When it comes to selling, there are a lot of challenges in the industry. According to a 2016 report by Accenture and CSO Insights, 55 percent of sales professionals believe that their organization's sales tools make them less productive; and 59 percent of those surveyed said they have too many tools at their disposal.
Accenture and CSO Insights also found in 2014 that middle-of-the-road performance reduces business revenue by 3.2 percent, which could be improved by a multiprong approach of more effective tools, more targeted training and more efficient data and analytics. It also determined that the top 20 percent of sales performers created three-fifths of a business' sales, compared to the remaining 80 percent of the organization's sales professionals producing the rest. Hence, the need to address gaps in performance exists, including sales call reluctance.
Defining Call Reluctance and Causes for Sales Professionals
Simply put, call reluctance by sales professionals is when an agent has a much harder time than normal picking up the phone to pursue the next sale. This is oftentimes due to a fear of being rejected. While this is more common among new sales professionals, it also can happen to the most seasoned salespeople.
Strategies to Reduce Sales Call Reluctance
Depending on the person, there are many ways to tackle this problem. One way to work through the fear is to acknowledge it by not overthinking and just jumping right in and dialing the next person on the list.
If making numerous calls within a week, 50 to 100 for example, seems too overwhelming and causes sales call reluctance, breaking up the number of outbound calls or the length of continuous cold calling with related tasks could help. The break might include answering existing client emails or improving product knowledge for upcoming sales calls, helping to break down calls into more attainable tasks.
Another reason why sales professionals – especially new hires – might experience sales call reluctance is because they don’t have much experience. Developing a script for them might be helpful because it gives them confidence when they’re on the call.
When it comes to creating and using a script, remember that it serves as a general guideline and not a verbatim talking guide for salespeople. For financial professionals for example, regardless of their experience level, it can remind them to explain each financial acronym to a cold-call prospect. By saying return on investment instead of ROI or required minimum distribution instead of RMD, sales professionals can help each prospect understand what those acronyms mean. By not assuming a potential customer understands industry jargon, it will make it easier for each prospect to understand the product or service. This can potentially raise interest in its benefits.
Sales professionals can also use scripts to customize their call, depending whether it's a cold call or they're following up on a referral, a sales email or a piece of direct mail marketing. For individuals who receive direct mail, sales professionals will already know who is targeted and this can give them time to make themselves aware of the current promotion before the call. This gives the salesperson more confidence, because when they do reach the person on the other line, they’ll be able to answer questions from the potential customer.