Anticipatory Anxiety: The Invisible Barrier in Sales Prospecting

The importance of prospecting cannot be overstated. It’s the lifeline to new opportunities, fresh leads, and potential clients. Prospecting requires salespeople to step into unpredictability – the unknown.

Many salespeople need to pay more attention to this pivotal activity. Often, the root cause is an unseen psychological barrier: Anticipatory Anxiety.

What is Anticipatory Anxiety? It is that uneasy feeling of dread or fear about a future event or situation. For salespeople, this often translates into the fear of rejection or embarrassment of reaching out to potential clients. This anxiety can manifest in various ways – from subtle procrastination to more overt avoidance behaviors.

How Does It Impact Prospecting?

When a salesperson experiences Anticipatory Anxiety, their mind is often flooded with negative scenarios:

                What if they say ‘no”?

                What if I say something stupid?

                What if they’re not interested?

                What will they think of me?

                What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?

These looming questions create a mental block, deterring salespeople from making the call or doing proactive outreach. Over time, this avoidance has a snowball effect. The less frequently you prospect, the more intimidating it becomes, resulting in missed opportunities and stunted sales growth.

Sales Call Reluctance is the emotional hesitation to leverage relationships, proactively prospect and promote.  It is fear – which is a mental response to a “perceived” threat. Imagine a salesperson with a sack over their head. The sack serves as a self-protective barrier.  What are they attempting to protect?

The Power of Specialized Coaching

There is good news!  Like many challenges in sales, Anticipatory Anxiety can be overcome with the right tools and mindset. This is where a Sales Call Reluctance Coach comes into play.

Coaching to Overcome Sales Reluctance focuses on:

  1. Identifying the Root Cause: Before addressing the specific type of reluctance, it’s essential to understand its origins. Is it past rejections? Lack of confidence in the product or service? Fear of the unknown? Pinpointing the type of reluctance tailors the solution. Telephobia is one of the 16 types of Sales Reluctance. It is one of the easiest to overcome.  I did it in one morning in my office.
  2. Cultivating Curiosity is a powerful tool: Curiosity diverts attention from internal anxious thoughts to the external world.  Curiosity builds confidence to learn. When you are curious about prospects, you’re more likely to have positive and constructive conversations.
  3. Shifting Mindset: Learn to reframe your perspective. Instead of seeing prospecting as a potential threat, it’s an opportunity – a chance to learn scientifically proven techniques on how to initiate contact with potential buyers. The miracle is in changing the mindset from self-centric to value-genic.
  4. Role-playing and practice: Salespeople become comfortable and confident with the process by repeatedly simulating prospecting scenarios. Over time, this diminishes the anxiety associated with the unknown.  Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator, famously says, “When under pressure, salespeople do not rise to the occasion; they fall to the highest level of preparation.”

Anticipatory Anxiety silently hinders your performance and potential.  With awareness, understanding, and the guidance of a Master Sales Call Reluctance Coach, this invisible barrier can be dismantled. As you break free from this invisible barrier, you can unlock new levels of success, drive, and opportunity in your career.

Unleashing Your Prospecting Potential: Mastering the Locus of Control

Prospecting, a key sales aspect, demands tenacity, resilience, and a deep understanding of human psychology. One fundamental concept that holds tremendous power is the “locus of control.”  This concept refers to how salespeople perceive their ability to influence the events that impact their lives. Those with an internal locus of control believe they can shape their outcomes through their efforts and actions. Conversely, those with an external locus of control feel their outcomes are influenced more by external factors, such as luck or fate.  

The Influence of Locus of Control on Prospecting  

Identifying and initiating contact with potential clients is a critical activity that many salespeople find daunting. A salesperson’s attitude towards prospecting can often be traced back to their locus of control.  

1. Internal Locus of Control: The Proactive Prospector   Salespeople with a strong internal locus of control believe their success directly results from their actions. They are typically proactive prospectors, comfortable in taking consistent action because they feel in control. They perceive prospecting as an adventure they can enter with dedication, skill and perseverance. These salespeople tend not to be discouraged by “rejection” or failure, viewing them as opportunities to learn and improve their techniques.   If you find yourself feeling rejected by responses like “not interested” or “we already have a vendor,” take a moment to reflect on the story you tell yourself about the “rejection.” By recognizing that suffering begins with our own narrative, you can choose to let go, move forward, or adopt better strategies to engage prospects effectively.  

2. External Locus of Control: The Reluctant Prospector   Salespeople with an external locus of control may feel their success depends on external factors beyond their control. This perception can lead to a reluctance to prospect. They see the process as an uphill battle dictated by luck or market conditions, making them hesitant to invest time and energy in prospecting. Consequently, they might passively wait for leads to come their way instead of proactively seeking them out. They hide, deny and suppress their reluctance and stay busy with administrative tasks, attending webinars, watching YouTube videos and scrolling through LinkedIn.  

