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12 Types of Call Reluctance®

Doomsayer™ - These are people who always see the worst case scenario. They spend an enormous amount of time protecting themselves against fictional dangers. They make very poor salespeople.

Do you know me? "There is no point in my calling on that customer. He probably won't buy from me anyway."

Over-Preparer™ - These people are afraid of appearing as if they do not know enough or are ill prepared. So they spend a great deal of time getting ready and will sacrifice opportunities in favor of preparation.

Do you know me? "I'd rather delay this call because I'm not fully prepared. I would rather do some more research first."

Hyper-Pro™ - These people are over-concerned with projecting the right look or creating the right impressions. For them, looking right is often more important than doing right. They routinely avoid doing things they consider beneath them even if these same things have proven to be winners for the rest of the team. They talk a lot always trying to demonstrate how clever they are.

Do you know me? "It's really not professional to make cold calls. I should have a secretary to do things like that for me."

Stage Fright™ - People with Stage Fright Call Reluctance© avoid group selling situations. Sometimes two or more people comprise a group and they become increasingly uncomfortable and will even freeze up in some cases.

Do you know me? "I'm not afraid to discuss my products in front of a group. Sure, I get butterflies like everyone else and it's not comfortable. Doesn't everybody have stage fright?"

Role Rejection™ - These are sales people who are secretly ashamed of being in sales. Even though they have intellectually bought into selling as a worthwhile career, they still harbor emotional doubts about its worth. They tend to use up tremendous amounts of energy coping with their careers.

Do you know me? "Actually, I'm not here to sell you anything. I'm more of an advisor. Look, my business card says I'm a transportation consultant not a used car sales person."

Yielder™ - These are people who always hesitate because they are afraid of inciting conflict or imposing on others. They constantly yield their own right of way to others and then complain that they are taken advantage of. They regularly default many pieces of business to their competitors because they will not allow themselves to ask for the order.

Do you know me? "Okay, so now you know all about us and this product. When you're ready to buy, just call me. You can call me day or night. I really don't mind."

Social Self-Consciousness™ - These people are easily intimidated by others they consider better than themselves because of such things as wealth, power, position or even a better education. They routinely avoid calling on or dealing with these people.

Do you know me? "Actually, there is no point in me calling on the CEO. He or she does not buy anything for the company. They leave that to the lesser folk. Besides, they won't even see me."

Separationist™ - These people avoid doing business with their friends. Believing that business and friendship don't mix, they refuse to call on friends for business or even help in finding new business. Repeat business from a client (now a friend) can be extremely difficult for them.

Do you know me? "I have never had to discuss what I sell with my friends. They all know what I do and they would contact me if they had a need."

Emotionally Unemancipated™ - These people rule their families out as possible sources of new business or referrals.

Do you know me? "My family does not buy anything and they would never refer me to anyone."

Referral Aversion™ - Although they know how to get referrals, these people tend to postpone asking for them preferring to wait for a better time which never seems to come. Sales companies often misdiagnose this as a lack of training and spend enormous amounts of money teaching their sales people how to ask for referrals. They already know how. They are emotionally unable to.

Do you know me? "Of course, I can ask for a referral! Do you think I'm stupid? You have to remember there is a right and a wrong time to ask. Okay, so I've had more wrong times than right. But next time ..."

Telephobia™ - This is a very specific form of Call Reluctance©. It inhibits the use of the telephone when it comes to prospecting and self-promotion only. All other uses are allowed. Note - other types of Call Reluctance© can masquerade as Telephobia. This is why an accurate assessment is needed.

Do you know me? "I prefer dealing with people face-to-face. That way I can see their facial expressions. Besides, have you never been called by a pesky sales person at a bad time?"

Oppositional Reflex™ - This one is exactly what it sounds like. These are people who reflexively oppose. They tend to act in opposites even when to do so is not in their best interests. They become very difficult to manage, advise, train and coach. They critique often and become very defensive when challenged. Sales people with this type tend to fight with customers. They view customer inquiries as personal attacks on their credibility and they tend to lash out without thinking.

Do you know me? "I refuse to call on that person. The last time I did, he made me so mad I wanted to strangle him. He's kinda dumb and doesn't appreciate the effort I made to help him."

Why Is Type Important?

Type is important because when you know what type you are dealing with, you can use very specific methods to eliminate it. Some procedures work very well with certain types but have no effect on others or could make them worse.

Adapted from Earning What You're Worth: The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance © by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson, © 1992, 1995, Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Inc., Dallas, TX. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Used with permission.


Call Reluctance, the Fear-Free Prospecting and Self-Promotion Workshop and all related terms are copyrights and/or registered trademarks of Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Dallas, Texas. Sales Academy, Inc. is an Advanced Authorized Dealer for the Call Reluctance® Program. Frank Lee is an expert on Call Reluctance®.

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