Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sales call reluctance - Kills Sales and Kills Sales Careers!

How to identify sales calls reluctance?
Fortunately, there are several specific steps you can take to address sales call reluctance in yourself and/or your sales team. Use these tips first to find where call reluctance may be hurting you most:

Look closely at activities for trends and tendencies – It’s fairly simple to see an overall lack of activity. That could indicate any of several forms of call reluctance. Check for specifics such as follow up on referrals. Lack in this area may reveal referral aversion, the avoidance of asking for and following through on referral opportunities. Some will often try to mask this condition by vigorously defending the position with statements such as, "Referrals don’t work in my business/with my customers/in this industry."

Observe during the sales call – What happened when it was time to ask for the business? Did you or your team member shy away? Did you as sales manager have to close the sale? Avoidance of asking for the order is common, known in sales call reluctance as the yielder tendency.

Check telephone prospecting activity – If "dialing for dollars" is important to you or your sales representatives, check on the frequency and quantity of calling. When you find low levels here, the telephobia tendency of sales call reluctance is likely at work and will sabotage even the top professional with the most proven approach.

Use a sales preference assessment – A validated instrument can quantify specific challenges and suggest appropriate steps to address sales call reluctance issues. It also provides a proof source to show members of your sales team, in an objective way, a comprehensive picture of those areas of improvement.


Overcoming the enemy

Once you’ve identified and assessed the problem, you’re ready to take the appropriate steps to reduce and eliminate some of the sales call reluctance present in yourself or your sales team. The steps you take depend on the specific areas requiring the most attention. Here are a few examples:

Over-preparation
– One client using this instrument had a simple method to address this. He simply chased the sales representative in question out of the office after a certain hour of the morning. That prevented the seemingly endless preparation, which was taking the place of prospecting and selling activities.

Stage fright – Practice in speaking to a group whose purpose is to help the speaker improve has helped even the most fearful become competent enough to look forward to group presentation opportunities. Overcoming this fear has, in many cases, led to breakthroughs in other areas of sales call reluctance.

Yielder – Role playing, though one of the sales professional’s least favorite activities, is often indicated as practice in asking the prospect or customer to buy. This practice can make it easier to repeat the behaviors when the real-world opportunities come.

You should also be aware that sales managers can and do suffer from sales call reluctance, which can do additional harm to the sales team. Look for these and other areas of sales call reluctance constantly to address and eliminate these obstacles to your sales success.

Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us in the race when all seems lost - Roger Dawson