I would say the number one thing that helped me the most with overcoming call reluctance is when I realized the people who are likely to yell or scream or be angry or be obnoxious or belligerent, they’re not the people we’re doing it for.
We are doing it for the needles in the haystack. We’re doing it to find that perfect-fit customer that needs what we have to offer, and who was waiting for someone like us to come along.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, cohost Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the idea of overcoming call reluctance. Welcome back, Jay.
Jay: So glad to be here, David. And I really want to hear your feedback on this topic, because this is something that I struggle with. I’ve been put in sales positions in the past. I have a list of leads. All I have to do is pick up the phone and dial those numbers, and I can’t bring myself to do it.
Which is funny. I can do it, if it’s a qualified lead and they’re expecting my call, or if they’ve set an online appointment with me, all of that fear goes away. But if it’s a cold call, forget it. I can’t do it. I just can’t.
David: Yeah, well call reluctance is a big topic for people who have to make cold calls, and that is one aspect of it. But you hit on a couple of other aspects of it. There are some people who still struggle with the idea of picking up the phone, even when somebody is looking to hear from you.
So, we’ll touch on a little of all of that, but you went to the big thing first, which is the idea that there are a lot of people who struggle with call reluctance. They don’t want to pick up the phone, they don’t want to do it.
And if we think about the reasons for that, a lot of it becomes kind of obvious. What would you say is your number one reason?
Jay: I guess fear of rejection. It’s just hard for me to feel like I’m going to get them to want to hear me.
David: Yeah, and one of the reasons that I struggle a bit with this topic is that I’m not a huge fan of cold calls. It’s not that we don’t do them , we do. It’s not that I haven’t done them, I have.
But generally speaking, my approach is to try to lead with something of more value. So in those situations, if you follow up with a phone call, it’s a lot more welcome than if they’re not expecting your call.
But yes, what I’ve found personally and also with a number of the people that I worked with is that a lot of people think, Well, it’s fear of failure. It’s fear of rejection. I’m afraid that this person is going to get mad or they’re going to get angry or they’re going to hang up on me, and all valid fears because those things happen when you’re making cold calls.
And so part of it for me, because those of us who have been in positions where you had to make the calls, regardless of whether or not you felt like it, you have to come up with a way to get over that.
And the things that helped me the most, I would say the number one thing that helped me the most, was when I realized the people who are likely to yell or scream or be angry or be obnoxious or belligerent, they’re not the people we’re doing it for.
We are doing it for the needles in the haystack. We’re doing it to find that perfect fit customer that needs what we have to offer, that was waiting for someone like us to come along, you know, the knight in shining armor or whatever.
Those are the people that we’re doing it for, and you can’t get to those people until, and unless you first get to the ones that might not be as receptive to your message, shall we say?
Jay: Yeah, absolutely. My dad was a very successful salesman his whole life. And he always told me that every day he has a goal for how many no’s he’s going to get. He just knew if he’s going to have a successful day, he’s got to have a hundred no’s. And of those no’s, he’s going to pick up a certain percentage of yeses.
And so that’s how he made it a game. He made it fun for himself. That tactic never worked for me, but I know it works for a lot of other people. Cause after 10 of those nos, I’m just worn out, you know?
David: That is so true. And I’ve heard that and I know that that works for other people. And the fact that it does makes me say, Hey, listen, if that works for you, absolutely do it.
For those of us who are like, eh, still not quite there for me, it’s like, okay, well we need another way of approaching it. We need another way to think about. Because really fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of failure, it doesn’t even matter. It all boils down to fear, right?
And so if we recognize that it is really fear that’s at the core of this, or in some cases it’s a lack of confidence or a lack of certainty. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. It could be fear of uncertainty. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. And no one is. You can’t be.
If you’re making a cold call, you cannot be at all sure of what’s going to happen. They may be great, they may be terrible. It may be somewhere in between. Most likely somewhere in between. But it could go any of those ways.
So when you recognize that and I guess this is actually pretty similar to what your dad was talking about in the sense that he knows he needs to get enough nos to get to the Yes. If you think of that in terms of getting to the people that we’re actually doing this for, they are very similar.
But for me there’s a mindset difference. The mindset of finding the right people that can be long term customers and recognizing that I kind of have to go through this. I have to sort of run that gauntlet in order to get to the people that I actually want to get to.
