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Feb 06, 2007

The many faces of call reluctanceKeith Orahoodcall reluctance, George W. Dudley, Shannon L. Goodson, The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You’re Worth in Sales The old adage that there is enough business to go around just doesnt cut it anymore. Rates are up from a 40-year low, sales activity is down and refinances are slow. Competition is very stiff. As an owner, manager or salesperson, the last thing you need is to be, manage or employ a salesperson who is afraid to make calls. Emotionally, with most people, there is a constant war or struggle between the desire to make their competence known and the reluctance to appear too aggressive. For a majority, it is an unpleasant feeling to go out and toot ones horn; for others, it is just unbearable. This fear, as manifested in salespeople, is referred to as call reluctance by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson, co-authors of the book The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What Youre Worth in Sales. In practice, it causes a very low number of initial contacts and can spiral downward from there. Not only is this fear career-ending for many, it is also very costly for companies who ignore it. Your company may be hiring, training and, even worse, promoting call-reluctant individuals. After years of study and research, Dudley and Goodson found, identified and even trademarked 12 separate forms of call reluctance. As you read through these, see if you can recognize any of the following call-reluctant types that might be holding down your sales efforts, production and profits. Doomsayers (waste energy worrying about prospecting) They are preoccupied with worst-case scenarios, will not take social risks and measure success by the absence of failure. Prospecting is dangerous to them, so they will not initiate making calls. Presentation styles are scripted with canned rebuttals, and they freak out when a curve ball or objection is thrown at them. Doomsayers will become visibly distressed upon the suggestion of making cold calls. Over-preparers (confuse knowing with doing) They overanalyze and under-act, have encyclopedic knowledge and no one to share it with, and are more comfortable with data than people. Their presentation styles stress features, facts and product knowledge. Over-preparers can be identified as those who censure their own emotions. Hyper pros (spend too much time getting ready) They are overly concerned with image and credibility, invest heavily in status and declarative clothing and spend as much time preening as prospecting. There is a huge need to be seen as more than average. Their selling styles stress self-importance and knowledge. Hyper pros can be recognized as those who overstate, name drop or shop to feel good. Stage frightened (fear seminar selling) They will not schedule presentations, dread ice-breaking activities and hate role-playing activities. Their selling styles revert to customer activities. If and when they do get in front of a group, they will read to the audience verbatim from notes. Role rejecters (conflicted about being in sales) They are secretly ashamed of having sales careers, fear approval loss from significant others and may even rely on deflecting identities. Although they have no specific selling styles, you might recognize this type as self-deprecating and not naturally positivethose who exaggerate from time to time. Yielders (wait for just the right time) They fear being pushy or intrusive and hesitate to express their own interests and needs, build rapport or be assertive when necessary. Their selling styles are very customer service and benefit oriented, but they possess very weak closing skills. If you have someone on your team who feels taken advantage of, cant speak when angry or would need hospitalization if called pushy or rude, he is a yielder. Socially self-conscious (afraid of powerful decision makers) They are intimidated by up-market clientele, aim for the wrong targets in prospecting situations and revert to ingratiating, childlike behaviors in the presence of wealthy or powerful individuals. Their selling styles are competition-oriented or customer service-based. You might misdiagnose this type as having low motivation or poor direction or being unwilling to set goals, when they are really just intimidated by powerful people. If one of your sales team is ingratiating to superiors, yet abusive and tyrannical toward those they perceive to be of lower status, you have a socially self-conscious employee. Separationists (wont prospect or network friends or ask for referrals) They fear loss of approval from friends and consider doing business with them as off limits. They have no set selling styles. You will recognize separationists by their defensive nature toward friends should managers or co-workers suggest listing them as prospects. Oddly enough, they generally have no problem buying goods or services from those same friends. Emotionally un-emancipated (wont prospect or network with relatives) Similar to separationists, they want to keep business totally separate from relatives. Relying on family members for business or referrals is off limits. If you operate a business-to-consumer sales platform and have a salesperson who refuses to prospect family members, he is emotionally un-emancipated. Referral averse (uncomfortable asking for referrals) These people resist asking current clients for referrals, for fear of jeopardizing those relationships. They assume clients are offended by such requests. Their selling styles are heavily product oriented, with decent customer service, but shallow relationships. Presentations are canned, with mechanical scripts. If you have a salesperson who knowingly passes by opportunities to ask for referrals and constantly uses time and circumstances as excuses, he is referral averse. Telephonophobics (cringe at the mention of telephone sales) They fear using the phone for prospecting or self-promotion and will always go out of their way to schedule face-to-face meetings when possible. When forced to use the phone, they need to get psych themselves up beforehand. If someone in your group is slow to get started and takes a lot of unscheduled breaks for coffee, water or smokes, you are probably looking at a telephonophobic. Oppositional reflexives (unable to accept advice, coaching or constructive criticism) They are distracted by emotions, fear loss of control and cannot admit to mistakes. They usually sell against their competition and have no problems closing. The salesperson who criticizes, blames, argues and is constantly finding fault with co-workers is an oppositional reflexive and a detriment to your team. Like most people, one would think that speaking in public, making cold calls or calling people on the phone would run the gamut of call-reluctant behaviors. Yet there are 12 identified here. The good news is that these behavior patterns can be tested for, screened against and modified with countermeasures. While some are rooted in learned behavior, others are hereditary or a combination of both. When triggered, they are not preventable. However, you can prevent them by not hiring candidates with a high prospecting brake. The prospecting brake is a component of the statistical analysis from the SPQ* Gold evaluation, designed by Dudley and Goodson. There are several national and well known mortgage firms that do not hire without using this tool. If the brake is high, dont hire. Keith Orahood is the eastern regional sales manager for Irvine, Calif.-based GFS Wholesale. He may be reached at (866) 557-6020, ext. 4704 or e-mail [email protected].
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Feb 06, 2007
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