How Much Is Call Reluctance Costing You?

Jim Blasingame

Professional salespeople are the most important players in the marketplace. 

The justification for my position springs from a classic business maxim: Nothing happens until somebody makes a sale. 

But professional selling is as hard as it is important – especially at the B2B level. Plus, customer expectations in The Age of the Customer have increased the degree of difficulty in an unprecedented way. So, the last thing salespeople need is to be fighting their own demons – to not be able to get out of their own way.

For example, here are a few selling scenarios that, unfortunately, occur every day:

  • You’re outside of a prospect’s office, knowing the gold you seek is on the inside. And yet, you won’t open the door.
  • You have a mailing or email address to begin the introduction process by sending a relevant piece of content, like an article. But the “Enter” key just won’t go down.
  • An important contact you need to meet is in the room at a networking event, but you won’t walk over and introduce yourself.
  • The prospect already said “No” once before, and you’ve convinced yourself that means “Forever.”

What brain-damaging demons are spinning around in the head of a professional salesperson to cause such self-defeat? I’ve rounded up the usual suspects for you: 

  • “Why would they buy from me?”
  • “They’ll just put my email into the trash folder.”
  • “They already have a vendor for what I sell.”
  • “I’ll just get turned away at the reception desk.”
  • “She’ll just treat this like junk mail.”
  • “I can’t just walk up cold and start talking.”

Don’t fool yourself. These, and millions more, aren’t excuses or reasons. They’re lies you tell yourself that result in the numero uno defeater of professional salespeople: Call Reluctance. 

Call reluctance is a dysfunctional 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:

1. You presume you’ll 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 try to make a new friend.

2. You presume they’ll kick you out of the office. In truth, they might. That would put you outside of their office, exactly where you are right now, so you’ll be no worse off. Start telling yourself this truth: 

“I can’t lose.”

3. You presume they don’t need what you sell. Here’s a flash: That decision is w-a-a-a-ay above your pay-grade. Who do you think you are, answering for them? Get over yourself and allow prospects to decide for themselves. You could be right, but until the prospect tells you that, you’re just betting against yourself, which isn’t an intelligent career strategy.

The slayer of sales is not a slow economy. The killer of commissions is not budget cuts. The most potent prospecting poison is not high 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.

Write this on a rock ... Somebody is buying something you sell, from someone right now! It might as well be you.

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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