Crucial Skills®

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Eris Weaver: From fearing the phone to closing deals

Eris Weaver.

Change Challenger Eris Weaver shares her change plan and initial success using the Change Anything model.

Change Anything

I’ve had great success with my change plan so far—even though the behavior I’m addressing is fairly entrenched. While I know a lot about behavior change, I have never applied this knowledge systematically to this particular problem. Sitting down and spelling (and drawing – see below) it out and posting it in my office has not only been fun, it is already working!

The behavior I am trying to change is my telephone phobia. My reluctance to make phone calls inhibits my ability to grow my business and maintain my personal relationships. What is particularly embarrassing is that I am a great communicator in every other medium—I am a teacher, public speaker, writer, etc.—but for some reason, I just can’t get myself to pick up the phone!

My default future: If I don’t get over this, I won’t generate enough new clients and my business will fail. This will lead to one of three possible negative scenarios: I continue to work my butt off but make no money; I have to get a normal job, spend hours in an office, commute, and lose the flexibility of being self-employed; or, I will just be broke, my wife will resent that I’m not bringing in any income, etc.

My goals: make ten targeted phone calls per week; answer the phone when it rings; and call my family members weekly.

I have two crucial moments:
1) When the phone rings: The moment when I either view the call as a burden or as an opportunity.
2) When I sit down to make calls. The moment I set aside to make calls and find myself easily distracted.

Some of the tactics I’ve implemented so far include:

Source 1: Love what you hate—Instead of viewing incoming calls as a distraction or burden like I used to do, I try to tell myself, “It could be somebody really cool with an exciting job for me!” I even recorded a new ring tone that replaces the typical ring with a knock on the door and my own voice saying, “Opportunity’s knocking!” It REALLY helps. Last Wednesday I answered a call using these thoughts and it turned into a paid gig!

Source 2: Do what you can’t
—To address my skills around sales calls, I will read books and attend sales seminars, as well as develop a basic script to which I can refer while making calls.

Source 3 & 4: Seek support from others—I organized an accountability group, and I report my successes and failures to them each week. They also regularly ask me how I’m doing and offer suggestions for success.

Source 5: Inverting the economy—I’ve created a points system to reward myself for each call I make, with higher points for calling folks I don’t know. I am ridiculously responsive to gold stars so this is fun. I’ve also decided that every week I have not made all ten calls, I will send $20 to an organization that really ticks me off.

Source 6: Control your space—In the crucial moment when I sit down to make calls, I realized I’m easily distracted by my computer and e-mail inbox. So, my plan is to take my phone list into another room and completely AWAY from the distractions.

This week I have made all ten calls! It cracks me up every time my phone rings and I hear the knocking, so I am in a good mood and my voice is smiling when I answer.

I am so pleased that this small amount of effort (creating this plan) is already having such great results. I’ve used all these tools before in various ways (losing weight, teaching, smoking cessation) but I have not sat down and created a plan so systematically. Change Anything is very user-friendly and I will be passing the book around (actually my wife has already stolen it!).

More about Eris here:

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3 thoughts on “Eris Weaver: From fearing the phone to closing deals”

  1. Joseph Grenny

    What a great start on a Change Plan, Eris. I look forward to following it and learning from you.

  2. Michelle

    I can’t wait to read the new book now! You have inspired me to explore opportunities I may have overlooked because of this same issue Eris! Thank you

  3. Mike Horwitz

    If a picture paints a thousand words, what you are depicting is great. I’ve struggled with the same challenges…


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