Shifting the Locus of Control for Better Prospecting   As an experienced coach specializing in Overcoming Sales Call Reluctance coach, I aim to empower salespeople to harness the power of an internal locus of control, transforming even the most hesitant into confident, proactive sales generators.   Sales Call Reluctance extends beyond mere phone call anxiety – it encompasses the barriers that hinder proactive prospecting in any form. It affects asking for referrals, initiating conversations, networking and more.Recognizing the broader impact of Sales Call Reluctance is vital to unlock your true sales growth potential, regardless of the communication medium.    

Strategies to encourage a shift towards an internal locus of control:

Take Ownership: Take responsibility for your sales outcomes. View your outcomes as a product of your approach and effort.  

Focus on Skill Development: Prospecting is a learned and refined skill. Practice, Practice, Practice. Have you ever attained mastery over anything that did not take practice?  

Celebrate Effort, Not Just Results: The Hyper-Achiever salespeople live to hug the trophy, and they don’t stop to enjoy the process. This is a toughie!I know! Remember I’m a salesperson too! As Hyper-Achievers, we limit ourselves because if we can’t be sure we’ll achieve something, we rationalize and discount it and don’t challenge ourselves to step into the unknown.  

Measure Your Progress. I have a simple children’s abacus on my desk, and every Monday, I start with a fresh abacus, and with every outreach, everything I do to promote my business, I move a bead. It is motivating, and we cannot manage what we do not measure.  

Get Mentally Fit: A negative mind will never give you a positive life. View challenges as gifts or opportunities rather than obstacles. A positive mindset helps you feel empowered. Contrast is the differentiation between what you want and what you currently experience. It is a natural and vital part of our existence. It serves as a powerful catalyst for growth. Embrace obstacles because they help us recognize what we truly want. The clearer we get on what we want, the more we focus our energy and achieve our goals.  

Celebrate the small victories along the way. When we focus on the positives and gratitude, we feel good emotionally. The more positive you feel, the more successful you’ll be.    

What if you experience prospecting as an adventure and an act of service? When you genuinely believe in the value you offer, it becomes easier to prospect with confidence and conviction.   Remember, 80% of the sales is centered around engagement and discovering the prospect’s needs. Embrace the power of locus of control, master your prospecting potential, and unlock new opportunities for success consistently and confidently.  

Success Leaves Clues

Who can you connect with today to boost your momentum? Success is a momentum game, and progress fuels happiness. When thriving, seize the moment to reflect, amplify success strategies, and aim for further growth. Continual improvement leads to ultimate fulfillment. Don’t wait for setbacks to seek progress; strive daily for betterment. Seek clues daily.

Prospecting for Sales: Priming the Pump for Success

Sales prospecting, like priming a pump, initiates the flow of opportunities. Starting with cold leads or new markets demands building relationships from scratch, akin to an empty pump system. The effort needed in prospecting through calls, networking and social media, mirrors the physical exertion of pump priming. Persistent prospecting creates a lead stream, just as continued pumping initiates water flow.

Sales prospecting requires adaptive strategies and troubleshooting. Patience and persistence are vital, as sustained efforts don’t guarantee immediate results and yield success. Embracing the analogy can motivate salespeople to invest in consistent prospect strategies, generating a robust pipeline.

Sales Call Reluctance is the emotional hesitation to initiate contact with potential buyers. It is a mental habit that was learned and you can unlearn it. Hundreds of salespeople have been through short-term coaching that has changed their worlds.

Sales Call Reluctance is not just reluctance to make phone calls

Sales Call Reluctance: a term that seems to indicate a fear of making prospecting phone calls. It encompasses so much more than that. It’s a hesitation, an invisible barrier that stunts proactive prospecting in any form, not just over the phone. Whether it’s reaching out to potential clients, initiating conversations, or even networking, this reluctance can hinder those actions. It’s a force that binds your sales potential.

Misunderstood by many, it’s crucial to recognize that Sales Call Reluctance is broader than its name implies. It’s a universal challenge, stopping you from identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for creating value and achieving your sales goals, irrespective of the medium. Face it head-on to unlock true sales growth.

Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about; living with it needlessly is.

Sales Call Reluctance Plagues Seasoned Financial Advisors and Salespeople too!

The dirty little secret no one is talking about — Sales Call Reluctance. It is easy to hide, deny and suppress the fear while hiding behind serving current clientele.

In the sales world, there’s a dirty little secret that often goes unspoken: Sales Call Reluctance. This insidious fear lurks in the minds of even the most seasoned salespeople and financial advisors, causing them to hide, deny, and suppress their anxieties while maintaining the facade of serving their current clientele and relying on referrals from their current clients.

