As the old (and only?) song by the Monkees goes, “I’m a believer” when it comes to the importance of closing. (More on that tomorrow.)
With that said, I am convinced that the OPEN, not the CLOSE, makes the SALE.
If sales is defined as the forging of a human connection, then skipping the open means skipping the human connection!
In our For Impact Presentation Flow, the open is comprised of three elements:
If you don’t tell/own your story, this is the story that will be told for you:
I’m Nick. As you can see from my title, I’m a major gifts officer and so I’m coming to talk to you about money.
Instead, talk about: Who are you? How did you get here? What makes you passionate about this work?
An open also puts you in the driver’s seat for managing the flow of dialogue:
I’m looking forward to our conversation, would it be okay if I share a little about myself to start?
This works whether you are brand new or the founder of the organization – the prospect just needs to know you as a human being.
I can google you (and did) but it would be even better to hear you tell your story.
No matter the order you do these, this is simply the time to talk about what or who brought you together:
I’m so happy that (Board Member/Champion) made this introduction. As I said in my note, I’m really excited to share our story/vision and talk to you about how you can help us make it happen.
I know that (Board Member/Champion) thought it was important for us to meet. Could you tell me what you already know about our organization (or our impact)?
It’s a VISIT, not an appointment. Talk about yourself and ask about the prospect. Then you can move to the purpose of the visit.