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Altitude Awareness

We use an Altitude Framework to order thinking, communications and storylines.

30,000′ The WHY VISION
14,000′ The WHAT STRATEGY
3′ The HOW EXECUTION

In sharing this with others, one goal is simply to make everyone aware of 30,000′ and what it means to share the message and story at 30,000’.

People respond to you at whatever level you communicate. So, if you’re at 3,′ talking about where the architects are placing bathrooms, this will frame the conversation. Instead, if you’re at 30,000,′ talking about changing and saving lives… the conversations will be different.

One example: We worked with a well-respected social entrepreneur and Ashoka fellow. A driven individual and true visionary, he gets up every morning trying to change the face of poverty. Whenever he went to make an ‘ask,’ however, the conversation always turned into a debate about the business model (at 14,000′). The Altitude Framework helped him to see why this was happening.

Being an award-winning social entrepreneur, his message had taken shape around ‘doing business in a different way’… about ‘earned income’… about ‘not relying on philanthropy’… about being ‘best in the world at being sustainable.’ Naturally, prospects were engaging him at this level (14,000′). The 30,000′ WHY wasn’t coming through in his message. His story needed to be about being best in the world at changing the face of poverty (30,000′) — first — and then incorporating a different business model (at 14,000′).

The Altitude Framework was a simple tool that made him aware of his 30,000′ message. We’re happy to report his funding conversations changed considerably based on this conscious framing exercise.

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Ask…Listen…Ask…Listen

In our trainings, we do a ‘card trick’ to demonstrate the greatest sales tip ever.

ASK a question… LISTEN to the answer… ASK another question (based on the previous response)… LISTEN to answer.

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY… the best way to create ENGAGEMENT… and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener, followed by an article from Selling Power (September/October 2011) titled ARE YOU LISTENING? (8 Steps to Positive Listening Skills That Can Improve Your Sales) by the editors of Selling Power.

  • Total focus. Actually sit up, engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. Most people love to talk about themselves and share their stories with you. This is a perfect fit with out IMPACT –> INCOME | SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. (It’s not just you that should share the story… but they should share their story with you.)
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.
  • *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.

Read the article for 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.

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Three Reasons Why You Should Probably Ask!

Thanks to Dan Kirsch at the Grinspoon Foundation for turning me on to influenceatwork.com. Here is the blog/article by Steve Martin, co-author and presenter at INFLUENCE AT WORK: Three Reasons Why You Should Probably Ask!

Reason #1: People are more likely say ‘yes’ than you think. Love that Martin cites actual studies. My experience is more anecdotal than scientific … yet backed up by over 6,000 visits/presentations … and thousands and thousands and thousands of ASKS in my life.

***JUST ASK is a life principle, not just a sales or business mantra.

In my world, most people actually want to say ‘yes‘ to a legitimate, fair and rational request.

Reason #2: Asking doesn’t weaken your power, it boosts it.

At The Suddes Group, we have an internal mantra of ACT or ASK. If you know what needs to be done, do it. If you’re not sure or need help or want someone else’s counsel … ASK.

***Again, not just sales. “I’ve had a long couple of days. Could you upgrade my room?” “I know my son’s tuition is due. Would it be possible to spread that over six months instead of one payment?” “Since this is a trip around the world in 23 days, including 9 all-night flights or trains, could we make all the reservations in business class/first class?”

BTW, the answer to all three of these questions was “YES“.

Reason #3. You’ll actually feel better if you ask.

Martin makes a great point about the difference between rejection and regret. Personally, I much prefer ‘rejection’ (or, better put, someone simply saying no to the request) … than to look back for weeks, months or years, with regret, wondering what would have happened if I had only asked.
 

JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK.

 

Special, Special, Special Note to All Leaders in the For Impact World.

BIG/HUGE LESSON FROM THE FIELD.

We are doing a ton of work right now in healthcare and with healthcare foundations.

We spend a lot of time talking about about goals, increasing philanthropic revenue, staffing, major gifts vs. special events and much more.

The proverbial lightbulb went off when we started talking about ROI!

Return-On-Investment is a ridiculously simple concept for an advancement/development operation. It is especially relevant for a hospital foundation.

What is our ROI?

