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“Success is a result of Good Judgement.
Good Judgement is a result of Experience.
Experience is a result of Bad Judgement.”

– Will Rodgers

The last couple of years have been challenging and difficult…and have led to a lot of EXPERIENCES. (Good & Bad)

Now is the time to use those EXPERIENCES to focus on ‘ENGAGEMENT’!

As Goose said to Maverick, in Top Gun:


In our world, (just so there is no confusion) ENGAGE means VISIT…SHOULDER TO SHOULDER…OUT OF YOUR OFFICE… with your BEST INVESTORS and PROSPECTS.

Andy Grove, of Intel fame,has created a 3 word battle cry that changes everything,


*Remember Martin Luther King said,

“I have a dream!”

*He didn’t say, “I have a Strategic Plan.”

Newton’s Law states,

“A body in motion tends to stay in motion,
A body at rest tends to stay at rest.”

I’m no physics major, but I get this: ENGAGE means GET IN MOTION!!! You can hide under your desk because of the economy, fear, call reluctance, whatever… OR, you can buy into our IMPACT DRIVES INCOME insight and epiphany.

  • More VISITS (with BEST PROSPECTS) means…
  • More PRESENTATIONS (to Share the Story/Present the Opportunity) means…
  • More MONEY (to Fund the Vision) means…
  • More INCOME…creating much more IMPACT.

Go Forth and ENGAGE!

GUARANTEE: IF you commit to ENGAGE with your CHAMPIONS and your MOST QUALIFIED PROSPECTS… your entire organization will be TRANSFORMED!


Nick’s Note: It Takes 15 Visits to Hit Your Selling Stride

We coach and train organizations and individuals to sell … to sell their vision, their projects, their impact.

  • Sales is a 1:1 activity. It requires that we get out of the office and meet with people.
  • Sales is also the only way to truly maximize relationships.

I will often ask an executive director, “How many visits and asks (1:1) does your organization make each month?” More than any other statistic, this is a key performance indicator for an organization. Many leaders respond with something like, “Well, right now, none. We’re waiting until we finish our strategic plan.” Or, “About once per month but we’re really going to commit to major gifts in the coming year.”

Get out. Visit. Ask.

As coaches, we know it takes about 15 asks (over a three-month time period) from one person to hit ‘selling stride’… where a sales person is likely to keep making visits … revenue will jump … systems will start to form. On paper, 15 visits doesn’t look like a lot (and it’s not) but it requires:

  • That we stop messing with the message.
  • That we get out of our comfort zone. Otherwise, human nature would have us wait forever to make the FIRST visit.
  • That we get beyond the 2-3 ‘low-hanging fruit’ prospects … being proactive in a sales process.

If you’re new to this, your first few visits are going to feel awkward. You’ll find yourself saying really stupid things. Just know this and know that you have to do them to get them out of the way. Somewhere in the range of 6-10 visits you’ll start to ‘own the message’ and find yourself in familiar territory on each dialogue. And … by visit 15 you will find a groove. Each visit is no longer produces that ‘deer in a headlight’ feeling. Much like an experienced quarterback describes, the time seems to slow down and you get much better at processing on the fly.

For what it’s worth:

  • I feel really awkward on my first ten visits on behalf of a cause. Even having done this hundreds of times it takes me a while to find my groove.
  • It’s much easier to do three visits in one day than it is three visits in one-week.
  • Remember, be authentic and you can’t screw up. It’s okay to say, “This is the second time I’ve shared the plan in this way.”
  • If it helps, go ahead and make ‘practice visits’… these count toward the 15.
  • I’m suggesting it takes 15 visits for a person to reach his or her stride which impacts the organization as a whole. If you have two sales people then they each should make 15 visits to hit a stride.

OGs Note: Share the Story. Present the Opportunity.

Another one of those SIMPLE, but not EASY lessons.

STOP Asking for Money. (I did that 5,812 times.)


You’ll be amazed.

