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The 5 Personalities of Call Reluctance (and How to Fix Them)

Instead of making calls, are your salespeople making excuses?  It might happen to even the best members of your sales team from time to time. According to research from Dudley & Goodson, about 40-percent of all career salespeople experience episodes of call reluctance that are serious enough to threaten their careers.


But you can’t lump all the call reluctance into the same boat. Here are five of the most common personalities that fall to call reluctance, the symptoms, and the potential fix.

1. Polite Polly: Doesn’t want to intrude on others. Feels like their role is invasive in another professional’s space.

Solution: Deep coaching to show them that the product or service they’re selling is of true value to their prospects. Help them see that the salesperson’s role is to learn enough about their prospect to know how they truly can help. And helping IS polite, right?

2. Over-planning Oscar: This is the guy who does SO much meticulous research that he never finds time to make an actual phone call.

Solution: Find a system that will help Oscar plan just enough… not too little and not too much. Your sales team needs to know enough about the prospect as it relates to what you’re selling. It also helps to know their previous positions, schooling, peer organizations and current industry news. But digging too much into irrelevant issues is a waste of time, and a key excuse from sales professionals who are procrastinating.

3. Not-Good-Enough Ned: Some people are just plain intimidated by calling C-level executives.

Solution: Role play. Role Play. Role Play. Make them comfortable enough with their scripting, potential questions, and their product so that they feel more on-level with the bigwigs. If you have an office-wide problem with Neds, try hosting a seminar or lunch with executives in attendance to help show your salespeople that these are regular people who have business needs.

4.  Tongue-tied Tina: Becomes flustered and shy when talking with new people. How did this person get on your team to begin with? Believe it or not, they’re out there.

Solution: Scripting that is easy-to-follow and lots of practice. Ask them to record their own voices and become comfortable with the scripts so they sound natural, but don’t trip over their own words. Unfortunately, you might have to give them an ultimatum if their calling doesn’t improve. Not everyone can be a good sales person!

5. Blaming Bob: They make all kinds of excuses and blame everyone and everything for not making their calls. They have too much paperwork to do… the office is too loud… their call lists aren’t good… You know the stories, because you’ve heard them all before.

Solution: Set clear, attainable expectations. Then have a system in place for tracking these goals and monitoring them. For example: Require that Bob dial 10 prospects between 10:30am and 11:30am. His time before that can be qualifying leads, doing research, or visiting the water cooler for all you care. Just make sure that you are able to track his calls between those hours. Giving him a clear goal that is within reach will keep him on target. As time goes on, you can increase the expectations until he is at the level you need him to be successful. The ability to track his calling habits, and for him to see his results as well, is key to this solution.

Many people might have overlapping call reluctance problems. Some people might be just impossible to fix! But patience, training, and a decent call organization system can all give the right boosts to improve your team.

Incite: to stir up or provoke to action