Call Reluctance – what is it?




Real or Imaginary?



It can only be fear of failure or fear of success? Which one is harder to live with?  It’s a lot like the definition of (1) minute … it depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on~!


We can find many definitions of fear as it pertains to call reluctance (success or failure) and they are interesting reading but in a practical sense one should focus on the outcomes.  Too many approaches want to diminish the underlying reasons and simply remind everyone that the process is summed up in the phrase, “it’s a numbers game.”  Stripped of everything else it is a numbers game, but from my experience there are other culprits.

All the “sales processes” I’ve been exposed to over the years follow this approach (or something close to it) – introduction (establish some rapport, connection, etc) probe (find the pain) presentation (list benefits, uses, uniqueness) objections (repeat what you’ve just heard, present a restated version of the presentation, trial close, etc) close (secure agreement, restate benefits, discuss delivery, etc) assurance (discuss how others have found the product/service useful, testimonials, etc).  Well trained salespeople have been repeatedly exposed to the benefits, comparisons, utility, cost savings, time savings, etc of their product or service, that have memorized rebuttals for expected objections, they drill on the process until it becomes second nature … and yet they still run face to face into Call Reluctance!

What happens?  Perhaps it like an intern MBA I had a few years back- Kurt R. – he was full of enthusiasm, knowledge, theory but short on real life’s experiences, he was attempting to sell insurance products.  Being young and in his 20’s he told me he was “afraid to call” on our leads who were typically 2x’s his age or more.  After several hours on my couch (I’m NOT a psychologist) and we felt we’d figured it out …he did not have a personal testimony of the practical utility of life insurance, in fact he did not own any life insurance (not even that which was offered in his benefits package) – he could not envision the need for it at his age and in his mind he didn’t believe the leads he was working with needed it either.  His fear was that during the presentation the lead would ask him, “Do you own any of this yourself?”  Being an honest young man he knew he could not tell them ,”no I don’t but …” and try to offer an excuse due to his age, or relatively modest financial means, etc – so instead he quit calling!

The amateur psychologist in me “screams” the reality of this situation … I told Kurt, “you need not fear that question because these leads KNOW IT … they know you do not own life insurance, that you don’t believe in its applicability … they know it without you opening your mouth … in fact, the reality of this precedes you into the meeting … they simply “sense it.”

Another client of mine, Jim O. was plagued with the same issue – call reluctance.  In his case he had been told by “significant others” that he just was not up to the task, they didn’t believe he would make it, but still gave him leads to call on and in his case, really pressured him for results and placed him on a very short leash time wise to achieve quota.  This time the couch session revealed that in fact he did own the product, he did have a testimony of it, believed in it and “to spite” the management and in essence “to get even with them” didn’t make the calls – he punished them!  Wow, what a price to pay to make a point!  Jim quit, moved on, treated himself better, built up his self confidence and now is in the top 10% of his current sales team.

My last example, Bob K. who scored very high in empathy in our assessment tool, was the owner of his company (an entrepreneur) who scored low in sales aptitude.  He was finding anything and everything to avoid “calling” on his prospects.  On my couch Bob realized that he felt it was below his stature to “make sales calls” … after all, he was the Owner! (Too good to be in that position)  He also said, “I’m not good at selling.”  He was absolutely correct; he wasn’t “wired” like professional sales people, that said, he didn’t have the budget, time or temperament to bring in a salesperson even part time on commission only.  Using his natural authentic talent of empathy, using his above average knowledge of the service and the unique product he marketed we created an approach that I call – Education Based Marketing (EBM) to proceed with.

It’s not just a numbers game.  People have real underlying reasons (real or imaginary) for not making those calls.  It takes an open mind, some experience, a great assessment tool, a comfortable couch and more times than not the outcome is positive for all the stake holders.

If you’d like to share your reasons for call reluctance with me, my couch is available to you.  It’s what I do, it’s what I love and you can do it in the security of your own office – I’ll come to you in person if you’re in the Wasatch Front of Utah or I’ll come via a phone or video conference wherever you are in the World.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a productive day.


Post to Twitter

About Willard Kille
My greatest talent is for understanding people and appreciating their needs, fears and desires. I actively seek out others, am quick to establish rapport, good at building interaction and enhancing communication between others. I like to help others in my unique way and believe when I give to others I am benefited. I am driven to achieve balance and harmony in a unique way, preferring to do things that bring beauty and balance into my life.

Speak Your Mind