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Change Agents Almost Always Under Communicate the Vision

As a leader the vision makes the most sense to you because it lives in your head.  You probably have the most complete view of the operation, you spend the most time thinking about the vision, and feel like you’re constantly communicating that vision.

And yet, that vision is likely under communicated! Here is a great excerpt from Adam Grant’s Originals about how change agents under communicate their vision:

“When Harvard professor John Kotter studied change agents years ago, he found that they typically under communicated their visions by a factor of ten. On average, they spoke about the direction of the change ten times less often than their stakeholders needed to hear it. In one three-month period, employees might be exposed to 2.3 million words and numbers. On average during that period, the vision for change was expressed in only 13,400 words and numbers: a 30-minute speech, an hour-long meeting, a briefing, and a memo. Since more than 99 percent of the communication that employees encounter during those three months does not concern the vision, how can they be expected to understand it, let alone internalize it? The change agents don’t realize this, because they’re up to their ears in information about their vision.”

The vision for you is a full-length motion picture in which you’re the writer, producer, director — surely worth millions of words.  But likely, for the rest of your team, the vision is a word-cloud they heard on Tuesday.

In a nutshell: The vision can’t be over-communicated!

 

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Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

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: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

 

This napkin has just two words. Please note that it does not say:

Ask…

…when timing is perfect.

…when you know exactly what to ask for.

…after you’ve visited with the prospect nine times.

…when you’re entire board is on board.

…when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.

…when you have the perfect message.

…when you have the perfect materials.

It says, Just Ask!

Timing will never be perfect.

The only way you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).

Cultivation is for people who can’t communicate. You are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives; if you’re with someone who wants to do just that, you can ask on the first visit.

I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask.

The only way to truly test a message is to ask.

You don’t need perfect materials – You need a tool to help you engage in a conversation.

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 you, from the org or from the plan) to make a commitment.

Until you ask, a prospect can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.
This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.
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A Sale Happens On Every Visit

Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest sales trainers of all time, said that a sale is made on every visit. Either you sell the prospect on all the reasons why s/he should buy or s/he sells you on all the reasons why s/he should not.  Period. 

My contention is that if you don’t decide to be one side of that either/or then you will almost always let the sale happen TO YOU. You will almost always be sold on reasons why the person cannot give what you had hoped for or what you need to deliver on the plan.

Remember: Hope is not a strategy.

So, decide. Don’t hope.

Years ago, when Tiger Woods was in his prime, he remarked that he does not putt the ball until he has decided it will go in the hole – Until he has that level of certainty, confidence and visualization.

This is the level of conviction you need to bring to every VISIT.

Of course, every putt does not fall and every ‘ask’ does not close.  But, you can’t go into a visit ‘hoping’.  You need to decide the commitment is a foregone conclusion.

As a mentee of Tom Suddes’ for years, I watched and learned the hard work that went into making a great case. Tom would not go into make a visit or presentation until he was able to wrap his mind around the emotion + logic of the case so completely that he thought, “Why would someone NOT make this investment?”

There is an old sales maxim: I am sold myself.  Certainly you don’t visit until YOU are sold.  That work is upon us as sales people to own that conviction.  It’s not up to a manager or a CEO.  It is OUR responsibility to do the work to be totally sold. 

I don’t want to hide this from you – Arriving at that level of conviction, preparation and DECISION is hard work.

For those that still have an aversion to the word ‘sales’ – Get over it.  This isn’t about used cars. It’s about making your case and engaging in such a compelling way that people understand what it will take to save lives, change lives and impact lives. This makes Zig’s challenge perhaps MORE important in the world of philanthropy.

We live in a great world. People are generous. You are doing good work.  

I believe 80% of the time gifts are not maximized because a generous person said he or she would commit $10K and we did not sell them on the true need (e.g. $100K) to deliver the impact. Instead, we were sold on all the reasons why they could not make the larger commitment.

 

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Start Selling Your Impact

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: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

STOP ASKING FOR MONEY.

Money is merely ‘worthless wampum’! No one likes asking their friends, much less strangers, for money. (The rare volunteer who really loves doing this should be treasured as a true gift, psychoanalyzed, and then cloned.)

Your conversations are not about asking for money. They are about changing the world. (Of course it requires resources to do that.)

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

PRESENT the OPPORTUNITY…

To help with your cause and your case.
To move from success to significance.
To make an impact and change the world.

Special Note: Ask any Board Member (or, for that matter, any of your staff) if they’d rather ‘Ask for Money’ or ‘Present Opportunities’ (to make an Impact.) You already know the answer.

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Stop Cultivating and Start Communicating

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: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

 

Why do we cultivate people?

As Tom always reminds me, “Cultivation is that thing you do with plants and manure.”

We really, truly don’t understand ‘cultivation.’ We are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives. If you can help people understand your impact and they want to help then they don’t need cultivation -They need to be asked!

Here’s a simple story to emphasize the point. Imagine that you and your prospect were walking around a lake and came upon a drowning child. What would that prospect do? It’s likely she would jump in, fully clothed, committed to saving the life of the child. And so would you. Try to imagine this same scenario where you would first try to spend years getting this person interested in saving children (read: cultivation.)

So, if you’re actually saving or changing lives then you can’t really argue that cultivation is needed. The issue at hand is much more about communication. That is, how you communicate your impact in such a way that is clear, concise and compelling. So clear, in fact, the prospect jumps on board (read: into the lake) to make a major investment in your impact.

