Call reluctance is, without a doubt, the number one killer of sales careers (and sometimes companies) in the world. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count… as a headhunter, while selling advertising, and in my current role in sales quality control (and I have to admit I’ve been there myself). I’ve seen otherwise talented salespeople let go or quit simply because they struggled to get on the phone. I’ve seen companies tank because their account executives didn’t get out in front of enough prospects.
I’ve seen the price that sales call reluctance exacts, and it’s not pretty. The good news is that I’ve also seen people overcome call reluctance time and time again (myself among them), so it’s possible to knock this wall down and move forward to the sales career you deserve.
One call at a time
Do you remember the quote “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”? Let’s paraphrase that to read “the journey to a thousand sales begins with one call”. You can handle one call, right? It’s simple matter of doing the following:
1. Pick up your phone handset (or headset).
2. Dial a prospect’s number.
3. Listen to the other end ring.
4. Say “hello” when the other party rings.
5. Have a conversation.
It doesn’t matter if you made a sale or even had a decent conversation. The point is that you did it, and that proves you can do it again.
Now that you’ve made that one call, it’s time to make (more than) a few more. Make it a game… track your efforts and try for a new personal best every day. Employ the “paperclip strategy” or something similar.
What are you afraid of?
Call reluctance often comes from a certain, specific fear. When you know your fear and really deal with it, you have a vastly better chance of overcoming it. Here are a couple of examples:
“I don’t know what to say”: This where you need to take the initiative to learn more about your company’s products and process. Study your company’s products. Research sales techniques and closes. Roleplay with your boss and fellow salespeople.
“I will get hung up on/ yelled at/ laughed at”: That’s right… you probably will. Realistically, calls like that are few and far between. Realistically, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not as if someone is going to reach through the phone and punch you in the nose.
What’s your fear? How can you best overcome it?
What is your why?
We’re all different and we all have our own motivating factors. The classic sales motivator is money, but it’s at least as important to know what you actually want that money for.
Want to provide for your family?
Get out of debt?
Go on an amazing, life-changing vacation?
Buy the home or car of your dreams?
It might not just be money, though. You may have something to prove to yourself or someone who doubted you. You might want to test yourself in the crucible of the hardcore sales world. Sometimes the chance to start over in a new career provides all the motivation you need.
One other why, one you may not have thought about: your company is depending on you. Sales is the frontline in the war of business. Salespeople bring in the revenue and new customers. Your company has chosen you to be a warrior in this fight. The future of your company and the continued employment of your colleagues might just depend on you picking up the phone.
What are you worth?
Everyone’s time has value. The good news is that you can choose how valuable your time is and treat it accordingly. Let’s say that your goal is to earn $100,000 annually. That’s a great goal, by the way.
$100,000 in annual income translates to roughly $40.00 an hour. Keep track of how you actually spend your time throughout the day. Ask yourself “is what I’m doing right now worth $40.00 to me?”
Was it worth $40.00 to spend an hour of selling time on Facebook?
Was taking a half hour making lunch plans worth the $20.00 it cost you?
Was that fifteen minute conversation about last night’s reality show scandal worth $10.00 to you?
So stop with the time wasters. Start acting like a $100,000 (or more) earner.
How can you help?
The company I work for provides digital marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the nation. Helping an up-and-coming construction company with their marketing strategy or even a new website can be extremely gratifying.
You might sell life insurance and find some satisfaction in helping families secure their financial future. Your company may market healthcare software, and each sale you make can help hundreds of people get faster and more efficient medical care.
Get confident and control your attitude
Call reluctance is often rooted in a lack of confidence. This confidence deficit is often new or merely temporary, (often caused by a lull in sales) so it’s important to attack it before it really takes root. It takes effort to get positive (and stay that way), but it’s well worth it!
· You were hired for a reason. Your company saw potential in you. It’s time to live up to that potential.
· You have had successes in the past. You did it once (probably more than once) and that’s proof that you can do it again.
Make a list of your successes and best qualities… remind yourself that you still have what it takes.
· Find some sales or motivation books that you like. There’s plenty out there: Brian Tracy, Darren Hardy, Tom Hopkins, Jeffrey Gitomer, etc., etc. You’re certain to find a book that really speaks to you, moves you, and charges you up.
· Search the internet for inspiration and sales information. This website is a great place to start!
· Just as there’s plenty of great stuff to read on the internet, there’s also a great amount of sales and motivational podcasts and audio programs to be had (again, you can find a wealth of material on this site alone).
· Everybody has a favorite song or two that really gets them going. Find that song on YouTube and give it a listen at the start of the day. You can set up a playlist of your favorites in your mp3 player, or even seek them out on Pandora or Spotify.
· Get away from the naysayers and the negative types (as far as possible, as quickly as you can). Nothing will sap your motivation faster than being hammered by negativity on a daily basis.
· Get away from the time-wasters. You may have someone in the cubicle next to you who wants to chat and goof around all day long. Don’t let them steal your time (and therefore money out of your pocket). See if you can move to another desk or office if necessary.
In the end:
Overcoming a serious bout of call reluctance will require that you access new reserves of determination, discipline, and drive… qualities that will help you in any endeavor, in any part of life. So go forth and SELL!