You may be surprised by what causes Call Reluctance

Why are we afraid to pick up the phone to call someone we don’t know to set an appointment?



Author’s note: This blog is about what causes Call Reluctance. I’ve written an in-depth article that is posted on LinkedIn that addresses both the causes and the four elements required to fix it. After reading it, you’ll understand why the manners you’ve tried to date have met with moderate success at best.

First, let’s separate two different variations of Call Reluctance here. The first is what keeps us from picking up the phone and making the first call of the day, which I call simple procrastination. The second is what keeps us from picking up the phone and making a consistent number of calls every day. This may sound like a distinction without a difference, but trust me, there is a big difference. If your issue is just making that first dial to get rolling, you can read a blog I wrote entitled Five tips to help make that first cold call of the day. The latter is a good old-fashioned fear of cold calling, or Call Reluctance, and that’s what I’ll address here.

My take on this after training thousands of sales professionals (and doing it myself every day) is there are actually two categories of causes for true Call Reluctance. The first, you will no doubt immediately recognize and have probably tried to address through sales training. The second is perhaps one you’ve not thought about.

Because of this second reason, let me reframe the conversation. It’s not just the fear of picking up the phone and placing a call to the next name on a list. It is also the feeling of being overwhelmed by the process of pursuing perhaps a hundred individual names simultaneously and keeping track of where you are with each. This second one causes as much Call Reluctance as the first, but it’s more of a feeling of dejection than fear because it’s driven by the feeling of “I can’t keep up, so what’s the use’’. Let’s take them one at a time.

First, the fear of making an individual call can be addressed through applying a proven methodology for appointment setting that takes into account the differences between the skills that work in the pipeline phase of selling and those that work before the target has agreed that there is value in talking with us. The causes are:

  1. A lack of self-confidence, or the feeling of not wanting to be embarrassed by not being to handle the objections or questions that come up when asking for the appointment. It’s why many acquiesce and even kid themselves into thinking they’ve got someone interested when they hear the old “Send me something” response; and
  2. Being overwhelmed here as well by a fear of the unknown—we think there are an unlimited number of ways someone can say no so we become overwhelmed by the thought of becoming prepared to handle them all.

The second cause is becoming overwhelmed by the process of pursuing multiple targets simultaneously. This is caused by:

  1. Not having a well thought out process to follow; and
  2. Literally becoming overwhelmed by the time it takes to keep up with all of the steps or moving parts of the process itself when pursuing many targets simultaneously.

The first one can be overcome by sheer determination and perseverance as there are some people looking for what you are selling when you call. The second one is governed by the number of ticks on the clock. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to manhandle this one. I believe it is what causes just as much Call Reluctance as the first as it feeds the “What’s the use” mentality.

The ColdCalling101™ approach addresses both of these challenges and is what makes us unique. Our solution contains four components: the Art (the methodology), the Science (the tools for speed and organization), Best Practices (the process and preparation for each calling environment) and our Prospector’s Academies™ (how we combine it all and teach it).  Applying each of these components is why we’ve never failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments a team of sales professionals were setting after going through one of our academies.

If you’d like more information on the topic of why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking appointment making!

Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at  You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.


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