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Does Social Media Help Salespeople Sell?

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Dallas, Texas, May 10, 2012. Social media technologies have re-shaped how we interact. But do they help salespeople sell? 

Not according to the results of two surveys presented at the 2012 annual convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association in Oklahoma, City. The surveys, reported by behavioral scientists, Trelitha R. Bryant and George W. Dudley at Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, Texas, were presented April 13, 2012. Bryant and Dudley asked 4,768 salespeople (67% men, 33% women, average age 40) in more than 1,000 U.S. companies which form of client communication is most helpful for generating new sales. The salespeople were surveyed as part of a standard assessment protocol for sales professionals which included the Sales Preference Questionnaire (SPQ*GOLD®), a psychological test used worldwide to detect emotional discomfort associated with prospecting for new business. Almost 70% (+/-1%) said established forms of communication (face-to-face and telephone contact) were most helpful generating new sales. Only 10% (+/-.14%) claimed email was most effective and less than 10% said other forms of computer-mediated communication were most effective. Results were not age-related.

“Further analyses uncovered another relationship,” Dudley said. “Salespeople claiming social media is most effective might be struggling with sales call reluctance®, an emotional impediment to production characterized by apprehension, conflict, hesitation or avoidance specifically associated with sales prospecting. They had elevated prospecting distress scores on eleven of the twelve forms of sales call reluctance measured by the test.”

To confirm their results, the research team conducted a follow-up study of 1,512 additional salespeople (64%male; 36% female, average age 40). The outcome was essentially the same (68% said conventional, 2.8% computer-mediated). “The second study confirmed what we learned in the first,” Bryant said, “including the link with sales call reluctance.  Computer-mediated social media may help find a date, keep tabs on old friends or support a political campaign. But most salespeople don’t think it’s as helpful as conventional person-to-person contact for generating new sales. ”

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Typing Sales Call Reluctance®

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Sales Call Reluctance® is the fear of self-promotion specifically found in salespeople.  Its roots are based in the generalized fear of contact initiation, but more specifically associated with the fears of certain contact initiation activities and ideas associated with the role in a sales position or career.

Sales call reluctance is perplexing for sales managers, trainers and consultants to accurately predict during selection and even more difficult to detect in existing salespeople because it is not one thing.  It is many.  When the symptoms do become clear, it is often too late.

Through years of research, BSRP noticed the fear they were studying in call reluctant salespeople manifested differently in different individuals and common patterns began to develop.  Eventually, twelve distinct forms of sales call reluctance were identified from this research.  Each type is statistically unique.   Each of the call reluctance types is behaviorally very narrow.  Some types of prospecting may be disturbed while others are left untouched.  A salesperson can be extremely uncomfortable initiating first contact with highly educated people but has no problem whatsoever asking for referrals or using the telephone.  Another salesperson can be totally comfortable initiating contact with wealthy prospects but dread calling on highly educated prospective buyers.  Call reluctance is the behavioral opposite of target marketing – it is emotion-based target avoidance.

Proper diagnosis of type is essential if you want to know, 1) what you are dealing with, 2) which “corrective measure” is likely to work best, and 3) what the outlook for improvement is. Type is important because it is from type that the most effective course of action is derived – “effective” meaning intervention likely to produce the biggest improvement in the shortest possible time to counter sales call reluctance.  Some types are comparatively easy to overcome.  Others are not.  Some can’t be “cured” at all.  Some types of call reluctance respond to certain training procedures better than others.  Applying the wrong countermeasure, or the right countermeasure in the wrong order, or applying the same corrective technique to all types can be worse than doing nothing at all.

BSRP’s assessment, the SPQ*GOLD®, is very unique in that it focuses on the behavior of prospecting or contact initiation.  It asks the general question, “Will this salesperson prospect?”  And if the answers are showing no, it can explain why.  It measures the twelve distinct types of Sales Call Reluctance behaviors in the individual taking the test.  Those twelve types of Sales Call Reluctance behaviors are: Doomsayer, Over-Preparer, Hyper-Professional, Stage Fright, Sales Role Rejection, Yielder, Social Self-Consciousness, Separationist, Emotionally Unemancipated, Referral Aversion, Telephobia, and Oppositional Reflex.

Once type is known, help can be prescribed and the once call reluctant individual can be back on their way to earning what they are worth.  Go to BSRP’s website to find out how you can take the SPQ*GOLD to see if sales call reluctance is holding you back from earning what you’re worth www.salescallreluctance.com .

www.salescallreluctance.com

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SALES CALL RELUCTANCE® DEFINED

April 9, 2012 1 comment

The conflict most people experience when they try to stand up, step out and make their contributions visible is not pleasant.  To some, it’s gut-wrenchingly stressful.  Left unattended in certain professions like sales, it’s career lethal.

Each time we try to self-promote, this corrosive conflict gets re-experienced.  Eventually, through repetition and association, it solidifies into a mindless habit.  Once formed into a habit, we become uncomfortable every time we try to draw attention to the positive “features and benefits” that characterize us.  All the conflicts, hesitations and fears associated with making first contact for career-advancement purposes, can be collected into a common cluster, technically called “Inhibited Social Contact Initiation Syndrome (ISCIS)” and nicknamed the fear of self-promotion.  This fear is real and it has measurable consequences.

When the fear of self-promotion specifically contaminates salespeople, it’s called Sales Call Reluctance® because it places an artificially low ceiling on the number of first contacts which can be initiated with prospective buyers on a consistent daily basis.  Some salespeople only make a fraction of the calls they could.  Others make even fewer.  Some don’t make any.  They can’t.  For them, prospecting for new business is emotionally out of bounds.  Cut off from opportunities to sell, their sales careers flounder and flop, until finally, they’re finished.

Time and time again, throughout the last thirty years, BSRP’s applied and theoretical call reluctance research has shown that the fear is real, it is measurable, it can undermine careers, and the first place you’ll feel call reluctance is in your wallet.  Cross–industry studies conducted by BSRP show that 80% of all new salespeople fail to complete their first year in sales.  The reason is they don’t sell enough.  They don’t sell enough because they don’t have enough prospective buyers to sell to.  They don’t have enough people to sell to because they don’t prospect enough.  They don’t prospect enough because it’s too stressful.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Approximately 40% of all veteran producers admit to one or more episodes of sales call reluctance severe enough to threaten their continuation in sales.  Call reluctance claims more otherwise promising sales careers each year than all other factors combined.  And it can be just as destructive in non-sales settings.

Could call reluctance be threatening your career?  If you think you could be suffering from sales call reluctance, the people at Behavioral Sciences Research Press can provide you with some valuable information that could help get you where you want to go.  Go to their website www.salescallreluctance.com .

Susan Claunch

Media Productions & Communications

www.salescallreluctance.com

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