  • At 1X right now, it’s no wonder the hospital CEO won’t take our calls.
  • AT 2X, we’re generating revenue for the hospital, but our cost of fundraising is 50%!
  • At 3X, we become part of the conversation at the proverbial table.
  • At 5X (20% cost of fundraising), we are a integral and critical part of the business model.

There are two simple ways to dramatically change ROI: Reduce the denominator (cut expenses) and increase the numerator (raise more money).

The ROI conversation allows for a much more meaningful discussion about expenses, people, slots, what should be a foundation expense and what should be a hospital expense, etc.

Increasing philanthropic revenue is a function of ‘major gifts’, visits and presentations.
Then, the key to ROI is simple:

JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK.

 

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Just Ask Strategy

 
I wanted to share our JUST ASK STRATEGY with everyone engaged in the For Impact world.
 

THE FOR IMPACT JUST ASK STRATEGY
(It’s SIMPLE, not easy.)

Get a VISIT …

NOT AN APPOINTMENT (THINK ‘Doctor/Dentist’!)

With a QUALIFIED PROSPECT/POTENTIAL INVESTOR …

NOT A DONOR (THINK ‘Blood/Organ’!)

To do DISCOVERY…

NOT TALK, TALK, TALK (THINK ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’!)

To SHARE THE STORY …

NOT MORE INFORMATION (THINK ‘glazed eyes’!)

To PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY …

NOT ASK FOR MONEY (THINK ‘Beggar’!)

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER …

NOT FACE-TO-FACE, EYEBALL-TO-EYEBALL (THINK ‘Competition/Confrontation’!)

To FUND THE VISION!!!

NOT HELP TO ‘SURVIVE’ (THINK UGH!)

 
VOCAB, WORDS, FRAMING have a huge impact on your ATTITUDE and ACTION!

Think about getting an appointment with a donor to overwhelm them with information and ask them for money.

No wonder no one will meet with you. 🙂

P.S. Here’s how it works for the For Profit world. Your Board Members will ‘get it’.
 

THE FOR PROFIT JUST ASK STRATEGY
(It’s SIMPLE, not easy.)

Get a VISIT …

NOT AN APPOINTMENT (THINK ‘Doctor/Dentist’!)

With a QUALIFIED PROSPECT/POTENTIAL INVESTOR …

NOT A SUSPECT (THINK ‘Crime’!)

To do DISCOVERY…

NOT TALK, TALK, TALK (THINK ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’!)

To SHARE THE STORY …

NOT MORE INFORMATION (THINK ‘Glazed Eyes’!)

To PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY …

NOT MAKE A ‘SALE’ (THINK ‘Used Cars’!)

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER …

NOT FACE-TO-FACE, EYEBALL-TO-EYEBALL (THINK ‘Competition/Confrontation’!)

To PROVIDE A SOLUTION!!!

NOT SELL SOMETHING (THINK UGH!)
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Nick’s Note: Just Ask


 

‘Just Ask’ the ACTION part of the For Impact message.

  • Through The Suddes Group, we’ve raised a lot of money. A big reason for this was because WE ASKED.
    So many times I’ve been on a visit with an executive director. We asked… the prospect (after some dialogue) said yes and the executive director then later said to me,

  • Just ask when timing is perfect.
  • Just ask when you know exactly what to ask for.
  • Just ask after you’ve visiting with the prospect nine times.
  • Just ask when you’re entire board is on board.
  • Just ask when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.
  • Just ask when you have the perfect message.
  • Just ask when you have the perfect materials.

It says, “Just Ask!”

  • Timing will never be perfect.
  • The only what you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).
  • You are in the business of saving, changing and impacting lives It’s not about nine visits. People cultivate because they can’t communicate!
  • Re: the board… just move… take action.
  • I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask….
  • The only way to truly test a message is to ASK.
  • Re: Materials, see my above point about message.

Just ASK is all about action.

It’s permission to move. Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one), the message is not personal.
Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the message, from the org or plan) to make a commitment.
Until you ask, prospects can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.

This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.

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The Controlling Insight – Just Ask

“The best way to have a GOOD IDEA is to have a lot of ideas.”
– Linus Pauling

 

“One great INSIGHT is worth a thousand good ideas.”
– Phil Dusenberry

 
Marcus Buckingham, in his wonderful book called THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW, talks about a ‘CONTROLLING INSIGHT’.

