We all know what call reluctance is, right? It’s the inability to pick up the phone and make a phone call or just simply start working. Maybe this sounds familiar. You get into work at 8:00am and start dragging your feet. You know you should get on the phones and start making calls, but you start doing everything else to “prepare”, “settle in”, or “get comfortable”.
So you make a cup of coffee, check voice mails, email, snail mails, look at the news, review your pipeline, do some research, organize your desk, and catch up with your fellow coworkers on the weekend. The next thing you know it’s been two hours and you still haven’t made your first call. Sounds familiar huh?
For many sellers, this is a major factor that holds them back from performing at their peak level. I’ve been there before and I know how frustrating it can feel; but there is a way out. I had to look at what the reasons that held me back in order to tackle them. You may have more reason than this, but from the list I initially made, I felt for the most part all the reasons came down to these four.
1. Pure Laziness
This one is obvious. Maybe it was just the long weekend or the fact that I was just tired and didn’t want to get started on the phone. In my mind I created it as this grandiose task and made excuses as to why I could not do it. That I needed to prepare more by doing research or planning. The fact of the matter is, the best way to overcome this one is to just do it. Just pick up the phone and call. It’s also important to develop a “purpose” or a “why”. Something that will keep you moving even when you are tired. Maybe it’s to earn more money to take a trip, save for your children’s college, pay off student loan debt, help your mom purchase a home, or to become the best seller in your industry. Whatever it is, find it and just get to work.
2. Fear of Rejection
This is a tough one for many of us. It makes you vulnerable to put yourself out there to get rejected by perfect strangers. People you don’t know may yell at you, think you’re a sleazy sales person or nuisance for bothering them. Maybe they will hang up on me or yell at me. I’m sure no one wants to feel like this, right? The irony is that 9 times out of 10, my prospects never felt like this nor did they hang up on me. Again, it was all in my head. These were my limiting beliefs that held me back from performing well.
The way I overcame them were to literally write them all out on individual strips of paper and throw them in the trash. Physically throwing them away made it feel like I was getting rid of them for good. The most revolutionary thing that helped the most was when I learned the “Identity and Role” (I and R) principle. You can learn more about it here. But the idea is that we need to understand that as sellers, when someone says, “no,” they are not saying no to us.
Many times they are a perfect stranger and don’t even know us. They may be saying no to our company, product or service. No, because it’s not the right time. But not because they don’t like you or hate you. They don’t even know you. I personally think you don’t need to take it personal because you just need to move on to the next one. As I started applying these concepts in my selling, the fear of rejection dissipated and I was able to perform a lot better in my role.
3. Lack of Confidence in the Product or Company
Another factor that was a big stumbling block for me, when it came to call reluctance, was the lack of confidence in the product I was selling or the company I was working for. The number one reason sales professionals leave companies is because of management. Not because of more commission elsewhere or new cooler products. It’s management!
Without confidence in your company or your product, why would you want to eagerly get up everyday and go sell it? I don’t want to do that, not care to do that. I would feel that I’m deceiving myself and my clients. This has been the reason for me to leave certain organizations and it’s a factor that causes many sellers to drag their feet when needing to prospect call. If you don’t believe in the product or the company (management), you will have a tough time trying to persuade others to make a purchase.
So how do you overcome it? Well this is what I did. I either left the company if I didn’t agree with them or the product to find something else I believed in. If the company was good and the product had value, I would investigate that value so that I could gain my own conviction of it. I would meet with clients who use the product or use the product for myself to get a better understanding of the value in order to articulate it.
4. Did Not Know What to Do
Not knowing what to do definitely was another sure factor for my reluctance. What do I say when I call? How should I leave the voice mail? What questions should I ask? What product should I talk to them about for their problem? What is my value proposition? Not knowing what to do could be problematic. But just like everything else in life, there is a sure way to get around this.
To help me overcome this challenge, I started learning from those who were more experienced. I read books, listened to podcasts, took training courses, etc. If my company did not have a step-by-step sales process, I would make sure to first understand what the customer was looking for/needed and started trying different things to figure out a process. As I went forth with trial and error, I began to learn what to do and what not to do. The next thing I knew, my confidence increased and I started selling. Now that I knew what to do, I had a desire to get on the phones and help others.
As salespeople, we may all face call reluctance at some point in our career. The key is to understand why you are having them and discover ways to overcome them. The faster you can do this, the more successful you will be in the end; I promise. If you want to take in this content through another medium, listen to our podcast here. If you have other factors holding you back from prospecting and making calls, let me know. I want learn what others are up against. Send me an email at Donald@thesalesevangelsit.com. As always, I want you to see a difference and find success. I want you to go out and do BIG THINGS!