How to Overcome Sales Call Reluctance

Selling Skills | Prospecting

Sales prospecting is one of the highest priorities for corporate sales teams. If current customers are buying less, new customers are needed to achieve sales objectives. So do sales reps avoid prospecting? 

Here is a list of the most common causes of sales call reluctance:

  • Insufficient number of warm sales leads
  • Hard to reach people (voice mail or gatekeepers)
  • Prefer to work with existing customers
  • Don’t have enough time
  • Not very rewarding

While there may be some validity to these objections, what I have found over the years is that sales reps typically don’t like to prospect for two simple reasons: (1) they don’t understand the importance, and/or (2) they are not very good at it.

So let’s start with the case for appointment setting. Prospecting is a key selling skill that needs to occur on a consistent basis in order to grow business volume. Sales reps who are overly reliant on existing relationships are subject to numerous factors outside of their control including changes in their customers (i) key contacts (promoted, fired, resigned..), (ii) budgets, and (iii) business priorities. Even if some of their customers end up buying more, their customer base will likely erode unless they have a plan to bring on new customers.

The fact that most sales reps are not very good at prospecting is typically a function of their skills and motivation. Not surprisingly their motivation tends to improve as sales reps develop confidence in their skills. These keys skills include learning and applying a proven prospecting process, developing messages that capture decision makers attention, implementing strategies to effectively deal with voice mail, and the use of Sales 2.0 tools to improve prospecting efficiency.

The great news is that prospecting does work. In fact, every single customer was once a prospect.


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About Norman Behar

Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD,, and Selling Power.