He says, “For a ‘CONCEPT’ to go to a ‘CONTROLLING INSIGHT’, it must:
1. Apply amongst a BROAD RANGE of SITUATIONS.
2. SERVE as MULTIPLIER!!!
3. GUIDE ACTION!!!”
I truly believe… with my heart and my head… that JUST ASK is a ‘CONTROLLING INSIGHT’.
1. It works (applies) to just about anything… anywhere.
2. It exponentially increases growth, sales, life.
3. It’s ALL about ACTION!

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Order of Visits

Deciding the ORDER of your visits is very different from simply starting at the top of your Master Prospect List and working your way down.

‘MO-CO’ – ‘LEAD-CO’ – ‘CO-CO’

Begin like Archimedes on his best day by trying to LEVERAGE your commitments… building on each previous visit and commitment as you move along.

Here’s one way to look at this: ‘MO-CO’s,’ ‘LEAD-CO’s’ and ‘CO-CO’s’:

  • MO-CO’s are MOMENTUM COMMITMENTS. These commitments are not necessarily about magnitude or size but rather ‘COMMENSURATE’… ‘SURPRISE’… and ‘STRETCH’.

    These are the ‘EARLY ADOPTERS’ who get it, buy in, and provide the MOMENTUM to get going.

    In Good To Great, Jim Collins’ world, we would call these ‘FLYWHEEL’ commitments. In order to get a FLYWHEEL moving, it takes a lot of energy at the beginning… but once there is some ‘MOMENTUM’… the wheel flies.

  • LEAD-CO’s are about LEADERSHIP COMMITMENTS that literally TRANSFORM the organization or the project or the campaign. These are ‘Top of the Pyramid’, lead gifts that create a sense of “We can do this.” Many times they prove that our best prospects/investors have ‘stepped up’, and now it’s up to the rest of us.
  • CO-CO: CONNECTOR COMMITMENTS. Going after some of your most important ‘CONNECTORS’ early on is a terrific strategy to not only get their financial commitment (which may or may not be significant) but also to generate REFERRALS and STRATEGY on getting visits with your best prospects.
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Voice Mail

TO LEAVE OR NOT TO LEAVE (THAT IS THE QUESTION)

My primary response to the question of VOICE MAIL is that it is a function of authenticity.

I believe it is appropriate to leave a voice mail on the first follow-up call:

  • Referencing the predisposition.
  • Leaving a return number.
  • Indicating that if you don’t hear back, you will call again on (day).

After that, it’s a combination of authenticity, good judgment and professional perseverance.

  • “Sorry I missed you again. Let me know a good time to catch up. Text or my e-mail is _________.”
  • “I know we keep missing. I also know how important this is to you. I’ll keep trying until we connect.”

***This is another example of ‘Practice’… and thinking out the exact words you can use.
Nothing worse than hemming and hawing and fumbling your way through a voice mail.

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Perserverence

Everything good in life doesn’t come easy or just happen. Getting a visit takes FOLLOW-UP and PERSEVERANCE.

Here are 3 things that might help you with this.

  • Attitude Is Everything
  • Whatever It Takes
  • Yes or No

1. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

Getting a visit is all about SFP: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy! If you’re trying to a get an ‘appointment’ with someone you are convinced doesn’t want to see you… that’s exactly what will happen.

The person responsible for getting a visit must go at this with the attitude that the:

  • Qualified Prospect wants to be with you.
  • Qualified Prospect wants to hear the opportunity.
  • Qualified Prospect will be the big winner after the visit.

This ‘attitude’ will come through on the phone.

Special Note on Authenticity: You cannot mess up a contact to set up a visit if you
are authentic!!!

  • “Really important that we meet with you.”
  • “Been trying hard to set this up because of urgency, importance, etc.”
  • “Sorry we have missed connecting so often, I’m feeling like a stalker.
    However…”

2. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

I know. Old and cheesy coaching cliché. However, if you take ‘perseverance’ and ‘attitude’ down to the ‘how’… the answer is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES! Call back until they tell you not to call anymore. Stay in contact until you’ve got the visit set up. Call in all of your SUPPORT team. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

3.“YES OR NO?”

