Curiosity As An Antidote For Fear with Connie Kadansky
“Everything is a learning experience. There’s always a gift or an opportunity in any kind of outreach that we do.” — Connie Kadansky
I sat down with Connie Kadansky, Founder of Exceptional Sales Performance, LLC., an organization that helps salespeople reframe their relationship with selling and convert their prospects into clients.
She is a Sales Empowerment Coach with sales expertise, globally recognized for helping salespeople from diverse industries develop meta-skills, confidently prospect and promote their products and services, and leverage key relationships.
- Understanding sales call reluctance
- How to cultivate more curiosity in your life and career
- Understanding the meta-skills of a sales call strategy
Understanding sales call reluctance
At its core, sales call reluctance—also known as Telephobia—is the emotional hesitation to proactively prospect and self-promote.
“Any time somebody needs to promote an idea—so if somebody is in a meeting, and they have an idea, and they're a little bit unsure, and the idea could move the conversation forward, and they default to not sharing, that is reluctance,” Connie explains.
This reluctance is a fear, a mental response to a perceived threat. “Nobody's gonna get punched in the nose. It's not going to be a physical threat. It's an emotional threat from putting ourselves out there. Often, that threat seems real.” Connie continues, “And we choose to default and be quiet and not move forward, not reach out, not attempt to engage in a conversation, and not share an idea.”
Shutting down is the easier option, but it doesn’t get you where you want to go or provide as much value to your team as speaking up does.
“What I do with my clients is a proven technique called sensory injection.” Connie explains, “We use essential oils because when we smell something, we instantaneously can change what is going on in our brain. So with my clients with telephobia, we get a scent or essential oil that they like. When they are ready to pick up that phone and are afraid, they smell the scent—because they have aligned it with something pleasant—they smell the scent, pick up the phone, make the call, and they're overcoming that reluctance.”
Understanding the meta-skills of a sales call strategy
A lot goes into a sales call—research, relationship building, energy, and beyond. All of that can fall flat if there isn’t one key element: curiosity.
Curiosity is among the most critical meta-skills attached to prospecting, selling, and pitching. “The people that have sales call reluctance, often, their mindset is self-centric.” Connie explains, “Thinking ‘Do they like me? Am I doing okay?’ Instead of focusing on the prospect. One of the keys that I share is; when you're ready to pick up the phone and punch in your numbers, say to yourself, ‘This isn't about me.’”
When we’re constantly worrying about how others perceive us, it inadvertently removes the focus from the potential client and hinders the sale.
“I worked with a recruiting company, and with their new recruiters, they would challenge them to keep somebody on the phone in a conversation for three minutes and practice taking the focus off of themselves.” Connie shares.
It’s hard to worry about what someone may be thinking about you or not thinking about you when you’re focused on learning more about them. And for that to feel genuine, it takes cultivated curiosity.
How to cultivate more curiosity in your life and career
Step one to cultivating curiosity is—unsurprisingly—listening. Like most facets of communication, listening plays a sizable part in improving sales calls.
“Certainty is an emotion, too, and sometimes seasoned salespeople start hearing things from prospects, and they immediately know what to do and how to do it, and how to move this person forward.” Connie shares, “And they blow it because they don’t get curious about this individual, so they try to move the prospect too fast through their process, without listening for the meaning of why that prospect is interested in what they have to offer.”
Curiosity can work as a powerful antidote for fear and an impactful tool for active listening.
“We must be able to listen to our prospects in discovery and disclosure, because when we get curious and listen to a deeper meaning, our clients, our prospects, they're saying things that they've never heard themselves say before.” Connie continues, “We're not only moving our sales process forward, we are creating tremendous value for our prospects.”
Another critical step to cultivating curiosity is leaning into lifelong learning. Unlock the part of you that loves to learn, and recall what it felt like to discover something new as a child. We still have access to that same wonder—it simply takes a bit more effort.
Ask yourself—“If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?” close your eyes and imagine it as clearly as you can. Let yourself explore the answer to that question. When we’re curious about the world and make a point to look closer at the systems around us, we’re more likely to have a natural curiosity when speaking with others.
What would you do if you knew you could only succeed, and how would that change your life and the way you interact with others?