**Special Board Note: This could be the GREATEST LESSON to get your BOARD and VOLUNTEERS ENGAGED in your QUANTUM LEAP CAMPAIGN . Just ask them whether they’d rather:


Jeff Strine, one of our For Impact coaches, says it best:


It’s all about your vision. No more to be said.


Sales Process (A Visual)

Wanted to share this illustration of a customized sales process we did with a client. If you’ve been to a workshop you will recognize Predisposition > Present the Opportunity > Follow-up.

Though we originally made it for one client, we think it’s pretty near universal.

  • Leads feed into a PREDISPOSITION STRATEGY.
  • VISIT! Do Discovery and then Present the Opportunity … could be two visits or one but not more.
  • The GOAL is a big deal to me … if we can get them to say, “Wow, this is great, what can I do to help?” … then it’s not about cultivation, time or a chess-like gambit. It’s about communicating the ‘how to help’… now/today.
    If they don’t say, “Wow!” … then we effectively JUST ASK around the goal … and get permission to talk about the funding plan on the next (second) visit.
  • Follow-up – is a STRATEGY, not an ACTION ITEM.


Click on image to download a copy for your files.


Sales Requires People…Process…Performance

There it is. The ‘3 P alliteration’ that summarizes all ‘SALES’!

SALES SUCCESS is a direct result of combining your SALES PEOPLE with a

SALES PROCESS and then relying on them to PERFORM! (You need all three.

Two of three won’t cut it. One of three, close up shop.)

Note: Most ‘NFP’ orgs don’t know where to begin re: a SALES PROCESS. We’ve spent 30 years building and refining a SALES PROCESS.


9 Guiding Principles for Sales Success

Here are 9 GUIDING PRINCIPLES to help you ‘sell’ your VISION, your MESSAGE, your PRIORITIES …

Pretty self-explanatory, but there are some ‘notes’ with each one.

GP #1 CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY! WORDS ARE IMPORTANT! Stop using all the typical ‘nonprofit’ industry jargon. Start using ‘sales’ terms, ‘business’ terms, ‘common sense’ terms.

Appointments Visits
Power Points Presentation Tools
Asking for Money Presenting the Opportunity
GP #2 THINK BIG. BUILD SIMPLE. ACT NOW! Our absolute favorite Entrepreneur’s Mantra. Also works great for SALES. THINK. BUILD. ACT. BIG. SIMPLE. NOW.
GP #3 THE RULE OF 3! ‘FORCE’ everything you do into groups of 3! Your Message Points. Your Priorities. Your Buckets. Your Sales Presentation. Trust us. It works.
GP #4 NO TIMEOUTS. NO SUBSTITUTIONS. NO EXCUSES. OG’s Notre Dame Boxers’ Mantra. Works for sales. Take responsibility for your life. Your actions. Your results.
GP #5 PREPARE. PRACTICE. PERFORM. You ‘get’ PREPARE and PERFORM. What we never, ever, ever do (in our world) is PRACTICE! PRACTICE YOUR PRESENTATION. Your response to objections and challenges. Your opening. Your close.
GP #6 FIRST WITH THE HEART. THEN WITH THE HEAD. This is the corollary to a great line in the book, THE POWER OF ONE.  Zig Ziglar, über sales trainer, says it perfectly: “People buy on emotion, then justify with logic.”
GP #7 DO THE MATH. You can’t ‘SELL’ unless you understand all the ‘NUMBERS!’ This is about goals, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the Stockdale Paradox (Face the Brutal Facts).
GP #8 ASK QUESTIONS. (ACTUALLY) LISTEN TO ANSWERS. This is, without question, the greatest ‘SALES TIP’ … ever!
GP #9 SHARE THE STORY. PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. No explanation necessary. Just do it.

The World’s First Elevator Pitch

We urge you to read Dan Pink’s book, TO SELL IS HUMAN!

Go immediately to Page 155 and read about Elisha Otis and the world’s first elevator pitch!

Teaser: It involved him climbing on top of one of the world’s first elevators and taking an axe and slashing the rope that is suspending it in mid-air!

