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Call Reluctance

By ClientWise | June 22, 2011

Ran across this article the other day in the Toronto Globe and Mail, “Entrepreneurs must fight fear of selling.” I found a sentence that was so shocking to me that I had to re-read it two or three times just for believability’s sake.

“…many people say that as much as 50%-70% of entrepreneurial failure relates to the call reluctance issue.”

Wow! Really! In the first place, I’m a bit leery of a statement of purported fact where the source is “many people.” Doesn’t really pass the smell test for me. Beyond that it’s hard to believe that call reluctance among entrepreneurs would over-shadow other catastrophes and blunders in judgment that can lead to business failure, e.g. lack of planning, insufficient capital, poor management, overexpansion, etc.

There’s no denying that call reluctance can be an important obstruction to the success of entrepreneurs and salespersons of all stripes. Think of all the sales motivators, over the years, who have built lifelong careers by dispensing sales advice, tips, aphorisms, and directives, e.g. Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Harvey Mackay…the list is endless.

As a business coach, my observation is that call reluctance (or “sales shame”, or “fear of selling”, or “inhibited social contact initiative syndrome”, or whatever you want to call it) is a complicated grab-bag of an issue that is resistant to easy analysis and solution. If it were a simple issue to disentangle, Amazon wouldn’t have 739 books in the ‘sales motivational’ category.

My other observation is most of us, i.e. 99.999%, have issues that derail the best of our motivations and get us stuck. For entrepreneurs and salespeople, these issues may revolve around call reluctance, or something still deeper. Getting unstuck takes effort and intention…and a self-awareness to ask questions, e.g. what do I really want? As an entrepreneur, whom do I really want to serve? Am I listening to my clients and potential clients? Do I know their primary concerns and problems, and can I help them to provide sustainable solutions?

Without sounding too self-serving, this is where good business coaching comes into play…helping getting us unstuck from the issues that are holding us back.

Oftentimes the best solutions are not on the bookshelf or at a motivational seminar, or on a DVD…but in the mirror. In the words of the great philosopher pictured above (Pogo)… “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Hope this helps.

Topics: Selling

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