Personal Finance

Don't give in to call reluctance

So, you're sitting outside of a prospect's office in your car (or staring at the phone number), knowing you need to make a sale. What's holding you back?

Well, there are lots of excuses - here are four likely ones:

1. "The economy is bad - everybody knows that."

2. "Everyone's holding on to their cash; they're not going to buy anything from me."

3. "I heard they just laid off some people. They're probably just holding on."

4. "The last prospect didn't buy anything, why would this one be any different?"

Actually, these aren't excuses or reasons, they're lies you tell yourself. Even though the information may be correct, what's that got to do with the prospect you're looking at through your windshield?

Why do we tell ourselves these lies and, worse, believe them enough that we fail to make the call? The answer is Call Reluctance.

Call reluctance is a destructive state of mind virtually every salesperson gets into from time to time. The simplest explanation for the call reluctance emotion is that you presume too much. For example:

You presume that you will be rejected. Actually, the prospect might reject your offer, but not you. Since everyone knows an offer doesn't have feelings, separate yourself from your offer, and at least go make a new friend.

You presume that they will kick you out of the office. In truth, they might tell you they don't have time to talk, so the worst that could happen is you find yourself outside of their office. Since that's exactly where you are right now, you will be no worse off. What part of "I can't lose" is difficult?

You presume that they don't need what you sell. Here's a flash: That decision is above your pay-grade. Who do you think you are, answering for them? Get over yourself and allow prospects to decide for themselves. You might be right, but until you know for sure, you're just betting against yourself, which doesn't sound like a very intelligent career strategy, does it?

The slayer of sales is not a recession. The killer of commissions is not budget cuts. The most potent prospecting poison is not 9% unemployment. The greatest impediment to sales success is found in the wisdom of that great philosopher, Pogo the Possum, who so famously said, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us."

You can prove Pogo wrong by overcoming call reluctance.

Write this on a rock... Somebody is buying something you sell right now! It might as well be you.

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Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books, Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Small Business

Jim Blasingame

Jim Blasingame is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He’s the creator and award-winning host of the syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, syndicated columnist and author of Small Business Is Like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success. His third book, The Age of the Customer®, released in January 2014. Jim has received awards and recognition for his work and leadership on behalf of small businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), New York Enterprise Report, FORTUNE Small Business and TALKERS magazine. Google ranks Jim as the #1 small business expert.

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