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Define Your Ideal Prospect

I’m absolutely stunned, amazed and flabbergasted that so very few organizations and sales teams actually take the time to define their ‘IDEAL PROSPECT’! (This is just as true in the ‘FOR PROFIT’ world as it is in the ‘NOT FOR PROFIT’ sector.)

The IDEAL PROFILE is one of the most powerful TOOLS that we use during our IDENTIFICATION PROCESS.

Don’t blow by this one. It has created many, many ‘MILLION DOLLAR’ prospects and INVESTORS.

 
Here’s the concept:

If you can actually come up with a PROFILE of your BEST PROSPECT/ INVESTOR then you simply have to MATCH this IDEAL PROFILE with REAL PEOPLE!

In essence, this IDEAL PROFILE would be a simple ‘list’ of absolute best characteristics of your PERFECT (IDEAL) PROSPECT that should include examples of how we know the following:

Unlimited Capacity (Or Capacity to Make a ‘Major Gift’)
ex. Have multiple homes in expensive zip codes, Recently sold a business, Could drive a Ferrari, but drives a Tesla, etc.

Relationship To The Cause (Kids, Education, Health Care, Cancer, Workforce Development, Disadvantaged Populations, Etc.)
ex. A Cancer Survivor or Spouse/Loved One of a Survivor

Geographically Connected
ex. Someone who may not live in your Community, but who has strong roots or ties

Interest/Connection To The Priorities, Programs Or Projects

Philanthropic
ex. Has given significantly to other organizations, especially those working on the same cause

Note: You can come up with more than one ‘ideal’ profile. For example, for a Campaign, for a transformational gift, for a legacy commitment, for President’s circle etc.

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Commit to Sales

If you’ve ever been heard me speak, you’ve heard me say:

You’re in Sales, get over it.

I’ve made a commitment to help more organizations and development professional embrace SALES.

In ALL of our work with clients, speaking, training, etc. this part of our message is always the same:

NOTHING HAPPENS UNLESS YOU’RE OUT SELLING – YOUR VISION. YOUR IMPACT. YOUR MESSAGE. YOUR IDEAS. YOUR RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

We have worked with some really impactful organizations that, like many of you, came late to the idea that:

“God gives every bird food. He just doesn’t throw it into the nest!”

All of you are deeply committed to your CAUSE and your ORGANIZATION.

Yet, none of you have been ‘TRAINED IN SALES!’

(You’re not alone. Even the Nation’s business schools provide no SALES TRAINING. Yet, in this ‘FOR PROFIT WORLD,’ SALES drives [almost] every company. Without it, all products and services remain ‘on the shelf.’)

I’ve spent my whole adult life in SALES, much of it selling ‘INTANGIBLES’ (large gifts/commitments for great causes and cases).

We are often with some amazing people who are changing the world, but don’t like the idea of “sales.” Nick quotes a great line from an author named Bob Burg that works really, really well for these people.

Burg says, “Selling – at its core – is not a business transaction. It is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.

We are out ‘PRACTICING’ forging human connections every day.

Here are three really big things that may help you on your next VISIT/’SALES CALL:’

  • DISCOVERY
  • SHARE THE STORY PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY
  • AUTHENTICITY

ACTION:

  • Write this on a little card.
  • Look at this every time you go to visit/meet with a Qualified Prospect or Potential Investor.

1. DISCOVERY.

Where’s the best place to find out ANYTHING you want to know about your INVESTOR/PROSPECT??? FROM THEM! Remember: SELLING IS NOT TELLING! ASK QUESTIONS. More importantly, LISTEN TO ANSWERS!

Here are three great questions to help you with your DISCOVERY.

  • WHY are you engaged/involved with us?
  • Which of these three things (buckets) is most important to you?
  • Can you help us Fund this Vision?

2. SHARE THE STORY ➡ PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

SHARE THE STORY is exactly that. SHARE. THE. STORY. Everybody in the organization can share THEIR ‘story.’ You must also be able to capture the ‘STORY’ of your organization, your cause or your vision.

Then, PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. This is NOT about ASKING PEOPLE FOR MONEY!!!

  • It’s about PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY for them to make an IMPACT!
  • To move from SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE!
  • To SAVE LIVES. To CHANGE LIVES. To CHANGE THE WORLD!

