When we’re doing business-to-business or business-to-consumer outbound calls, those fears can be founded. Call reluctance can seem very real. They might very well say no. They might be rude, obnoxious, belligerent. They might say all kinds of things that you don’t want to hear. So that’s all true. That could happen.

One of the things that helped me a lot though, is recognizing that we are not doing it for them.

We are not doing this for the people who react like that. We are doing it for the people that we are ultimately going to help. And we can’t get to the people that we are going to ultimately help without having to go through some of these people sometimes in between.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the topic, Is Call Reluctance Real?

Jay: Listen, it’s a pleasure to be here, David, and let me tell you, this is one of my biggest issues. I know it’s real because I have a job where I spend a lot of time on the phone and man, there are days where I just do not want to do it.

And what’s funny is it’s actually something that I enjoy, but it requires a certain level of energy. It requires that you are prepared and there is the occasional call that turns in a direction that I don’t want to go. And so this is me to a T. I experience this on a regular weekly basis.

David: Yeah, and the title is kind of provocative and I guess I sort of did that on purpose. Because anyone who has experienced this, that feeling of, “oh, I just don’t feel like picking up the phone,” is going to look at this and say, “well, yes, of course, it’s real.”

And I think that when we just look at it as call reluctance, then it’s easy to say, yes, it’s real. What do we do about it? But the reason that I wanted to raise the topic is that I don’t believe that call reluctance is actually the issue. if you boil it down, what does it mean? And when I did this for myself and for other people who were struggling with it, it all really just boils down to fear, right?

It’s some type of fear. It’s not that we’re really afraid of picking up the phone. That’s the easy part. It’s not that we’re afraid of dialing, that’s the easy part. It’s about what’s going to happen next. It’s about that unknown. And I think that’s what people struggle with, without even realizing that that’s what they’re struggling with.

Jay: Yeah. So I mean, for me, fear of rejection, fear of the no, and I mentioned fear of the negative experience. You know, the guy who’s asking the questions that I can’t answer or wants to spend two hours on the phone and I only have 20 minutes for him or those kinds of things. You’re right, it’s all born out of fear.

David: And what’s interesting, too, is that today, if you have to pick up the phone and call somebody and you don’t have an appointment with that person, the likelihood that they’re actually even going to answer, that you’re going to get to a live human being is probably what? 30%? 20%, right? 10%. I mean, most of them are going to go to voicemail.

And so voicemails are kind of easy as long as you know what you’re going to say when you get a voicemail message. So a lot of it, I mean, at least 80% of it, it’s like, well, there shouldn’t be any fear here because they’re probably not going to answer. Right?

But as you indicated, it’s the fear of rejection. In some cases, it’s the fear of success. And some people are like, “I’ve never had fear of success. I love success.”

Well, we all love success, but sometimes getting to that success can be a little frightening. It can be a little bit of a struggle. And sometimes it’s just, hesitation is born out of fears that just haven’t even manifested yet.

Jay: Yeah. They’re not real. And, for me, it’s asking the question, “what if?” And this is again, something that my parents taught me. I would tell them that I didn’t want to do something or I was afraid of doing something and they would say, “and then what?” Or “what if?” Right?

Okay. Let’s say you do it and something happens, and then what? And they would play it out until the very end and eventually help me come to the conclusion that my fears are not rational and they are getting in my way. So I think recognizing, like you said, that it is a fear., and then having a way to process that fear in your mind can be so powerful.

David: Right, and when we’re doing business calls, when you’re calling people who don’t know you’re going to be calling… if you’re doing a cold call, whether it’s B2B or B2C, it’s kind of the same because you’re reaching out to people who don’t know that you’re going to be reaching out to them. The fears are all pretty much the same.

But if you recognize, well, what’s the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is they’re going to swear at me or they’re going to hang up on me and they’re going to get mad at me and they don’t know me at all. Right? So it’s never really personal.

It’s just about the fact that they’re dealing with whatever they’re dealing with on any given day. Their reaction is going to be based on whatever’s going through their head.

It has no correlation at all to the person you are or the wonderful human being that you are, or the characteristics that you normally exhibit in conversation. It has nothing to do with that at all.

It’s more about them, particularly when the conversations are bad. It’s easy to tell yourself, well, you know, that was really more about them than it was about me.

I mean, unless you’re doing a lot of things wrong on your call, in which case, then yeah, you want to adjust that. But simply recognizing that if this is the job, or if this is part of the job, then understanding, this comes with a territory.

Like you were talking about a situation where, as a child, sometimes our fears are unfounded.

When we’re doing business-to-business or business-to-consumer outbound calls, those fears can be founded. Yeah. They might very well say no. They might be rude, obnoxious, belligerent. They might say all kinds of things that you don’t want to hear. So that’s all true. That could happen.

One of the things that helped me a lot though, is recognizing that we are not doing it for them.

We are not doing this for the people who react like that. We are doing it for the people that we are ultimately going to help. And we can’t get to the people that we are going to ultimately help without having to go through some of these people sometimes in between.

