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Selling Happens at 30,000′: The Jerry Maguire Close

Leigh Steinberg is a sports agent who represented the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft a record eight times – a milestone unmatched within the sports industry.

Steinberg is often credited as the real life inspiration of the sports agent from the film Jerry Maguire.

Reportedly, Steinberg had a chief aim when going into any negotiation – to get the person he was with to agree that his athlete was the best (fill in the blank: quarterback, running back, etc) in the league. Once he got them to agree the rest of the negotiation was pretty easy.

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 her number one priority (i.e. you have the best running back in the league), you need establish that fact as early as possible.

More on closing here.

 

 

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On Practice and Excellence

 

We strive to be ‘Best in the World’ at the ASK.  We are constantly training and improving as a team in this area.  Here are some quotes/thoughts on the importance of practice and excellence.

I think they are relevant to anybody who strives to be world class in their own domain.  

“Excellence is a habit.” – Aristotle

Tom Brady has returned to his coach, Tom Martinez, 4 times per year for the past 17 years for a tune up!

Immediately following her 2015 U.S. Open second round win, Serena Willams went to the practice courts for 90 minutes!

“The enemies of practice are pride and fear and self-satisfaction.”   – Practice Perfect

“It’s a funny thing.  The more I practice, the luckier I get.”  – Arnold Palmer

“If I skip practice for one day, I notice.  If I skip practice for two days, my wife notices.  If I skip for three days, the world notices.”  – Vladimir Horowitz, Virtuoso Pianist

Note:  Two fantastic reads on this include Practice Perfect and The Talent Code.

 

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Elevator Pitch vs. Elevator Engagement

“What’s your Elevator Pitch?”

The Elevator Pitch may be one of the most powerful framing devices ever. By common definition, the Elevator Pitch means being prepared to cram as much about ourselves/our organization as we can in between floors one and three.

But, did you know that the world’s first elevator pitch involved Elisha Otis climbing on top of one of the first elevators and taking an axe to the cable, showing that the brakes would work?

When you think of it this way, it becomes much more an Elevator ENGAGEMENT than an Elevator PITCH.

If you have 60 seconds with someone on an elevator, to pitch yourself, your impact or organization, presumably the goal is to get the other person to say, “Hey, this sounds interesting. Let’s keep talking.” If that’s the goal then we should be asking ourselves, “What’s the best way to engage in a short time frame?”

You engage more in a short time frame by asking questions than you can by talking. Instead of spewing for 20-60 seconds, even if succinct, think about one great question you can ask of the other person to get them ENGAGED in a conversation.

I’m not throwing out the concept, but I do want to draw your attention to the difference between a one-way communication and a two-way communication. Focus on the two-way (engagement) and not the one-way (pitch.) Think about the difference between SAYING and ENGAGING.

When you’re with a prospect on a visit, by phone, leading a tour or on an elevator, are you SAYING or ENGAGING?

Read more about Power Questions here.

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Early Bird Tickets For Colorado Boot Camp End in 6 days!

Early Bird Tickets for our Boot Camp on May 17-18 in Larkspur, CO (just outside of Denver) are available until this Thursday, March 31st. This event will sell out so get your tickets early!

The For Impact Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale, and take your organization to the next level.

This high-energy, day-and-a-half session covers topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

The Boot Camp is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone individual skills – both personal and professional!

Early bird pricing is available for both sessions. Discounts are also available for Alumni Organizations and teams with 4 or more participants.

For More Information, FAQs and Registration:
For Impact Funding Boot Camps
Tuesday, May 17 – Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Larkspur, CO
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On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement (Audio)

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits. Here he is with the companion audio to On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement.

“How do we engage our board?” is a question we receive with every client – this seminar is a direct answer to that question.

Here, Tom does what he does best – CHALLENGE assumptions you have about the board/staff dynamic, LEAD you with concrete frameworks and tools and SIMPLIFY everything with stories from the field.

Included in this seminar:

  • A change in perspective. “A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” – Alan Kay
  • How to change the dynamics of the board/staff.
  • How to get leaders ‘on board’ vs. ‘on the board.’
  • How to leverage a NEW leadership model.
  • How to identify the right leaders and champions.
  • 3 Key Frameworks (TOOLS) for leaders and leadership engagement.

A great seminar for senior leadership and board members, complimenting On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)
Right click here; to download file for listening offline.
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Take A Quantum Leap (Audio)

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is with the companion audio to the Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap. If you know us well you’ve heard the first 5-10 minutes of intro – Feel free to scoot past!


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)
Right click and save for listening offline.

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The ‘Old Guy’ Riffing on Campaigns, Lesson From the Field, Our Model and more

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is riffing on Campaigns, Lessons and the Model. Some great stories “from 30 years in the field” and the beginnings of Be For Impact, Impact Drives Income, Just Ask and more.

