts in the seat so that it will look like you are working to the management. One of the main reasons I came to TeleReach and makes me motivated to stay is because of the pay system here. If I want to work hard, I can make as much money as I want to make. If I don’t want to work hard, that’s up to me too. I’ll be honest that sometimes when I go through a bit of a slump in my production, I start to get a little nervous about my income and I will look around at what’s out there, but then I see those salary caps and I realize that I make more here when I’m working well, and I really like that the pay is 100% directed to me and what I’m willing to put into the job.
Q: What kind of set up do you have with your home office?
A. When I started with TeleReach, I had to make some changes because the work is different. I had to control the home office environment more because we’re on the phone constantly. In the past, I was making some calls but I was doing other type of work too that was not as sensitive to background noise. I have an office set up at home. In the beginning it was more about getting my family to understand that I’m working. My son is only 10. They understand now that when the door to my office is closed, he and his friends can’t go running down the hall making noise. It’s a little more challenging in the summer when school is out, but he really gets excited for me when I get an appointment.
Q: Any tips you’d like to share about your home office and working from home?
A. Make your space a place that you enjoy. Whatever area that you use for your office, whether it’s your colors or a good chair, just set it up so that you enjoy being in that space because you spend a lot of time there. Also, decide and make a commitment to yourself about time management. With me, I do it according to dials. After I make 100 dials, then I will take a break to flip the laundry or feed the dog. When you work from home, you have to have some kind of system to separate what all needs to be done at home from your work. If you don’t have a system, the chores sit in the back of your mind and interrupt your focus. And lastly, if you come to work with us at TeleReach Corporate, there’s a learning curve and people need to make a commitment to at least six months.