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building competence and confidence

Building Competence and Confidence: How to help your reps overcome call reluctance

We previously wrote a blog post that addressed the root cause of call reluctance, and the response to that post was so overwhelming that we decided to dive into the other side of call reluctance. How to help your team overcome it!

The harsh reality of call reluctance is that it’s psychological. Most sales managers do not have a degree in Psychology. So, we decided to put together a cliff notes version on the “why” behind call reluctance (and why more call volume is not the answer).

We will also dive into some high-level tips and tricks on how to help your reps overcome it.

As a previous sales manager, I know how frustrating it can be to know the reason your rep is not having success booking meetings is that they are scared of what might happen once the prospect picks up.
 

Psychology Of Fear

The first step to helping your reps overcome this fear is to have empathy. Let’s first dive into the psychology of why that fear exists in the first place.

According to multiple research studies, fear exists to help us prepare for anticipated dangerous situations.

Sometimes this is physical, for example, a fear of heights. It’s not the tall building, it’s the fear of the possible falling off said building and ultimate impact with the ground that keeps us from going up to the top of the building in the first place.

Psychologically, fear is often associated with venturing into the unknown. A pitch black room, a new country with a foreign language, or a cold call.

In Paramount Pictures, Pain & Gain, Jonny Wu provides us with an acronym we can use for F.E.A.R.
False Expectations Appearing Real.

In some situations, individuals imagine the negative outcome so vividly it actually can paralyze them into inaction. Sales representatives become so concerned with being hung up on, cussed at, or asked a question they don’t know the answer to that they avoid the situation altogether.

Overcoming The Fear of Cold Calls

So, how can a sales manager help their sales representatives overcome this fear?

As a sales manager, if your answer to helping reps overcome call reluctance is more calls, you will realize very quickly it doesn’t work.

Human beings like to live in homeostasis, we do our best to maintain consistent and orderly conditions. When a sales representative is forced to do more of the same thing they are already scared of, the end result usually becomes cheating the system.

Hitting the dial button, and then quickly hanging up. We like to find ways to maintain our homeostasis and not run head first into the Leviathan.

Dials go up, results stay the same.

Try this instead, sit down next to your rep and have them be your sales coach for the day. They now get to do the call coaching. As a sales manager, you make the dials, you get hung up on, you get yelled at and each step of the way ask your Sales Representative what you could have done better.

Show them that, via your actions, it’s ok to spend a day getting told no, and getting feedback. Bonus points if their feedback is right, it reinforces they already know how to be successful.

Another Way To Improve Call Reluctance

Another way to help your reps overcome call reluctance is to find other, less risky ways failing to prove that failure not only is ok but helps to accelerate success.

An easy metaphor I always like to use works extremely well for sales representatives on my team who like to go to the gym. Simply reminding them that every time they workout they actively seek failure, and continue to be rewarded for that failure (stronger, healthier, etc.) is a good way to shift their perspective on failure.

Another easy reminder for reps struggling to embrace failure would be to have them walk through how many times they interviewed with companies, never heard back, got shut down, had an offer rescinded, etc.

They kept going, and were rewarded with a spot on your team!

How Call Coaching Software Can Make Cold Calls Easier

The key in every situation when you are working alongside a rep struggling with call reluctance is to show them that the anticipated fear they build in their mind, causing them to not take the action they need to take is far worse than the outcome of actually picking up the phone.

That can be done through psychological or mental games, physical challenges, and role reversal with your reps!

Try these little tips and tricks to move the needle with your struggling SDRs!

And if you’re looking for something to help them be even more successful, check out real-time call coaching software. If your sales representatives are struggling to get past the first call, this will help improve their meetings booked ratio.

Author

Greg Reffner - CEO

As one of the very first power users of Conversational Intelligence as an Account Executive, Greg fell in love with how technology enabled his success. As Abstrakt's leader, his vision and "why" is to help every sales rep and leader avoid the pain of missing their number.