7 Top Tips To Overcome Call Reluctance

Katy Klimovitsch

February 8, 2024

5 min

Table of Contents

Summary

  • Schedule Call Time: Allocate specific times for calls to minimize distractions and increase focus, with a preference for high-response periods like mornings.
  • Prioritize Quality Leads: Focus on high-quality, targeted leads to reduce negative responses and lower call reluctance.
  • Normalize 'No' Responses: Train reps to accept 'no' as a regular part of sales, reducing fear of rejection.
  • Assign Value to 'No': Calculate the value of each rejection to help reps see negative responses as progress towards sales goals.
  • Enhance Preparation: Ensure thorough preparation with research, scripts, and training to boost confidence and reduce reluctance.
  • Focus on Service: Shift from a selling to a servicing mindset, reducing pressure and enhancing genuine customer interactions.
  • Set Clear Goals and Accountability: Establish realistic goals and maintain accountability, fostering a culture of success and empowerment.

In a previous post, we discussed how your dialing technology impacts call reluctance.

TLDR: Your dialer can either alleviate call reluctance 😌, or contribute to it 😬 - depends on what kind of software you use.

But beyond technology, sales leaders have a lot of weapons at their disposal to help reps address, combat, and downright overcome call reluctance.

Ready to transform your team’s calling consternation… into “smiling and dialing?”

In today’s post, we’ll cover proven ways to combat call reluctance.

But first, let's review the basics…

What Is Call Reluctance?

Also known as call reluctance syndrome or call avoidance, call reluctance is a fear-based response to the act of making sales calls, and the resulting procrastination or avoidance behaviors that result from it.

Call reluctance stems from emotional anxiety over disinterest, rejection, or outright rudeness sales reps may experience during the act of making calls.

Reluctance can also result from the repetitive nature of calling and the tedious workflows that go along with it, especially when the outcomes don’t justify the efforts.

Two Types Of Call Reluctance To Consider

When thinking about strategy, there are two types of call reluctance to consider.

“Getting started” reluctance:

The call reluctance reps experience before getting started with calls, characterized by heightened stress that results in procrastination or complete avoidance

“Keepin’ it going” reluctance:

The reluctance that sets in mid-call-session during a break in the action, characterized by a battle of will to continue vs. stopping early to alleviate the stress

It’s important that your call reluctance strategy address both.

That way you can be confident that your team not only consistently sits down to make their calls, but that they’ll get through them - and hit necessary benchmarks in the process.

7 Tips To Reduce And Overcome Call Reluctance

1. Block time on the calendar

If reps aren’t intentional about blocking off time for calls, it’s too easy to get distracted, make excuses, or find something else to do with their time.

Expectation is everything. Have your team set aside time (and be consistent) to make calls with no interruptions or “outs” and you’ll remove the environment in which call reluctance is likely to grow.

When deciding what time to block off, choose blocks when call answer rates and engagement are at their highest. This will maximize positive connections and positive outcomes.

Many recommend the “eat the frog” approach. By making calls in the morning, you’ll not only ensure calls get done, you’ll alleviate tension and improve productivity throughout the day.

2. Prioritize Targeted, High-Quality Leads

Calling bulk, cold leads is a nuisance. It’s also a drag on the psyche (and on call answer rates). Bad numbers. Wrong contacts. Spam complaints. Hangups. Short duration calls. These are just a few of the reasons we predict bulk list buys will go away.

On the flip side, as lead quality goes up, call reluctance goes down.

To reiterate a previous point, call reluctance stems from “emotional anxiety over disinterest, rejection, or downright rudeness” that reps experience during outreach.

The prevalence of these reactions is a direct result of the quality, intent, and consent of the leads you’re contacting, and entirely in your control to alleviate.

3. Get Comfortable With “No”

“No” is inevitable no matter how perfect your list is, how good your product is, and how good your pitch is.

That’s the reality of sales.

Needs are different. Alternatives are everywhere. Timing is always a factor.

The more comfortable reps are with hearing “no”, the less reluctant they tend to be. Building up this comfort through training and mindset exercises can pay massive dividends.

4. Calculate the Value of a “No"

In line with the above, many sales leaders work backwards to calculate the value of each negative response. For example, if a meeting is worth $500 and it takes 5 conversations to land a meeting, each conversation is effectively worth $100 - yes, or no. 

