Recently a board member with an organization asked:
“Based on your experience in working with hundreds of organizations, how many visits should we make? How many requests should we shoot for? Then, how many yes’s and no’s should we plan to receive?”
I gave that great ‘outside expert answer’: It depends.
I then shared some thoughts that I hoped would offer more guidance.
I’ve never seen an organization commit itself to visiting with its top ten prospects… doing whatever it takes to make these relationships a top priority… maximizing each relationship… in a given year… and not be totally transformed financially.
A lot of clauses in that but the big point is: most organizations don’t focus on their top 10 prospects.
First, most organizations don’t take the time to really determine what their top 10 prospect list looks like.
If they do, they typically decide (without cause) that 3-4 prospects will be impossible to visit with. They put energy into other areas (like events) because its easier (not simpler) to do so.
They make decisions for other top prospects. For example, I heard someone say last week, “She made a three-year pledge two years ago so we can’t go talk to her.” Huh?
They drop-the-ball on follow-up when they do visit. It’s as if the organization puts so much energy into securing visits that it completely forgets about follow-up and closing. Often we will see organizations trying to go out and find/develop new relationships instead of following up with best prospects that have already been asked.
Finally there is a tendency to AVOID visiting with the prospect for fear of messing things up. You don’t visit… you don’t ask… you can’t maximize.