Master Sales Call Reluctance to Become the Hero in Your Own Story

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle

Mar 03

The Main Character in a Novel Is Much like a Salesperson
Because I decided to take a break from the genres I normally read to relax, I finally recognized the parallel between the protagonists in my novels and making sales calls.

The Protagonist’s Internal Conflict Makes the Story Interesting
In every genre I read, the main people in the stories must be likeable enough that the reader will care about them. At the same time, they must have some flaws that make them human. Ideally, these weak character traits will help set up the tension for the conflict that they must overcome. Especially among Dorothy’s favorite authors but also in many of my preferred sci-fi/fantasy novels, the conflict takes place within the protagonist’s mind and emotions. In other words, the central character must overcome some fear or other weakness to win the prize, which can be anything from a kingdom to a battle to a relationship, such as a happy marriage.

All Salespeople Must Confront Call Reluctance

This is the very thing that I found when I started out in sales. Sales managers call it “call reluctance.” It’s a fear of cold calling and prospecting. Most people I know want to be liked. Some want it so badly they reject others before the others can reject them. So when we have to make cold calls, our mind starts to present a myriad of reasons not to make the effort: “I’ll look stupid”; “They’ll throw me out”; “What if they say no?” If you’re in sales, you probably have your own favorite lines your mind uses to undermine your prospecting. Part of it too is a fear of the unknown and worry about being unable to handle it.

Ten Ways to Get Control of the Fear of Prospecting
Over the years, I’ve found the following ten actions you can do to overcome your fears to become happy and successful as a salesperson:
• Acknowledge that call reluctance affects all sales people until they do it enough that the fear becomes manageable.
• Make sure your motivation is strong enough to keep you going during the tough times of your learning curve – great salemanship takes effort, discipline and practice.
• Know your products well enough you can answer most questions about them.
• Focus on people or businesses fitting your ideal customer profile because more of them will want and feel they need your solution than anyone else you can call on.
• Develop questions to open the discussion, questions to uncover whether or not your suspect has a need for the solution you can deliver.
• Memorize a couple opening lines to get the flow going.
• Look upon the sales call as an opportunity to potentially meet a new friend – and at a minimum, to learn something new.
• Make a game of prospecting.
o I used to keep a sheet of paper with tick marks for every dial, every person I spoke to, every contact with someone I wanted to reach or who moved me forward, and every appointment. I wanted to see what the average number of dials was to appointments.
• Recognize that when someone says no, it’s not a personal rejection.
o At that moment, they feel they have no need for your products or services or they have a far more pressing need that outweighs what you can provide.
o For instance, I don’t care how good the salesperson is or how wonderful the sale, I don’t need new tires when I have only 20,000 miles and great tread remaining on my leased car that I’ll be returning this summer.
• Practice, practice, practice
o You can get a tremendous amount of value out of visualizing your cold calls. The subconscious doesn’t discriminate between role playing visualized with feeling and physically making the sales call.
o You will reach a point where you have done so many sales calls that you will feel comfortable because you know that you can handle whatever someone throws at you. After all, you’ve already experienced it before.
• Focus on being of service.
o Don’t worry about winning the sales contest, unless that motivates you to get out there to see people or to pick up the phone.
o Concentrate instead on the other person. Is there some way you can help him out? Everybody needs help with some problem. You just need to discover if his needs are ones you can help with.

Serving Others through Sales Makes for a Fun and Mutually Rewarding Career
Prospecting or making sales calls is an inner game. Just like the protagonist in your favorite novel, you have fears and weaknesses to overcome in order to attain the success, joy, and lifestyle you desire. Above I’ve listed ten things you can do to master call reluctance thereby becoming a master of your fate. It takes effort, discipline, and practice to become great at anything. If you desire the life that sales can provide enough, you’ll find the drive to face your fears. Take it one step at a time. When your mind starts to throw up scenarios to paralyze you, use your imagination instead to see yourself handling the prospecting calls. Most of all, take your attention off yourself. Concentrate on “How can I be of service?” If you do that, you will find that selling is fun and mutually rewarding when you help customers buy.


About the Author

My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.