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The Magic Truth of Overcoming Call Reluctance and the Fear of Selling


Being in sales can be tough.

On any given day, you deal with objections, rejections, and typically some level of self-doubt wondering if you have what it takes to ultimately be successful.

There is a pressure to produce that can sometimes be debilitating and discouraging.

When we think about what it takes to sell someone, we can get overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear.

This fear to a salesperson is commonly known as call reluctance.

But there is only one time when you feel fear, and that is when you are thinking about yourself.

Fear is so self-centered.

It comes up when you’re worried about if you’ll say the right things, if you’ll do the right things, and if you’ll make enough sales.

Fear shows up when it’s all about you.

But there is one magic strategy to eliminating fear, call reluctance and creative avoidance when it comes to selling.

It’s to shift the focus off of yourself and to instead be focused on the people you’re trying to help.

Or as Southwestern taught me years ago…

 “It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.” 

It’s hard to be scared when we’re thinking only of helping people.

It’s hard to have fear when we’re focused on being selfless.

We don’t feel the fear because we’re not focused on how we’re feeling; we’re only focused on who we’re helping.

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

This is something that we, at Southwestern Consulting, refer to as “Servant Selling.”

It’s a completely different and counterculture way to think about selling.

Because you’re thinking as much or more about serving as you are about selling.

It shifts your focus away from all the pressure that sometimes shows up when we think about selling to people, persuading people and influencing people.

And we instead additionally focus on helping, educating, and serving.

And that makes a difference because in any given sales presentation…

You may or may not make a sale; but you can always make someone’s day. 

You can always concentrate on making people smile.

You can always concentrate on brightening up someone’s day.

You can always focus on serving and not just focus on selling.

It’s Servant Selling.

If you’re struggling with call reluctance, fear, or creative avoidance then perhaps it’s because you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to sell, persuade, and influence.

If that’s the case then don’t think about it that way.

Instead think of yourself as a “Social Ambassador who is also fulfilling people’s needs”

Think of yourself as a perpetuator of happiness who is also solving people’s problems .

Think of yourself not only as a salesperson but also as a servant.

Because it’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service.

Paid Like a Professional

So you want to be paid like a professional? You have to act like one. Here is a short video we put together sharing the 3 areas in which you need to be professional.

If you wanna be paid like a professional, you need to act like one. Wow, those words still ring clearly in my head from my early days at Southwestern Advantage. They use to say that all the time. “If you wanna be paid like a professional, you need to act like one.” Most of us sales professionals underestimate, honestly, the importance and the value of our physiology. That is, how are we feeling? What is going on inside of our skin, right, inside of our bones? And a lot of that has to do with your professionalism. There’s three specific areas that I want to just bring to your attention, of ways that if you could be professional in these areas, then it will help you feel more professional when you’re out selling.

The first one is your dress. How are you dressed? And the general rule of thumb that I like to follow, is you want to be a half-step nicer dressed then everybody else. Just a little bit of a distinction, not much, up from maybe what everybody else is wearing, right? So if you’re gonna be in a room where everybody’s in suit and tie, you know, maybe you have cuffs, or maybe you have a tie bar, or maybe you have a pocket square or something like that. If everyone else is going to be a step down, then you want to, sort of, gradually step down.

But you always wanna look clean, and together, and intentional. And if rough and ragged is your look, that’s fine but be intentional about it, right? Don’t just be crazy, be focused and put some thought behind what are you wearing, how do you look, what is your…what’s going on with your hair? And men, your facial hair and ladies, obviously your makeup. So, the more you can be dressed like a professional, the more that you will feel like a professional, thus you will act like a professional, and therefore, you will be paid like a professional.

Now, the second thing is a different area that maybe you don’t think about professionalism a lot and that is with your materials, with your selling materials and your marketing materials, it’s to be professional. Your business card makes a huge statement. When you hand someone your business card, you should be proud of that. It should be an…it’s an extension of you. So don’t be handing out raggedy business cards that are half mangled, that you’ve been keeping in your wallet for months and months and months. You want something that is firm, and tight, and sharp, and clean, so that when you hand it, it makes an impact, right?

Same thing with your presentation materials. It’s amazing how many sales professionals have awful PowerPoints. Spelling errors, you know, crazy animation, just inconsistent graphics, logos that are spread out like crazy. Those things make a huge difference. It affects the way that people look at you, and it affects the way that you look at yourself. When you put intention behind the preparation of your materials, you feel like a professional. And you act more like a professional. And therefore, you get paid like a professional. So make sure that you pay attention and you are intentional about your materials.

And finally the last thing is, you wanna be focused on creating a professional office environment. A professional office environment. It’s insane how many of the people that we coach, just have office environments that are disasters. And that can be different things. It can mean a complete mess. Now I’m not saying that you can’t be a top producer with a messy desk. A lot of top producers have messy desks. But I’m saying that the more that you can have a professional working environment, it will contribute to the way that you feel. It contributes to your physiology.

So maybe it’s neatness, right, that’s a factor. But maybe it’s also putting up things in your office that remind you of things that are important. Put up a picture of your goals, or maybe it’s plaques and trophies, or pictures of your family. But that you don’t just, kind of, casually walk into your office every day, and you don’t pay any attention to the environment. What can you do in the environment?

