ceo magazine, sales

Recently a seasoned salesperson admitted that he is experiencing Sales Call Reluctance. He shared that he has been wildly successful and unstoppable until recently. A shift in his industry has thrown him for a loop. He’s developed a viable plan for a new market, but he is frankly “afraid to pick up the phone.”

Let’s admit it – markets are changing rapidly.  A merger/acquisition changes the landscape for many vendors. Prospecting has changed. It used to be that salespeople could call a prospect, ask for an appointment, and set a date. Now, the sales person needs to provide value in order to engage the prospect in a conversation.

Below are the seven steps recommended to salespeople who are experiencing Sales Call Reluctance in their organization:

  1. Realize that your business is not going to change until you change the way you value yourself. You can spend thousands of dollars on webinars, training programs, books, etc. that may help you to a small degree. The bottom line, however, is that if you do not emotionally connect to your value and sense of worth, you will find yourself grasping for the next great marketing idea rather than picking up the phone. Your struggle with prospecting is, at its core, a value problem.
  2. “Okay,” you say. “I have a value problem.  So what should I do about it?” You start by knowing that you already possess skills and qualities that simply need to be recognized, acknowledged, and nurtured. Begin with this exercise: “When I am at my best, I exhibit the following traits...”
  3. Understand that it is not prospecting that causes your anxiety:  It is your thought about prospecting. In reality, it is simply a shift in perspective that is required. For 60 seconds a day, close your eyes and ask yourself, “What would it be like to be at ease with prospecting?” When you ask yourself “what would it be like questions,” you are taking your brain into entirely new territory, and answering these queries is profoundly effective at rewiring your brain. Many of my clients are reporting amazing results from this exercise alone.
  4. Do your homework regarding your target market. What do they really want? How will they benefit from your services financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually? Yes, spiritually – not religiously. For example, they may experience more optimism about their future. When you do this, you will be so convinced of your value that you will take on a new sense of responsibility and your confidence will soar!
  5. Take note of these numbers: 27 percent and 73 percent. When you are prospecting via the telephone, 27 percent of your communication is the words you speak. The other 73 percent comes through in your tone: the pitch, volume, inflection, and pace of your voice. It is very difficult to hide anxiety, even on the telephone. That is why doing your homework will serve you well. Are your words, and your tone congruent and working to create trust with your prospect, or are they disconnected and leaving your prospect confused?
  6. If other salespeople are succeeding in your market and you are struggling, realize that your business problem may be masking a personal problem. Ugh... but yes, it could be true. If you’ve had some type of professional or personal crisis that you are holding on to (e.g., lawsuit, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.) choose to forgive yourself, forgive your former spouse, the regulatory commission, and/or the lawyers, stop playing the victim role, and take responsibility for your career.
  7. Get an accountability partner. Did you know that if a person sets a goal and writes it down, the chances of them achieving their goal are only 37 percent? That is not very exciting, is it? However, if a person sets a goal, writes it down, and also commits to their daily activities, shares their goal with someone like a coach, friend, or a manager, and reports on their progress at the end of  every day, the chances of them achieving their goal goes up to 76 percent.

Which one of the seven items are you willing to commit to work on in order to build a solid foundation so that when you prospect, your confidence breeds confidence in your prospects?

About the Author

Connie Kadansky is a coach, speaker, and trainer who specializes in helping advisors get their “ask” in gear and Overcome Sales Call Reluctance. She facilitates the Fear-Free Prospecting and Self-Promotion Workshop. Please visit her website at

*Matthews, G. (2007); “Study Backs up Strategies for Achieving Goals.” Retrieved February 24, 2011.


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