The 30-Minute Rule for Overcoming Call Reluctance

Feb 1, 2008

Overview of Call Reluctance:

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.

I’d like to point out that 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.

Causes of Call Reluctance:

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.

Using the 30-Minute Rule for Overcoming Call Reluctance:

Think of cold calling like jumping into a cold swimming pool. Your best bet is to just dive in without too much thinking. You see the pool. It’s cold, but if you dive in, you will get acclimated pretty quickly. If on the other hand you keep walking around the pool, dipping your toe in, putting on suntan lotion, adjusting your suit, etc., you’ll start to have second thoughts and become paralyzed by procrastination.

Once you’ve dived in, it’s easy to keep diving in because your body has been in and out of the water several times and has acclimated to the temperature. You will actually start enjoying the process and realize that the water doesn’t even feel cold anymore.

It’s the same with making marketing calls. The 30-minute rule means that you pick up the phone and talk into it within 30 minutes of arriving at the office. So if you arrive at 8 a.m., you’ll be making your first call no later than 8:30. You might even want to have an egg timer on your desk. You come into the office, put down your briefcase, and set the timer for 30 minutes.

The 30-minute rule will help you to get into action before you have time to start procrastinating. Think of making your calls as a video game. If your man dies (you are rejected), just hit reset (make another call) and play another game. You might want to start with an easy call to get your blood pumping. If you dive right in each day, you’ll find that this becomes second nature, and your production will increase substantially.

Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists firm owners and solo recruiters in generating more profit in less time. Gary offers several FREE SPECIAL REPORTS, including “14 Critical Candidate Questions” and “The Search Process Checklist,” on his website. Get your copy now at