Mindset is key to overcoming hesitation in sales prospecting, coach says

People who suffer from an emotional hesitation toward prospecting can overcome their “sales-call reluctance” with an awareness of the issue and strong coaching to help them change their mindset, says coach, trainer and speaker Connie Kadansky.

An e-mail to Kadansky from an employee of a major financial-services firm described a struggle with call reluctance. The person had doubts about ever finding success in a financial-services career because of being “wired the wrong way,” not because of laziness or a lack of knowledge, she says.

Those who experience call reluctance may be worried about seeming too self-promotional or pushy toward prospects — "they’re in fear, and they’re actually holding themselves back,” Kadansky says. This inner conflict prevents them from acting on their feelings of responsibility to talk about the value they can provide to prospects, she says.

An adviser, for example, could face rejection from a prospect or discover that a prospect is already working with another adviser, which could result in a "self-doubt spiral,” she says. Such reluctance also could manifest itself in a scenario such as a golf game with a prospect that ends before a discussion of potential business takes place.

Many who suffer from call reluctance feel embarrassed by it, but it’s important for them to understand that many others suffer from the same issue, Kadansky says.

Meanwhile, many trainers and managers advise employees to simply “pick up the phone,” but “nitty-gritty coaching” is a crucial factor in remedying call reluctance, she says.

If those dealing with call reluctance "could get comfortable with the prospecting, their whole world changes,” she says. "It’s mindset. Their beliefs influence their entire business."

Once people "know and embrace” their core value, "they will be emotionally resilient and unstoppable,” she says.

A final key step, after recognizing and assessing the issue, is for a person to admit to themselves and his or her coach that sales-call reluctance is a problem, Kadansky says. The person can then move on to scientifically based techniques to help shift his or her mindset about prospecting.

"It’s not their prospecting that causes them their anxiety, it’s their thought about it,” she says.

Human beings are “meaning-making machines,” and they should stop to consider what meaning they are deriving from a prospect who says no — and a great deal of coaching is necessary to help make that change to avoid the “self-doubt spiral," she says.

“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and there is a solution. You learned call reluctance, and you can unlearn it,” she says.