Sales call reluctance is responsible for why 80% of salespeople fail in their first year; it accounts for 50% of failures in the sales profession and 40% of people who have been in sales for most of their careers think about leaving because they feel call reluctance. These figures are of great concern. One can only imaging the financial and emotional costs of each individual.

At some point in time the seed of sales call reluctance was planted because of a false perception of a sales situation. It can also be transferred by a manager, sales trainer or another salesperson.

What is it like to feel sales call reluctant?

The person feels fear and experiences all the side effects of fear. Depending on the individual this can be sweaty palms, quivering vocal tone or in an extreme case immobilized to such an extent they are unable to speak. So how do they cope? They redirect the mental and emotional energy that is normally required to perform sales tasks to other ‘safe’ and comfortable activities such as being ‘tied up’ in the office, extended coffee breaks or long internal meetings.

Sales call reluctance is often linked to business development but in reality this isn’t always the case. It can occur during other sales activities such as addressing a group of senior executives or closing the sale in an assumptive manner.

What are the early tell-tale behaviors?

• A vast increase in activity but no link to an increase in sales

• Seek like-minded people to get support

• Use excuses as to why they need to spend more time in the office, particularly when compared to others

• Over-service existing clients so they appear to be busy doing the right thing.

How to do to get back on track?

If you are sales call reluctant there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. It’s not your fault. Thoughts and behaviours that resulted in your being call reluctant need to be replaced with positive affirmative thoughts and actions. This will create a circuit breaker effect and begin to uplift how you feel and rediscover your true self.

1. Find a coach

Preferably an experienced sales coach with whom you feel comfortable and who has personally experienced call reluctance.

2. Associate with the right people

These are people who will have a positive impact on you. Attend networking functions and find people from different industries, participate in self-development seminars, join groups on LinkedIn and share information. Above all avoid negative people.

3. Listen

Become conscious of any self-defeating thoughts. When you do don’t be critical of yourself. Be thankful that you have caught yourself out and then challenge the thought. For example “They will only say no” to “Why am I thinking this way?” “I am expecting to succeed because I now understand their real problem and how to fix it.”

Overcoming sales call reluctance isn’t easy but you can do it with determination, patience and support. There would be very few successful salespeople who haven’t at one time in their sales career experienced this debilitating behavior… this includes the author of this article.