Tag Archive for 'call reluctance'

Four things salespeople can learn from Sir Laurence Olivier

The great English actor, Sir Laurence Olivier, once admitted after a lifetime on stage and screen that he had always suffered from stage fright.

Think about that. One of the 20th century’s most revered actors, who appeared in over 120 stage roles, 60 movies, more than 15 television productions and countless performances, actually battled the fear of rejection and failure. But when you look at his numbers, it’s obvious that Sir Laurence’s “condition” didn’t cost him success.

So, what about you? What do your “numbers” look like? Your sales numbers, I mean.

Sadly, too often, well-trained and motivated people allow something to prevent them from achieving their numbers. That “something” is to the marketplace what stage fright is to acting: call reluctance, brought on by the fear of rejection and fear of failure.

The good news about call reluctance is that you can overcome it the way Sir Laurence overcame stage fright. Indeed, his success, and the fact that he was willing to talk about his condition, provides us with at least four clues about his professional courage and spirit.

1. He recognized a personal performance challenge.
2. He accepted it as something that must be dealt with.
3. He took steps to minimize negative effects.
4. He refused to let it get in the way of his goals and success.

How can you tell if you or someone in your organization has debilitating call reluctance? You’ll find it in the numbers: insufficient call reports; a missed selling step such as proposal delivery; a poor close ratio; and of course, failure to meet sales budgets.

Those afflicted with call reluctance will often:

  • Call on customers they like instead of new prospects.
  • Spend time on safe activities, like paperwork, instead of face-to-face prospecting.
  • Make excuses when asked about why they aren’t getting in front of customers.
  • If you aren’t making your sales numbers, the problem might be call reluctance. See if you recognize any of the behavior in the list above. If so, consider Sir Laurence’s list again. There’s a good chance that you’ll need help with the first point, recognition, because most of us aren’t good at seeing our own shortcomings. And the third one, taking steps to minimize the challenge, will likely require help from a professional trainer.

    But dealing with two and four, acceptance and refusing to give in, will require calling on inner strengths. You’ll have to ask yourself if you’re allowing fear to control and direct your life. Or are you more like Sir Laurence Olivier – prepared to recognize, deal with and minimize the effects of your challenges? And in the face of these challenges, can you draw on your spirit to accomplish your goals.

    Write this on a rock … Don’t let call reluctance prevent you from having the maximum opportunity to be successful.

    Don’t give in to call reluctance

    So, you’re sitting outside of a prospect’s office in your car (or staring at the phone number), knowing you need to make a sale. What’s holding you back?

    Well, there are lots of excuses – here are four likely ones:

    1. “The economy is bad - everybody knows that.”
    2. “Everyone’s holding on to their cash; they’re not going to buy anything from me.”
    3. “I heard they just laid off some people. They’re probably just holding on.”
    4. “The last prospect didn’t buy anything, why would this one be any different?”

    Actually, these aren’t excuses or reasons, they’re lies you tell yourself. Even though the information may be correct, what’s that got to do with the prospect you’re looking at through your windshield?

    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 destructive state of mind virtually every salesperson gets into from time to time. The simplest explanation for the call reluctance emotion is that you presume too much. For example:

    You presume that you will be rejected.
    Actually, the prospect might reject your offer, but not you. Since everyone knows an offer doesn’t have feelings, separate yourself from your offer, and at least go make a new friend.

    You presume that they will kick you out of the office.
    In truth, they might tell you they don’t have time to talk, so the worst that could happen is you find yourself outside of their 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?

    You presume that they don’t need what you 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 prospects to decide 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 9% unemployment. The greatest impediment to sales success is found in the wisdom of that great philosopher, Pogo the Possum, who so famously said, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

    You can prove Pogo wrong by overcoming call reluctance. Somebody is buying something you sell right now! It might as well be you.

    I’ve talked with Robert Levin, publisher and editor-in-chief of The New York Enterprise Report, about  how selling is different in the 21st century. Take a few minutes to listen to our conversations and leave your thoughts on what you’re finding in the “new normal” that is different than in the past.

    Is selling different in the 21st century?

    The 21st century sales process is different

    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.




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