What is sales call reluctance? There are numerous definitions that industry experts have devised. Some describe it as a fear of rejection; others describe it in terms of a fear of failure. In their landmark book, The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, George Dudley and Shannon Goodson describe sales call reluctance as "an emotional short circuit in an otherwise motivated and goal-oriented person."
To really have true sales call reluctance, you must have clarity in your goals and objectives. In short, you have to know why you are making the calls you are making beyond the need to meet this month's quota. For most of us, when we have clarity in the why, the how becomes easy.
My father, as a dentist, only worked Monday through Thursday. He was always around on Fridays when I came home from school. The biggest benefit to this was in the summer when we left Portland every Thursday afternoon to spend three days at a second home on a lake that was a quarter of a mile from the Oregon Coast. Some of my fondest memories as a child and youth were swimming, sailing, water skiing, walking the beach, and playing at our family lake house.
My father's why was born out of his love for my mother. The reason for his financial success was the challenge of Multiple Sclerosis that they faced together. My mother was diagnosed with MS when I was three years old. By the time I was in the second grade, she never took another step. The last years of her life were spent without the use of her arms, legs, hands, or feet. My father's big why for wealth was to provide her with the most extraordinary life possible during each stage of her disease; to be able to travel with three sons and a wheelchair bound wife to Mexico, Asia, Hawaii (annually), and many other locations. But mostly, he wanted to be able to care for her in her aged years in their home with the use of full-time care givers, so she could live in the home she raised her children in; to have the best quality of life imaginable for someone in her condition. That was his why. What's yours?
You also must have motivation to achieve in order to experience call reluctance. If you don't have motivation or desire, it's not a case of call reluctance. Motivation and goals are often connected in people. It's easier to have motivation to achieve if you know what you want to achieve. The goals stoke the fire of motivation and desire.
In Dudley and Goodson's studies, they determined that sales call reluctance can be traced to four core sources
We can acquire sales call reluctance from our parents and the environment that we grew up in. Maybe our parents were technically inclined and technically educated like engineers, scientists, or accountants. Their view of salespeople was not particularly high. They often referred to someone in sales with phrases like, "He's 'only' a salesperson." Sales was not a highly regarded profession in my household. It has raised its status as a viable career only because of my overwhelming success at it.
We can be exposed to sales call reluctance by other salespeople and even our sales manager. It's like the flu. We all catch it at one time or another. If an outbreak happens in a sales department, it can be disastrous. The sales for the whole company can be affected due to some salespeople being infected.
Our personality or behavioral style can increase our ease of catching it causing sales droughts to take place. Through our extensive work in the last ten years, we have been able to connect a pattern between some behavioral styles and a high likelihood of sales call reluctance and even certain types of sales call reluctance. For example, we have discovered that high steady behavioral style salespeople have a higher probability of contracting the yielder type of sales call reluctance.
Sales Call Reluctance can be identified when the act of prospecting and lead follow-up, in terms of numbers of contacts, is too low. We know it's too low when it doesn't support the goals of the salesperson. If you know your sales ratios of contacts to leads, leads to appointments, and appointments to sales, and you don't make the number of contacts daily, and you have clear goals, you probably have at least a temporary case of some version of sales call reluctance.
If you can see marketing opportunities for what you are selling - whether you are selling a product or service - and don't seize the opportunities, it is probable that sales call reluctance is inflaming your decision to not act. Why won't you take advantage of what might be the "perfect storm" to create sales? Logically, most people with sales call reluctance will agree that they need to take action. The problem is if they are experiencing sales call reluctance, few of them do take action.