This morning I took a ballet class with world renowned ballet teacher, Finis Jhung. (My previous career was as a ballet dancer and I still take dance classes.) During the class we were working on pirouettes—one of the most difficult moves for most dancers.
A pirouette is a turn. You turn multiple times on one leg without ever putting the other leg down. (And the women are doing this on their toes.) Dancers must be able to perform a minimum of two turns and more often than not the expectation is for three, four or more. A perfect pirouette is a combination of rhythm, timing, coordination and strength.
Young dancers start learning turns early in their training. Later, there are entire classes devoted to learning to execute multiple turns. Pirouettes are simply one of the ‘must have’ tricks of any successful dancer. And hard as they are to execute, most dancers are able to execute multiple pirouettes flawlessly.
But sometimes you don’t turn perfectly. Some times you fall down. When that happens, there is a reason. The reason is, as Finis Jhung said this morning, “If you fall down, you are doing it wrong.”
Such a simple concept. True for ballet and also true for prospecting. If you are making prospecting calls and prospects berate you, say, “I’m not interested” and/or hang up on you, to quote Finis, “…you are doing it wrong.”
Talking to prospects on the telephone is the same skill set whether you’re speaking with a referral, a networking contact, a lead you’ve met through social media or a cold call. In each of these instances you need to quickly get the prospect’s attention, build rapport, help that prospect understand the value you offer and most importantly get that prospect’s commitment to taking that all important next step. While having a referral or having met someone through social media may buy you an extra 30 seconds, the reality is that if you are not able to quickly do those things, that prospect will hang up just as quickly as a prospect on a cold call. That is why skills are so very important and why a label (warm or cold) is not.
The really good news here is that prospecting is a communication skill and like any communication skill it can be learned and improved on. If your calls aren’t working, improve your skills. It’s as simple as that. And I can tell you from personal experience with both that it is much easier to improve your prospecting skills than it is to execute multiple pirouettes.