Slay the evil call-reluctance monster and make more sales

You’re sitting outside of a prospect’s office in your car. You know you should go in and try to make a sale, but something is holding you back. So why haven’t you gone in yet? Well, there are lots of reasons – here are four of the classic ones:

1. Haven’t you heard? There’s a recession going on.
2. Everyone’s tightening their belts; they’re not going to buy anything from me.
3. I heard they just laid off some people last month. They’re probably just holding on.
4. The last prospect I called on didn’t buy anything, so this one will be just like that one.

Actually, these aren’t reasons, they’re excuses. No, that’s not quite right either – they’re lies you tell yourself. Even though all of the information in these four may be technically correct, it has nothing to do with the experience you will have with the prospect you’re looking at through the windshield of your car. So why do we tell ourselves these lies and, worse, believe them enough that we fail to make the call? The answer is call-reluctance.

Call-reluctance is a negative and destructive state-of-mind virtually every salesperson gets into either from time-to-time or constantly. In more than 40 years of selling, the simplest explanation for the call-reluctance emotion I have found is that you presume too much. For example:

1. You presume that if you go in, they will reject you. Actually, they might reject your offer, but not you. Everyone knows an offer doesn’t have any feelings, so separate yourself from your offer, and at least go make a new friend.

2. You presume that they will kick you out of the office. In truth, they might tell you they don’t have time to talk right now, but in that event, the worst that could happen would be that you find yourself outside of the prospect’s office. Since that’s exactly where you are right now, you will be no worse off. What part of “I can’t lose” is difficult for you?

3. You presume that they don’t need what you have to sell. Here’s a flash: That decision is above your pay-grade. Who do you think you are, answering for them? Get over yourself, and allow the prospect to speak for themselves. You might be right, but until you know for sure, you’re just betting against yourself, which doesn’t sound like a very intelligent career strategy, does it?

The slayer of sales is not a recession. The killer of commissions is not budget cuts. The most potent prospecting poison is not 10% unemployment. The greatest impediment to the success of most salespeople can be found in the wisdom of that great philosopher, Pogo the Possum, who so famously said, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

Can you overcome your call reluctance and prove Pogo wrong? Remember, somebody is buying something from someone somewhere - right now! It might as well be you.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with sales expert and Brain Trust member, Mike Stewart. Mike is one of the world’s gurus on eliminating call-reluctance and even offers a free assessment on his website that helps you identify how you stack up against the 12 kinds of call-reluctance. Check it out at this link. And take a few minutes to listen to what Mike and I had to say about call reluctance. And, as always, be sure to leave your thoughts.

2 Responses to “Slay the evil call-reluctance monster and make more sales”

  1. 2
    Mike Stewart Says:

    Here is the link for the FREE Call Reluctance(R) Trouble Shooter Guide to see how your sales people stack up against the 12 forms of Call Reluctance. Copy and Paste to your browser:

    Be encouraged, always,


  2. 1
    Mike Stewart Says:

    Call Reluctance(R) is the fear of initiating contact with prospective buyers on a consistent basis in sufficient numbers to be successful. It is not one thing. It takes 12 forms:
    - Doomsayer: Worrying about low probability disasters
    - Overpreparer: Fear of being asked questions you can’t answer
    - HyperPro: Obsessed with image and credibility
    - Stage Fright: Fear of making group presentations
    - Role Rejection: Ashamed of being in sales
    - Yielder: Fear of intruding on others
    - Social Self Consciousness: Fear of higher socio-economic people
    - Separationist: Fear of taking advantage of friends
    - Emotionally Unemancipated: Fear of taking advantage of family members
    - Referral Aversion: Fear of messing up existing relationships
    - Telephobia: Fear of using telephone to promote self
    - Oppositional Reflex: Already knows everything; only likes own ideas

    The good news is that Call Reluctance can be cured in highly motivated, clearly goal directed people. Chek the links Jim has provided above.

    Good Luck and Good Selling!


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