I Hate Cold Calling

For an introvert few tasks can be as daunting and titanic as making a cold call.  The very idea of disturbing an unseen stranger over the telephone fills us with anxiety.

-We wouldn’t want to be called by an unseen stranger who just wants something from us.  Why would someone else want to be?  Any ensuing conversation is bound to be an awkward exchange between two people who really don’t want to talk, but are compelled by some overriding necessity.  The tension is bound to be palpable.  This type of interaction is about as pleasant as nails screeching across a chalkboard.

-If only we could do it over the internet somehow without having to talk with anyone!

-We tend to put it off to the last possible moment.  Almost better to wait until the progression of events makes phone calls a moot point.  A mild loss incurred by doing so is probably worth it.  For important calls, I used to spend a few minutes just staring at the number pad before being able to spiritually prepare myself for dialing that number.  I would even have a few false starts dialing before I got through the whole number.

-There’s that horrible pause before it starts ringing, then the ringing starts.  Secretly we hope for every successive ring hoping that no one will answer.  If no one answers, we curse our luck that we couldn’t have just gotten it over with.

-It takes a lot of will power to make each subsequent attempt.  Like lancing a boil, the longer we wait, the more attempts, the more unpleasant it becomes.  The more unpleasant it becomes, the more will it takes to make another attempt.

-Even when we’ve made the call and someone answers, we’re too upset and nervous about infringing on someone else to really push them and demand their services and time in full.  Thus, a rep who’s used to dealing with assertive extroverts senses they can spend a bare minimum of time on us and quickly gets us off the line.  We end up not really accomplishing what we set out to do anyway!  At best we accomplish the bare minimum before we can end the unpleasantness and get off the line.

-An extrovert comes by and asks about the results of the phone call.  Their brow creases in confusion at our account of the conversation.  They respond:

“Why didn’t you ask this question?”

“Or this question?”

“Why didn’t you get a more detailed answer so we can be absolutely sure?”

“Why didn’t you push them until they gave in by doing this?”

“Why didn’t you make the call earlier?”/”Why did you just get around to making the call now?”

“Why don’t you call again?”

There’s a leaden feeling in the stomach.  All that effort and anxiety and it wasn’t nearly enough.  Why even bother.

I’ve gotten a lot better over the years out of necessity.  It’s no longer a trial by fire and I no longer have to deal with lots of anxiety but it’s still not exactly my favorite activity.  I still always check for any way around making a cold call if it can be avoided.  Therein lies my problem.  I see cold calling as a last resort.  An extrovert sees cold calling and taking up time on the line as their first choice.

Zygmunt blogs at Kingdom of Introversion (and elsewhere).

I Hate Cold Calling appears here by permission.

[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]

on 10/31/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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