Overcome Call Reluctance - Get Your Salespeople to Prospect!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 @ 06:06 AM

callingI am reading Dan and Chip Heath's new book, Switch - How to Change Things When Change is Hard.  One of the studies they presented suggests that the more difficult something is for us, the fewer emotional resources we have to do it.  In other words, the amount of time we spend doing something difficult is in direct disproportion to the resistance we have for it.

To illustrate the results of this study, let's take something like Prospecting and assume two things:

  1. You still need your salespeople to find new opportunities and you don't have enough Sales 2.0  (incoming leads) to eliminate the need;
  2. You have salespeople with some call reluctance. 

As of yesterday, you asked your salespeople to make calls for a certain amount of time, or until they reached a certain number of attempts, conversations and appointments.  Your salespeople that don't experience anxiety over this had no problem and your call reluctant salespeople either found some other important thing to do, started but stopped, or lied.

If I apply this research to Prospecting, your reluctant salespeople are resisting as many as 4 things:

  1. Dialing the phone
  2. Speaking with someone who might be bothered by the interruption
  3. Overcoming resistance to schedule an appointment
  4. Getting rejected

Using what I understand about this study, for the next week, ask (only) your call reluctant salespeople to make calls in one of the following ways instead:

  • instead of an hour of calling, schedule just 10 minutes of calling - at 6 different times each day 
  • make attempts only until you have a conversation with a decision maker - x different times each day
By decreasing both the amount of resistance and time spent overcoming the resistance, you might be able to make it less overwhelming and therefore easier for your call reluctant salespeople to experience prospecting success.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, cold calling, salespeople, overcoming call reluctance, dan heath, chip heath

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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