Sales Management Issue (SMI): Fear of Calling at C-Level

Let’s face it, everyone at some point in their life has fear about calling on the person in the corner office. I had it until 1978 0r 1979. How I overcame it is worth noting. I was working in the medical device world at the time. I was trying to convert business at St. Mary’s Hospital (The Mayo Clinic) in Rochester Minnesota. I brought three key Cardiologists from the hospital to our company headquarters in Billerica, Mass. Due to excessive amounts of socializing on the night I arrived with these physicians I was without a hotel room for that night. Digging deep into my “guts bag”  I called one of the physicians from the lobby and asked if I could bunk with him for the night. The time was 2AM and the doctor in question was the director of the medical department! Can you say trepidation?

Everything worked out for the best but making that call took some serious mental effort. So how do you deal with a salesperson who has this fear of calling or seeing the owner, president, CEO type personality? I don’t think that you can just invoke the Nike tag line-Just Do It. Not going to work for most people.

There is something deeper that will not allow some people to comfortably call on top executives. My guess is that some people are programmed from a very early age not to do certain things. The mental tapes that are running probably say, “don’t bother important people”, “go through the chain of command”, “they’re too busy to want to talk to a salesperson.” We all were taught to act a certain away by parents, teachers, friends and a host of others. We tend to merge our actions into neat little boxes that fit other people’s expectations for us. If you act in a way outside the box there exists risks that we are unprepared to face comfortably. How much different is this than being programmed not to touch a hot stove?

Before a sales manager can deal with this salesprson’s fear it is absolutely necessary to have a serious one-on-one with the rep to discuss why the fears exist. Providing techniques to deal with the fear is pointless. Nine times out of ten the salesprson will not execute the technique until the deeper issue is addressed.

More on how to deal with this in Thursday’s post.

The Final Thought:     I Like this quote I dislike this quoteIf fear alters behavior, you’re already defeated.” Brenda Hammond

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3 thoughts on “Sales Management Issue (SMI): Fear of Calling at C-Level

  1. Interesting post!

    From my experience, much of the time the salesperson was afraid to call a C-Level executive because they felt they weren’t on the same ‘level’ as the executive. They’ve felt like they might say something to give away the fact that they aren’t as senior as the executive and ‘sound stupid.’

    Addressing the fears are important, but also helping the rep realize that they can be a peer to the executive can be helpful. If you feel like you’ve got something valuable for the prospect you’re calling, you’re not wasting their time.

    Think and act like a peer, not a salesperson or telemarketer.

  2. Tom,

    I always remind myself that successful people don’t get where they are at by being conventional. What I mean is you have to go beyond what everyone else is doing, whether that be with your brain or your effort.

    Thanks for the post, as I do believe there is always a much deeper issue inside that needs to be addressed before the problem can be resolved.

    Thanks again,

    Will Fultz

  3. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later
    on. Cheers

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