Special Note: Ask your Board Members or Volunteer Leaders whether they’d rather go out and ‘ASK THEIR FRIENDS FOR MONEY’ …or SHARE THE STORY and PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

3. AUTHENTICITY.

First, this is about being YOURSELF! If you just started with the organization, say so; and then explain why you made that decision. If you spent 10 or 15 years working with your organization, explain WHY you devoted that kind of commitment to this cause. Additionally, AUTHENTICITY is about total candor. Sometimes even BRUTAL HONESTY. (“You’re one of our top investors. You helped us build this plan and we know you want to see it succeed. Can you take the LEAD?”) A great line that is about as AUTHENTIC as you can get. “I have one goal with you today: to have your jaw drop at the unbelievable impact that this organization is having on children. That’s it.”

For those of you out VISITING and PRESENTING … I hope you can use these simple but powerful reminders.

For the rest of you …

Get out of the office. (GO PRESENT OPPORTUNITIES.)

Stop doing research. (DO DISCOVERY … ON THE VISIT.)

Stop doing proposals and grant writing. (GO SHARE THE STORY AND PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.)

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Start With The Why

Start with the Why is our number one For Impact Guiding Principle.

I came across a brilliant thinker, Simon Sinek, who has a great book, Start With Why, a powerful Ted Video, and an amazing story around the power of ‘WHY.’

The essence of his message:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

He calls it the ‘Golden Circle’.

Mediocre organizations and leaders always sell ‘outside-in’: talking about WHAT, then HOW (features, benefits), and never even getting to the WHY.

Great leaders sell ‘inside-out’ – leading with the WHY.

Sinek’s Golden Circle is our ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK… with research!

Starting with Why has many implications in our For Impact world; here’s a few:

A vocabulary challenge to the sector. What prospects hear (often times) is “We need money to meet our annual funding goal” or “Buy a table at our gala.” These messages have no WHY, but what your prospects want to do is save, change and impact lives.

Selling happens at 30,000’. The number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?” If the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. Conversely, if your WHY is his number one priority, you can ask on the proverbial ‘first date.’

There are 1.5M nonprofits in the U.S. You must be able to talk about your raison d’etre (reason for existence); otherwise, you just ‘exist to exist.’

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No More ‘Asking for Money’

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.)

This, by the way, is a rhetorical question. You already know the answer.

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Breaking News … IRS Eliminates 501c(3) Not-For-Profit Designation!!!

IRS Eliminates 501c(3) Not-For-Profit Designation!!!

The Internal Revenue Service has abolished their 1913 law that permits organizations to designate themselves as NOT-FOR-PROFITS.

“This designation is contrary to all other industries, as it is the only one defined in the negative. In our usual show of logic and common sense, the IRS has eliminated this designation in the hopes that all ‘charities’ and ‘tax-exempt’ organizations will now focus on their IMPACT.” — An IRS Agent (who asked not to be identified)

 
Feds Make Doing Special Events (for Fundraising Purposes) a Felony!

The Federal Government has ruled that there will be no more golf outings, galas and other special events that are not special and not events. *Signature Events and Memorable Experiences will still be allowed and encouraged.

“This was the only way we could eliminate all of the events that were sucking up our time and energy and resources … with no real impact on our impact. Now I can blame the government when I tell our volunteers that we will no longer be holding Mostaccioli dinners or selling holes and tables for the golf outing.” — 1,840 Development Officers

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Stop Fundraising and Start Selling Your Impact

STOP FUNDRAISING.

STOP talking, thinking, acting as a fundraiser, focused on fundraising. And don’t even go there with its cutesy cousin, ‘friendraising’. (See No More Cultivation.)

“Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be… fundraisers.”

She’d rather see you be a cowboy. Fundraising has a reputation slightly south of used car sales. Why even go there?

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

Remember, the big epiphany goes like this:

IMPACT DRIVES INCOME … Not the other way around.

The SIZE & SCOPE of your IMPACT
DETERMINES
the SIZE & SCOPE of your INCOME.

Don’t be normal. Define your purpose. Get a plan. Do it with enthusIASM. (I Am Sold Myself.)

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The Presentation Framework

The are three key components to a great presentation: Engagement, Discovery and Authenticity.

