Does prospecting and looking for new sales opportunities leave you frustrated and demoralized?

This morning I took a ballet class with world renowned ballet teacher, Finis Jhung. (My first career was as a ballet dancer and I still take dance classes.) During the class we worked 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.) Ballet dancers must be able to perform a minimum of two pirouettes and more often than not the expectation is for three or four pirouettes. (The men are expected to do even more.) And it’s hard. A perfect pirouette is a combination of rhythm, timing, coordination and strength. When everything comes together you spin like a top and it’s exhilarating.

When training as a young dancer, pirouettes are taught in stages. Later on, there are entire classes devoted to learning to execute these difficult steps. 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 execute turns flawlessly. 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. Most of the time, if you fall down, that is, if you make calls and prospects berate you and hang up on you, to quote Finis, “You are doing it wrong.”

If you are dancing and you fall out of a pirouette, you then try to figure out why. You work with your teacher, you watch yourself in the mirror, you try different approaches until you discover what went wrong so that you can fix it.

The same is true of prospecting. If prospects will not engage, if they say, “I’m not interested” and hang up then it’s time to explore what you can change in your approach to get a different reaction.

Difficult as it may seem, many sales professionals are able to prospect easily and effectively. Are they simply smarter, more charming and more gifted than everyone else? No, they simply have a better skill set. Like ballet dancers learning to executive multiple turns they have studied and learned how to be effective on the telephone. (And I can tell you from personal experience with both that it is much easier to learn to be effective on the telephone.)

If you are making any type of prospecting call and prospects are yelling at you, berating you and/or hanging up on you, then to quote Finis Jhung, “You are doing it wrong.”

© 2021, Wendy Weiss

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