We have something we call the ‘RESPONSE TREE’. Usually only 3 answers once you get through on the phone:

  • “YES.” Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send
    any additional predisposition (#2) material for the actual visit itself.
  • “MAYBE.” “What else could I do that might help you decide on getting together? I can meet you anywhere, anytime. Would it help if you spoke with (Natural Partner) to understand more about why they are engaged with us?”
  • “NO.” If this is No – No time but still likes your organization… then you could send them a President’s Circle invitation or even a really strong follow-up letter… with a request.

    If it’s a No – “No, can’t really see this as a priority, don’t have the financial wherewithal to help”… then you would send a nice ‘thank you’ and MOVE ON!

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Phone Tips From a Pro

Anyone making phone calls to set visits will benefit from these GREAT tips from Nicole, a
For-Impact visit-setter extraordinaire. Share these with your team to sharpen skills and boost
confidence before picking up the phone.

  • Be Authentic. It’s not about following a script, but about putting it in your own words.
  • Your passion shows through on the phone.
  • Don’t think of the reasons why they may not give. Think of the reason they WILL give.
  • You cannot play out every scenario in your head of the questions that you will receive on
    the phone. Just make the call and see what happens.
  • It’s OK to not have all the answers and to say, “Let me find out about this.”
  • It is all about the change/impact that the prospect can have on the organization.
  • Your prospect may already support you and are champions for your cause. You do not need
    to sell them on the cause.
  • Learn as you go.
  • The best way to start is to pick up the phone and call.
  • In case you only have a few minutes on the phone and they do not want a meeting, know
    in advance the message you want the prospect to take away from your call. You may be the
    only opportunity to talk about the impact/message.
  • Every investment has an impact.
  • Never perceive you know the prospect’s capacity. Let them tell you.
  • Based on your conversation, some people will be inspired to send in a check without
    needing to meet.
  • Everyone wants to feel that they are making a difference.
  • And, the more predisposition letters you send out, and the more calls you make,
    the more impact it will have.
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OGs Note: Practice

Julia Cameron is one of my absolute favorite writers, authors, and thinkers. She shares this great quote from Theodore Roethke.

“I learn by going where I have to go.”

The best way to set up a lot of visits is to set up a lot of visits.

‘Practice’ as it relates to getting visits, is to actually ‘practice’ what you’re going to say, how you say it, how to respond, etc. Then, go where you have to go – on the phone, working through your ‘words’ to get the visit.

Here are 3 ways to think about this idea of PRACTICE.

  • The Message and the Words
  • Handle Objections
  • Do the Work

1. THE MESSAGE AND THE WORDS.

One of the best books I’ve read recently is ‘PRACTICE PERFECT’ by Doug Lemov. One of his big points is that the best teachers and coaches focus on small and seemingly mundane aspects of the work… especially on the right ‘words’ they use!

The idea here is to actually practice/test, the ways and the words.

  • Keep it simple. (Again, goal is to get visit!)
  • Keep it at 30,000’. (High altitude. No detail on phone.)
  • Keep it about the ‘story’. (Selling is not telling, unless it’s a story!)

Commit to being able to articulate your message… clearly, concisely, compellingly…in :30 seconds! Then, add ‘story’ after they have responded.

2. HANDLE OBJECTIONS.

Important to be able to pre-think (not sure that’s a word but you get my point) how you’re going to handle the normal objections.

  • “I’m in. We don’t have to meet.” (Response could be as simple as “I know you’re in. We just haven’t met in a while and I have some really cool stuff to SHOW YOU around _________, ____________, __________.”)
  • “What is this about?” (Response: “We have a plan called Vision 2015 that I would love to share with you. You are one of our most committed Champions and we really want to get your feedback.”)
  • Why do we need to meet?” (Response: “We’re meeting with Community Leaders, like you” or “I really want to show you how we are presenting our Message and Story…”)

Bottom Line: We need to convince them that we need a little bit of their time… for a really big impact.

3. DO THE WORK.

Steven Pressfield’s DO THE WORK is another one of those great books that captures everything you need to know on the cover/in the title.

In this case, SOMEONE just has to DO THE WORK. Block out 90 minutes. Get on the phone. Make your calls. Do the follow-up. Do the work.

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