Call Reluctance: When Salespeople Need a Checkup from the Neck Up
Call-Reluctance Case Study #2: Suzy
Note: The following case study is a fictional account of a salesperson loosely based on an actual salesperson the author has known or has been associated with.
Suzy has been selling for Superior Security for over three years and has enjoyed moderate success. She knows her product and is passionate about the need for professionally installed Security Systems. However, Suzy lags behind most of the other salespeople in her company. Even salespeople, that started well after her, not as knowledgeable as she is, regularly outperform her.
During a sales meeting, Suzy’s sales manager asks one of the newer salespeople, Melissa, how she managed to get going so quickly. Melissa’s sales were even with Susie’s after only working six months for the company. Melissa’s reply was that, shortly after getting the job, she did as the sales trainer suggested. She mailed a short announcement note to everyone she knew informing them of her employment with Superior Security Systems. Once again, as instructed, she followed up each letter with a personal phone call asking for their assistance. The notes and calls paid off. She began getting leads from friends and relatives.
As Suzy listens to Melissa’s story, she says to herself, “No way! No way will I involve my family and friends. I haven’t up to now, and I won’t in the future.”
Why does Suzy feel as she does? What is so hard or distasteful about calling on friends or relatives? Suzy apparently feels there is a problem with it. Do you?
Suzy suffers from two contact style problems. First, Suzy is hesitant to call on friends, which is a symptom of “Separationist Call Reluctance.” She is emotionally resistant to mixing business interests with friendships. Salespeople with this malady find it difficult to prospect for sales among personal friends or even to ask them for referrals. She avoids even telling friends about what she does for fear of the perception that she is attempting to sell them.
Second, she is hesitant to call on family members, “Un-emancipated Call Reluctance.” She is resistant to mixing business and family. Salespeople with this problem find it extremely difficult, if not impossible; to prospect for new business among family members or even ask them for referrals. Suzy feels this way despite her firm belief in her company.
How did Suzy acquire these career-limiting psychological maladies? Was she born with them? Were they developed through her training? Did management in her company subliminally suggest them? Had she suffered an earlier traumatic sales experience that caused her to feel as she does?
People aren’t born with the fear of calling on or selling to friends or family. That feeling is acquired, taught by people whose opinion they respect.
Well-intentioned sales trainers can plant the seed through their suggestions regarding how their trainees should develop new sales opportunities. Management can pass along their bias. And certainly negative sales experiences, perhaps with a friend or relative attempting to sell to her, or a former company whose entire focus was having salespeople sell to friends and relatives, could have deeply influenced her call reluctance.
George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson
– The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You’re Worth in Sales.
When you gaze into your psychological mirror do you recognize this person? Is it you? Is it someone you know, or that works for you?
If you suspect you or someone you know has this problem there is a test you can administer that will help ferret out the problem. Contact me by email and I will direct to a professional you can get help from.
Book Title by Lou
The Formula for selling Alarm Systems
Surviving in the Security Alarm Business
Managing to Sell
Gerencia de Ventas Efectiva
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