We love Dan’s thinking as he goes into the 6 Successors to the Elevator Pitch:

  • The One-Word Pitch (IMPACT!)
  • The Question Pitch (JUST ASK!)
  • The Rhyming Pitch (LIVE TO GIVE. GIVE TO LIVE.)
  • The Subject Line Pitch (YOU JUST WON $1M FROM NIGERIAN LOTTERY.)
  • The Pixar Pitch!!! (Page 170. THIS ALONE IS WORTH THE PRICE OF THE BOOK.)

Pink reinforces everything we’ve read about Pixar, John Lasseter and his team, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney Company, and more.


Once upon a time there was _________. Every day _________.
One day ________ and _________. Because of that _________ .
Because of that __________. Until finally _________.


To every For Impact organization out there … fill in the blanks and you have your STORY! document

You know our FI | TSG line: You’re in Sales. Get over IT!


Visit with a Foundation

Nick walks through a visit with a foundation and demonstrates how build Leadership Consensus to validate the plan.

Set Up

Nick meets with a local bank foundation that has a long-time, but unmaximized, relationship with Christian Community Action, an organization that started a campaign but fell short of their goal.





Key Learning Points:

  • Leadership Consensus Building – getting long-time funders on board to validate the plan
  • Ask questions to determine where their priorities lie
  • Get them on board as a champion before the ask, then the ask becomes a natural progression of the relationship
  • Nick used specific language that communicated directly to a bank mindset (strategic partner, emphasis on numbers and plan, ect)
  • Use the tool to draw the prospect into specific parts that they are interested in
  • As a partner, Nick showed that the organization is raising the bar everywhere – that’s why it makes sense for the foundation to raise their bar
  • Sell the plan – let them know that we are a sound investment in the future
  • It’s about making a commitment to having a lasting impact on the community



Key Learning Points:

  • Roadmap: Predisposition, presentation, follow-up
  • Constantly predispose the prospect to the next part of the flow
  • Follow Up with prospects, with your organization, and with yourself
  • Immediate follow-up letter – “here are the key points we talked about, I have captured and confirmed them”
  • Current visit follow-up letter – bullet point format
    • You’ve been one of our best partners, strategic match with our priorities
    • Ending homelessness
    • Strategic partnership
    • Confirm follow-up steps
    • Give a specific time to follow-up
    • Use specific quotes of what they said
  • After action report – how did the message work, what did we learn, what do we need to change? It’s a continual learning process
  • As sales people, keep the ball in your court – control when you are going to get back to them

Visit with a Lapsed Annual Fund Supporter

Tom walks through a visit with a prospect that has previously been engaged with the organization but has been disconnected for a length of time.


The prospect is a wealthy socialite with children who has been previously involved with the organization.






Key Learning Points:

  • 3 ways to help: Champion. Invite. Invest.
  • If someone is not volunteering the information, it is important to be aggressive in drawing out the information with questions
  • Go with the flow!
  • If the prospect stops you with a dollar amount, simply ask – What do you think the right number is? – put a number on a project.
  • If you don’t know what the capacity is, listen and learn – this will influence where you take your ask.
  • Tom didn’t start out asking for a 100k, he started with a specific program that tied back into the impact, which led to the ask.
  • Can you look at a very special project that will have a huge impact that i want to talk more with you about, that will also be $100K
  • It’s not negotiation, it’s a relationship.

Only 15 Minutes To Meet With New Prospect

Nick demonstrates a visit with a prospect when under a 15 minute time constraint.





Key Learning Points:

  • Establish a personal relationship and connection.
  • Even though there were only 15 minutes, the visit did not feel rushed or pressured.
  • Listen and ask questions! The prospect did most of the talking

A Triple Ask on the Very First Visit

The prospect has a very strong relationship with the college, and Tom does a triple ask the very first time he meets with her.


Tom visits with a high capacity prospect for the first time who has a strong relationship with Ohio Wesleyan University an alumnus. She is a very successful attorney with a generational connection to the school, including a her parents, two sons, and multiple other family members.






Key Learning Points:

  • Err on the side of asking and being aggressive, but be in tune with what the prospect is saying and body language.
  • If the prospect has too many options, it makes it harder for them to choose