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Managing for the Future - Coaching … Is It Call Reluctance?

Dave Hershman
Dec 04, 2013

Last month, we talked about the difficulties of training and coaching sales personnel in my article, “Training and Coaching Sales Personnel.” One of the difficulties is figuring out why certain team members are not producing. Have you ever wondered why some seemingly “barely competent” people make a great living in sales, while others who seem to be near genius level fall flat on their face? Often it is because they are overcome with call reluctance. Call reluctance is the road-block that keeps many from succeeding in sales. If call reluctance is hurting your employees—then it is time you do something about it. First, understand that everyone has some sort of call reluctance. We all find reasons not to make a particular call. For some, this is a momentary lapse which they overcome. For others, it is a daily battle, causing each day to pass without true productivity. Therefore, the question is not does someone have call reluctance, but is that call reluctance strong enough to keep them from performing the way you both desire? Here is the good news. Call reluctance can be overcome. For some it will take hard work. But if they are willing to put in the time and effort, they can be successful. The first step is recognizing that they have call reluctance. There is no way that they can overcome an obstacle unless both of your recognize that this obstacle exists. The key is definitely identifying the culprit and that is a coach’s job. If you are truly not sure of the answer, you must look for signs of call reluctance: ►At the end of the day, did they find that they did not get to their calls as they took care of “administrative functions,” such as organizing or answering mundane e-mails? ►Do they purchase leads or make cold calls instead of talking to previous customers or others with whom they  have close relationships? ►Are they consumed with planning, taking classes or creating an image, to the detriment of not getting through marketing objectives? ►Do they make “excuses” as to why they do not make certain calls or undertake particular marketing activities? For example, do they predispose a negative result of a call? These “clues” are sometimes easier to see from a coaching standpoint. It is always harder to see the “forest from the trees.” The salesperson is likely to have a problem seeing the forest—and it is the coach’s job to help them see  the situation from another vantage point. It is also important to understand that there are different forms of call reluctance. Some are reluctant to call those with whom they are close while others are reluctant to use the phone, but have no problem meeting people face-to-face. Obviously, nailing down their specific reluctances will make it easier to fashion a solution. The next step in the process would be to go deeper and more specific within the situation that has affected their performance. It is not enough to say, they are not comfortable calling people over the phone. Are they uncomfortable calling in all situations? Is it cold calling they are uncomfortable with or warm calling? Do they have a problem calling present customers who are “in process” to give them updates, or is it just sales situations? Are they more comfortable with e-mails because they won’t necessarily hear or see the response? Once you have nailed down the fact that your team member has call reluctance which is impeding their results, you know what specific reluctances are most profound in this situation and you have drilled down to the details of the uncomfortable feelings, now you are ready to fashion some solutions. Next month, we will continue with ideas for you to help others overcome reluctance. There are no magical solutions. Solutions will require work. However, you will find many times that the solutions are far less severe than the fears that have been holding them back from making simple calls? Dave Hershman is a top author in the mortgage industry with seven books published, including The Complete Mortgage Management Kit. Dave is also director of branch support for McLean Mortgage. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or visit
Dec 04, 2013