What Do You Blame When Salespeople Don't Schedule Enough New Meetings?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 06:05 AM

call-reluctance.jpg

Most salespeople suck on the phone.  If you read that article, you learned about 10 common mistakes that salespeople make on the phone.  But those are strategic and tactical mistakes - they are skill-based.  What happens when you have salespeople who won't even make calls?  Could they be suffering from call reluctance?  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures 21 Sales Core Competencies and one of them is the Hunter Competency. The Hunter has about a dozen attributes and 4 in particular determine if, and to what degree, a salesperson will have call reluctance:

  • 58% of all salespeople need to be liked to such a degree that it can have a negative effect on their ability to prospect for new business. They worry that a prospect might become upset and not like them, so they don't ask the questions they should - when and if they call.
  • 20% of all salespeople have difficulty recovering from rejection to such a degree that it can prevent them from making calls. Not making the calls is a defense mechanism to protect them from rejection.
  • 13% of all salespeople possess a "will not prospect" belief to such a degree that they won't prospect unless they are forced to by their sales manager.
  • 46% of salespeople are perfectionists who procrastinate until they believe they can do something perfectly. In the case of prospecting, it contributes to what seems like a time management problem (they didn't have time to prospect.)  

The image below, from the evaluation of a large sales force, has salespeople distributed almost equally (unusual) among the four groups:

inside-sales-hunting.jpg

  • Hunters will hunt for new business without being asked.
  • Potential Hunters would hunt for new business if their sales managers held them accountable.
  • Fishermen will follow up on a lead, but won't engage in proactive hunting.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Prospects will not hunt, no matter what, ever.

I'll be leading a fast-paced 45-minute online presentation on The Magic Behind OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, June 7 at 11 AM ET.  There is no cost to attend and you'll learn a lot about sales selection that you didn't know before.  Click here to register.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, call reluctance, phone prospecting, empty pipeline, not making calls

A Hidden Weakness that Makes Salespeople Procrastinate

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

perfectionYesterday, I was on three separate calls with sales managers whose salespeople needed to fill their pipelines, but hadn't.  They needed those salespeople to schedule meetings, but they weren't doing it.  They needed those salespeople to make calls, but they wouldn't make them.  They needed to get those salespeople moving, but those salespeople were stuck.  

For the salespeople, it was their own doing.  Self-imposed.  And they knew it!

Would you like to know which mysterious, hidden weakness was holding them hostage, preventing them from taking the action they knew was crucial to their success?  Of course you would.

All of them were perfectionists.  You may be wondering what could be wrong with that?

When it comes to salespeople doing something they haven't done before, everything is wrong with that.  A perfectionist must do things perfectly and if ever there was a sales activity that was ripe for imperfection, it would be the prospecting call.  After all, a new salesperson might have to speak with 10 or more prospects to schedule one meeting or call.  And in their perfectionist minds, that would be 9 failures.

So they procrastinate.  And they'll continue to procrastinate until they are certain that they can get it right.  Make it perfect.  And the more they prepare, rehearse, wordsmith and prepare some more, the worse they'll be.  It won't sound like a conversation, they won't sound real, but they will sound like a telemarketer reading from a script and nobody will want to speak with them.  They will fail.  It's a catch-22.

So what can you do?

If you're a sales manager, give these salespeople permission to fail.  Not only permission, insist on it.  Force them to get someone to say "no" to them and praise them for their effort, remind them that they lived to tell about it and ask them what they learned from it.

If you're a salesperson, give yourself permission to fail.  But even more than that, remember this:

If you make the worst prospecting call in the history of selling, who, other than you, will even know about it?  The chances that a prospect will remember you are in direct disproportion to how bad you were!  The worse you are, the less you'll be remembered.


Image Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, call reluctance, cold calls, empty pipeline, procrastination, perfection, sales under achievement

Call Reluctance in Salespeople - Causes, Factors, and Predictors

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 @ 17:04 PM

I can't believe all of the positive feedback you've sent relative to the new White Paper on Sales Longevity - The Science of Predicting Sales Turnover.  Thank you all so much.

Several of you asked questions about your salespeople who are failing, and whether it could have been predicted.

Objective Management Group (OMG) has always been able to accurately (to 95%) predict whether a salesperson would succeed and provide conditions for employment. Over the years, we've been able to fine tune our accuracy even more as we incorporated some additional non-sales factors that made strong salespeople poor candidates for a particular role or company.  Three of the most important, recent factors were:

  • whether a salesperson will succeed working in a remote territory, from their home, without direct supervision (this finding accounted for many of the strong salespeople who failed in earlier years)
  • whether a salesperson would succeed despite weak sales management (this finding accounted for most of the remaining strong salespeople who failed in earlier years)
  • whether a salesperson could ramp up quickly enough to satisfy management (some salespeople simply take longer to get it and now we can identify who they are)

While recommended salespeople who failed made up only 5% of the total (most accurate in the industry by far!), our goal has always been to completely eliminate failure from among recommended candidates, which brings us back to the White Paper.  Our new finding will predict the likelihood of being able to retain a strong, recommended candidate for as long as it takes to provide you with New Salesperson ROI (NSROI).  This is all explained in great detail in the White Paper.

Historically, when salespeople have failed, has most often been because of their inability to get appointments.  We are able to identify the three factors that indicate a call-reluctance problem - a malady that is career-threatening for salespeople who are expected to hunt.  I have identified one additional factor that causes call-reluctance that we don't currently identify - but will (are you paying attention Jim?). When a salesperson is an incredible perfectionist, prospecting activities such as cold calling, and even following up on leads, may be delayed.  You may be able to recognize the symptom - procrastination, but even the salespeople don't realize why are procrastinating.  Perfectionists won't do anything until they can do it perfectly and since they aren't able to make a perfect call they are waiting until they are confident that they can.  Of course, they'll be waiting indefinitely...

There is one more external factor that enables even a slightly reluctant salesperson.  Can anybody guess what that is?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, call reluctance, cold calling, predictive, accurate, sales candidate assessments, sales assessments

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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