1. ENGAGEMENT

The ‘green’ ENGAGEMENT word is there to remind all of us that our goal on the visit is to get people ENGAGED – in a dialogue, about them, about you, and about the opportunity you both have to save, change, and impact lives.

2. DISCOVERY

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY. It is 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:

  • Focus. Actually sit up, and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. This is even better than you sharing the story about impact. Let them tell you why they find meaning in your impact or organization. Nothing you say can trump their ‘WHY.’
  • 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.

For even more, read the article 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.

3. AUTHENTICITY

We like to tell our Boot Camp attendees, “If you’re authentic, you can’t screw it (the visit, the conversation, the ask) up!”

AUTHENTICITY means being REAL. HONEST. CANDID.

Simply put, it’s being SINCERE!

The people you’re with know right away whether you’re ‘selling snake oil’ or SINCERELY PRESENTING AN OPPORTUNITY that has VALUE to both the GIVER and the RECEIVER!

I read 30 years ago (in Denis Waitley’s Seeds of Greatness) that the word SINCERE means “without wax” (in Latin, sine = without, cera = wax). Ancient sculptors would ‘fix’ any flaws or mistakes that they made in the marble by filling in the mistake with wax.

You can only be you. So go without the wax!

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You Need to Find a Way to Boot Camp – And Here’s Why

You (or your new hire, board member, development director) need to find a way to get to Boot Camp. And here’s why:

It will change everything for you and your organization. The reason Boot Camp has such a huge impact on organizations is because we’re not just trying to make you a better charity or increase your annual fund by 10% – we’re teaching you how to be something completely different, to think bigger, and get bigger funding results.

It’s not a normal training. Boot Camp is chock-full of practical stuff. You’re building tools, developing strategy, and doing/thinking the entire time! Don’t expect two days of lecture and power points (you will be very disappointed). [Yes, you will have to do one practice visit and many ‘rehearsals’ at Boot Camp. A little trust on this one? It’s way better to learn here than with your best prospect.]

Results. You don’t want training; we know that. What you want is money, to get out of the rat race, to learn ‘the secret’. Boot Camp is designed to be both a stepping stone for transformation and a way to generate money for your organization in the next 100 days.

It works. We are out there every week and we will share lots of stories from the field to reinforce our points. Boot Camp drills (and drills) on fundamentals for your organization and for each individual who attends. Tom started Boot Camp as an alternative to ‘consulting’ and to create a tool with incredible value. He wanted to scale our impact by giving everyone an accelerated way to get different results, based on 30 years in-the-field.

It doesn’t cost any money. If you say it’s not in the budget, then you’re right. But if you want to think like an entrepreneur, then this is the place for you. Reallocate money and then use the ROI to provide budget relief wherever needed. UNDERWRITE this as a SOLUTION. Some suggestions from recent attendees:

Use money from a ‘marketing budget’.

Have someone ‘underwrite the training’ – as a guaranteed investment.

Put the training on a credit card and pay it off in 30 days with new gifts. (I love this one.)

Boot Camp is the best resource we can recommend. This solution helps everyone who attends.

We’ve extended our Early Bird pricing for April camp until this Thursday, April 2.

More info and registration here.

We also have a session in June (more here).

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Use Predisposition and Perseverance to Get the Visit

Getting a visit is both an ATTITUDE and a SKILL. There’s a ‘SYSTEM’ to it.

Getting a visit is all about: PREDISPOSING … QUALIFIED PROSPECTS … to take your phone CALL … and ultimately VISIT with you. I’ve included action steps, strategies, and tips to help you make it happen.

We are professionals. We do not make COLD CALLS! We always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor. We first predispose a potential investor to our phone call to set up the visit, and then we predispose to the visit/ presentation itself (and yes, we even predispose to the follow-up).

The word PREDISPOSE means to make someone inclined, in advance, to a specific action or attitude. You need to be literally (not figuratively) be predisposing potential investors to expect your contact and look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization.

 

The Goal

 

The goal of predisposition is simple: 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?”

Consider having someone else set up the visit! I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to many people, but I’ve found it to be the single most effective way to get visits. This is especially important if you are full-time Development Officer/Major Gift Officer/Chief Development Officer with a portfolio. You should be making presentations, not setting up visits.

In the predisposition note, the sender/Natural Partner closes with these very important words: “I have asked Mary Smith from our development team to follow-up with you to set up a visit.”

