Most people don’t know how to keep control of the next action when leaving a voicemail. This can have a huge / negative impact on your selling, fundraising, or follow-up in general! This is a tactic I picked up early in my sales career. It’s simple and effective.
Most people leave a very standard voicemail. “This is Nick Fellers, I’m calling about XYZ. My phone number is 614-352-2505. Please call me back.”
Do not leave the responsibility for follow-up with the prospect. It’s YOUR responsibility!
Instead, “It’s Nick Fellers, I’m calling to connect about ______. I’m sorry I missed you. You can reach me at 614-352-2505. Or, I’ll try you again later.”
This keeps you in control of the follow-up action.
-Dream in Years.
-Plan in months.
-Evaluate in weeks.
-Prototype for 1x
-Build for 10x
-Engineer for 100x
-What’s required to cut the timeline in 1/2
-What needs to be done to double the impact
Early this am I was re-reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993). Dr. Peale is one of the original positive psychology authors. He wrote from a theological place of origin and applied teachings in a secular context. In 1984 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the tremendous and positive impact of his message.
Dr. Peale’s First Principle of Positive Thinking is: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
On the subject of believing in yourself he writes, “Feelings of confidence depend on the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practice confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise you will be able to overcome them.”
And, “The secret is to fill your mind with thoughts of faith, confidence, and security.”
I made many highlights and notes on those two paragraphs, then came the nugget that LEAPT off the page (in bold).
“I know a man who is a tremendous asset to his organization, not because of any extraordinary ability, but because he invariably demonstrates a triumphant thought pattern. Perhaps his associates view a proposition pessimistically, so he employs what he calls “the vacuum-cleaner method.” That is, by a series of questions he “sucks the dust” out of his associates’ minds; he draws out their negative attitudes. Then quietly he suggests positive ideas concerning the proposition until a new set of attitudes gives them a new concept of the facts.”
TRIUMPHANT THOUGHT PATTERN!!!
That’s what we should strive to bring as leaders and salespeople!!!
Here is the question I wrote to myself? “What can I do to make a TRIUMPHANT THOUGHT PATTERN my consistent discipline and contribution?”
For most organizations, Planned Giving is largely a reactive and complex conversation. It needs to be proactive and simple. When using our For Impact TODAY/TOMORROW/FOREVER Funding Model, the beauty of having a complete funding model as part of your presentation is that it you are always able to talk about Legacy/Planned Gifts. Instead of trying to figure out HOW to get into a conversation about estate planning you can simply say, “We talk to EVERYONE about ways to have an impact here, FOREVER.” (Visually referencing a complete funding model.) In terms of simplicity, there are people out there that understand all the modes and vehicles for planned giving… they’re called estate lawyers and accountants!!
You (as a salesperson) don’t need to know all the mechanics. In our (simple) approach there are only three ways to make a planned gift:
Assignment of a life insurance policy
‘Other’ includes all those ‘other’ complicated financial arrangements (including gift annuities) that we can pass off to an expert.
I really don’t believe this is oversimplification. As a salesperson your job is to present the opportunity to have an impact, FOREVER. 97% of the time they have their own accountant, lawyer, or insurance agent that can help them with the mechanics of the gift!
At The Suddes Group we lead organizations through campaigns that advance impact. Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it is getting and we view campaigns as a process that requires a change in design. Note: Change doesn’t have to be a deficit, it can be enhancement.
In every instance, there are elements of cultural (or team) friction that must be overcome. This is because the campaign process requires that the team changes how it works (and humans are complex).
In the world of physics, overcoming friction (static or kinetic) requires energy. The same is true in terms of overcoming a force of resistance in a team. You can apply more energy OR you can remove the force of resistance.
(Incidentally, overcoming friction also releases energy in the form of heat. The brakes on your car become very hot because they create enough friction to slow, or stop, your car).
I’ve been thinking about all the cultures in which we work and some of the sources of friction. They usually include one or more of the following:
Clear Action Plan
Wrong Team/Team Member
Jim Loehr is my ‘virtual story mentor.’ I think the stuff the guy wrote in The Power of Story is the best there is – He says that the most powerful story in the world is the story we tell ourselves. He also says that anything that consumes our ENERGY can be a story (even if we don’t call it a story)!
