Call Reluctance is a career-threatening condition which limits what salespeople achieve by emotionally restricting the number of sales calls they make. Studies show that as many as 80% of all salespeople who fail within their first year do so because of insufficient prospecting activity. Even in the veteran sales group, research shows that during their careers, approximately 40% will experience one or more crippling episodes of call reluctance serious enough to threaten their continuation in sales – despite their years of experience, product knowledge or current income level.
Contrary to popular opinion, call reluctance is not just one “thing”. It is made up of 16 different behavioral patterns with “Yielder” as the most frequently observed type. Salespeople with Yielder tendencies have difficulty asserting themselves particularly when it comes to prospecting. Yielder tendencies may predispose salespeople to be tentative, indecisive, and possibly easy to persuade. As noted in The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, written by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson, pioneers in the field of predicting, diagnosing and correcting sales call reluctance, “Prospecting is contact initiation, it IS an assertive act. It follows then that prospecting is troublesome for those with Yielder tendencies. Unwilling to appear pushy or to seem intrusive, they sacrifice their career interests to the interest of others. Afraid to bother the busy, disturb the indisposed or interrupt the otherwise engaged, they become obstinately inactive, waiting for the “right” time, the “right” circumstances…”
Dudley and Goodson offer a “Self-Assessment” to gauge personal Yielder tendencies. Be as honest as you can allow yourself to be and see if Yielder Call Reluctance might be affecting your career.
- Do you often feel people take advantage of you? People grappling with Yielder tendencies persuade themselves that they have been signaled out for abuse.
- When you realize people are taking advantage of you, do you still find it difficult to do anything about it? Do you assertively address the issue with them? Salespeople struggling with the propensity for Yielder Call Reluctance complain loudly and often to anyone and everyone EXCEPT the person who can actually do something to resolve the issue.
- Do you have trouble speaking when you are angry? Individuals wrestling with Yielder proclivities are so concerned about managing their anger, which can often border on rage, and keeping it locked away inside, that they can hardly speak to the people who distressed them.
- Do you consider yourself a gentle person? People in sales who are dealing with Yielder Call Reluctance tend to be gentle, yet sometimes extremely frustrated.
- How difficult would it be for you to handle a prospective client who called you “pushy and rude”? Those wrangling with Yielder tendencies might require two weeks of hospitalization!
- Is using the telephone to prospect more difficult than face-to-face prospecting? People experiencing Yielder Call Reluctance prefer rigorous visual and verbal assurance that they are not coming on too strong or doing anything wrong, which often is not obtained using the telephone.
- When you talk to people you are comfortable with do you tend to exaggerate how you handle conflict, stand up for yourself, and issue ultimatums? Folks battling with Yielder tendencies may tell tall tales of assertive victories which never happened.
Yielder Call Reluctance results from a combination of hereditary influences and past experiences. If the call reluctance is properly assessed and appropriate training procedures are applied, the outlook is optimistic. The fact that sales people with yielder tendencies are usually cooperative, willing to follow instructions and easy to work with increases the odds for coaching and/or training to improve prospecting.
If you think you or your sales team might be struggling with call reluctance, let us help you! We are a business service provider primarily focused on helping companies improve their sales productivity. Check out www.confidentapproach.com.