I spent my formative years in ballet class. Some of you may know that my first career was as a ballet dancer. I believe to this day that everything I know in life, I learned in ballet class.
I still take class several times every week. In class this weekend the teacher pointed out that ballet technique is actually an extremely pared down way of moving. When you execute a ballet step, you do so precisely, executing only that particular step with no extra movements and using only the effort that you need and no more. If you do not execute the step cleanly but instead add extra movements you are actually unable to perform the step. If for example you are doing a complicated turning sequence and you add extra movements – you will not turn. You will fall down. Or, if for example, you have to balance for a long period of time on one leg (or if you’re a woman, you’re “on your toes”) and you add extra movements – you will not balance. You will fall down. Dancers take class every day in order to perfect their movements and make them as simple, pure and refined as they can possibly be. We do not want to fall down!
This works the same way in sports. This morning I was working with a client who happens to play softball. I asked him what would happen if when he was up at bat he added extra movements to his swing. Would he connect with the ball? He told me, “No, I would miss the ball.”
So I know that you are now all asking, “Wendy, what does this have to do with telephone prospecting?” It actually works exactly the same way. This same client was struggling with his introductory script. He actually had the nuggets of a good introduction but those nuggets were buried under all of his extra verbiage. He was talking and saying nothing. Prospects were not engaging, they were saying, “I’m not interested” or telling him they already had a vendor. He was getting shot down left, right and center. This is the equivalent of being a dancer and falling out of a turn because you’ve added extra stuff that doesn’t belong or being up at bat and missing the ball because you’ve added extra stuff that doesn’t belong.
We took my client’s script and edited it down. We were ruthless. When we started, his introduction was 14 sentences. When we finished, it was down to 6. We left him only those sentences that he needed to get his prospects’ attention and agreement to his next step.
When you are speaking with a prospect for the very first time, you do not need to tell that prospect everything. You only have to say enough to get their attention and then their agreement to your next step in the process. That’s it. Be ruthless.