The Silent Sales Killer
The list of reasons why sales people fail to successfully close and opportunity is endless. Stop in any sales manager’s office and listen to the parade of people that can artfully explain what went wrong on their last sales call and why there was nothing that could have resulted in success. In a peculiar way that is a good thing. At least that sales manager knows that calls happened, even if he or she isn’t happy with the outcomes. The bigger challenge involves CALL RELUCTANCE, or the behavior of avoiding even going out on sales calls or practicing “drive by disqualify” activity.
When sales people can’t get themselves to even make the call there isn’t even a chance of accidental success. Even bad sales people that show up will sell more than good salespeople that don’t have the guts to knock on a door or pick up a phone. Call reluctance kills more sales careers than a lack of product knowledge, poor presentation or lousy closing skills. The sheer volume of unmade calls is too much for most sales organizations to even consider addressing. No one wants to believe that Bob or Mary just can’t gut up and do this fundamental of sales success. Who would accept sales position if they weren’t willing to make sales calls?
Call reluctance is the silent sales killer because nothing happens. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it is there any noise? If a salesperson goes on a call and doesn’t actually talk to anyone did the call really happen? How can a sales manager coach someone that never gets in the sales game? Call reluctance is the black hole of sales; an abyss of nothing where there should be something. Some researchers claim that as many as 75% of all first-year sales people fail because they don’t have enough prospects. Are there really no opportunities out there or is there just an overwhelming amount of call reluctance? It is scary when I think back to all the new sales hires I’ve seen who make their best sale during the hiring process and never summon up the courage to go out and sustain a successful sales career. Why, CALL RELUCTANCE. It is all fun and games until you actually have to talk to a prospect…
Sales managers, please, spend some time and really hold your people accountable for making calls before you get all freaked out about sales results. Get everyone making the calls and then worry about how good those calls are being managed. And then do the right thing, the people that won’t make calls after you’ve addressed the issue with them should go find another job. Help them get there, fast.