Think about how much energy it consumes if we sit in a planning meeting telling ourselves, “No one has ever given us a million dollars. We aren’t designed for million dollar gifts.” Instead of a completely different story, “We’ve never asked for one million dollars, and that’s why we don’t have it!”
I’ll also comment on the wrong team (members). We’ve all been there. You can apply energy to overcome the force of a bad (or wrong) team member. Energy has a cost. But there is another cost, like the heat that emits from the brakes on a car, there is the heat that dissipates to your team.
We can apply energy to work through the resistance. Or, we can remove the resistance – change the story, develop a clear plan, change a team member, etc.
PS: In physics two objects in motion actually have TWO measurements of friction. There is static friction – which represents the force to overcome the static state. There is also kinetic friction required to keep a body in motion. It takes more energy to overcome static friction than it does to overcome friction in motion (kinetic). Same is true in our team culture(s).
I’m continuing to write about some mindful habits and insights to frame thinking and actions for the New Year.
Today’s post pulls together some thoughts on FOCUS and PRODUCTIVITY.
First, I’m highlighting Tom’s book notes from The Power of Full Engagement (read post). The powerful nugget:
Manage your energy, not your time!
Second, I want to highlight Paul Graham’s essay: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. Graham is the co-founder of Y-Combinator and Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule has been a guide for me since I first found it several years ago. Graham challenges us to think about two different MODES of working: (Bold emphasis is mine.)
There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.
When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.
Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
I partition most days into two parts. The first is the MAKER part of my day: writing, creative thinking, strategy. I will work from my home office… or my corner coffee shop… NOT AT THE OFFICE. Early mornings 5-10am are when I’m most creative (with an interlude to get the kids up, dressed, fed and to school). I then arrive to the office around 10 and schedule calls / meetings AFTER 10:30.* This let’s me FOCUS my creativity when my energy is highest around a MAKER schedule.
If you are a leader you need time to THINK. Manage your energy, not your time. When do you do your best thinking? PROTECT YOUR MAKER TIME. The science is clear and conclusive – we incur a heavy transaction cost associated with the interruptions that stop/start our ‘deep work’.
I’m consistently reminded by clients and boot camp alums of the power this one insight has on them.
Don’t make decisions for your prospects.
Most recently, I got a note from the head of advancement for a college who told me this ONE insight TRANSFORMED fundraising for him in 2016. So, I think this is the perfect insight to reflect on as we start the new year.
Don’t assume the prospect has a ‘giving level’ just because they gave at X the past three years. Maybe they haven’t been asked.
Get comfortable with the Clueless Close. This is a great example of a way to ask – authentically – in which you’re not making a decision for the prospect.
Use this insight to question assumptions. At some point this year a natural partner will say to you, “You should ask for $X. That’s the right number for this prospect.” Unless that statement is product of extraordinary strategy and dialogue with the prospect, don’t make a decision to LIMIT the ask. (Don’t worry about under-asking or over-asking. (See tip #6 in 9 Tips to Help You Get to the Ask.) When you catch this thinking you can coach yourself by asking, “What would this prospect give if they were totally committed to the impact? If this was their number one cause?” See if you can build your comfort to ask from this place. Related: I sometimes find myself saying (with TOTAL authenticity), “It’s not my job to try and decide the appropriate investment level for you. It’s my job to make sure I make the best case for how we can have an impact and then let you decide if that’s right for you.”
Guard against the voice inside that says, “Maybe now is not the right time to ask.” We exist to save lives, change lives and impact lives. Deciding it’s not the right time to give a prospect the opportunity to save, change and impact lives goes against everything we are trying to teach.
Point of emphasis: This is an insight (or a guiding perspective), not a strategy.
Over the holidays I picked up Tim Ferris’ new book, Tools of Titans. It’s a worthy readcompanion and deserving of a whole other post (or several). Right away one nugget leaped out at me.