A phone call from your CEO/President’s Assistant is one of the absolute best ways to get a visit.

The easiest way for the Campaign/Foundation Team of a well-respected hospital to
get a visit with their top prospects is to do a simple predisposition email from the CEO, and then ask her wickedly competent and talented assistant does a follow-up phone call to set the visit. The assistant already knows knows all of the CEO’s relationships, and has great existing interaction with both the prospects and their assistants (gatekeepers).

 
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Maximize Relationships at This Given Moment

STOP CULTIVATING.

This is one of my favorite ‘soap box’ platforms. As a gardener and faux-farmer, I know ‘cultivation’ is when you spread manure on plants!

Think about it from the other side for a second. No one wants to be CULTIVATED.

They either get your Message and Impact or they don’t. They want to support your Cause and your Case or they don’t. Your Qualified Prospects/Investors truly do want to help, but they don’t want to have a multitude of meetings before they’re even told what it is that you actually WANT from them.

START MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS … AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

Many of you are waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to make your ‘BIG’ request. The ‘perfect time’ to MAXIMIZE a RELATIONSHIP is always NOW… AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS could be an invitation to join a Leadership Group, President’s Circle, Impact Circle, etc. It could be Presenting an Opportunity to Leave a Legacy Gift. Or, it may be ‘THE’ moment … for ‘THE’ Gift … that truly TRANSFORMS your organization.

Remember: You’re in SALES. Get over it. Go ‘sell’ your Vision, your Ideas, your Priorities, Projects and Programs. Now.

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No More Feasibility Studies

STOP FEASIBILITY STUDIES.

Having watched hundreds (maybe even thousands) of nonprofits do feasibility studies, I still don’t get it!

  • Internal staff get together and agree they need more money.
  • An internal group decides to do a campaign to raise more money.
  • Internal leaders enlist external consultants to do a feasibility study for justification, CYA, and backup.
Consultant conversation with a prospect goes like this: “If XYZ nonprofit org were to do a hypothetical campaign with a hypothetical goal, how much hypothetical money would you hypothetically give to this hypothetical campaign?” (UGH!)

 

START LEADERSHIP CONSENSUS BUILDING.

INVOLVEMENT begets INVESTMENT!!

Instead of feasibility, think ‘Leadership Consensus Building.’ Get your TOP STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED in BUILDING the PLAN – for both IMPACT and INCOME!!!

This OWNERSHIP will translate into a HUGE RETURN on the time, energy and resources you INVEST in this process.

I’ve chosen these 3 words carefully, and have used this process effectively for the last 20 years:

  • LEADERSHIP. It is what it is. It is what it says. Engage your best leaders in this process of message clarification, prioritization, and funding planning.
  • CONSENSUS. Consensus is about the right decision, NOT (necessarily) about unanimous agreement on a politically correct, watered-down, something–for–everyone plan. Consensus (on Purpose/ Priorities/Plan) creates commitment, generates momentum, and forces engagement (vs. passive participation).
  • BUILDING. This is the kicker. This is the action word that makes this idea worth millions!!! You must provide a framework to let your stakeholders help BUILD THE PLAN!!!

This approach also serves as ‘THE’ most powerful form of PREDISPOSITION, since it answers one of the 3 most Frequently Asked Questions, “WHO DECIDED WHERE THE MONEY GOES?” with an emphatic, “YOU DID!”

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Start Creating Memorable Experiences

STOP SPECIAL EVENTS.

ALERT: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

And, they’re not ‘EVENTS!’ They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time. If you really think anyone in your organization wants to work for ‘EVENTS-R-US’ or do one more ‘GOLF OUTING’, ‘STAR BAZAAR’ or BINGO, you need to get out of your office (and out of your dream world!) and talk to your stakeholders!

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’!!!

START CREATING MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES!

MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

They’re more IMPACTFUL. More FUN. More PRODUCTIVE. A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact. It’s not about raising money, selling tables, golf holes or silent bids. Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY to create the perfect FOLLOW-UP. (Something that never happens after a Non-Special Event.)

Nota Bene: If you don’t know the ‘difference’ between a ‘Special Event’ and a ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ , think about the difference between a one-ring, carnival CIRCUS with two clowns, an elephant, some monkeys and an old lion … and CIRQUE DU SOLEIL!!! Enough said.

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