In fact, a book called “The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance” estimates that this dread can be the reason 40% of experienced salespeople quit and why 80% of new sales reps fail.

Even if you don’t work directly in a sales role, all jobs require some element of cold calling and selling. It doesn’t need to be the panic-filled activity it is for so many. Read on to understand some of the causes of sales call reluctance and how you can overcome it.

Why So Reluctant?

Cold call reluctance is interesting. Even though you know the worst that can likely happen is that someone says no or hangs up on you, the panicked feelings are very real. Everyone is different, so your reluctance could stem from any combination of the factors below:

  • Sales is a Dirty Word: Salespeople often get a bad rap. Although they perform a valuable service, they’re often thought of as manipulative and greedy. If you’ve internalized this view, you may be ashamed to be in sales. This attitude will definitely make you reluctant to pick up the phone.
  • Fear of Rejection: It’s innate to all human beings. We just want to belong and be accepted. Depending on the context, being rejected can be devastating. A sales call rejection is not likely to devastate you, but you know that on-going rejections could end your career. This pressure is hard to ignore.
  • Insufficient Training or Practice: When you’re hired in a sales role, there should be a period of training. In this training you should have sufficient time to practice cold calling and role-playing calls with colleagues. Although nothing beats the real experience, training can help you get used to this new environment.
  • Lack of Preparation: While you don’t want to overprepare for a sales call, you do need to know your customers and the product or service you are trying to sell. If you don’t understand how your company can help the people you are selling to, you may never succeed in making your first call, let alone sale.
  • It’s Just Not Your Personality: You know how some people seem born to sell. It’s probably true. Different personality types fit better in the role of salesperson.

Steps for Overcoming Call Reluctance

Don’t let these obstacles weigh you down. There are numerous ways to overcome cold call reluctance and start calling and selling.

Acknowledge the Reluctance


If you try to push the reluctance aside and chide yourself that there’s nothing wrong and you “should” be able to make the call, you’re likely to feel worse. By admitting that you’re feeling reluctant, you can take steps to boost your confidence and knowledge to tackle these calls.

Shift Your Mindset


You can shift your mindset away from feeling like a sleezy salesperson by remembering that you’re a partner in helping your customers solve problems. Focusing on the value you are adding to your customers’ lives may help you feel better about what you’re selling.

Embrace the Power of Positive Psychology 

It may sound “new age-y” but the way you talk to yourself can have a real impact on your mood and confidence. Keep an eye on your inner dialogue and try to be kinder to yourself. You are not a loser for feeling call reluctance. You can also build a more positive outlook by taking time at the end of every day to write down three things that went well.

Educate Yourself


In order to be a partner, you need to know as much as you can about the services and products you are selling. If you aren’t clear, ask questions. The more thorough your understanding, the more successful you’re likely to be on the phone.

Pre-qualify Prospects

This step takes some time, but it can be a game-changer when cold calling. Before you call, evaluate if the prospect needs your product or service, can make the buy decision and has the budget for what you’re selling. It’s also a good idea to understand the competitive landscape, so you know what companies you’re up against.

Remove Distractions

It’s easier than ever to procrastinate in this digital world. When you have to make sales calls, make sure social media, smart phones, music and other distractions are put away.

Set Deadlines for Yourself

If you’re really procrastinating and don’t know how to get started, set a timer for yourself. Before the time goes off, you have to make your first call. Of course, you want to be prepared before you call, but often there’s something bigger keeping you from dialing.

Review Each Call

After you hang up, make note of how the call went. What was the outcome? What could you have improved? What would you change about your approach? Writing this down can help you keep track of how are doing.

Focus on Progress

Yes, you want to “always be closing” but in sales, especially cold calling, you’re likely to make many calls that won’t end in a sale. With the information you collect after your calls, you can see how far you have progressed, how much more confident you are on the phone and how much you are learning.

Seek Sales Manager Help

If you’re really struggling, be sure to ask for help from your sales manager. It won’t be the first time they’ve encountered someone struggling with sales call reluctance. They’ve probably experienced it themselves too. Good managers should be able to give you additional tools to work through these challenges.

Get on the Phone and Sell

Remember, it’s perfectly normal if you find yourself experiencing sales call reluctance. It happens to almost all sellers at some point in their careers. Don’t let these fears keep you from a potentially exciting career. By using some of the tips above, you’ll be picking up the phone and hitting your sales targets in no time.

Editors Note:

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Josh Slone
About Author: Josh Slone
Josh Slone is the Head Content Writer for LeadFuze. Josh writes about lead generation strategies, sales skills, and sales terminology.