Kicking Sales Call Reluctance to the Curb

DEC 14, 2012 5:30pm ET

As a commissioned loan originator in business to make money, prospecting is one of the most profitable things you can do. When you are placing phone calls, marketing your database, delivering presentations, setting up new appointments or asking for leads and referrals you are—in a roundabout way—making money.  Activities like these create potential prospects, and prospects create loans. (And isn’t that how you make your money?)
If this is such a simple concept, why do some loan originators do so little prospecting? The answer is sales call reluctance. Sales call reluctance is a fear of making contacts, and essentially, a fear of selling. Sales call reluctance can take many forms, such as a fear of rejection, fear of feeling like you are bothering people, fear of wasting time, and fear of failure.
Someone once defined FEAR as False Expectations Appearing Real. That’s exactly what sales call reluctance is; it’s creating false expectations of your prospecting efforts by projecting yourself into a sales situation and anticipating a negative outcome. For example:
“I’m not going to contact that agent. She’s probably not even interested.”
“I am not going to do a seminar. No one will show up.”
“I’m not going to call that guy back. He’s probably busy right now.”
This is sales call reluctance. Fear of a negative outcome creates apprehension, and that leads to non-action. Think about this: Why do something if you already believe it’s not going to work?
There are three things you can do to combat your call reluctance. First, you can change your “mindset.” Partly, the fear you experience comes from thinking negatively about something you want to do. To overcome your reluctance, you must begin to think positively about your prospecting activities, and have attitudes such as:
“I am going to contact that agent. She might have a buyer I can help right now.”
“I’m going to put on a seminar. I’ll bet I can generate some new loan opportunities.”
“I’m going to call that guy back right now. He may be waiting on me.”
Sales call reluctance is a mental block, and to defeat that mental block it takes a positive mindset when it comes to prospecting. Will a positive mindset guarantee that your activities will generate a new client every time? Certainly not. But your chances of generating a new client and another loan are much better if you take action than if you don’t.
The second thing you can do to overcome your sales call reluctance is to perform your prospecting activities on a more regular basis. Simply put, it’s hard to feel comfortable doing something if it is something you rarely do. If calling on real estate agents, telemarketing your database or networking at a business function are all things you have never done, or haven’t done in a while, you’ll likely feel intimidated or even avoid those activities altogether.
Make prospecting a part of your regular work routine. Every day, make a few phone calls, follow up on your leads, set up a new appointment and get out of your office to socialize a bit. You’ll build your confidence, reduce your fear, initiate more contacts and find new loans.
The third (and perhaps most effective) way to deal with your sales call reluctance is to see prospecting as a genuine money-making activity. For example: Larry the loan originator makes two outbound contacts each day, or 10 contacts a week for 40 total contacts every month. Ten percent of Larry’s contacts turn into interested prospects and about two-thirds of his prospects will apply for and get a loan. So, Larry’s 40 contacts a month yields three closed loans. Assuming Larry earns $2,000 in commission per loan, Larry can calculate that he makes $150 every time he makes a contact ($6,000 divided by 40 contacts). In effect, Larry is paying himself $150 for every contact he makes…whether they have a loan for him or not. When you start to equate prospecting with profit, your view of selling and reaching out to people changes. You begin to appreciate the real value of prospecting, and you’ll make more time to do it more often.
Every salesperson has a touch of sales call reluctance; it comes with the territory. But if your mission is to meet more people and write more loans, it’s something you’ll have to overcome. Reduce or eliminate your fears and you’ll open your business up to a whole new level of success.