I love the magazine Selling Power (mostly just because I love the idea of sales). Gerhard Gschwandtner is the founder and publisher of Selling Power and has had a tremendous influence on my thinking. The subtitle of the magazine is “Solutions for Sales Management,” and they provide a lot of solutions!
I was skimming an old issue (May 2005) looking for more stuff on PROSPECTS and came across this article by Geoffrey James called:
GET OVER IT!
Post-9/11 Everything Changed EXCEPT THE NEED TO SEE PROSPECTS!
(Those are my caps and my exclamation point.)
Here are the guts of the article:
- “It’s never been more difficult to get through to an executive to make a FORMAL APPOINTMENT.” In our For Impact World, we deal with that in a number of ways. Most importantly, we don’t look for a “FORMAL APPOINTMENT”…
- but rather a VISIT!!! ‘APPOINTMENT’ (especially a ‘FORMAL’ one) immediately triggers your synapses to think ‘DOCTOR!’ Or, worse, ‘DENTIST!’
- “You have to do a better job of making prospects want to see you.” The way we do that is making a big, big deal of PREDISPOSITION!!!
- The absolute best PREDISPOSITION for all of us in the For Impact World is to actually bring the ‘prospect’ to where you deliver your service. Let them SEE, TOUCH, HEAR, SMELL WHAT you do. Make it palpable. Make it memorable. Make it an experience.
- “Once you do get in, however, you’d better be prepared to build a LASTING RELATIONSHIP.” WOW! As most of you know, our GOAL with all of our PROSPECTS is to create a RELATIONSHIP … ideally a LIFETIME RELATIONSHIP … and, then MAXIMIZE THAT RELATIONSHIP …AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT!
The article goes on to talk about working to get a ‘VISIT.’
I love their “warning:”
“Working this system requires PREPARATION and PERSISTENCE.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I was re-reading some stuff by Julia Cameron, who is one of my favorite writers, authors, thinkers. (Her ARTIST’S WAY is one of my favorite books and favorite gifts.)
Julia shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!
“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.”
“Where you have to GO”… is on VISITS with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS.
P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:
“Spend MORE TIME with BETTER PROSPECTS.”
In Suddes-speak: ENGAGE!
I hope you have all now seen or read one of our absolute favorite quotes by Andy Grove:
“ENGAGE. THEN PLAN.”
We’ve been astounded over the years by how many people PLAN, PLAN, PLAN … RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH … CULTIVATE, CULTIVATE, CULTIVATE</br> …</br>and never ENGAGE!
Remember, ENGAGE = VISIT = PRESENT = JUST ASK!
Perhaps these two quotes by a legendary warrior/philosopher and a not-so-legendary boxer might also help.
“EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN UNTIL FIRST CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY.” Sun Tzu(The Art of War)
“EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN UNTIL THEY GET HIT.”Leon Spinks
The ‘PLAN’ is not the answer.
GET OUT AND ENGAGE. MAKE FIRST CONTACT! (It’s not the enemy!) GET HIT. (Make visits. Take your best shot.)
Your ‘PLAN’ will be a thousand times better after you have had this first contact and gotten hit than it is right now if you’re writing it in your office or conference room or in a bubble.
Jim Yoder is one of my closest friends (since our days together at Notre Dame) and a former partner of The Suddes Group. Jim has been running/managing large campaigns for over 20 years.
When he was working on a $1.5M Campaign for Economic Development (over 5 years) in a small community in North Carolina:
He spent 3 DAYS …
EVERY OTHER WEEK …
FOR 3 MONTHS …
working on the Funding Initiative.
100 VISITS … 100 SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER, FACE-TO-FACE, EYEBALLTO-EYEBALL PRESENTATIONS … IN JUST THOSE 18 DAYS!!!
Oh, and by the way, Jim had never met any of those prospects/potential investors personally before he made those visits … AND he Presented the Opportunity for them to make an investment (JUST ASK) in almost every single instance!
I told Jim that 100 visits in those 18 days was more than most Development Officers and Major Gift Officers Make in a year.
HOW MANY VISITS ARE YOU/YOUR ORG MAKING THIS WEEK???
If you (or someone in your organization) is not out making VISITS, making
PRESENTATIONS, making ASKS … who do you think will???
Nobody woke up this morning and said to themselves, “This would be a great day to
give $10,000 (or $100,000) to my favorite IMPACT organization.”
My partner and President/Leader of For Impact | The Suddes Group, Nick Fellers, is a borderline genius. Smart. Action-oriented. Authentic.
He has many great lines, but I heard him say this on the phone once and it just struck me as so freakin’ right on in his role as COACH.
“You can’t SCREW UP … if you just SHOW UP!”
While Nick was speaking with one of his coaching clients, I think that message needed to get out to everyone.
Before you can JUST ASK.
Before you can PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.
Before you can MAXIMIZE RELATIONSHIPS.
You need to SHOW UP! (JUST ENGAGE!)
It happens at every organization, every day, every where. A founder, executive director
or fundraiser is trying to gather support (financial and otherwise) from someone, such as
a board member or community leader. He or she should be the perfect prospect and easy
visit … instead we encounter ‘objections.’
I’ve always struggled with this concept: objections. We have a terrific opportunity. The
people with whom we visit (prospective investors) WANT to SAVE LIVES, CHANGE
LIVES and IMPACT LIVES. What are widely viewed as objections are more often (1)
real questions, (2) ways of saying “I don’t understand” or sometimes even (3) “I don’t
understand but I want to help so let me suggest a lot of stuff that I’ve seen work
How you address these situations is critical. For that, turn to philosophy + martial arts.
Turn to Aikido. Aikido translated literally means “the way of harmony of life energy.”
It’s a form of martial arts in which you join incoming thrusts and redirect them with
minimal effort and without inflicting harm on the aggressor. According to Aikido’s
founder, it is literally the Art of Peace.
If you get a zinger of a question or a response that could take you off course – work with
it. Don’t try to ‘oppose it.’ Don’t get defensive. Raising your hands to block a person
means you absorb the blow … you literally have to push back with equal and opposite
force (wasted energy) to absorb the blow. Instead, practice Aikido and redirect the
incoming zinger back to your impact, your message or your plan.
Note: Politicians practice Aikido every day. Watch ANY political debate. Instead of
getting defensive when a tough question is asked, the politician redirects toward his or
A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!
This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!
A ‘Campaign’ is all about ACTION. The literal translation or definition of a ‘Campaign’ probably has its provenance with Napoleon and War. As any great general or military leader will tell you, success in war is about MASSIVE ACTION – NOW.
We’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of organizations screw around for years trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, where to hold the kickoff, etc. There are great organizations out there who, right now, are still debating the “impact of the economy and the recession,” or “somebody else has kicked off a campaign in our community” or “our donors are tired and maybe we should wait” and on and on. UGH!
CHALLENGE FOR THE DAY: What are the 3 ‘MASSIVE ACTIONS’ that you could take RIGHT NOW that would cause an EXPLOSIVE EXPONENTIAL JUMP or a QUANTUM LEAP for your organization?
WRITE THEM DOWN.
Then, GO DO ‘EM.