The 12 Faces of Sales Call Reluctance

The hesitation to initiate first contact with prospective buyers on a daily basis is responsible for capable salespeople’s fear standing in the way of their goals and results in the extraction of a highly emotional and financial cost.  When salespeople are conflicted with such fears during the sales process, policy inconsistencies start to deteriorate the sales effort.

Here are the 12 distinct types of fear that cause salespeople to avoid prospecting:

The Twelve Faces of Sales Call Reluctance


  • Doomsayer 
    Doomsayers will not take risks and will divert their energy away from contact with prospective buyers leading to sales stagnation. Salespeople remain preoccupied with the worse-case prospecting possibilities.

  • Over-Preparation
    Over-preparers have the tendency to overanalyse and avoid action. In sales, they spent too much time preparing what to say but actually spend too little time prospecting for people to give presentations to.

  • Hyper-Pro
    The hyper professionals feel the need to manage people’s perception of them to look above average whilst disguising self-doubt and a proficiency gap. Projecting a successful image together with professional jargon, name-dropping, and a reflexive need to appear better informed, is almost more important that the actual sales tasks.

  • Stage-Fright
    A debilitating fear or dislike to present to groups due to emotional discomfort. However, other forms of prospecting may be completely unaffected.

  • Role Rejection
    Feelings of discomfort or guilt often accompany this career choice. Often fuelled by concerns of what others think about his/her career of choice, they understand the opportunities available in sales but the negative stereotypes about selling makes them feel like failures.

  • Yielder
    Yielders have the tendency to back off a sale rather than to pursue a matter to a satisfactory result. Characterised by a hesitation to prospect for new business, a yielder fears being considered selfish and intrusive.

  • Social Self Consciousness
    A self-imposed emotional hesitation that prevents effective interaction with particular customer target groups and to some extent also prevents them meeting them at all. Triggers include education or status differences. Although a highly targeted fear, other forms of prospecting may remain unaffected.

  • Separationist
    Separationists are characterised by their reluctance to ask their friends or peers to help them extend their sales network for fear of conflict or rejection. 

  • Emotionally Unemancipated
    The reluctance to ask family members to help extend their sales network or influence for fear of emotional conflict or rejection. It can have adverse consequences even in sales settings where appropriate to call on family members, or when family members are not accessible due to death or geographic distance.

  • Referral Aversion
    Characterised by emotional discomfort associated with asking existing clients for referrals, Referral Aversion affects salespersons very little or none whatsoever when initiating new contacts or closing sales.

  • Telephobia
    The inability to use the telephone to move sales objectives forward. Although highly targeted, face-to-face forms of prospecting may be completely unimpaired.

  • Oppositional Reflex
    Oppositional Reflex is characterised by the inability to share control or be supported. It often manifests itself by high approval needs and low self-esteem.  It also comes with a compulsive need to argue, make excuses and blame others. These salespeople are emotionally unable to allow themselves to be coached, advised, managed or trained.