cure call reluctanceWhen prospecting, sometimes the idea of making even one more cold call ranks below a root canal.

We’ve all been there. But being there and staying there are two different things. It’s important in sales to shake off those feelings and get back in the game.

When struggling to overcome call reluctance, some sellers start to question their career choice. Others let feelings of negativity creep in, believing buyers’ objections and perceptions are accurate.

These are dangerous waters to tread in, and you need a life preserver, stat! You can get caught in an undertow when you choose to believe something about your product or services or company has changed. The odds are far more likely that something about you has changed. Look at yourself first.  That’s where some positive change is most likely to have an impact on your sales and prospecting productivity.

Remember: success breeds success. A seller exudes confidence after making a sale or landing an appointment. A seller’s confidence in the product is more compelling than any feature of the product itself. Buyers respond to sellers’ confidence – not self-confidence (although that helps, too), but strong confidence about the effectiveness and relevance of the product being sold.

So that begs the question – where does that kind of confidence come from and how can you get it?

A good place to start is with your customers, either your own account list or the broader list of your company’s customers. Notice the number and caliber of customers, the length of time some have been doing business with you, and the rate of repeat business with you. This matters because it is the counter-balance to all the negative chatter you may hear and magnify from prospects.

Next, look for reasons to love what you’re selling. Extend your search for positives beyond what they feed you in sales meetings. Ask our long-term customers for testimonials. Some will have an emotional attachment to your company and products. Others will give you a practical rundown of what they appreciate.

Finally, to push through those times when you’re reluctant to make cold calls, get serious with yourself. A goal of “I’m not going to stop prospecting until I get an appointment” will serve you better than “I’m going to make 10 more calls today.” Your goals need to be outcome-based, and you need to push for the desired outcome instead of reaching for an activity metric that doesn’t measure real results. If your performance standards are activity-based (e.g. “makes 25 outbound cold calls per day”) then you should, of course, meet that standard. But aim higher, too, because activity alone doesn’t pay commission. Set a private goal based on the outcomes or results you need.

With the right mindset, a focus on outcomes, and a boost in confidence, you’ll be able to push through call reluctance. You’ll make more sales. Since success breeds success, you’ll soon be back in the game.


Deb Calvert, President of People First Productivity Solutions, is a Top 50 Sales Influencer who’s championing the movement to Step Selling & Start Leading. Deb provides consulting, training and coaching for companies aiming to improve their sales, leadership and team connections.