It’s easier to pick up the phone when negative outcomes are perceived as having a positive value.

And they do.

5. Be Better Prepared

There’s a lot that goes into being prepared on the phones.

From researching leads, to reviewing notes and call history, to having good scripts, to role playing objection handling, to real-time coaching, the more prepared your SDRs feel when sitting down to dial, the less reluctant they will be. Our workflow automation tools can reduce the friction tied to some of these processes.

At the risk of repeating myself, expectation is everything.

If your expectation is that you’ll be thrown into situations you don’t know how to handle, reluctance and anxiety are the likeliest outcomes.

When you’re prepared for what will come your way, you replace the fear of uncertainty with a confidence to perform.

6. Serve, Don’t Sell

A solutions or service based approach is not only effective, it’s a great way to remove pressure from the equation.

And it’s the right thing to do!

If your goal is to sell and you don’t make a sale, it’s easy to perceive the outcome as negative.

But if your goal is to serve or solve, then you approach the transaction in a completely different manner, trusting the prospect to make the best decision for them, and helping them with that process. You add value even if they go in another direction.

In fact, you may even encourage them to do so! Selling someone on a product that’s not a fit for them is a waste of everyone’s time and is more likely to lead to dissatisfaction in the long run.

Focus your energy on uncovering and solving for an expressed need or pain point, and you’ll succeed by simply being genuine and helpful. How empowering.

7. Set expectations & Practice Accountability

As a sales leader, it’s important to set expectations and then hold your team accountable.

Discuss realistic goals, and implement proper tracking so your team knows where they stand. Coach through challenges or missed targets, celebrate successes, and create a culture of shared success. With the right tools and support, reluctance can be replaced with a feeling of empowerment that will take your team to new heights.

Summing It All Up

Calling remains one of the most effective methods for building pipeline and driving revenue.

Trust grows faster and connections grow stronger over the phone.

But call outreach is challenging, and call reluctance is something every sales rep and leader is going to encounter.

Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize its prevalence and impact.

By following the tips above, sales leaders will not only reduce call reluctance, but see it replaced with feelings of confidence and empowerment.

And that’s a good call.

Summary

  • Schedule Call Time: Allocate specific times for calls to minimize distractions and increase focus, with a preference for high-response periods like mornings.
  • Prioritize Quality Leads: Focus on high-quality, targeted leads to reduce negative responses and lower call reluctance.
  • Normalize 'No' Responses: Train reps to accept 'no' as a regular part of sales, reducing fear of rejection.
  • Assign Value to 'No': Calculate the value of each rejection to help reps see negative responses as progress towards sales goals.
  • Enhance Preparation: Ensure thorough preparation with research, scripts, and training to boost confidence and reduce reluctance.
  • Focus on Service: Shift from a selling to a servicing mindset, reducing pressure and enhancing genuine customer interactions.
  • Set Clear Goals and Accountability: Establish realistic goals and maintain accountability, fostering a culture of success and empowerment.

In a previous post, we discussed how your dialing technology impacts call reluctance.

TLDR: Your dialer can either alleviate call reluctance 😌, or contribute to it 😬 - depends on what kind of software you use.

But beyond technology, sales leaders have a lot of weapons at their disposal to help reps address, combat, and downright overcome call reluctance.

Ready to transform your team’s calling consternation… into “smiling and dialing?”

In today’s post, we’ll cover proven ways to combat call reluctance.

But first, let's review the basics…

What Is Call Reluctance?

Also known as call reluctance syndrome or call avoidance, call reluctance is a fear-based response to the act of making sales calls, and the resulting procrastination or avoidance behaviors that result from it.

Call reluctance stems from emotional anxiety over disinterest, rejection, or outright rudeness sales reps may experience during the act of making calls.

Reluctance can also result from the repetitive nature of calling and the tedious workflows that go along with it, especially when the outcomes don’t justify the efforts.

Two Types Of Call Reluctance To Consider

When thinking about strategy, there are two types of call reluctance to consider.

“Getting started” reluctance:

The call reluctance reps experience before getting started with calls, characterized by heightened stress that results in procrastination or complete avoidance

“Keepin’ it going” reluctance:

The reluctance that sets in mid-call-session during a break in the action, characterized by a battle of will to continue vs. stopping early to alleviate the stress

It’s important that your call reluctance strategy address both.

