The Possible Impact of Call Reluctance© on Customer Support Representatives

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The Possible Impact of Call Reluctance© on Customer Support Representatives
by Frank Lee

The Customer Support Rep (CSR) can be an exciting and very profitable departure from the normal role of the parts person. However, dealers should realize that the CSR is a sales role and should, therefore, carefully screen the candidate for at least two things:

  • Can he sell?
  • Will he sell?

If the answer to either is no, he may not do a credible job. The wrong person could do damage and jeopardize the entire program. In any new program, there is a tendency to generalize the failure of only a few to everyone and to conclude that the program itself does not work.

The Call Reluctance® Test addresses the second question — will he sell? Managers often make the fatal assumption that, if a sales person is capable and knows how to sell, he will sell. This is seriously flawed. Many capable, intelligent, motivated, goal-driven sales people fail because they are emotionally unable to do the things necessary to reach goals they say they want.

The following is a description of some of the measures on the SPQ*GOLD® The Call Reluctance® Scale and how they can impact on the performance of the CSR.

Motivation Level

A sales person with low motivational energy will not perform up to standard. There is simply not enough energy. It’s like plugging a 50-volt sales person into a 110-volt job. An acceptable level of motivation is crucial.

Goal Level

This measures the reasons why salespeople sell. If the CSR has no clear goals, no clear reasons for getting out there and shaking the bushes, he may avoid selling altogether and become another visitor. Someone with low goals talks a good game but has no sense of urgency. He is all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Goal Diffusion

Sales people with too many important goals tend to run around in circles and accomplish very little. Always busy, they mistake activity for accomplishments. They tend to confuse customers and have difficulty staying on track.

These 3 measures are impostors because they mimic authentic Call Reluctance®. They look like Call Reluctance® but are not and should be treated differently.

The Following Call Reluctance® Types Can Affect the CSR

Doomsayer™ – Doomsayers constantly worry about low-probability failures. They expend a tremendous amount of physical energy defending against fictional dangers. They do not make calls because they fear a disastrous outcome.

Over-Preparer™ – Over-concerned that the customer will perceive him as not knowing enough about his product, the Over-Preparer spends too much time preparing and too little time actually making sales calls. Always involved in “busy” work, he is usually drained by the end of the day with very little to show for it. When he does make sales presentations, they tend to be stilted, stiff, full of technical details and boring. The CSR who is an Over-Preparer may tend to put customers to sleep.

Stage Fright™ – Uncomfortable with making group presentations, CSR’s with this type of Call Reluctance® will avoid situations where they can, or should, present their story to a group. Although this may not apply, sometimes only two people comprise a group and this is enough to freeze him.

Role Rejection™ – Intellectually, he accepts the role of the sales person in the business community. Emotionally, however, he is still trapped in the stereotypical view of the salesperson. Although he spouts platitudes about the joys of selling and talks often about positive mental attitude, he is secretly ashamed of being in sales. The positivism is a fragile shell that is easily shattered. He avoids discussing his role as a salesperson and avoids networking opportunities.

Yielder™ – This could possibly be the most important Call Reluctance® type to detect. Yielders believe in relationship selling. They do well in selling a relationship but neglect the reason why they sold the relationship in the first place. Afraid to appear pushy or intrusive, they do not ask for the order, waiting instead for exactly the right time or opportunity. They make excellent visitors and often sell the prospect on their products. They just do not ask for the order. This opens the door for their competition to come in and simply pick up orders they left behind.

Social Self-Consciousness™ – This will cause the CSR to avoid prospects they consider above themselves. This can take the form of wealth, education, power, or even a social class. This is an extremely costly type to have because he could default all of the “upper market” business to the competition.

Oppositional Reflex™ – Extremely difficult to coach, train and advise, Oppositionals tend to fight with customers. Unnecessarily concerned that they should be perceived as people of worth, they strike out reflexively against anyone or anything that threatens this all-important image. Customer questions become challenges to their credibility. Suggestions become ultimatums. You should keep persons with high incidences of this type of Call Reluctance® as far away from customers as possible.

Adapted from “Earning What You’re Worth? The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance©” by George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson, © 1992, 1995, Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Inc., Dallas, TX. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Used with permission.