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Everybody Has a Plan Until First Contact With The Enemy

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.

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Engagement Tool: Notes and Thoughts

* Following are notes and thoughts to help you understand this at the conceptual level… as well as how best to USE the ENGAGEMENT TOOL to produce ‘closes’, ‘commitments’ and ‘cash’.

  • It grabs their attention! The SIMPLICITY and VISUAL nature of this ‘piece’ is so totally different than most material being used on Visits (which are not designed for one-on-one Presentations!)… that it commands attention! (Most likely, this will be the first and only actual ‘Presentation’ Tool for your organization.)
  • It is all about the ‘REAL ESTATE’. (Location, Location, Location) Using the constraint of limited space, the Engagement Tool tries to capture an organization’s IMPACT POINTS and many of the TALKING POINTS necessary to make a great Presentation and, at the same time, provides for meaningful ‘white space’ to allow for emphasis, additions, or clarifications.
  • It actually allows for a ‘TRIPLE ASK’!!!
    TODAY
    (Annual Operations)
    TOMORROW
    (Priority Projects)
    FOREVER
    (Legacy Giving)

    [As opposed to ‘cultivation’, multiple visits and never getting ‘dollars on the table’, much less ‘in the bank’!]

  • It is designed at ALTITUDE. (See here for more.)
    30,000′ Why Purpose Blue
    14,000′ What Priorities Red
    3′ How Plan Green

    We have used this ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK as an integral, critical part of our presentation FLOW with hundreds of organizations on thousands of visits. It works.

    • Start with, the WHY. Once they’re on board…
    • Move to the WHAT. Once they understand …
    • It’s on to the HOW. HOW you will execute and HOW they can help.
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O.G.’s Notes: Learn By Going

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!

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Show. Listen. Engage.

SHOW. LISTEN. ENGAGE.

We have pioneered the use of a simple, visual ‘ENGAGEMENT TOOL’ to replace your PowerPoint, brochures and existing material.

  • The GOAL is a simple, visual ‘TOOL’ (MAP) to help present a powerful CASE for SUPPORT… on a ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ VISIT.
  • The PURPOSE of the Engagement Tool is three-fold:
    • It is a specific, visual way to ENGAGE the Prospect in CONVERSATION and DIALOGUE. (Thus, ‘Engagement’ Tool vs. ‘Presentation Tool’.)
    • It’s a great FRAMEWORK for the VISIT/PRESENTATION.
    • It puts the ‘CLOSE’ (HOW YOU CAN HELP) right in front of the Presenter(s) (Sales Team) and the Prospect.
  • The STRATEGY with the Engagement Tool is to CONTROL THE FLOW of the Presentation! (Think of it like Linus’ Security Blanket!)
  • The ENGAGEMENT TOOL is
    • NOT a ‘brochure’!
    • NOT meant to be a ‘stand alone’!
    • NOT a ‘collateral piece’!
    • NOT a text-heavy, small print, multiple-page ‘document’!
SHOW
(Don’t Tell)
LISTEN
(Don’t Talk)
ENGAGE
(Don’t Pitch)
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O.G.’s Notes: The Need to See Prospects

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:

  1. “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”
  2. but rather a VISIT!!! ‘APPOINTMENT’ (especially a ‘FORMAL’ one) immediately triggers your synapses to think ‘DOCTOR!’ Or, worse, ‘DENTIST!’
  3. “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!!!
  4. 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.
  5. “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.

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A Simple Measure: How many one-on-one asks at $1,000+

One of our discovery questions for our clients is:

How many times have you (or someone from your organization) sat down with a potential investor one-on-one in the past three months and asked for more than $1,000?

For MOST organizations, and even the BUSIEST funding professionals and largest colleges, this number rarely tops five!

One simple way to think about boosting productivity is to literally drop everything that doesn’t help you boost this number (by a lot). What if your ONLY goal this month were to have ten great visits in which you shared the story of your organization and presented the opportunity to help or make an impact?

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Look Back for Feedback

Take a few hours to review last year’s RESULTS!

List all of your ‘SOURCES OF REVENUE’… and the COST (EXPENSES) to generate that REVENUE.

EXAMPLE

REVENUE EXPENSES
(Direct/ Indirect)
NET $$$
Direct Mail/Annual Fund
Special Events
(Golf, Gala, etc)
Grants
Planned Gifts
MAJOR GIFTS
Etc.

*Be sure to include ALL PERSONNEL COSTS under Indirect Expenses.
(If you want an even bleaker picture, include ‘volunteer hours’!)

The point of this exercise is to reinforce the concept of ENGAGEMENT (VISITS with your best PROSPECTS) as the most cost effective way to generate the most INCOME. You also might use this to review the ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES of your team.

REMEMBER: The GOAL of every Development/Advancement Office is to write a net, net, net check to the IMPACT side of the organization. (The ‘Green’ people help the ‘Blue’ people)

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Return on Investment, Energy, and Relationships

If you follow For Impact, you might be familiar with the VOCABULARY CHANGE of ‘donor’ and ‘donation’ to ‘investor’ and ‘investment.’