Jay: Yeah, and also as I think about it, it’s just harder work to cold call because you have to first get them to stay on the phone with you, then you have to get them to believe in your product It’s a lot harder than if they’ve been on your website and they scheduled a free consultation, right? Now they’ve already kind of said, I need your product. So you’re way ahead in that regard.
David: Yeah. I also think that call reluctance is not probably the best description of what people are dealing with, because in a lot of ways they’re dealing with contact reluctance.
Sometimes it’s like, Oh, I have to email this person. I don’t feel like doing it. In person, I have to go to this networking function and I don’t feel like doing it. I mean, a networking function isn’t like cold calling, but it has similarities.
If you’re going to this thing for the purpose of meeting people and introducing yourself and trying to come up with a prospect, then it is kind of like cold calling. So I think the idea of call reluctance is only a sliver. It’s really only part of the issue that people are dealing with.
And if you recognize that it’s contact reluctance, or in a lot of cases it’s first contact reluctance, then it becomes maybe easier to deal with. Because if you’re not comfortable making a phone call and if you have the option to initiate other forms of first contact, then you can very likely come up with another form of first contact that works better for you. So you can accomplish the same or even better results without having to convince yourself that the only way to do that is to overcome your call resistance or reluctance.
Jay: Yeah. I love how you described it, first, contact resistance. That’s what I have. Because it is the same, whether it’s on the phone. I’ve been at trade shows, and I’ve just got to go up to different booths and talk to people. And they’re there to talk. That’s why they’re there. Right?
And that’s the scenario I struggle with. But if I’d been introduced to them or if they’d been pre-qualified, no issue whatsoever. So that puts me in a place where if I’m going to be in sales, it’s got to be a specific type of sales funnel where I can thrive in. Because you know, I’m not the person and I tell people this, I’m not the pound the pavement, cold contact guy. That’s just not where I’m successful. But I’m a closer. Right? So yeah, put me somewhere in that funnel and I can close. Don’t put me at the front of the line though, because that’s not where my skillset is.
David: Yeah. This is what we work with with our clients all the time in our Total Market Domination course. And one of the modules, I think it’s module five, is about first contact. And it’s about coming up with a first contact that makes sense for you.
Meaning it’s something you’re not afraid to do, you don’t hate doing, you don’t dislike, you’re not afraid of doing it. It’s something that you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m actually comfortable with this.” And there are lots of different forms of first contact that actually just position you a whole lot better than a cold call.
Things like networking, that’s one approach to it. But also, if you have a list of prospects, it could be something as simple as sending them something in the mail and then calling to say, Hey, did you get the thing I sent you? Because a call like that is a hundred times easier than making that first call.
And in a lot of cases, and again, I do a lot of work in the promotional products industry, so people who are sending out some sort of promotional gift in advance and then calling to say, Hey, did you get the item I sent you?
It creates that gift of obligation, among people of conscience. Not everyone has a conscience, but among people of conscience, it does create a bit of a gift of obligation.
So people are more likely to take the call and they’re more likely to be nice to you when they pick up the phone because you sent them something in advance. I mean, that’s just one example.
But other forms of first contact can be things like social media. Your first contact with them could be replying to something that they posted on social media. Now at least you’re on their radar. They have an idea of who you are. And if you were able to continue that discussion inside a direct message, and then eventually that leads to a phone call or having them go to your page and then opting in for a call with you.
All that type of stuff changes the dynamic from one of, “I am calling you because I need business” to, “hey, here’s an opportunity to talk with me about something that could seriously benefit you.” And so the whole dynamic shifts from “I’m a salesman calling to sell you” to, you know, “you are a person in need who’s seeking me out for potential help.”
Jay: Yeah, I love this line of thinking. I work with a business where we do webinar training, right?
Jay: And so people watch that webinar and at the end I’m like, “Hey, sign up for a free consultation. It will be me that you do the consultation with.” So now, when we eventually talk, it’s weird. They feel like they know me because they sat with me for this 10 minute video or whatever it is. And so we’re already way ahead in the game because they have already kind of started to build that relationship. And part of that is I was definitely giving them something of value in the webinar. It wasn’t just a commercial. I was giving away good information.
David: Yeah, and you are positioning yourself as someone who knows what he’s talking about in that particular area, which is exactly what people are looking for.