That way you can be confident that your team not only consistently sits down to make their calls, but that they’ll get through them - and hit necessary benchmarks in the process.

7 Tips To Reduce And Overcome Call Reluctance

1. Block time on the calendar

If reps aren’t intentional about blocking off time for calls, it’s too easy to get distracted, make excuses, or find something else to do with their time.

Expectation is everything. Have your team set aside time (and be consistent) to make calls with no interruptions or “outs” and you’ll remove the environment in which call reluctance is likely to grow.

When deciding what time to block off, choose blocks when call answer rates and engagement are at their highest. This will maximize positive connections and positive outcomes.

Many recommend the “eat the frog” approach. By making calls in the morning, you’ll not only ensure calls get done, you’ll alleviate tension and improve productivity throughout the day.

2. Prioritize Targeted, High-Quality Leads

Calling bulk, cold leads is a nuisance. It’s also a drag on the psyche (and on call answer rates). Bad numbers. Wrong contacts. Spam complaints. Hangups. Short duration calls. These are just a few of the reasons we predict bulk list buys will go away.

On the flip side, as lead quality goes up, call reluctance goes down.

To reiterate a previous point, call reluctance stems from “emotional anxiety over disinterest, rejection, or downright rudeness” that reps experience during outreach.

The prevalence of these reactions is a direct result of the quality, intent, and consent of the leads you’re contacting, and entirely in your control to alleviate.

3. Get Comfortable With “No”

“No” is inevitable no matter how perfect your list is, how good your product is, and how good your pitch is.

That’s the reality of sales.

Needs are different. Alternatives are everywhere. Timing is always a factor.

The more comfortable reps are with hearing “no”, the less reluctant they tend to be. Building up this comfort through training and mindset exercises can pay massive dividends.

4. Calculate the Value of a “No"

In line with the above, many sales leaders work backwards to calculate the value of each negative response. For example, if a meeting is worth $500 and it takes 5 conversations to land a meeting, each conversation is effectively worth $100 - yes, or no. 

It’s easier to pick up the phone when negative outcomes are perceived as having a positive value.

And they do.

5. Be Better Prepared

There’s a lot that goes into being prepared on the phones.

From researching leads, to reviewing notes and call history, to having good scripts, to role playing objection handling, to real-time coaching, the more prepared your SDRs feel when sitting down to dial, the less reluctant they will be. Our workflow automation tools can reduce the friction tied to some of these processes.

At the risk of repeating myself, expectation is everything.

If your expectation is that you’ll be thrown into situations you don’t know how to handle, reluctance and anxiety are the likeliest outcomes.

When you’re prepared for what will come your way, you replace the fear of uncertainty with a confidence to perform.

6. Serve, Don’t Sell

A solutions or service based approach is not only effective, it’s a great way to remove pressure from the equation.

And it’s the right thing to do!

If your goal is to sell and you don’t make a sale, it’s easy to perceive the outcome as negative.

But if your goal is to serve or solve, then you approach the transaction in a completely different manner, trusting the prospect to make the best decision for them, and helping them with that process. You add value even if they go in another direction.

In fact, you may even encourage them to do so! Selling someone on a product that’s not a fit for them is a waste of everyone’s time and is more likely to lead to dissatisfaction in the long run.

Focus your energy on uncovering and solving for an expressed need or pain point, and you’ll succeed by simply being genuine and helpful. How empowering.

7. Set expectations & Practice Accountability

As a sales leader, it’s important to set expectations and then hold your team accountable.

Discuss realistic goals, and implement proper tracking so your team knows where they stand. Coach through challenges or missed targets, celebrate successes, and create a culture of shared success. With the right tools and support, reluctance can be replaced with a feeling of empowerment that will take your team to new heights.

Summing It All Up

Calling remains one of the most effective methods for building pipeline and driving revenue.

Trust grows faster and connections grow stronger over the phone.

But call outreach is challenging, and call reluctance is something every sales rep and leader is going to encounter.

Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize its prevalence and impact.

By following the tips above, sales leaders will not only reduce call reluctance, but see it replaced with feelings of confidence and empowerment.

And that’s a good call.

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