Expert Commentary

The Sweet Smell of Sales Success

Frank Lee identifies one way to overcome Sales Call Reluctance by conditioning yourself to be more relaxed and self-confident through Sensory Injection.


Eradicating Sales Call Reluctance
May 2002

I have been writing about Sales Call Reluctance for this IRMI.com for exactly 2 years. I have described various types of Sales Call Reluctances and will continue doing this in future articles. This article will show you one way to fix it.

Before I start, I must warn you that this technique for overcoming Sales Call Reluctance may appear to be off-the-wall or even downright hokey. Outside of the workshop where this is taught, it lacks some of the context that would put it into proper perspective. Having said that, I am going to make a remarkable claim—it not only works, it works like magic!

What I am talking about is one of the cures for Sales Call Reluctance developed by behavioral scientists, George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson, and described more fully in their book, The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance—Earning What You're Worth. It's called Sensory Injection and it is one of the mechanical methods taught to muscle out fear and replace it with more positive feelings. It can deliver relaxation or self-confidence literally on call.

When You're Relaxed, It's Not Possible To Be Afraid

How do you know when you're afraid? Your behavior gives you away. You forget things like your name or the numbers of years of successful selling you've had. You avoid opportunities that could give you what you say you want. You make unbelievable excuses for not doing simple things like picking up a telephone.

Your body tells you in no uncertain terms. Your breathing gets shallower, your heart races, your gut turns, your pulse beats faster, you tense up. Your body makes sure that you know that you're afraid. Fear is physical.

Sounds good, doesn't it? This is the condition you would like to be in when you make that sales call, isn't it?

Would it surprise you to know that, at the time all of these wonderful things are happening to your body, you are not relaxed? Sounds obvious, doesn't it? However, did you know that the opposite is also true—when you are relaxed, it's not possible to be afraid. Think about it. The moment you feel fear and tense up, you stop relaxing.

George Dudley calls this the Principle of Competing Emotions. You cannot have two strong, competing emotions at the same time. It's just not humanly possible. By the same token, when you are afraid, you don't have any self-confidence. The opposite is again true. When you are feeling self-confident, it is not possible to be afraid.

Why This Concern with Fear?

Why are we so concerned with fear? Because Sales Call Reluctance is fear. Therefore, when you are relaxed or feeling self-confident, it is not possible to be afraid and it is not possible to be call reluctant. The trick is to "just relax" or "just feel self-confident" when you need to. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

I remember when I was a kid and my mother used to drag me to places I didn't want to go to. I would complain and cry and she would tell me, "Just relax!" Have you ever had someone tell you that? I wanted to scream. Well, it is easy to "just relax." It is also easy to "just have self-confidence." That trick is something we call Sensory Injection.

Our Primitive Sense of Smell

When we teach Sensory Injection, we use the sense of smell because this is our most primitive sense. It's hot-wired directly to the brain. It bypasses all the logic and reason and argument. Smells or fragrances can evoke instant memories. There are feelings attached to those memories and those feelings are immediately aroused by the fragrance. In spring, for example, we are immediately uplifted by the smell of new-mown grass.

Business people have known this for many years. The Japanese have been experimenting with fragrances for a long time. They have discovered that you can get office workers to work with fewer errors just by pumping a certain fragrance into the office—even if the fragrance is below conscious levels!

Go into any department store. The first counter sells fragrances. People tend to stay longer. Talk to a realtor. When selling a house, you are told to bake cookies or bread when having an open house. Why? It makes people feel immediately at home. Look around you and you will see many ways where we are being manipulated by fragrances. We just use it to replace Sales Call Reluctance with a feeling of relaxation or self-confidence.

Five Steps

Step 1—Select a Neutral Fragrance. Neutral means that it does not have any excess application for you. It should remind you of something good or nothing at all. It should not remind you of anything bad. It should also not be a fragrance you use every day. One lady in a workshop I taught told me she was going to use new car fragrance since a new car was one of her dreams anyway.

Step 2—Relax. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Relax your body and mind.

Step 3—Imagine. This is where you can go one of two ways—you can use Sensory Injection for relaxation or self-confidence, not both. If you are going to use it for relaxation, you want to think relaxing thoughts. Imagine yourself floating on a cloud, for example. As you relax, breathe on your fragrance several times. You are pairing this feeling of relaxation to the fragrance. If you are going to use it for self-confidence, think of something that makes you feel self-confident. Closing a huge sale, for example. However, it need not be work-related. Remember you are going to evoke the feeling later.

Step 4—Repeat. Repeat this process twice a day for several days. Three to 6 days usually works. Once you have programmed the feeling to the fragrance, you will get that feeling every time you smell the fragrance. We have seen this association work with just one short session in workshops.

Step 5—Apply Aroma Shots. Whenever you are faced with a situation that normally causes you stress, apply an aroma shot. Keep your fragrance in a container in your purse or pocket. Take it out and smell it. This is where the magic comes in! Regardless of what fear you are feeling, the fragrance will muscle it out of the way without asking permission and replace the fear with the feeling you had programmed into it. Just like that, you can "just relax" or "just get self-confidence." Armed with this new feeling, you can make that sales call you were dreading or face that ugly customer without fear.

Will It Work?

I don't know if it will work for you or not. There is only one way to find out and here's the neatest thing about Sensory Injection—if you try it and it doesn't work, nobody knows! You won't look stupid for trying it. But what if it does work? What if it helps you to make one more phone call, one more sales interview each day? How much new business can that translate to over a year?

Still skeptical? I'm going to tell you what George Dudley told me many years ago. I expressed skepticism about something he was teaching me. In fact, I was quite sarcastic about it. He asked me if I had tried it. When I said, "No," he looked me in the eye and calmly told me, "Until you try it, you have no right to make statements like that." I said in my opening remarks that it may sound hokey but, until you try it, you don't have the right to make remarks like that.

Will it work for you? I don't know. All I know is that I have taught this to thousands of salespeople and others not in sales and I constantly hear about the things people do that they had said they could not do before trying this. I have tried it, and I'm a believer.


Other Sales Call Reluctance articles include the following:

Article Topic
Can You Swim? Referral Aversion
Who's Afraid of the CFO? Social Self-Conscious
Did Your Mom Intend You To Be a Wimp? Yielder
The Most Difficult Salesperson in the World Oppositional Reflex
The Telephone Bug Telephobia
All Dressed Up, Nowhere To Go Low Goal
Am I Adequately Prepared To Sell? Overpreparer
The Secret Shame of Selling Role Rejection
Look at All My Friends! Separationist
Appearance Is Everything Hyperpro
A Fate Worse Than Death Stage Fright
You Can't Pick Your Family Unemancipated
The Doomsayer The Doomsayer

Call Reluctance, the Fear-Free Prospecting and Self-Promotion Workshop, and all related terms are copyrights and/or registered trademarks of Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Dallas, Texas. Sales Academy, Inc., is an Advanced Authorized Dealer for the Call Reluctance® Program. Frank Lee is an international expert on Call Reluctance®. He can be reached at (800) 898-3743 or at [email protected] He welcomes calls or email from salespersons and sales managers, even if just to chat about the call reluctance problem.


Opinions expressed in Expert Commentary articles are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the author's employer or IRMI. Expert Commentary articles and other IRMI Online content do not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinion. If such advice is needed, consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser.

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