Removing physical and emotional barriers allows salespeople to thrive.

The heart of what we do at BSRP is study call reluctance which we define as the emotional short-circuit in an otherwise motivated and goal-directed individual. But did you know that for an individual to truly suffer from an authentic case of call reluctance they have to otherwise have motivation for a prospecting career and have a personally meaningful reason to prospect? You cannot be hesitant to do something you do not have the energy for or want to do in the first place.

Motivation and goals are just as important to prospecting (for most people) as being able to prospect without hesitation. And while the symptoms of low motivation and lack of goals may mimic call reluctance’s impact on prospecting, they don’t respond to the same countermeasures used for call reluctance. In fact, you may make them worse if you try. This is where coaching comes into play.

“You can’t arrive at your destination (or goal) without gas (or energy) in your tank regardless of how you feel about making the trip.”

I have had several coaching conversations with sales managers where their salesperson has both high levels of call reluctance as well as low motivation and lack of goal clarity. Naturally, they want to know what they can do about the call reluctance. But if someone does not have the energy to prospect or a reason to prospect, how likely do you think it is that they will invest time in reigning in their call reluctance? The answer is that they probably won’t. I’m not saying that they can’t. I am just saying that they won’t, at least at the moment. Think of it this way. Let’s say that your car needs repairs, and you need to take it to a repair shop. What would happen if you did not have gas in the car? Or better yet, if you did not know how to get to the repair shop?  You can’t arrive at your destination (or goal) without gas (or energy) in your tank regardless of how you feel about making the trip.

So, what can you do as a coach or manager?

Let’s start with motivation. There are many environmental and personal factors that could be contributing to a low level of prospecting motivation.

It is important to consider your organization. Could something in the culture or environment be contributing to the problem? Sometimes if management fails to keep its commitments to employees, motivation can wane. The looming possibility of layoffs due to the fallout from the recent pandemic may have disrupted the focus in your sales team.

But, let’s say you cannot detect anything within the organization.

Then, it is important to understand your salesperson. What physical or emotional drains could the person be facing in their work or personal life? Passed over for a promotion? Marriage? Divorce? New Baby? Health Issue? Although you can’t necessarily ask your salesperson personal questions, perhaps you can say something like, “I noticed you’re not yourself lately. Is there anything I can help you with?”

If you can pinpoint either work conditions or personal circumstances, you might be able to help the individual. But don’t be discouraged if you can’t. Although expert tips abound about how you can “motivate” your team members, we have yet to figure out how to give someone energy. (To be fair, the academics don’t agree on what motivation is, and the experts often lump motivation and goal together.)

What about goals? The good news here is that this issue can be a little easier to correct. Ensure that you model disciplined goal setting and share your process with your team. You can help salespeople identify prospecting goals, but there are a few critical elements to doing so. The main element is that the goal must be personally meaningful. A spouse’s goal, a manager’s goal or quota is not personally meaningful. To create a personally meaningful goal, the salesperson needs to ask themselves, “What is it that prospecting can get me?” If the answer is “money,” the next question should be, “What is it that more money will get you?” It can be anything from a dream vacation to financial security for retirement. It does not matter what the goal is as long as the salesperson is able to connect prospecting to achieving their personally meaningful goal.

Having a motivated and goal-directed individual can make a world of difference in a sales career, especially if they struggle with call reluctance. After all, the average salesperson struggles with five types of call reluctance—85% struggle with at least one type. Most salespeople could benefit from overcoming it. Wouldn’t you rather have a motivated and goal-directed individual tackle that endeavor?

How many sales are you or your team losing to call reluctance?

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 and procedures for managing call reluctance and explore our range of assessments, sales training, and our latest research. Take our 10-question survey and find out your risk for call reluctance. To learn more contact us today!

Megan Quirk, Ph.D. is a research analyst at Behavioral Sciences Research Press. Published in several top tier journals, her research focuses on women in the workplace. Currently, Dr. Quirk analyzes trends between call reluctance and revenue in the world’s largest database of sales call reluctance. She also conducts BSRP’s sales training programs to help individuals increase their earning power.