Hidden hesitation behaviors can also keep veteran salespeople from closing more deals.

Generating sales leads is the crucial starting point of the sales process. These leads can be obtained from multiple sources. Yet a primary challenge for salespeople is actually following up with leads. According to marketing strategist Christopher Risen, “Following up on sales is not the easiest of tasks. Many a fledgling sales professional or emerging business has found themselves hesitating at the keyboard and the phone pad.”

Reluctance to contact prospective or existing customers to promote a product or service is generally due to emotional hesitation—or fear. Many salespeople struggle with different forms of fear regardless of their level of sales training, product knowledge or sales experience. According to research, up to 80% of all new salespeople fail within their first year, because prospecting is so emotionally uncomfortable they avoid contact with prospective buyers on a consistent basis. Almost half of all veteran sales professionals readily admit to one or more episodes of sales-resistant behaviors severe enough to threaten their continuation in sales.

Persistence or pushiness?

The most common form of fear found across multiple industries is the tendency to avoid contacting prospective buyers due to appearing too pushy or intrusive. This fear can limit prospecting activity associated with generating and pursuing new leads. Fear can also be an underlying factor that enables salespeople to easily dismiss leads as unqualified rather than pursue such leads as opportunities to gain more information that might be useful later in the sales process.

The influence of fear in sales contact was further evidenced in a recent study of 866 companies that received lead requests for product information. In 77% of the cases, salespeople either did not respond at all or gave up after one or two attempts, according to the Conversica Sales Effectiveness Report.

In many cases where salespeople do decide to follow-up with leads, they are likely to find that prospective customers are not ready to buy right away. Instead, it may take six or more contacts to nurture a lead and build a relationship that results in a closed sale. During each contact, salespeople can increase their opportunities for success by adding value to each interaction with a prospective buyer, instead of simply “checking in” with them. However, fear of initiating customer engagement limits sales opportunities and can cause salespeople to give up too soon.

As companies seek innovative ways to generate more leads through marketing strategies and data analytics, it becomes equally important to also focus on the underlying causes of inadequate lead utilization or management. The results from decades of call reluctance research indicate that overcoming the fears associated with initiating the sales process can significantly increase the ability of salespeople to convert leads to closed sales.

Do you want to increase your sales revenue and build your client base?

Sign up now for our Power Up Your Sales webinar today and you’ll learn how to:

 Eliminate excuses and maximize prospecting and/or engagement activity.

 Eradicate negative sales-defeating behaviors.

 Clear “head trash” that is more dangerous than the current market conditions.

Find out more about BSRP’s thought-leading practices, procedures for managing call reluctance and explore our range of assessmentssales training, and our latest research. Take our 10-question survey and find out your risk for call reluctance. To learn more contact us today!

Trelitha Bryant

Trelitha R. Bryant is the Director of Research & Field Testing at Behavioral Sciences Research Press. Known worldwide as the original source of ground-breaking discoveries about how fear inhibits individuals’ abilities to make themselves visible, or “Call Reluctance®” in salespeople, BSRP has developed a variety of behaviorally anchored assessments and training interventions to assist in the hiring process and to help today’s professional “Earn What They’re Worth.”