If you can communicate the impact, the income will follow. If you can communicate the impact, you can ask for any amount of money on the first (sometimes second) visit. The challenge, again, is that we struggle with our message. Or, we might even have the message, but we’re not out visiting with people, one-on-one, to share the message and present the opportunity for them to help (or save the child.)

Your job is to communicate the impact, not spread manure. It’s blunt but we want to motivate you to action with this idea. You’re doing great things – so present the opportunity for someone to help now.

P.S. If you think this example is too simplistic or unrealistic, please know that this same example is what set into motion the greatest philanthropist of our era – We’ve altered the lake example somewhat but borrowed it from noted philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer who wrote an amazing article in the New York Times, “What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?” In that article he also explains Bill Gates’ moment of clarity around impact that moved him to action.

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Take Massive Action

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.

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DO THE WORK

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!

 

Steven PrePressfieldQuotessfield is one of my absolute favorite authors and thinkers. He’s written some fabulous historical fiction Tides of War and Gates of Fire, plus The Legend of Bagger Vance. My first copy of WAR OF ART is so full of notes, I can barely read his words!

DO THE WORK written in his usual powerful voice – challenges us to overcome RESISTANCE.

Please trust me on this: ‘DTW’ is required reading for entrepreneurial start-ups, ‘artists’, sales professionals and FOR IMPACT leaders.

Takes 30 minutes to read… but have notebook handy for nuggets/gems like these:

    1. To ‘ROCK & ROLL’, act on these 3 mantras:
      • Stay Primitive. Instinctual. Gut. Go for it.
      • Trust the Soup. Forget ‘control’. Put faith in the source, your muse, yourself.
      • Swing for the Seats. In For Impact Vocab: THINK BIG!
    2. ‘START AT END’. If you don’t know the ‘end‘… it’s hard to ‘start‘. Get your goals down and execute!
    3. START BEFORE YOU ARE READY. Great line! Stop researching, planning, thinking, worrying -JUST START!
    4. And, DON’T THINK. ACT! Overcome Resistance. Don’t procrastinate. Do it now.

DO THE WORK. START BEFORE YOU’RE READY. OVERCOME RESISTANCE.
WRAP IT. SHIP IT. DELIVER IT.

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Learn By Going

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!

Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, 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.” – Theodore Roethke

I believe it has meaning for us as INDIVIDUALS and as SALESPEOPLE.

You learn by going where you have to go – If you want to learn to sell, you need to get face-to-face with more people. If you want to learn to make an ask, then you’ve got to do just that – ASK. If you want to learn to surf or ski or box, then you must practice surfing, skiing, boxing.

Robin Williams told Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting that he had never “done” anything – He only read books. He hadn’t “smelled the paint in the Sistine Chapel, etc.”

I’m sure you get the point.

If we “learn by going” then we need to execute on our plan to VISIT with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. As much as possible.

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.”

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10,000 PUSH-UPS

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to 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!

Let’s use this ‘Push-Up’ analogy to help reinforce ACTION.

If you commit to do 10,000 push-ups a year, the SIMPLEST and most SUCCESSFUL way to achieve that goal is to do 30 PUSH-UPS A DAY. (1 set, 3 sets of 10 or 2 push-ups an hour the 15 hours you’re awake.)

To reinforce this point even more, let’s say you wanted to do 1,000 x (your age) push-ups a year – The SIMPLE EXECUTION is 3 sets of (your age) a day…every day. (For example, if you’re 49, you would do 49 push up 3 times a day. This actually gets you more that 49,000 but you get my point.)

In this model, you can’t skip 3 days. You can’t wait until June to begin. You won’t hit your goal.

Just like with push ups, you can’t wait until November to make 100 visits (because you’ve only made 3 visits a month up until then.)

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The Goal of Predisposition

The goal of predisposition is simple: TO GET THE VISIT!

It is NOT to ‘sell on the phone’!

A really strong predisposition e-mail or letter makes the follow-up phone call very assumptive/presumptive! “I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might be available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

This is not a spiel. It works.

Perseverance is key (as well as ‘practicing’ the words you will say) with your Best Prospects.

Typically, once you get through on the phone, there are three possible answers a potential investor may give you.

  1. YES.

    Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send any additional predisposition material for the actual visit itself.

  2. 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?”

    If the timing isn’t good, schedule a specific date to call back and follow through.

  3. NO.

    If this is the type of ‘no’ that means, “No time, but I still like your organization,” you could send them a President’s Circle invitation or a really strong follow-up letter, with a request. If it’s a ‘no’ that means, “No, I can’t really see this as a priority.” Or “I’m not in a position to help” then you would send a nice thank you and MOVE ON!

A quick reminder about perseverance with your most Qualified Prospects: You cannot mess up a contact to set up a visit if you are authentic!

  • “It’s 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, and I know I’m being really persistent. I just know how important it is for us to be sharing our story with more people like you.”

WHATEVER IT TAKES. I know. It’s an 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.

 

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Memorable Experiences as Powerful Predisposition

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.

33Napkins-18-SpecialEvents

You’ve seen our rant on “No More Special Events.”  If not, I’ll summarize here: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time – Even though we’ve spent more that half the year selling tables, sponsoring golf holes or lining up silent auction items.

P.S. Not only do your volunteers and staff hate these Non-Special Events, so do all of the ‘INVITEES’ … who clearly don’t want to go to another ‘un-memorable, time-away-from their-family’ auction, gala, ‘fundraiser’!!!

Instead, MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact.

Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY.

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE isn’t about the number of people in attendance, it’s about getting the best people in attendance. Instead of selling tables, think about getting the best 10 prospects you have in the room (preferably your room) and knock their socks off with the IMPACT.

 

 

 

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