So while this really gets into the whole other topic of first contact and different ways to initiate that, to get more people into your pipeline, who could conceivably work with you. It all does tie together. This idea of contact reluctance and how we overcome it can be handled in lots of different ways other than “well just get over it and make the calls.”
Jay: Yeah, I do think that we should have a much deeper discussion about first contact, because it definitely depends on what industry. I mean, if you are cold calling individuals, it’s a lot harder nowadays because we all set our phones to ignore calls that it doesn’t recognize. So that whole potential lead list may have gone away. And so you have to adapt and change to figure out whether it’s email or pay per click or something else.
David: Yeah, absolutely. I think also part of getting over this goes back to what we touched on before. Which is essentially a focus on disqualification.
In other words, if you overcome your call reluctance, you pick up the phone, you talk to somebody, and they’re rude, obnoxious, and belligerent. You can either be put off by that or you can be grateful that you found out that early on in the relationship that this is the type of person you’re dealing with.
What’s worse is when you think somebody’s great and then you start doing business with them, and then they turn into Mr. Hyde, you know, they go from Dr. Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde.
So the idea of focusing on disqualification and some sales managers will strongly disagree with me on this, and I’m not saying you use that as an excuse to eliminate your call list. What I’m saying is that if you go into this situation with the idea of coming out of it with a yes or no, qualified or disqualified, you’re going to be a lot better off than if you go in with the idea of, “I need to sell this person something,” even before you have any idea of whether or not they need what you’re selling.
Jay: Yeah. And I think that’s going to reduce the number of rejections that you get. Right? So if you have to get 20 no’s instead of a hundred no’s, then that’s going to go better for you. It’s going to be easiest, right?
I think one of the other things is I want people to know that I do believe that with repetition, you can overcome those fears. And oftentimes it’s just put your head down and push forward. And you’ll find, and I have found this, eventually, it’s not as hard.
You can change, you can adapt. And so, you know, just don’t make the excuse that, Oh, I can’t do that and so I have to find something else. You can, you know, you just have to work at it.
David: Yeah, and if you’re motivated by money at all, one of the things you can also do is you can start with the goal in mind. And you can even write down on a post-it note that you keep in front of your computer or in front of your phone, what’s the average dollar amount of the sale that is made?
Now, you’re not going to sell that to every person you call, but you are absolutely not going to sell it if you’re not in touch with that person. So if you think of each of those contacts as being worth X amount of dollars, whatever that number is, if it’s $3,000, if it’s $10,000, whatever that number is, if you look at that and say, Okay, this call could be worth $10,000, you might be a lot more motivated to make it than if you don’t think of it like that.
And I’m not really advocating the idea of thinking of it in terms of money instead of people. I’m thinking of it in terms of recognizing that in order to generate the money, you’ve got to have and initiate relationships with these people. And if this helps you do, go for it.
Jay: Yeah, motivation is different for everybody. So if that’s your motivation, focus on it and figure out how many calls it’s going to have to take you to get to that dollar amount. Then you can motivate yourself.
If you don’t know, and I feel like so many people in sales, it’s just kind of haphazard. I’m just calling. I don’t know how many calls it’s going to take and that makes it much. more of a slog I think.
So figuring out some of those key performance indicators and testing them. And the other thing I would say is it really helps if you love your product, and you know it will help people. You know, that’s one of the things that keeps me going is I know that I’m helping people.
I’m not just earning a living. And that’s very important to me. Not important to everybody, but to me that’s very important.
David: Oh yeah. I’m the same way. I mean, that’s what gets me fired up in the morning. The idea of helping people pass these challenges and allowing them to get from where they are to where they want to be. And so anything we can do to help that, I’m all for it.
Jay: Yeah, and that’s one of the reasons I love our discussions, because I know these will help people move forward. So I love that. How can people find out?
David: Well, you can go to TopSecrets.com/call. That’s TopSecrets.com/call, and we can have a conversation about where you’re looking to be, what you’re struggling with. If you’re struggling with call reluctance, we can work with you and come up with different ways that you can initiate first contact that you will be comfortable with, that will potentially position you better and allow you to get to more of the people that you need to reach, a lot faster and a lot more comfortably than you’re doing now.
Jay: Yeah. And don’t have call reluctance calling David, right?
David: Yeah, that’s right. You have no fears with us, right? It’s easy.
Jay: That’s right. Fantastic. It’s great talking to you today, David.
David: You too, Jay. Thank you.
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