Sales Call Reluctance is the overwhelming fear of making sales calls or reaching out to potential clients. It can manifest in various ways, such as procrastination, avoidance, or making excuses to avoid picking up the phone. Despite their outward success, many experienced salespeople suffer silently from this fear, afraid to admit their vulnerability.

Why is this secret so well-guarded? One reason is the culture of sales, which often prioritizes a confident and fearless demeanor. Salespeople are expected to be bold, assertive, and unafraid of rejection. Admitting to Call Reluctance can be seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence, potentially jeopardizing their reputation and career advancement.

Another reason is the focus of serving existing clients. Seasoned salespeople often find comfort in maintaining relationships with their loyal clientele. They become experts at delivering exceptional customer service and meeting the needs of their current accounts. However, this comfort zone can also become a trap, preventing them from pursuing new opportunities and expanding their customer base.

Acknowledging and addressing Sales Call Reluctance is crucial for personal and professional growth. Salespeople need to recognize that fear is a natural emotion and seeking help to support is not a sign of weakness, but rather a step towards improvement. I have a proven program to help salespeople overcome call reluctance and regain their confidence.

It’s time to break the silence and start an open dialogue about Sales Call Reluctance. By addressing his hidden fear and providing support, we can create a more empathetic and nurturing sales culture that allows salespeople to thrive, both in serving their current clientele and exploring new business opportunities consistently.

Sales Call Reluctance is a show stopper

Overcoming Sales Call Reluctance is essential to embody a proactive approach to new business focused on identifying opportunities, creating value, and generating profit. Sales Call Reluctance is a show-stopper that hinders success and devastates careers. Sales Call Reluctance is the fear or hesitation to prospect and promote. It impedes capitalizing on opportunities and even following through on leads. By acknowledging and addressing your reluctance head-on, salespeople can break through the mental barriers, embrace a proactive approach and unlock the full potential for long-term success. Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about; living with it needlessly is.

How much is Sales Call Reluctance and Goal Diffusion affecting your focus on New Sales Opportunities

What is going on in our brains? Dr. Joe Dispenza, a New York Times bestselling author who conducts extensive scientific research on performance and goal achievement, studies the brain. According to him, when stress hormones arouse the brain and people continuously shift their attention from one thing to another, the brain fires incoherently. This leads to a lack of brain coherence and causes individuals to become fragmented and unfocused. Salespeople who experience incoherent brain activity and goal diffusion face challenges in achieving their sales targets. How this manifests in a sales conversation, is when they:  

Interrupt the prospect frequently.  
Appear scattered, going in too many directions at once.  

Their conversation with the prospect takes many detours and tangents.  

May not follow up or follow through with prospects, proposals, and projects.  

Confuse the prospect by bringing up new topics without finishing up on earlier ones.  

Become easily distracted and may not pay good attention to what the prospect is saying.    

When we experience Call Reluctance, we distract ourselves from achieving our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).     KPIs are measurable values that indicate how well you achieve your sales goals. We cannot manage what we do not measure.  

Sales Growth ensures that sales grow at a healthy rate.  

A high Conversion Rate indicates you are effectively closing deals.  

Sales Revenue is the metric for assessing your overall sales success.  

Sales Cycle Length ensures sales close quickly enough to meet revenue targets.  

The average deal size ensures that your sales are large enough to be profitable.  

Customer Lifetime Value measurement ensures that you focus on high-value customers/clients.    

Which KPI have you mastered? Which one needs more attention?  Salespeople are only as strong as their weakest link.

Another major obstacle to achieving sales goals is Sales Call Reluctance, the emotional hesitation to prospect and promote. Fear is a mental response to a perceived threat. Call Reluctance is a mental habit. That is the good news. We can unlearn habits. There are 16 ways that Salespeople hesitate to prospect and promote their products and services. Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about; living with it needlessly is. 
Over 150 of my clients have boosted their success by investing in the assessment that measures Sales Call Reluctance and Goal Diffusion, plus this 7-week coaching program.

In order to Overcome Sales Call Reluctance, self-reflection is a vital component.

Self-reflection is an essential component to overcoming Sales Call Reluctance because it allows salespeople to gain insight into their thoughts, feelings and actions. It is a process of self-examination of behavior and beliefs to make positive changes. Yet many salespeople do not like to self-reflect because:

1.      Self-reflection can bring up uncomfortable emotions, such as guilt, shame, or regret. Many people avoid self-reflection to avoid experiencing these emotions.

2.      Many salespeople live busy lives with work, family, and other obligations, leaving them little time for introspection.

3.      Self-reflection can lead to personal growth and change which can be daunting to some. They prefer to stay in their comfort zone and avoid the uncertainty that comes with change.

