Call Reluctance – Yielder and Over-Preparer

We’ve not focused on Call and Contact Reluctance for some time, so here goes.

The first order of business is to gratefully acknowledge the enormous contribution made by George Dudley and Shannon Goodson and their team at Behavioral Sciences Research Press.  They transformed the careers of the millions of sales people around the globe.  George and Shannon formalized the Call & Contact Reluctance phenomenon in 1979 with the introduction of an assessment tool of considerable power.  I was introduced to Call Reluctance in 1993 and this was one of those events that changed my life. It has become a huge part of our consulting practice.

Redmond’s sales truths:

“Call and contact reluctance happen only 100% of the time”.

“Call and contact reluctance are natural parts of the sales process”.

“If you don’t think you have call and contact reluctance – don’t worry, you do!”


After working with thousands of sales professionals, our view is that Sales Call Reluctance is unavoidable.  There are sixteen distinct measures and you will have at least one or more of the sixteen, count on it.

Here’s a reminder of the indisputable secret of success in sales:  The only significant predictor of success in sales is “The number of contacts initiated with prospective buyers on a consistent basis“.

So, here are two behaviors that block us from making outbound contacts and even block us from working a room at a networking event.


Yielder and Over-Preparer Call Reluctance.


The internal dialogue of a Yielder goes something like:

  • “I don’t want to bother the prospect (or client) today.”
  • “It’s Monday, the prospect won’t want to hear from me today.”
  • “I don’t want to bother them today, it’s Friday.”
  • “It’s too close to lunch. I’ll wait until later.”
  • “It’s summer, I’ll get to them right after Labor Day.”
  • “I don’t want to push them for the order; they know why I’m here.”


Can you see the pattern here?  Have you said or thought these same things?  Have you heard your colleagues use the same dialogue?  How about from your boss or sales manager?

Doesn’t it feel like we’re describing a terrific quality that we can and should aspire to?

The key characteristic of a yielder is that they do not want to be perceived as being pushy or intrusive.  We see this in behaviors like not asking for the order, not asking for a referral, not asking for additional needed information, etc.  And the Yielder loses out to the competitor who is less of a Yielder.



This is the number one type of call reluctance of your author.  Upon learning that I was an over-preparer, I thought “what a wonderful quality.”  That is, until I realized that my production level was being significantly hampered by my need to over-prepare.

An example may help:  When prospecting for large commercial clients, I would obtain a few of years of annual reports, 10K’s, product brochures and hang out on the web for way too much time whilst I fill up my paper and electronic files with useful (and useless) information.  The only problem is that it was now 6:15 p.m. and I haven’t made that outbound contact yet.  But I’m getting ready!  That’s what we over-preparers do – we get ready.


What emotion triggers this behavior?

The trigger is fear.  Fear that the prospect will ask me a question that I won’t know the answer to and then I’ll be found out for the loser I am and live under a bridge and never to be able to sell again and blah!, blah!, blah! No wonder I over-prepare!

Where did this behavior originate?  From my first boss in the business.  If you can picture this – I’m maybe 25 years old and all I have is an insurance producer’s license for the State of New York.  My boss was a very good guy and I’m walking out the door to meet with a prospect and he says to me:  “Tom, have you thought of everything?” And my response was, “I’ve thought of nothing.  His name is Jack, he’s on the fifth floor and he buys insurance not from us. What else do I need to know?” Admittedly, I was under-prepared.

Due to the need to keep my job, I adjusted my sales approach and became deeply committed to research and attempting to think of everything.  There was the creation of an internal need to verify information that was not always relevant, necessary or supportive to making outbound contacts.

And I got so good at research that I got promoted and now had sales people working for me.  So what do you think I’m saying to them? “Have you thought of everything? Are you prepared?”

The result is that today, right at this moment, there are hundreds of sales women and men across the country over-preparing because they hung out with me.  I’m a carrier of Over-Preparation Call Reluctance and passed this on to others just like I learned it myself.  Over-Preparation cost me and others a bundle.  I was researching instead of promoting.

Do you see a pattern of Yielder and Over-preparation in your office? With your colleagues?  With your boss?  With yourself?

Now you have names for these “qualities gone bad”.  See if you can catch yourself Yielding or Over-Preparing (or both) this week.

Here’s a quick exercise – Can you think of one prospect that you’ve been meaning to contact and you never seem to get around to it?  That one that you should be contacting this afternoon?  The likely culprit for your delay is one or more types of call reluctance.

The steps to overcoming these behaviors are: set a contact goal for today; acknowledge the existence of call reluctance; be alert to your reluctance experiences; do something to break your thinking pattern! And Just Do It – make that contact.

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