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  • Brett Zalaski

Top 5 Times to NOT Make a Phone Call


We always get told, 'Make more calls...make more calls...make more calls.' Here's the thing, you really do have to make phone calls. Until people consistently send you their credit card over Twitter DM, you need to use the two proven ways to get credit cards. In person and over the phone. That said, there are absolutely times that you should not make a phone call. How we present ourselves in sales is equally as critical (if not more) as what we say.


I'm sure what I'll list below may be somewhat obvious...but, how often do you think about it? My guess is that, if you're being honest, you rarely ever do. So, let's talk about those times you should never make those calls:

  1. Tired: Would I have loved to have bounced into the CEB offices every day, bright-eyed at 9 am, ready to rock? Of course I would have. Was that a reality for me? Absolutely not. I was often quite tired. My day didn't start until I started drinking 32 oz. of Diet Coke. Every. Morning. That jolt of caffeine got me firing. Lucky for my teeth, that habit has passed. It's coffee now. If sales is literally the transference of energy from one person to another...and you don't have energy...how on earth are you going to make that sale? Drink a coffee, drink a soda, work on your pipeline, self-prospect, etc. until you're in that head space where energy is possible.

  2. Agitated: Maybe you got into an argument earlier that day. Maybe you just got a 'no' on a big deal you thought for sure was closing. Maybe you REALLY hate the music the person in the next cube is playing. Whatever it is, don't make phone calls when you're agitated. If the goal is to be a positive representation of our brand, it's literally impossible to do that when you're angry or agitated. Again, do something else. One of my favorite things to do was to take a lap of our stadium and brainstorm about how I'd present specific seat locations or group initiatives. Creating mental solutions always helped put me in a much better head space.

  3. Hungry: WTF? It's true. People even make a career out of it! And, for the record, you know this. You've used the word 'hangry' to describe yourself before. Or you've made phone calls while dreaming of your Panera 1/2 soup and & 1/2 salad combo. Or you spend the 15 minutes before lunch talking with your friends about where you're going to lunch. It's scientific fact that your concentration wanes when you are hungry. So be smart. Have snacks at your desk. Create consistency when you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. Keeping your mind off of food will help you keep it on sales.

  4. When You're Supposed to do Something Else: You've blocked time on your calendar for CRM compliance and a call comes in...and you take it. You're supposed to be self-prospecting corporate leads and you remember you have to call someone...so you do it. You're supposed to join sales training, but you get an email from a potential client...so you tell your manager you'll be there in 10 minutes, you've just GOT to make that call. You need to be CRM compliant. You need to spend time self-prospecting. You need to train and make yourself better. If you hit the snooze button on these things, they don't get better for you. You're probably desperate to make that call because you don't trust your own sales ability, or you just dislike CRM compliance, or you're so beholden to this lead because you have such a small pipeline that you feel desperation towards it. If you can't have the discipline to focus on what you need to get done, and organization to know when it's ok to pick up the phone and when you need to put your head down...you won't have the focus or organization needed to be a successful rep. That's just truth.

  5. When You're Not a Fan Right Now: As salespeople we rely on the team on the field to make our job easier. So even if they aren't a team from our youth, we root for them...even if it's just to make our job easier. Yet losing streaks and losing seasons occur (some fan bases will tell you losing decades or lifetimes, too). In those times our goal needs to not sell the wins...but the experience and the hope. While you still have to sell in losing streaks and losing seasons, some days are worse than others. There are losses that are heart wrenching or flabbergasting that stretch our fandom (salespeople and fans) past a point where sales can happen. It's ok to be human and be upset and frustrated...even as you know you have to show up in the office the next day. But don't get on the phone while you're feeling that way. Your negative energy will seep into your fans. If a front office can't be the leaders in positivity about that team...how on earth are the fans supposed to want to come to the games? In those days, do things will help get you sales eventually (self-prospect social media for people being positive, outline a new group sales plan, self-prospect new businesses who won't care as much about wins/losses, work on your pipeline document, brainstorm new uses for your stadium from a sales standpoint, etc.)...knowing that now is not the time for you or your fans to be ready to move forward.

I'm sure there are more times, but those are five that I know will keep a rep from maximizing the time they use for calls. Calls are exhausting. They are mentally challenging when you are at your best. So don't let a bad night of sleep, a bad day, lunch dreams, a packed schedule, or a bad loss hurt your ability to be at your best in those moments. Do something else. Then get back on the phones. Phones are critical to success...but that doesn't mean we need to alienate our fans and make ourselves more frustrated in the process. Be cognizant of the above...and you'll make more sales.