One fourth of all salespeople tested in the world have a form of Sales Call Reluctance that is described by behavioral scientists George Dudley and Shannon Goodson as Role-Rejection Call Reluctance. The salespeople have learned somewhere that selling is less than honorable. Even adult business owners who accept the fact that selling is the life blood of business, and would even recommend selling as a career to others, don’t believe it should be the owner’s role. After all, they’re business owners. The result is predictable. Business performance is less than it can be.
What is Role-Rejection Call Reluctance? One business owner hired his corporate salesman-son to join the family business and sell, and paid him a handsomely to do it. Six weeks after the son started, he said, “Dad, I really don’t want to sell. In fact, that’s why I left Big Corporation. What I want to do is be a graphic designer.” Now that’s a stark example of Role-Rejection Call Reluctance; the person decides that they will not do what they were hired to do, so they don’t.
The Issue With Owners
It’s usually more subtle with an owner. We rarely reject the selling role outright. Some even profess to enjoy it, but never get around to doing it. Why? Well, we get caught up in all of the other things that have to be done. After all, we’re running a business here!
The job of the person running the business is to make and meet all budgets. Meeting a budget is pure sales because that is where all cash originates. Therefore, all owners are involved in selling, whether they want to be or not. If your mom won’t brag on you, don’t expect someone else’s mother to do so. And if you won’t sell your own product/service, don’t expect that you can hire someone to do it.
Oh, yes, there are a number of ways to sell that don’t require personal involvement. You can send direct mail, advertise in other ways, network, and do other promotions. But how do you know what to offer unless you’ve been toe to toe with customers? You can’t create a marketing plan without talking to customers.
So at some point, at sometime, and in some way, the owner must sell. What if the business owner refuses? That’s Role-Rejection Call Reluctance. Technically, it occurs when the person is intellectually willing but emotionally unable to accept the job of salesperson.
Now I didn’t say the business owner has to love selling. Many people don’t. I didn’t say the owner had to spend all their time selling. Yes, there are other things to do. But an owner should spend some part of every day selling something to someone. Those who refuse to do so, and there are a lot of them, have toxic levels of Role-Rejection Call Reluctance, and they are holding themselves back.
One son in Los Angeles told us, “The only kinds of people we have to keep Dad away from are customers, vendors, and employees. Other than that, he’s pretty good with people.” There are too many examples of this to relate, but suffice it to say that some owners got into the printing business because they didn’t have to deal with people; especially customers.
Ah-ha! But where is it written that the owner must sell? After all, owners could hire someone to sell for them. Well, we always hire people to do things for us in a business. We hire the press operator to run the press, a CSR to do CSR things, and so on. What’s different about the salesperson? Nothing, but if you started a printing company and had no press operator, no CSR or other people; who would do it? The business owner would, right?
Again, I didn’t say the business owner must be the best press operator, CSR, or salesperson. The business owner, however, is responsible for these functions and must know the work of the work. Ever work for someone who didn’t know your job? How did that work for you? That doesn’t work well normally.
Leading By Example, For Better or Worse