Written by Annika Widen

In 2007 it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, according to research by TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group. Today it takes 8 attempts. If you want to sell over the phone you need to call, call and call. The Decision Makers are in meetings, interviews, business trips, holidays, breaks and lunches. Do you feel relieved when you don't reach the person? That is an alarm signal. Maybe you suffer from Sales Call Reluctance.

Are you a Manager? Do you have a person who makes fewer phone calls than the rest of the team? It can depend on the fact that they suffer from Sales Call Reluctance. It is impossible to understand which of the 12 different types without a proper evaluation. However, today I want to tell you about the eighth most frequently observed type of Sales Call Reluctance - Telephobia.Up to 21 % of Sales People suffer from this.

Telephobia Sales Call Reluctance is found only in Sales People who become distressed when trying to use the phone as a prospecting tool. They usually have no problems to use the phone to order a pizza or talk to a friend. The problem is that they don't want to promote themselves over the phone.

People who suffer from Telephobia Sales Reluctance prefer to sell face-to-face but might apply to a position as a Telesales person as well. They know that they can sell, and are not aware of suffering from Telephobia. In the recruiting interview, you will never notice this fear. They might also pass all the personality tests and other tests with excellence, and you will never know you have hired a Candidate with Telephobia unless you test the Sales Call Reluctance before hiring them. If you have a person in your team with the following career style they might be suffering from Telephobia Sales Call Reluctance:

  • Fewer phone call attempts than the other team members
  • Starts calling later than the others in the morning
  • Attempts of reassuring and confidence boosting do not work
  • Takes too many breaks from telephone prospecting sessions
  • Compensates by using other prospecting methods that do not require using the phone.

Good news! Telephobia Sales Call Reluctance is easy to diagnose and correct if a serious commitment is made and serious measures are used. Bad News: If left unmanaged it can promptly expand to epidemic proportions. If Managers, Trainers or Sales Executives suffer from this, the prognosis is corporate self-destruction.

What do to?

  1. Be aware of the fact that these fears exist.
  2. Admit that it can occur at your organisation.
  3. Evaluate - measure what kinds of Sales Call Reluctance that keep you from reaching the expected number of calls per day.
  4. Get rid of the fears. There are proven methods to do so.

Source: The psychology of sales call reluctance by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson