The Psychology of

Sales Call Reluctance

by George W. Dudley

& Shannon L. Goodson

Order your copy today:


Call Reluctance, SPQ*Gold, SPQ*Gold/FSA, PsychScore and the Fear-Free Prospecting & Self-Promotion Workshop are registered trademarks of Behavioral Sciences.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Call Reluctance®

Administrator Login


Q: Is it true BSRP developed and maintains the largest research base on sales call reluctance in the world?

A: Yes. BSRP has been acquiring sales call reluctance research data for use in mainstream scientific studies and reports since the early 1970’s. The data set used in BSRP’s most recent study of more than 42,000 salespeople alone contains sales call reluctance and other data of interest to scholars. BSRP’s data vault is the only repository for sales call reluctance data in the world, and consists of data from salespeople across many sales settings and nations. Data can also be found for sales management, senior management, consultants, accountants, psychologists, sales trainers and many other professions.

Q: How many people visit BSRP’s web site each month?  

A: In a typical month, over 30,000 hits are recorded. During times when BSRP research is in the news, the number can be substantially more. We have seen our “hits” surpass 15,000 per week.

Q: Is BSRP a consulting company?

A: No. BSRP is a knowledge-generating organization. Our employees are technical specialists, working in a setting concentrated on conducting research and presenting results to the public. The only exception is Australian staff member, who does do some occasional consulting from time-to-time. BSRP is fortunate to be represented by a small- but-growing number of licensed, experienced professional associates in the North America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific who are happy to provide consulting services.

Q: How many SPQ*GOLD tests have been administered?  

A: It is hard to estimate how many SPQ*GOLD*Plus tests have been administered. SPQ*GOLD pre-dates aspiring competitors by many, many years of continuous research, development and re-design. Recently, we estimated that over 900,000 tests had been administered. Today, the number is growing exponentially; however, no total count is maintained. SPQ*GOLD is the beneficiary of one of the most validated and re-validated sales assessment efforts ever.

Q: Who are BSRP’s clients?  

A: BSRP applications are used globally very day by some of the largest sales and non-sales organizations in the world. So far, we have no need to dazzle or mislead would-be clients by reciting the standard litany of high-profile company names. We don’t claim to work with all Fortune 500 organizations and we are not “constantly in demand as speakers”. We don’t need to be. That’s for other organizations, with other intentions and presentational styles. It’s not us.

Q: How stable is BSRP?  

A: BSRP is an exceptionally stable organization. For many of the past thirty years, we have managed to post enviable increases in revenue.  Even during relatively stagnant years, BSRP continued to operate profitably due to extremely conservative fiscal management that characterizes this company. Our fiscal management philosophy will pay off again this year (2010) -- even during the current global economic crisis.  We anticipate posting a 100% increase in net profit over same period results from last year. We are grateful to the sales and non-sales, profit and non-profit organizations worldwide that entrust their assessment needs to BSRP products and procedures.

Q: Are BSRP’s sales subject to seasonal variation?  

A: For over 30 years, BSRP’s sales have been resistant to setbacks in the economy or variations in seasonality common to some industries.

Q: What is the demographic of BSRP clients?  

A: There is neither a single demographic nor a demographic pattern. The spread is too broad and encompasses too many work settings. Our work is known and respected across the industry and organizational spectrum, from sales and non-sales areas to academic collaborations and the military to outplacement and management selection.

Q: What are some of the concepts, principles, terms and applications pioneered by BSRP?  

A: BSRP is known for its originality. Its applications are unique. Its research has resulted in many important innovations. A small, but impressive sample includes the following. Please note that all entries are either trademarks or federally registered trademarks of Behavioral Sciences Research Press, or protected by copyright.

Q: Are claims by competitors that “call avoidance” and “prospecting reluctance” and even “recruitment avoidance” are the same as BSRP’s reluctance types authorized applications of your research?  

A: No. There are fringe opportunists who make minor cosmetic changes in our work and then pretend it’s the same as the real thing. Scratch the surface and you’ll see that the cheap Rolex® watch knock-offs turn your skin green and Calvin Klein® jeans knock-offs fall apart. Fake drugs don’t work and look-alike sales selection tests cost much more than the genuine article in missed opportunities and incorrect hires. In fairness, they are boxed up and packaged well, and there will always be some managers willing to settle for the cheap knock-offs rather than aspire to the quality found only in genuine articles.

Q: Do you have to be a psychologist to use applications developed by BSRP?  

A: No; however, specialized training is helpful if you wish to extract the most value from our applications.

Q: How do I obtain a copy of “Salespeople or Professional Visitors: How to Manage a Pro-Sales Culture”, by George W. Dudley?  

A: Contact Behavioral Sciences at

Q: I’m a sales training consultant, and I want to use the term “sales call reluctance” in my advertising. Can I?  

A: No. Call Reluctance is a federally registered trademark of Behavioral Sciences Research Press and has been used internationally in that context for several years. If the term is used, it must be accompanied by the appropriate symbol “®” and specifically noted that the term is a “federally registered trademark of Behavioral Sciences Research Press.”

Q: How can individuals and organizations participate in collaborative research?  

A: BSRP regularly works with major universities on mainstream scholarly research projects. We also work with commercial bodies on a case-by-case basis. Contact for more information about our collaborative research policy.

Q: I don’t want to work with your local representative because I think I can get better prices by dealing directly with you. Can I do that?  

