Overcoming Your Call Reluctance-Part Two

There are lots of reasons salespeople suffer from call reluctance. Sometimes they are responsible for their call reluctance and, as much we don’t like to admit it, sometimes their sales management is responsible.

There is one absolute surefire way to breakthrough your call reluctance: start making calls.

In the Meantime

If you want to eliminate call reluctance, you can work on your beliefs, you can work on your belief that you are a value creator, you can develop killer language, and you can really focus on adding meaning to your work.

Ultimately, some or all of these may be necessary.

But there is the problem of “in the meantime.” Time continues to march on whether you are prospecting or not. The time you have to reach your goals and make your numbers is dwindling like the sand in an hourglass. Your hesitation to pick up the phone comes at a very, very steep price—likely one you can’t afford.

In the meantime, you have to produce results. You have to sell. Waiting isn’t a sales activity, or I would have a metric for it.

The Fastest Cure

The fastest and surest cure for overcoming call reluctance is to pick up the phone and make calls. Don’t check your email. Don’t look for work that makes you feel busy but produces no result. Don’t find ways to rationalize doing something else that can and should wait or that doesn’t really need done at all.

And for God’s sake knock it off with all of the “research.” Seriously! You know plenty.

Walk in.

Sit down.

Pick up the phone.

Start dialing through your list of dream clients.

By the time you are through five or six calls, you won’t have any of the feelings you had before you dialed. It’s like jumping in a cold swimming pool; once you are in and already wet, you get used to the cold temperature.

By the time you are through ten or twelve calls, you will start to build some momentum. You’ll get into a rhythm. It will turn into a completely different activity. And, dare I say, the more you call, the more you will like calling (cold or otherwise).

Breaking Through Mental Barriers

You break through your mental barriers by taking action. You don’t break through the barriers by thinking about or talking about things. You break through with massive action.

There isn’t a faster way to overcome your call reluctance. Later on, you can work on the root causes of your reluctance.

Personally, I have always tried to make the biggest, most difficult, and most painful calls first thing in the morning. Once you blast the toughest calls, everything else seems easier. Most of the time, you are pleasantly surprised by how well these calls go; your mind has a way of making things way worse than they really are.

Blast through the mental barriers. Just make the calls. You’ll be surprised.


What are you doing about your call reluctance?

Have you tried just making the calls?

How much time are you losing?

Are your goals getting any easier to reach?

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  • Wim @ Sales Sells

    Hi Anthony, I think in many cases call reluctance has a lot to do with a lack of structure and method. People don’t really know how to do it right and get so many no’s that it hurts their confidence and makes the task an unrewarding one.

    If you have a method that works and has been measured/analyzed before, you know approximately how many calls it’s going to take for you to fill your calendar for the next few weeks. It’s my experience this can have a motivating and reassuring effect on sales people.

    Of course there is also a thing called ‘fear of the unknown’, but if this has a paralyzing effect on you, sales is probably not your best fit.

    Thanks for addressing this common issue, excellent advice again!

    All the best,

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Wim. I agree that not having a good plan and killer language can be problematic. I also like the idea of goals, knowing how many calls it takes; it does make it an easier game for some. Most of the fear I believe comes from a lack of confidence, and the lack of confidence comes from a lack of language and a lack of business acumen. One of these is easier to solve than the other, though; business acumen takes time. 

  • Doug Rice

    Anthony, I agree 100%. There’s no time to develop the perfect call before jumping in. Besides, if you had all the time in the world, it wouldn’t help without practice. It’s the same thing they say about public speaking. You can spend your whole life preparing the perfect speech but, if you aren’t giving speeches, you are going nowhere. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better. Improvement is impossible without action and, as you’ve mentioned before, if you aren’t improving your competitor who is improving is going to leave you in the dust. There is no time for idling. Great post.

    • Anonymous

      Great point! Without practice, you never get any better!

  • Swapnil

    Rightly cited some common exculpation by Sales executives to stay away from calling. I found this statement to be very apt:
    “Don’t check your email. Don’t look for work that makes you feel busy but
    produces no result. Don’t find ways to rationalize doing something else
    that can and should wait or that doesn’t really need done at all.”