June 22, 2018

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The 12 Types of Sales Call Reluctance

Part 1 of 2

Call reluctance is an emotional short circuit that diverts energy from the act of prospecting to the act of procrastinating. Instead of making calls, call reluctant salespeople are busy preparing to prepare and avoiding the phone. They allow their fears to stand in the way of their goals- and it extracts a high emotional and financial cost.

Cold Call Reluctance is an internal roadblock. This is not something that exists in any place other than your mind. If I asked you to bring me a jar of “call reluctance” you would not be able to do it. So there is no “call reluctance” in the world, there are only recruiters thinking scary thoughts that make them reluctant to get on the phone.

Call Reluctance can extend beyond the sales call to also avoiding in person meetings with a prospect. This is detrimental to the sales process because if the recruiter is not making calls, there will be few appointments, fewer search assignments, and ultimately lower profits for the recruiter and the company.

Call reluctance researchers George Dudley and Shannon Goodson report that "as many as 80% of all salespeople who fail within their first year do so because of insufficient prospecting activity." In the search industry we know that the vast majority of newbies who attempt our business fail within the first year and much of that failure comes from call reluctance. From a management standpoint, it is important to understand the types of call reluctance and their cures.


Although there are many reasons for Call Reluctance, they can be described within three major categories;

  1. The Fraud Factor:
    This has to do with a lack of belief in your ability to deliver great service. Successful selling involves two parts; the first is selling to yourself and the second is selling to your client. If you are not 100% sold on the quality of your service, you will tend to avoid selling situations.

  2. Repeated Failure:
    Another reason for Call Reluctance is the fear of repeated failure. This occurs when the Recruiter attempts to attract new clients but continually gets the door slammed in his face. Each time he hears a “no” it makes it harder and harder to pick up the phone and this can become a negative cycle.

  3. Fear of Rejection:
    Fear of rejection is a third factor that holds people back from selling with confidence. When a recruiter makes a marketing call to a prospect and goes through his sales questions, he will often meet some level of resistance on the other end of the line. If this rejection is taken personally, it can lead to call reluctance.

Dudley and Goodson came up with 12 Types of Call Reluctance, which I will outline, in the next newsletter feature.

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is a professional coach who specializes in assisting Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in making more placements with fewer struggles. His free monthly e-zine, "Creative Recruiting" is designed to help you to attract new clients, work more efficiently and still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at or via email to For more information or to schedule a complimentary coaching session call 408-847-5049.

Copyright 2003 Gary Stauble - All Rights Reserved