Every salesperson needs to convert leads into closed deals. Making sales calls to a prospect list is the only way to keep your sales pipeline full. If it runs dry, so will your revenue.
We all know this, but sooner or later, most sales professionals face a huge obstacle clogging their pipeline: themselves. When it’s time to make calls, we hesitate, procrastinate, and get nervous or fearful. Call reluctance stops us cold!
The best way to get past call reluctance is to understand why it’s happening and how it affects your business. Every salesperson should:
- Understand what call reluctance is.
- Avoid the call reluctance trap.
- Remember why you’re closing business now.
- Get past the fear!
- Try a new strategy to stay motivated.
These tips will help you get back on track and keep your sales pipeline healthy. Let’s dive in!
What Is Call Reluctance?
Call reluctance is a negative emotion that is preventing you from wanting to prospect.
Most commonly, a salesperson with call reluctance will start making excuses when it’s time to prospect. We’ll tell ourselves we’re too busy. We’ll suddenly have important paperwork to file. We’ll decide we need to prepare for next week’s vacation.
The cause of this reluctance is usually tied to a fear of rejection. Sometimes, it’s not just a fear—we know we’ll be rejected because our prospect list is old and tired. If you’re just dialing through the same names over and over again, you already know the answer. Stop everything and focus on getting a fresh list of leads!
When we identify the negative emotions we have towards dialing, we can understand why we’re avoiding this crucial part of our business. But it’s important to remember why it’s so crucial—and why call reluctance is an easy trap to fall into.
The Call Reluctance Trap
Every single time you don’t prospect, you’re putting off future wins.
If your sales cycle is 6 months long, and you’re not calling prospects, you’re deciding your pipeline 6 months from now isn’t important.
This is how the call reluctance trap catches so many salespeople. Right now, your sales pipeline may be full and you’re closing plenty of business. The need for new prospects doesn’t feel immediate, and the negative consequences of not calling won’t be felt for months (or years). It’s easy to find short-term excuses that seem more important.
But is there anything more important to your business than your pipeline? Without customers, there’s no business at all!
6 months from now, when you’re looking at a very bleak month, you’ll have a very unpleasant reminder of how today’s prospecting dictates your future performance.
Remember Why You’re Closing Business Now
A good way to encourage yourself to keep calling, even when you have plenty of business, is to remember why you’ve got all that business.
When your pipeline is full and you’re closing lots of business, go back six months (or however long your sales cycle is) and look at your past sales activities. The numbers don’t lie—how many meetings were you setting, how many calls were you making, and what were you doing to earn such a full pipeline?
Let those past activities be a motivating and guiding factor for what you need to be doing every week to keep up the success.
Get Past The Fear
While you’re looking back at your past sales activities, notice who said no. What was the worst proposal you gave? Which prospects seemed like they would close but backed out at the last minute? What are the things that you thought would work out, but fell apart instead?
Reviewing our past failures can be a great source of motivation with the right perspective. Those failures happened, and you’re still here. You experienced rejection, missed opportunities, and ran straight into obstacles, but it didn’t prevent you from closing tons of other business. What felt like a big deal then probably doesn’t seem very important now. Remember that you can overcome setbacks—you have in the past, and will in the future.
There’s a simple saying called the 5×5 Rule: “If it’s not going to affect you five years from now, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.” This perspective can really help you get past the fears of rejection or failure and start dialing.
Try Something New
I’ve shared some tips for conquering call reluctance before, because it’s such a common obstacle. Call reluctance can pop up anytime in a sales professional’s career—and it will keep returning! Working with a sales coach is a great way to stay motivated and get new ideas for tackling your prospect list.
Many salespeople I’ve worked with have had great success by using visual motivation strategies to keep dialing. Try these out, and before you know it, you’ll be making calls instead of making excuses. You can do it!
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Until next time—go sell some stuff!