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The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Cold Calling

Overcoming Call Reluctance In 30 Minutes


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Call reluctance is an emotional short circuit that diverts energy from the act of prospecting to the act of procrastinating. Instead of making calls, call reluctant salespeople are busy preparing to prepare, and avoiding the phone. They allow their fears to stand in the way of their goals — and it extracts a high emotional and financial cost.

I’d like to point out that Cold Call Reluctance is an internal roadblock. This is not something that exists in any place other than your mind. If I asked you to bring me a jar of call reluctance you would not be able to do it. So there is no “call reluctance” in the world, there are only recruiters thinking negative thoughts that make them reluctant to get on the phone.

Call reluctance can extend beyond the sales call to also avoiding in-person meetings with a prospect. This is detrimental to the sales process because if the recruiter is not making calls, there will be few appointments, fewer search assignments, and ultimately lower profits for the recruiter and the company.
Call reluctance researchers George Dudley and Shannon Goodson report  (The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You’re Worth in Sales) that “as many as 80% of all salespeople who fail within their first year do so because of insufficient prospecting activity.”

In the search industry we know that the vast majority of newbies who attempt our business fail within the first year and much of that failure comes from call reluctance.

Causes of Call Reluctance

Although there are many reasons for call reluctance, they can be described within three major categories:

  1. The Fraud Factor: This has to do with a lack of belief in your ability to deliver great service. Successful selling involves two parts; the first is selling to yourself and the second is selling to your client. If you are not 100% sold on the quality of your service, you will tend to avoid selling situations.
  2. Repeated Failure: This occurs when the recruiter attempts to attract new clients but continually gets the door slammed in his face. Each time he hears a “no” it makes it harder and harder to pick up the phone and this can become a negative cycle.
  3. Fear of Rejection: This third factor holds people back from selling with confidence. When a recruiter makes a marketing call to a prospect and goes through his sales questions, he will often meet some level of resistance on the other end of the line. If this rejection is taken personally, it can lead to call reluctance.

Using the 30 Minute Rule for Overcoming Call Reluctance

Think of cold calling like jumping into a cold swimming pool. Your best bet is to just dive in without too much thinking. You see the pool, it’s cold, but if you dive in you will get acclimated pretty quickly. If on the other hand you keep walking around the pool, dipping your toe in, putting on sun tan lotion, adjusting your suit, etc. you’ll start to have second thoughts and become paralyzed by procrastination.

Once in it’s easy to continue because your body acclimated. You will actually start enjoying yourself and realize the water doesn’t even feel cold anymore.

It’s the same with making marketing calls. The 30 minute rule means you pick up the phone and make your first call within 30 minutes of arriving in the office. You might even want to have an egg timer on your desk. You come into the office, put down your briefcase and set the timer for 30 minutes.

The 30 minute rule will help you to get into action before you have time to start procrastinating. Think of making your calls as a video game. If your man dies (you are rejected), just hit re-set (make another call) and play another game. You might want to start with an easy call first to get your blood pumping. If you dive right in each day, you’ll find that this becomes second nature and your production will increase substantially.

Gary Stauble assists owners and their teams in implementing leading edge strategies that create the biggest results with the least required effort. You can download his complimentary report, "$1 Million Time Management" which outlines nine time management secrets of a $1 million producer.