4.      Lack of awareness. Some people may not be aware of the benefits of self-reflection and may not see the valuable use of time.

5.      Self-reflection can also bring up insecurities and fears about being judged by oneself or others.

Self-reflection is a skill that can be developed with practice, and it can lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and greater personal growth.

What is your relationship with self-reflection?

How to successfully engage more prospects by no-excuse prospecting strategies

Who is this blog for:

1) Any salesperson who needs to get in front of more prospects consistently.

2) Sales managers who have people on their teams who are not prospecting and converting.

3) For the salesperson ready to own up to their true potential.

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about prospects, prospecting activity, and the current market conditions. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone getting on the phone or getting out into the market. Excuses lead to regrets and stagnation.

Sales Call Reluctance® is the emotional hesitation to prospect and promote. It is a fear, which is a mental response to a perceived threat. It is based on fleeting emotions and puts the brake on sales careers.

What is your favorite excuse for not prospecting?

The first step in overcoming Sales Call Reluctance is to recognize the source of the reluctance, the fear of proactively initiating contact with potential buyers. You can do this by taking the assessment that measures the 16 types of Sales Call Reluctance. (Yes, I administer, interpret the assessment, and coach all types of salespeople.)

Fear of prospecting causes the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, to hijack your prospecting. Thought-disturbing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline rush through our blood vessels, we check the market one more time, escape from prospecting activity, and we eat another donut. Cortisol (stress hormone) makes us insatiably hungry and attaches sugar to our blood cells. Ever wonder why there is so much diabetes due to stress?

The second step to stress-free prospecting is admitting to your Sales Call Reluctance. Admission can cause discomfort; however, you can overcome this career-debilitating fear with compassionate inquiry and neuroscientific proven techniques.

The moment you admit to yourself the excuses you are making, you are already self-correcting and on the path to releasing the fear. We feel the stress of prospecting because of the meaning we assign to something. If a prospect tells you no, not interested, what do we make it mean? When a genuinely qualified prospect tells you no, that can be the beginning of your sales process unless you are a one-call close sale with an infinite number of prospects.

Five steps to becoming an effective lead generator:
1. Nutrition plays a big part toward your success in sales. Proper food, supplements, and alcohol-free beverages make all the difference in the world. Dr. Alan Watkins claims we are going nowhere fast without healthy bodies, the ability to manage emotions, and mental fitness, which is how quickly you can shift from negative to positive responses when dealing with challenges. It takes physical and psychological energy to prospect.

2. Your prospecting mentality must be cultivated daily to manage your prospecting success. Asking yourself the right questions that engage your executive brain instead of your fear brain is essential. a. What is the value you create for your prospects? How curious can you get about the perspective of your prospect? This value-genic mindset is so critical to your complete success. Going into a prospecting call with a self-centric mindset of “What’s in it for me?” “How do I get what I want?” “How can I impress them?” makes it easy for the prospect to say “no” or to give you a counterfeit “yes” to never allow you in their space again.

3. Avoid the ravages of prospecting stress through consistent exercise, restful sleep, a sense of humor, and healthy personal and professional relationships. The hypothalamus is the chemical factory in the brain; it makes and secretes hormones according to the thoughts we are thinking! We want happy hormones rushing through our blood vessels, not stress hormones that age us and add weight.

4. Techniques to help us stay calm and centered throughout prospecting activity are essential. For years I resisted listening to the experts that said “breathe” – my mindset was, “I don’t have time to breathe. I have too much to do.” What a dumb and, costly excuse. We can reset our emotions within 90-seconds, according to neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. Try this: Put your hands together at your fingertips, close your eyes, breathe in for the count of 4 and out to the count of 6. Do this four times and you’ll reset an emotional hijack. It takes practice. It is doable, and you can master your emotions.

5. Learn Tactical empathy per Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator, “use neuroscience concepts to influence the emotions of your prospects.” Demonstrate how deeply you are listening to their needs, wants and fears, demonstrate you see things from their point of view before you jump into FIX. The old-school way of listening to prematurely FIX the problem rarely works.

Many seasoned salespeople are blowing appointments because they are unwilling to up-level their skills. Interacting with prospects takes practice and mastery. Prospects are educated and savvy. They can feel your energy, attitude, credibility, and sincerity. Stop getting the gut-wrenching email that says: “Thank you. We decided to go another direction.”

Stay away from negative people who play the ain’t it awful game. Also, neuroscientists continue to tell us to clean up our eating habits. Drinking, drugs, sodas, sugar, too many carbs, and smoking are detrimental to our future success.
Feel free to take a complimentary Prospecting EKG: Then, if you are interested in investing in a comprehensive assessment, debrief, and coaching strategy session, please call me at 602-380-5431 or email me at [email protected].