Download the audio file (right-click, “save as”)


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)

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Live Like O.G.: A Note on Tom’s Health

 

Nick and I wanted to share with our For Impact Community an update on Tom’s health. Tom was diagnosed with ALS in May of 2014. Those familiar with this disease know that it is progressive and degenerative, attacking nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Tom is not able to use his voice and body in the way that we are all familiar with – jumping on podiums or doing 1,000s of push ups with the boxers at Notre Dame – but his spirits are good!

Our Founder & Chief Spirit Officer – affectionately known as O.G. (The Old Guy) – is no longer able to be involved in the day to day operation of the For Impact mission, but he continues to challenge us, support us, and inspire us.

I search for meaning in all of this (often) and take comfort in knowing that ALS does not define my dad’s life. To “Live Like O.G.” is an aspiration and a reminder for us all:

O.G. thinks anything is possible.
O.G. lives life fully. Every day.
O.G. is generous – with his spirit, his time, his energy, his resources, his counsel, his adventurousness – beyond any person I have ever met.
O.G. invests more in experiences and people than material possessions.
In O.G.’s world, there are no problems. Only solutions.
The word “no” is not in O.G.’s vocabulary.
He (along with my mom) is supportive, encouraging, down to earth, creative and fun.

O.G.’s positivity is infectious and he embodies every motivational phrase he’s ever said or written:

Life’s a Journey. Enjoy the Present. Make a Life, Not A Living.
Wealth is an Abundance of Things we Value. You can’t take it with you.
Say yes! Focus on your strengths. Live to Give. Give to Live.
Don’t wait. There is no such thing as the “perfect” time to start something.
Be the Change. Live. Love. Laugh. Learn. Leave a Legacy.

Tom has been a Champion for the For Impact Sector for over 40 years. He has devoted his life to motivating and coaching thousands of Development Professionals. Along the way, he has helped to transform the language and attitude of GIVING. We have begun to reflect his living legacy here at forimpact.org. You’ll notice some big changes in the next month, including the most comprehensive For Impact Learning Library to date.

Share your O.G. Story

Recently, Tom was honored by the University of Notre Dame, where he has been the Boxing Coach since the mid 1970s. Hundreds of the men and women he has coached showed up to sit with him and share their stories of how he has impacted their lives. (Read more here: Longtime Notre Dame boxing coach, ref honored)

If you are one of the many that Tom has inspired, now is your chance to let him know.

Take a few minutes and tell us how Tom/O.G./Coach has influenced you using one of these themes (or a theme of your own):

#LiveLikeOG
#GiveLikeOG
#BeForImpact
#OGMadeMeDoIt

Send your stories to wow@forimpact.org and (with permission) we will share at FI.org in the coming weeks and months. Include your name and address and we’ll send you some “Live Like O.G.” swag.

Thank you for reading. Tom, Nick, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Note: “Live Like OG” t-shirts are available. All designs can be tweaked to your liking by choosing ‘change style.’

https://vimeo.com/157037710

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Number of Asks: The ONE Lever

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.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explores the formation of organizational habits. (You can read this quick summary by BusinessWeek.) One case study examines Alcoa’s remarkable business turn-around in the 80’s/90’s. CEO Paul O’Neill focused the cultural energy (and habits) around safety–more specifically, around the number of safety violations.

We call this the ONE LEVER. Meaning, to maximize team cohesion and culture change you need to focus energy on ONE LEVER at a time to create organizational change.

What will that lever be? Be specific. Be clear.

The Orlando Magic focus on ‘butts in seats’.
FedEx focuses on number of packages that don’t arrive when promised (aiming for zero).

Just about everyone reading this is seeking some form or another of improved funding results.

Call it a culture of philanthropy.
Call it a sales culture.
Call it greater revenue for impact.
Call it funding the vision.

When you’re bringing your team along there is so much ‘other stuff’ that can obscure progress. Events, predisposition activities, reporting, deadlines, board meetings.

As it relates to INCOME DEVELOPMENT the ONE LEVER is – in most every case – the NUMBER OF ASKS.

This is what we emphasize, design-around, message, measure, reinforce.

Obviously a funding goal is pretty important. However that is a RESULT of this measurable activity. Similarly, Alcoa’s leap in quality (and then profits) was a RESULT of increased safety.

One lever: Number of Asks. Preach it. Measure it. It will be transformational. I promise.

Note: It’s not uncommon to see an organization (of any size) with fewer than 10 real-asks per quarter. In fact, it’s a safe bet that by our definition most are at ZERO.

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What Does An ‘Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

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.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.
    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.
  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.
    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’ – those aren’t specific. (See: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.
    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.
  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.
    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:
    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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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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