Here’s another common thing that we see in the office environment, is that top producers often have standing desks. They will stand up when they make sales calls so that they feel more alert, and alive, and more energetic. So what can you do in your office space, your office environment? Those are three simple places, right? What is your dress, your marketing materials, and your office environment.

But the bottom line is that in order to be paid like a professional, you need to act like a professional. And there’s a whole lot of things that you can do to make you feel that way. But if you don’t feel like a professional, if you haven’t put time and energy and preparation into how you look, or into the materials you’re handing out, or into the place that you work every day, you’re not gonna feel like a professional. And if you don’t feel like one, you’re not gonna act like one. And if you don’t act like one, you’re not gonna be paid like one.

Servant Selling

Don’t just be in sales; be on a mission.

Be so convicted in what you do that you have no choice to tell everyone you know about it.

Don’t just be closing deals; be changing lives.

Don’t just be pushing products; be transforming customers.

Don’t just be selling; be serving.

Transformational Selling


Find the need.

Uncover the pain.

Discover their problem.

Those are classic principles and practices of professional marketing salesmanship.

And they are powerful because not only do they work, but they also do provide a great service in that they get people emotional enough to catalyze them moving past procrastination and into taking the action they need to improve their situation.

There’s nothing wrong with that (as long as it’s not manipulative and as long as your solution actually works) and so you can keep doing that. But that’s not the only way to sell.

Servant Selling is also about creating a vision for what’s possible.

Servant Selling is also about inventing a more positive future outcome.

In other words, Servant Selling isn’t just about focusing on the pain; it’s about also focusing on the promise.

It’s teaming up with your prospect together to design a new richer future for them.

It’s understanding what their ideal situation would really look like and then collaborating with them to craft a plan for how to make that become real.

That kind of Selling is transformational.

That kind of Selling is supportive.

That kind of Selling moves you from persuasion to partnership.

It moves you from being a presenter to being a visionary.

It moves you from being an order taker to being an artist.

And it moves you from being a solicitor to being a servant.

Plus, talking about the promise – and not just the pain – keeps you focused on producing a desirable result for your prospects and your customers.

It focuses you on providing real value and delivering actual results.

That’s what people want: results.

They want a new and improved situation.

They want something that actually works and that actually delivers.

What they don’t want is to be sold something just because they had a need.

They want the problem actually solved and the potential actually realized.

So remember selling isn’t only about solving problems; it’s also about inventing possibilities.

Servant Selling: How to Close a Sale Without Being Pushy – Episode 177 of The Action Catalyst Podcast


In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares Southwestern Consulting’s tips and techniques to closing without being pushy. He also shares a new opportunity for you learn and grow by joining Southwestern Consulting’s Personal Monthly Mastermind with Rory Vaden. Check out to find out more!

Show Highlights:

  • closing should also never be “hard”, “strong”, “forceful” or “pushy.” @rory_vaden
  • Closing should never be talking someone into something they don’t want. @rory_vaden
  • Selling is doing everything in your power to help someone determine what is right for them. @rory_vaden
  • Create a space where someone feels comfortable to tell you no. They will also feel comfortable to tell you yes. @rory_vaden
  • People love to buy but they hate to feel sold. @rory_vaden
  • If you’ve done a good job of guiding someone through the buying process, then closing should be a formality. @rory_vaden
  • Closing isn’t positive or negative; it’s neutral. @rory_vaden
  • Servant Selling is based upon the premise that earning a person’s trust is always more important than making a sale. @rory_vaden
  • Sales is about understanding the vision that someone has for their own life and then showing them how it can become possible. @rory_vaden
  • We think of salespeople as great talkers but actually the good ones are great listeners. @rory_vaden
  • We think of salespeople as those who are selfish but actually the great ones are selfless. @rory_vaden
  • Closing is a series of incrementally committal questions. @rory_vaden
  • Your confidence is inversely proportionate to your skill. @rory_vaden
  • It’s hard to be nervous when your heart is on service.@rory_vaden
  • Closing is not about you; it’s about what you can do to help others. @rory_vaden

Interested in training with Rory? Check out to find out how!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!


The Misunderstood Secret of being Great at Sales

secret great sales

The sooner you transition away from thinking about yourself and into thinking about your prospect’s needs, the sooner you will become a top producer.

That is the misunderstood secret of being great at sales.

We think of salespeople as great talkers but actually the good ones are great listeners.

We think of salespeople as those who are selfish but actually the great ones are selfless.

Because selling is not about talking people into things they don’t want. Selling is about doing everything in your power to help someone determine what is right for them.

It’s about exploring, uncovering, seeking and serving.

If you listen to people and if you genuinely care about them then you will be able to get clear on what they really want.

And that opens the door for you to be able to sell to them because that’s what sales is all about.

Sales is about understanding the vision that someone has for their own life and then showing them how it can become possible.

What they buy is your conviction that you can help that become a reality for them.

Because people aren’t buying your product; they are buying a vision they have for their own future.

They’re buying a better tomorrow than they have today.

They’re buying hope that their situation can be improved.

And if you put yourself in their shoes, then you will be able to more quickly and clearly see what exciting future could be possible for their lives.

So don’t just talk to them; listen to them.

Don’t just persuade them; empathize with them.

Don’t just sell to them; serve them.