And, obviously, you would know what every INVESTOR wants from their investment: A RETURN!

And, as a For Impact Leader or Social Entrepreneur, you know that you can DELIVER on that RETURN.

There is another ‘RETURN’ that we use quite often that seems to really grab people’s attention: RETURN ON ENERGY.

This particular nugget should be pretty self-explanatory. What (exactly) is your RETURN on ENERGY? (In this case, ‘ENERGY’ means both physical and mental TIME and FOCUS.) Is the end result worth the ENERGY? Are you working on your Top 3% or still expending a lot of (wasted) energy at the bottom?

This concept is explained and expanded wonderfully in a great book by Jim Loehr, The Power of Full Engagement.

Loehr’s premise is very simple: It’s all about MANAGING YOUR ENERGY … NOT YOUR TIME.

Special Note: We believe that this RETURN ON ENERGY concept applies both to YOU and your INVESTORS / CHAMPIONS. (They are also expecting a return on ENERGY, not just a return on INVESTMENT.)

The first return may be the RETURN ON RELATIONSHIPS. . . if you think about it, the RETURN on a RELATIONSHIP could be a way to talk about both RETURN ON INVESTMENT and RETURN ON ENERGY.

Again, this RETURN ON RELATIONSHIP applies to both YOU and your FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATION … AND your STAKEHOLDERS, INVESTORS and CHAMPIONS.

  • Are you actually maximizing the RETURN ON RELATIONSHIPS?
  • Are your top prospects and potential investors clear about their RETURN ON THE RELATIONSHIP?
  • And, finally, can you use this whole concept of ‘RETURN’… on the RELATIONSHIP … on the INVESTMENT … on ENERGY … as a way for you to get TRULY FOCUSED???
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Measuring Outcomes vs. Inputs

A University president (an incredibly well-read, experienced, really bright thought leader) shared with us a story about American business, especially MANUFACTURING, as it existed 50 years ago. (He told the story much more eloquently, but these are the shorthand notes.)

THE ‘INPUT’ PARADIGM:
MAKE IT. INSPECT IT. THROW OUT THE BAD. SELL THE GOOD.
The ‘OUTCOME’ PARADIGM:
MAKE IT. SELL IT.

The ‘outcome’ paradigm replaced the old model by changing the PROCESS (re-engineering around measurement and statistics, etc. Think Edward Denning and Elijah Goldratt.)

The goal was to stabilize the consistency of the PROCESS to minimize and eliminate the BAD STUFF.

Here’s where he went with that regarding EDUCATION.

The old INPUT model goes back 500 years (University of Bologna, etc.) Nothing’s changed. Same pedagogy. Teacher. Student. Classroom. If you fail, you’re gone. Throw out the bad. Keep the good. Be ‘proud’ of the number of students you don’t accept and the number of students who don’t make it.

In education, a new model of OUTCOME-BASED would look at the entire process so that everyone makes it.

INPUT VS. OUTCOME. For Impact leaders, social entrepreneurs, change agents and Development/Sales should think about how this applies to the way we ‘RAISE MONEY.’

The old INPUT-BASED model is all about activity, cultivation, marketing, annual fund, chasing mice.

The new OUTCOME-BASED model (certainly our For Impact model) is all about:

  1. Writing ‘TRIPLE NET CHECKS’ to the organization from the Development Operation.
  2. A laser-like focus on RESULTS/OUTCOME … not on activities, special events, donor acquisitions, chasing mice, etc.
  3. Do only those things that have dramatic, quantum leap, transformational results. (Chase antelopes.)

P.S. A very, very senior development officer actually told the Vice President that the institution needed to “spend the next five years totally focused on building up ANNUAL FUND.”

Can you imagine doing that in ‘business?’ Let’s sell a bunch of little stuff to a lot of people … so that five years from now those people can buy more and bigger stuff. We’d be out of business.

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You Get What You Measure

For all of our Coaching Clients with Sales Teams, we use what we call a ‘GREEN SHEET’ to collect and measure monthly feedback.

At the top of every Green Sheet, is our SUCCESS QUOTIENT:

  • SUCCESS = # of times we SHARE THE STORY …
    & PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.
  • SUCCESS = Both ACTIVITY and PRODUCTIVITY.
  • SUCCESS = # of VISITS (with QUALIFIED Prospects) & # of ASKS.
  • SUCCESS = RESULTS/GIFTS/MONEY … to FUND THE VISION.
  • SUCCESS = ROR & ROI & ROE
    (Return-on-RELATIONSHIPS & Return-on-INVESTMENT & Return-onENERGY)

All of this is geared towards High-End, Top of the Pyramid, Lead and Major Gift PRESENTATIONS! It’s where the money is.

If you’re not already using a system to MEASURE your SUCCESS, I suggest you begin
TODAY.

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