Five Steps to Conquering Sales Call Reluctance

I’ve been selling office equipment and related technology since 1993, and over the years, I’ve talked with many sales people in many different industries. One thing we all have in common is the occasional attack of what’s now termed “call reluctance.” I still think of it as simply fear of rejection.

Since becoming a sales manager for Copeco in 2007 (and even before), I’ve helped several sales employees recognize and deal with call reluctance. It’s a normal part of sales and often occurs when you’re in a slump or if you’re new to an industry. However, it must be handled quickly and effectively, or the fear of cold calling will only increase.

Here are some telltale signs of call reluctance:

  • Spending more time on research than on calls. Often, if you’re nervous about making calls, you will do lots of “prepping” for calls instead of making them.
  • Doing extra paperwork or dropping off business cards. These efforts rarely lead to good leads but instead help you avoid real cold calls.  
  • The numbers don’t add up. Today, a sales force is usually tracked by a computerized system of some kind, and it’s easy to pinpoint low call volumes.

Sales really is a numbers game. You must make a large number of calls to generate a fair amount of appointments or referrals. Then, only a certain percentage of the appointments actually become sales. Bottom line: sales people need to make calls.

Based on my experience, I offer the following five steps to conquering call reluctance:

  1. Do one-on-one and group role playing with sales team members. This gives you an opportunity to rehearse your approach, improve product knowledge and learn how to listen and speak effectively in a non-threatening environment.
  2. Use scripts with a successful track record. Having something tangible to start with – something already written down – usually decreases fear. Customize the script for the market you’re targeting.
  3. Offer potential customers a benefit you believe in. You’ve got to believe in what you’re selling and give customers a reason to see you.
  4. Start off with “warm” calls. Get some feedback and affirmation from someone you’ve done business with recently. Then, move on to your list of cold calls.
  5. Have a purposeful goal when you start each morning. This gets back to the number of calls you need to make in order to generate the sales you want. Then, don’t get sidetracked by prepping or paperwork. Just do it.

If you’re interested in learning more about overcoming call reluctance, I recommend the book, The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance by Dudley and Goodson.

Supporting Business Networking is Strategic Marketing Approach

Copeco Work-it-out Wednesday guests Jim Recupero, John Petit and Amy McSherry

Those of you in marketing know that taking out a few ads usually isn’t enough to get your company’s message heard above all the “noise” in today’s media. There’s a continual need to establish and strengthen real connections between real people. You know – business networking.

At Copeco, we’re in the business of supporting other Ohio businesses through total office equipment solutions and service, and we look for marketing strategies that build both brand recognition and business relationships. Work-it-out Wednesdays – a partnership between Copeco, radio station WONE-FM 97.5, the Greater Akron Chamber and the Legends Sports Pub & Grille – has been a perfect fit.

A series of informal, after-work get-togethers in Green, Ohio, Work-it-out Wednesdays have featured free food, exceptional prize drawings and valuable business networking. For our sponsorship, WONE and the Akron Chamber have promoted our name in tandem with the networking event, during which we’ve offered demonstrations of our equipment.

Work-it-out Wednesdays have helped Copeco achieve a number of core objectives:

  • Strengthening our brand in one of Copeco’s newer markets.
  • Connecting with other businesses and building new relationships.
  • Helping other businesses grow – in this case, through networking.
  • Partnering with other organizations that care about business development.
  • Investing in our community by promoting economic progress.

We’ll be holding our final Work-it-out Wednesday on November 17. If you do business in Stark and/or Summit Counties, stop by and see what a great opportunity this venue offers. I look forward to meeting you there!

WONE's Christi Nichols at Copeco Work-it-out Wednesdays Event

Joe Stastny, Kurt Karhoff, Natalia Rique and Tina Thelin enjoy networking time!

Copeco's display for Work-it-out Wednesday at Legend's in Green