AngryLet’s face it: there aren’t many people out there who love cold calling. Of course, there are the talented few with silver tongues who can talk their way past any secretary and right into the office of their target without breaking a sweat.

Such cold call efficacy is not common: in fact, a study by Behavioural Science Research Press found that 80 percent of all new salespeople who fail during the first year do so as a result of insufficient prospecting activity.

Many recruiters and sales people just hate picking up the phone for prospects. Cold call reluctance may not come as a surprise to many recruiters or sales managers, but what might be surprising are the kind of methods employees can use to overcome their reluctance.

I’ve outlined an approach to overcoming cold call resistance as an agency recruiter — or sales person, for that matter.

A very good starting is understand the specific psychological fear that fuels the reluctance.

According to research from Baylor University, there are 12 types of sales call reluctance that could be undermining your recruiting team’s efforts. Learning to spot these types of reluctance is the first step toward becoming a better cold caller. The types of reluctance are:

  1. Doomsayer (won’t take risks and worries);
  2. over-preparation (spending too much time preparing to prospect);
  3. hyper pro (fixated on image but poor presenter);
  4. stage fright (hates public speaking and pitching to groups);
  5. role rejection (ashamed of sales career but won’t admit it);
  6. yielder (doesn’t want to intrude on others);
  7. social — self-conscious (Can find upmarket clients intimidating);
  8. separationist (hesitating to contact friends for networking);
  9. emotionally unemancipated (uncomfortable about mixing business and family);
  10. referral aversion (doesn’t want to share client relationships);
  11. telephobia (feeling discomfort with using the phone as a prospecting tool);
  12. and oppositional reflex (won’t accept coaching from managers, trainers).

As an agency recruiter or team manager, you might recognize some of these fears in yourself or your teammates. This framework enables you to take a diagnostic view of a recruiter’s prospecting behavior to identify weaknesses and create a targeted development plan to address them.

The researchers behind this list assert that just being aware of the specific type of cold call reluctance that afflicting a particular individual is empowering enough for the individual to improve their prospecting behavior.

Of course, self-awareness won’t fix everything. Targeted coaching and training can help address an individual’s specific type or types of call reluctance and remove the fear of cold calling.



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