Jay: Yeah, that is valuable. And I don’t know, I’ve been talking about my family a lot in the last couple of podcasts, but my father was in sales his whole life and he taught me what he does for success and he reprogrammed his brain to think that a no was actually a positive.

And he knew his close percentage. And he knew that each no brought him closer to the yes. And that it also took somebody off of his list. Okay, that’s somebody I don’t need to call back because they treated me like crap. So, boom, they’re off the list! Fantastic. I don’t have to worry about them.

I can now move on to the next person. So this reprogramming has really helped me as well, knowing, yeah, I don’t want to do it, but I’ve got to get through these and eventually, It’s going to happen as long as I stick to it.

If I let the call reluctance win, then I’ve already guaranteed the outcome, right?

David: Absolutely. And one of the things that we’ve done in our business is when we reach somebody like that, who is rude, obnoxious, belligerent, whatever it is, we don’t discard that person from our contact management system. We flag them in our system.

So that if that person would happen to call us back a few days later, or a few weeks later, or even a few years later, we’re going to see those notes in the system that say exactly what that person did and how they treated us and how they acted in those situations so that we can then make a decision about whether or not we would like to even do anything moving forward with that person.

Because our time is valuable just as their time is valuable. And so one of the potential problems is if you reach out to a lot of people who are like that and you don’t keep track of it, you might inadvertently reach out to them again and now you’re just setting yourself up for trouble.

Jay: Yeah. That’s such a good point.

And you’re going to regret it. Boy, you really will. I think you mentioned the number of calls that go through now. You know, we all have programs on our phones, and unidentified calls don’t go through.

And so it really has reduced the number of calls that go through. And so what I do is I actually use that as an excuse sometimes. Because I know I can email if I have an email list or I can text, and those are valuable.

And I still want to use them, but they’re not ever as good as a call if I can get through. So the system that I have now involves all three. But calling is absolutely key because I know that’s where I’m going to close more if I can speak to them, voice to voice.

But I use my customer management system for long-term drips. So if they’re not interested, they’re still getting emails from me. Sending out texts. You know, I have customers that only want to text. And that’s fantastic. Right? And so knowing how to contact them, that’s all part of managing call reluctance.

David: Absolutely. And also thinking in terms of other options. Now, not everybody has this option, but some people do.

And so a lot of what we work on with our clients in our Total Market Domination course, We refer to the topic of first contact as opposed to outbound telemarketing.

Outbound telemarketing is one form of first contact. It’s not the only form, and for people who are great at it, obviously, they can and should continue to do it. For people who really struggle with it, and it’s just not a good fit for them, you should recognize too, there are other ways you can initiate contact with people that don’t involve simply picking up a phone.

So I want to differentiate again, because not everybody has that option, but for those who do have an option, if you’ve been struggling with call reluctance, but you have the option to be able to initiate other forms of first contact, perhaps just looking at that could alleviate the problem.

Because there are ways you can initiate contact with a new prospect that could actually get them to call you. And those calls are a lot easier when they’re calling you and asking you questions. It’s a lot easier to deal with a call like that than if you’re calling them and trying to convince them about why they should talk to you.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. Such a great point. And for me, I don’t want the direct call. You’re going to go right to voicemail if I don’t know you. But I absolutely don’t mind the email or the text, as long as you have an option for me to unsubscribe or whatever. I don’t mind it.

It’s a natural part of life now. And sometimes it works. And the other part of that is we know that the first contact often is not going to be the one that they respond to. It may be the fifth time they see you. You’ve left a voicemail, you’ve sent an email, and so having a system where you can get multiple touches, if possible, will also be a powerful way to get over this reluctance we’re talking about.

David: Right. And when you are able to sequence those communications and think in terms of what message goes into each of those sequences, where the next message may reference the previous one. So it’s a series of communications that are along the same lines, but it’s not just saying the same thing.

It’s not like a kid in the backseat of the car saying, are we there yet 500 times on the way to a destination that is seven miles away. Right? it’s coming up with different ways to phrase the message, to let them know and to present some of the benefits so that they would be more likely to respond to you, whether it is a phone call or an email, or a text, or however it is that you’re communicating with them.

Jay: Yeah. And I think if you can add some kind of value in whatever you’re sending, that really helps. How can people find out more?

David: Well, you can go to TopSecrets.com/call. That’s TopSecrets.com/call. Schedule a call with myself or my team where we can help you review some of your first contact methods.

Help you determine where you are now and where you need to be in terms of visibility and sales and profits.

A lot of times people know where they are in terms of sales. Well, I’m at this level, and I’d like to get to that level. But they don’t recognize that their visibility is kind of off the chart for a lot of the people who could potentially buy from them.

So simply having these conversations will help you to identify key areas of your business where you can change a very small thing and get great results. So schedule a call. We’d love to have the conversation. Look forward to talking with you.

Jay: As always, David, it’s great having these discussions with you.

David: Thanks a lot, Jay.

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