A: No. While we maintain a corporate sales channel, we do not knowingly compete with our own Licensee channel. We have traditionally respected the spirit and the law that govern our unusually healthy working relationships with our licensed professional associates. We don’t care about the “rhetoric of principles and trust.” To us, it’s a matter of honor and we are content to simply “live it” rather than advertise it. This point is best underscored by the fact that several of our Associates who have been associated with us for well over a decade. BSRP maintains strict policies and procedures for dealing with these situations should they arise, which may include declining prospective clients access to BSRP products and applications.

Q: Did David K. Barnett co-author the 1995 edition of The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance®?  

A: No. David Barnett has never been employed as a writer for BSRP.

Q: When was SSPA first developed?  

A: In the early 1970’s as part of personnamap, Salesmapp and other applications in that series of assessments.

Q: What does SPQ*GOLD® stand for?  

A: Sales Preference Questionnaire

Q: When did your work on sales call reluctance® begin?  

A: Our work with tests began in the Unites States Marine Corps Basic School, at Quantico, Virginia in 1963. Work on sales call reluctance began around 1970.

Q: When were the sales call reluctance types discovered?  

A: The first nine types were researched starting in 1979 and widely published in various periodicals leading up to the first sales call reluctance book in 1986. The first nine types discovered were:

These were soon followed by:

Oppositionality was the last type discovered. It was discovered in the mid 1980’s after an uneven history in psychological literature as an anomalous response style for tests; however, it had never been isolated as a behavioral disposition peculiar to salespeople that impaired prospecting until our work.

Q: Are there more types coming?  

A: Yes, there are several new and very important types in the works.

Q: Are there new assessments in development?  

A: There are several new and exciting applications in development right now. Collaborations are being formed, data is being gathered and results prepared for presentations at scientific conventions.

Q: Does SPQ*Gold contain measures to spot people who “amplify” their positive points?  

A: SPQ*Gold contains a class-leading five separate state-of-the art means for detecting and interpreting non-standard responding. SPQ*GOLD has progressed far beyond the archaic Marlow-Crowne based models for assessing response styles, still used by many, if not most, sales selection tests. SPQ*GOLD has benefited from years of concentrated, original investigation into who tends to “fake positive”, why, how to spot them, and how to corroborate your conclusions.

Q: What is “LERA”?  

A: LERA is an acronym for an innovative response format for questionnaires originated by BSRP and the subject of several BSRP scientific presentations. LERA provides an elastic response alternative to standard Likert-type scalings.

Q: What is a neural net?  

A: SPQ*GOLD*Selectron is the first neural net application for predicting sales success. An “experimental” procedure, it was originated in 1990 and in continuous development ever since. Unlike classical statistics that are pattern- fitting (presumptions must be made a prior about what shape fits the data), neural nets are pattern-seeking. There are many kinds of nets with many mathematical features and architectures. Basically all of them involve parallel processing of data simultaneously rather than a single sequence.

Q: Does BSRP accept university interns?  

A: Yes on a case-by-case evaluation basis.

Q: Is BSRP a real company? Does it have a street address or just a post office number?  

A: BSRP is not a virtual testing organization operating a big web site from a one-person home address. BSRP is domiciled in two very real office buildings located side-by-side at a real street address.

Q: What does BSRP’s Scientific Advisory Board do?  

A: We are fortunate to have an extraordinarily distinguished group of diverse academics. In addition to G.W. Dudley & S.L. Goodson, the group includes the co-author of one of the most respected university level textbooks on psychometrics in the world; an M.D. and Ph.D. in behavioral genetics research and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at a major medical school; an M.D., a professor in the department of physiology and biophysics who specializes in brain-based disorders (Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s) at another major medical school; a professor in the department of psychology at a university in British Columbia; and a Ph.D. who specializes in work organizations and has been influential in constructing the standards for psychological test usage enacted by the British Psychological Society. Members of this group maintain contact throughout the year, and may collaborate on the design, analysis and presentation of BSRP research. Each year the group meets and presents working papers based on current research activity.

Q: Can the MPQ be used in non-sales settings?  

A: Yes. MPQ is currently used by sales and non-sales organizations.

Q: Are BSRP instruments used at any universities?  

A: Yes. BSRP tests have been administered and used at several academic institutions.

Q: Who was the first to have online testing?  

A: We’re not certain, but in the U.S. that honor probably goes to IPAT (Institute for Personality and Ability Testing) or ETS (Educational Testing Services).

Q: What in your judgment is the best non-BSRP personality test?

A: That distinction, as unsafe as it is, should be assigned to the Personality Research Form and the Jackson Personality Inventory (Revised). Both are available from Sigma Assessments and other sources worldwide. In our judgment, these are among the best given how they were constructed and when they are used as they were designed to be used.

Q: Why don’t you endorse “simple structure” personality tests like the fashionable “five factor” models?

A: We do endorse these models for theory-building. For an actual application in settings with cost consequences and socio-legal constraints, practitioners need and deserve more. The five factor model is the result of efforts to reduce personality measuring down to its’ elemental parts. Scanning the psychological (personality research) literature, the five-factor camp decided that all the results achieved by various approaches to defining what constituted “personality” could be refined, condensed and subsumed into only five broad scores without losing much meaning. Problem is, using a similar methodological compass, the searchers seem to have wound up at different places! Some say five, but can’t agree on what the five are. Another, working in business settings, claims to have found six. Others, eight. R.B. Cattell built his career on sixteen. We have no problem with any of the approaches, in principle; however, in practice it’s a different matter. Practitioners in business need all the specific information they can get to help reduce uncertainty. And individual test questions and their scores can serve more than one purpose. To provide only five scores and expect users to properly and accurately infer important meanings from them is probably naive. To us, the five-factor approach is as satisfying as asking a meteorologist about the weather forecast for tomorrow so you can plan, and being told what season it is.