From James Altucher, an American Hedge Fund manager, entrepreneur, and best-selling author:
“Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.” That reads a little cynical to me… but leads into something we say a lot:
Finding purpose is a journey.
Being For Impact is a decision.
I don’t think we should forget purpose. We should realize it’s a journey and embrace the journey as such. Drop the pressure to decide your personal single purpose. (I think this is Altucher’s EXCELLENT point.) BE for Impact. That’s a decision you make today. JOURNEY for Purpose. That’s a decision you can embrace forever.
The lore of the elevator pitch comes from the early days of Hollywood when one would hope to trap an executive in an elevator and ‘pitch.’ The Elevator Pitch is an enduring shorthand that represents the simplest description of what you do.
You need brevity and simplicity… but simplicity alone is not your goal! Your goal is to get the other person to say, “I get it!” or “I want to learn more!”
The Elevator Pitch is dead. What we aim for is Elevator Engagement.
We achieve our goal more effectively and efficiently if we focus on the two-way (engagement) and not the one-way (pitch). Instead of spewing for 20-60 seconds (even if succinct), think about one great question you can ask the other person to get them ENGAGED in a conversation.
At our boot camps we do an exercise to illustrate that you can actually communicate WAYYYY more in 60 seconds by simply asking one or two questions than you can by talking (however concise you may be). It works because:
In asking a question, you start with the other person’s construct (or gestalt!).
We become fully engaged when we are talking. So, the simple act of getting the other person to talk changes the level of engagement. (This is Dale Carnegie 101!)
If you start with a question, you immediately learn what is pertinent and non-pertinent. You can use a short amount of time on relevant information.
Finally, we can position our work in their words. LISTENING is one of the most powerful selling skills in the world.
Earlier this year we were helping an organization make a neuroscience pitch to a foundation. The executive director was asked to appear before the foundation board and ‘make a pitch’. We had to reprogram her default, one-way pitch, to instead starting with a question to the panel of eight. She simply asked, “Has anyone ever had experience with a stroke, or a family member that’s had a stroke?” The board chair raised his hand and then spent two minutes talking about the importance of neuroscience research. Others jumped in. They were engaged — fully.
The executive director was able to simply build on the conversation. Though she had eight slides prepared, she found she only needed to use three of them (in response to the conversation). The board said it was one of the best pitches they had ever received – that’s because she didn’t pitch; she engaged.
She was awarded the grant!
Nota bene: There are many circles (usually tied to funding communities, e.g., silicon valley and nyc / financial) where a ‘pitch-deck’ is standard affair. Don’t let the ‘pitch deck’ put you in ‘pitch mode.’ As in the neuroscience story, you should focus on engagement. And, of course, we’re partial to the one-page pitch deck!
Our heritage is rooted in generating funding results for nonprofits. Since 1983 we’ve built and managed capital campaigns. We developed a unique value proposition around our approach:
We live ‘in-the-field’ making the campaign asks.
We use a true ‘sales process’.
Through the campaign we DESIGN the organization for ongoing funding results.
We’ve built a lot of experience through the sheer volume of activity over the past 35 years… raising $2Billion, leading over 30,000 visits, and managing over 400 campaigns.
In 2000, we started to provide training and capacity building (through For Impact) to share our frameworks with others. That effort quickly led us to realize that our DESIGN work had to include the ‘talent part’ of the equation. We had to do more to:
Build great leaders and fundraisers in the social sector.
Identify and recruit the right talent for our clients.
Identify and recruit the right talent for our clients.
For Impact Search. This is a solution we provide whereby we help find the right funding talent and then help your organization through an onboarding process and implementation of a true sales model. To learn more about how The Suddes Group / For Impact can help you identify and build the right talent / model, contact Jessica Gemm.
For Impact Fellowships. Launching in 2017. The For Impact Fellowship is designed to imprint rising stars with the skills and perspectives to accelerate impact and effect change.
Emerging Leader Mentorship. We provide mentorship to emerging social entrepreneurs and sector leaders. Our primary vehicle for this impact is through our partnership with the Unreasonable Institute. Our coaches serve as mentors at the Institute, helping develop leaders throughout the world.