What fears might your kindest team member be hiding?

Written by Annika Widen

You are lucky! You have a person in the team who is always ready to support you and the other team members without asking to get anything back. Nice! Always kind and ready to act, always taking your advice and listening to what you have to say. Aren't you fortunate?

Well, maybe you are. Maybe not. The perfect team member might be hiding their own fears, for you and for themselves. Keep an eye on the performance. How long are the calls? How many leads do they generate? Also listen in to the calls. What do they talk about? Do they talk about business or about kids, food or the latest technology on the market? The Yielder is good at conversation, but not at closing deals. They feel like disturbing when selling.. They have difficulty asserting themselves, particularly when it comes to prospecting. They fear appearing pushy and intrusive. They are afraid to bother and they try to wait for the "right time" to call. They might say:

"I can't call them on a Monday morning. They are probably far too busy then."

"When I spoke with them last time, they sounded frustrated. I don't think it's a good idea to call back."

"I don't want to push them for an order. They know then can contact me."

"I have sent them an e-mail and am sure they will call back. They have my number."

This is one of the 12 types of Sales Call Reluctance that the psychologists George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson have dedicated years of research on finding. There are good methods to correct this type of Sales Reluctance, but the Yielder needs to WANT it. Most Yielders are cooperative and willing to follow instructions and therefore they are easy to work with. Having a Yielder in the team can otherwise be very costly, and the very best thing would be to find out if a candidate suffers from Sales Reluctance already in the recruitment process. It takes 45-60 minutes to take the test SPQ* GOLD and you will get the result very soon. You can then decide whether to hire the person, correcting the behaviour first, or simply choose another candidate. You can also have the existing Sales staff take the test and decide to have their fears coached away. In the book "The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance", by the psychologists named above, we can read some of the features we should look out for to find a Yielder's behaviour:

  • Hesitates to express needs and interests
  • Easy to persuade
  • Indecisive
  • Politely laughs at jokes and pleasantries which are neither funny nor pleasant
  • Has difficulty expressing anger, so it builds up inside
  • Tends to sociable but not necessarily outgoing
  • Strives to be more emphatic and assertive but hesitates to follow through behaviorally.


Yielder Call Reluctance appears to result from a combination of hereditary influences and past experiences. The Yielder is the most common type of Sales Reluctance, regardless of industry or sales setting. A Yielder's behaviour is contagious, just as all the other types of Call Reluctance. If you have a Sales Manager with Sales Reluctance, it will take the team 8 weeks to get contaminated.