The Psychology of

Sales Call Reluctance

by George W. Dudley

& Shannon L. Goodson

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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®

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Our flagship assessment. The only test in the world specifically engineered to detect and measure all twelve types of sales call reluctance®, call reluctance impostors, and more.


PUBLISHER: Behavioral Sciences Research Press, Dallas, Texas, USA.


AUTHORS: George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson

PURPOSE: To diagnose the presence, nature and extent of Inhibited Social Contact Initiation Syndrome (fear of prospecting) in salespeople and personnel who influence salespeople.

SCOPE: International; most widely used psychometric application for diagnosis of sales call reluctance® in the world. More than 800,000 administrations worldwide.

DESCRIPTION: SPQ is the abbreviation for Sales Preference Questionnaire™, the formal name of the test booklet. SPQ*GOLD®: The Sales Call Reluctance® Scale is the name given to the computer scored printouts of test results. For more information about the theoretical background of the device, see SPQ*GOLD® Theoretical Foundations.

RELEVANT APPLICATIONS: SPQ*GOLD® can be administered to anyone in a contact-dependent work setting. This includes, but is not limited to, veteran salespeople, new salespeople, prospective salespeople, sales managers, trainers, supervisors, outside consultants, psychologists, human resources practitioners and other groups and individuals, including senior management, who are either in sales or may influence the attitudes or behaviors of those who are in sales.

NORMS: Since 1980 SPQ*GOLD® has been used in a series of studies with samples representative of many organizations, industries and countries. The result is a formidable array of norms detailing differences both within and between groups of interest. Norms for age, gender, education and other demographic variables of interest have also been obtained.

NORM DATA (SOURCES): Includes U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Viet Nam, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, U.K., Italy, Spain, Cyprus, South Africa, Canada and others.

SCORING: At present, SPQ*GOLD® can be scored via ROSE™ (Rapid On-site Scores & Evaluations), a proprietary multi-assessment computer scoring platform for international use. Scores are reported as simple percents. However, transformed scores are also available in more complex and informative standardized formats such as "N-Stens."

RELIABILITY: SPQ*GOLD® scales demonstrate good test-retest stability, averaging r=.75 over all scales (18 of the 21 scales were significant at p<.01, the remainder at p<.05). The stability of the Brake score, the overall diagnostic measure, is r=.91 (p<.01). Cronbach's alpha, one estimate of internal consistency, for the Brake Score is r=.84. (Coefficient Alpha can vary somewhat because research has shown that the sales profession is not unidimensional.) Radically dissimilar settings can exist within the branch offices of the same company, across companies within the same industry and across industries. In each case, the correlation of customer contact initiation to objective outcome measures can vary from extremely important (certain financial services companies) to considerably less important (some forms of retail sales). SPQ*GOLD® is most appropriate for growth-oriented organizational settings where first contact with prospective buyers on a consistent daily basis is needed and expected for new business generation.

VALIDITY: SPQ*GOLD® has generated an extensive body of research results which have established good concurrent validity in a variety of disparate organizational settings, correlating significantly with objective outcome data (almost always measured in dollars). Some associations are best represented with simple linear models, while others have benefited from more complex non-linear explorations including some of the first neural network modeling completed for predicting (classifying) sales results ("very high producer" vs. "very low producer"). SPQ*GOLD® has also demonstrated excellent discriminant validity between groups such as successful salespeople, university students, and technical non-sales personnel as well as outplaced and retained accountants. Construct validity studies have shown that SPQ*GOLD® subscale scores correlate significantly in expected directions with scales on established mainstream psychological instruments such as the 16PF, 16PF (Australian version), NEO, MBTI, CPI, MMPI and others. Many additional construct validity studies using objective outcome data have been completed, including number of interviews obtained by outplaced non-sales management level personnel; and psychological barriers to the effectiveness of mentoring programs. SPQ*GOLD® scales have been shown to predict a range of behavioral choices, in directions consistent with the construct of Inhibited Social Contact Initiation Syndrome, which is measured by SPQ*GOLD®. For more information, see the Research Section of this website.

PRIMARY REFERENCES: The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance®, Manual for the Sales Preference Questionnaire™ Technical Supplement to Accompany SPQ*GOLD®.


ALTERNATIVE INSTRUMENTS: Meeting People Questionnaire (MPQ™), for measuring the same construct in non-sales settings; Recruiting Power Measure (RPM™), for measuring the same construct in personnel expected to contact and recruit high level prospective staff; Leadership Networking Questionnaire, for measuring the same construct for career management applications.

AVAILABILITY: From the publisher, or through an international network of professional associates.