Call reluctance is an emotional short circuit that diverts energy from the act of prospecting to the act of procrastinating. Instead of making calls, call reluctant salespeople are busy preparing to prepare and avoiding the phone. They allow their fears to stand in the way of their goals- and it extracts a high emotional and financial cost.I’d like to point out that Cold Call Reluctance is an internal roadblock. This is not something that exists in any place other than your mind. If I asked you to bring me a jar of “call reluctance” you would not be able to do it. So there is no “call reluctance” in the world, there are only recruiters thinking scary thoughts that make them reluctant to get on the phone.Call Reluctance can extend beyond the sales call to also avoiding in person meetings with a prospect. This is detrimental to the sales process because if the recruiter is not making calls, there will be few appointments, fewer search assignments, and ultimately lower profits for the recruiter and the company.Call reluctance researchers George Dudley and Shannon Goodson report that “as many as 80% of all salespeople who fail within their first year do so because of insufficient prospecting activity.” In the search industry we know that the vast majority of newbies who attempt our business fail within the first year and much of that failure comes from call reluctance. From a management standpoint, it is important to understand the types of call reluctance and their cures. Dudley and Goodson came up with the following list of 12 Types of Call Reluctance (excerpted from The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance):Doomsayer: Worries, will not take social risks (loses three new accounts pre month).Over-Preparer: Over-analyzes, underacts (sells at 43% of quota)Hyper-Pro: Obsessed with the image and looking good (but is rated only average in presentation skills.) Confuses packages with prospecting.Stage Fright: Fear group presentations (loses $10,800 in annual gross sales).Role Rejection: Secretly ashamed of sales careers; deflects identity (loses four accounts per month).Yielder: Fears intruding on others (impedes success of TQM programs).Socially Self-Conscious: Intimated by up-market clients (sells 33% under quota).Separationist: Won’t mix business and friends (loses three accounts per month).Emotionally Unemancipated: Won’t mix business and family (sells 15% under quota).Referral Aversion: Fears distributing existing business or client relationships (sells 19% under quota).Telephobia: Fears using the telephone for prospecting (loses $10,000 in commissions annually).Oppositional Reflex: Argues, blames, rebuffs attempts at coaching (loses nine new accounts per year.)CAUSESAlthough there are many reasons for Call Reluctance, they can be described within three major categories;
- The Fraud Factor: This has to do with a lack of belief in your ability to deliver great service. Successful selling involves two parts; the first is selling to yourself and the second is selling to your client. If you are not 100% sold on the quality of your service, you will tend to avoid selling situations.
- Repeated Failure: Another reason for Call Reluctance is the fear of repeated failure. This occurs when the Recruiter attempts to attract new clients but continually gets the door slammed in his face. Each time he hears a “no” it makes it harder and harder to pick up the phone and this can become a negative cycle.
- Fear of Rejection: Fear of rejection is a third factor that holds people back from selling with confidence. When a recruiter makes a marketing call to a prospect and goes through his sales questions, he will often meet some level of resistance on the other end of the line. If this rejection is taken personally, it can lead to call reluctance.
COSTS:The costs of call reluctance are very high for both the individual recruiter and the firm owner. High turnover is one result of call reluctance and about seventy five percent of new recruiters don’t survive their first year. Call reluctance also has a crushing effect on the spirit and causes frustration and stress. The loss of revenue also affects both the recruiter and the ownership.CURES:I have just completed a new audio program called, “How to overcome cold call reluctance” which outlines twenty ideas that will help you or your staff to get out of procrastination and into action. In my next article I will highlight some of these steps that you can implement in your office.