Sales Call Reluctance
"Anyone in sales will relate to this excellent short blog on
what is behind Sales Call reluctance and what you can do about
"Sales call reluctance can destroy sales careers and affect
anyone, be they new to sales or sales veterans. If you haven't
experienced the emotional torture of being call reluctant the
chances are you will do sooner or later. No effort you make -
attendance at motivational seminars, the learning of sales
techniques or ways to improve product and industry knowledge - will
protect you from this debilitating experience.
Researchers in this field have found that call reluctance is
responsible for 80% of
sales people's failure in their first year. Research has also
found that it is call reluctance that accounts for over 50% of
failures in the sales profession. Sadly 40% of sales veterans think
about leaving sales because they are trying to come to grips with
call reluctance. The financial and emotional costs are
Call reluctance can be likened to a contagious disease because
it can be passed on by sales managers, sales trainers, fellow sales
people and other internal support personnel.
What is call reluctance?
A call reluctant sales person feels immobilized to initiate new
business sales calls either by phone or face to face. Other parts
of the sales process such as avoidance of group presentations or
asking for the order can be affected.
The mental and emotional energy required to sell and achieve
sales outcomes is redirected to other more comfortable and 'safe'
activities. These activities can include talking to others in the
office, being tied up on phone calls or taking extended coffee
Call reluctance can be described as a fear of being assertive:
the sales person believes in and acts on self belief excuses and
thus fails to do what they know they need to do. In the process an
emotional sanctuary is sought.
There are many different forms of call reluctant behaviours. The
ones we have come across over the years are:
- An increase in activity levels and a corresponding drop
in productivity levels
- Sales reports have twice the information when compared to
a top performing sales person's report.
- Complaining to get attention and attract like-minded
- Shifting blame to others and not taking personal
- Use of excuses to spend time in the office instead of
- Over-servicing of existing clients
What do I do if I am call reluctant?
Firstly, there is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed to
admit to being call reluctant. What is most important is that you
have admitted it, at least to yourself, and are now willing to
reprogram your thinking and correct wrong beliefs.
The good news is whatever triggered your call reluctance was a
learnt response and whatever you learnt you can also be unlearn.
Whilst this may in the early stages be challenging it is worth it
for your own self respect and your career in sales. Put simply it
is done by replacing call reluctant behaviours with positive goal
focused behaviours. Once the cycle has been broken and your proof
will be new business and more sales you will feel uplifted and feel
as if you have rediscovered your true self.
The proactive actions you can take are:
1. Set goals. For goals to have pulling power they need to be
realistic and stretch slightly beyond your comfort zone. Being
focussed on achieving your goals can reenergize you.
2. Get coaching. Find an experienced sales coach with whom you
can speak to candidly. They may well have been through call
reluctance themselves and can help you through it as well as teach
you great skills.
3. Catch yourself. This means if you start thinking negatively
become conscious that you are thinking this way and challenge the
thought. Ask yourself "Why am I thinking like this?" You may
discover the root cause of what started your call reluctance. "What
is the worst thing that can happen when I approach this prospect?"
For example "I'll be rejected". Accept it because you know you will
live through it. Counter to this imagine with what good could come
from the prospect call?
You may still feel uncomfortable as you challenge your thoughts
but at least your feelings of fear won't be as intense as you gain
greater control. As you catch yourself thinking self defeating
thoughts, challenge them and follow through with positive action
and you will get stronger and stronger. You may not be able to
change the situation but you always have control over how you think
3. CRM. Good customer relationship management software can help
you pin point where you could improve and if its call reluctance
that is stopping you. It can be revealing and high light where you
could improve in terms of how you manage you sales opportunities
and a confronting experience self diagnosing if its call
4. Build your armour. This is to build your resilience by
networking with other professional sales people either face to face
or via the internet where there are many good groups to choose
from; fill your mind with good material on sales and biographies on
successful people because they always had a struggle to achieve
success; participate in webinars on sales and invest in your
ongoing education on sales.
Watch out for others whose conversations are always negative.
You know the ones, the "yes but…" and will counter a pleasant
conversation with their doom and gloom. You may need to mentally
exit or if appropriate excuse yourself and leave.
To rid yourself of call reluctance be conscious of any self
defeating thoughts, challenge them and focus on following through
with positive action."
By Allison Ogden
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