Some things to think about among team members before you go on a visit.
Clarify the goal.
It’s paramount that you clearly articulate the goal of the visit for everyone on your sales team. Remember, the goal determines what you say. For example, you might identify these objectives/goals for the visit:
- To get the prospect’s permission to discuss the funding plan
- To ask for a gift to fund the vision.
About the strategy above: The prospect visit was not set-up to be an ask so we needed to get permission to talk numbers. That could be permission to come back and talk about the funding plan on a next visit or, if the prospect were to say, “How can I help?” we need to be prepared to move on to objective 2 on this visit.
The key is that we didn’t just send in a team to do ‘stewardship’. Nothing worse that a visit with no goal alignment and tons of opportunity.
Identify the leader to manage flow
There can be one and only one person managing the flow of the visit. Identify that person within your team and then trust in that person.
No sales call or presentation ever goes as planned. Someone is going to have to make adjustments and control tempo, altitude and flow. Trust in the leader, follow the leader.
When I’m leading I will say to the team (executive director, board member, etc),“No matter how chaotic the visit might seem at any point I will always be in control of the flow and navigating toward the goal.”
If I’m leading I’ll cue the other person along the way:
“Bill, could you talk about your experience in starting summer camps at other organizations? I would like to share with [prospect] some of your experience and the approach we’ll incorporate to start new programs.
I will also review the PRESENTATION FLOW before each visit as a reminder of the general flow.
Identify key questions and who will ask them
We typically outline some key questions with the team as a way of forced listening. The tendency will always be to talk too much so we review some key questions as a way of coaching everyone about the importance of listening (i.e. letting the prospect talk.) [See 2:1 Rule for Dialogue.]
- “I know you spoke of the need to increase impact in your giving. Could you talk a little bit about what that means to you now?” For a prospect who is thinking strategically – asking this question not only gets the prospect sharing information, it’s also incredibly relevant.
- And, if we’re not sure what to ask for, “NAME, I would love to share the funding plan if that’s okay. Before I do, could I ask you to speak to how this might fit with some of your current funding priorities?”