Set your intent at the start of a visit. In conjunction with strong predisposition, an INTENT will help you TRANSITION throughout the conversation and DRIVE toward an ask. Stating intent could be as simple as outlining the FLOW for the visit, “Thanks for taking time to visit with us today. As George shared, we’re hoping to connect with people that really have a similar passion for helping youth. What we would like to do is take a few minutes to get to know you [the OPEN]. We would like to share a little bit about what we’re doing [the STORY]. And, then, if it’s okay, we would love to talk about ways to help [the ASK / Presenting the Opportunity].”
When they’re not able to navigate the ‘flow-of-the-visit,’ Development Officers have a hard time transitioning to the ask. It’s as though they are waiting to be invited to have a discussion about how the prospect can help. In a broader and universal sense, any discussion is more productive when framed by a clear intent. As a reminder, here is the framework we use to illustrate the ‘The Flow of the Visit.’
Instead, we PREDISPOSE the prospect or potential investor before, during and after the visit. We predispose them to our phone call to set up the visit … 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 predisposing potential investors:
To expect your contact,
To look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization,
About your goals for the visit and how much time you need,
About when to expect your follow up and what you will be communicating in your follow up.
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.
Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send any additional predisposition material for the actual visit itself.
“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.
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.
This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.
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.
It’s bringing the Qualified Prospect or potential/current investor TO YOU!!!
Short. Sweet. Powerful. An idea that you can use immediately to significantly increase the level of investment from your top prospects. This idea is particularly relevant if you are in a ‘CAMPAIGN’ or trying to involve/engage your top prospects at the leadership gift level.
I’ll say it again: The absolute best PREDISPOSITION is to bring your BEST PROSPECTS to WHERE YOU DELIVER YOUR SERVICE!!!
This seems so natural and ‘commonsensical’. (That could be a new word.) Yet, to so many people we train and work with, this is a big revelation.
Don’t tell me you can’t get people to come and visit you. I didn’t say it was easy. I said it will significantly increase the magnitude of the commitment!
If they’re really and truly a great PROSPECT, then they need to SEE and FEEL and TOUCH what you do – the ‘HOME COURT ADVANTAGE’ is very powerful! (At Colleges and Universities we call this GTC: GET TO CAMPUS!)
Bringing your prospects/potential investors TO YOU – where you can control the environment, the flow, the tour/agenda – is one hundred times better than their office or home, and 1,000 times better than a restaurant.
IF “A PICTURE is worth a THOUSAND WORDS.”
THEN “A LIVE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE is worth a MILLION words.”
Nixing the event and focusing on getting more visits is a simpler, more productive approach. It may feel challenging to work through the ‘but-what-about-objections.’ So, here’s a few ideas:
You need a good message and story for the visit. Absent of this people hear (and what creates our reluctance) is “Can I come and ask you for money?” If instead people heard (and we believed), “We’re having an amazing impact and need more people like you to know about it!” (Read more The Story for the Visit here.)
The first visit doesn’t need to be an ambush for money. Quite the opposite – the goal should be to ENGAGE. To LISTEN. And then to overwhelm the other person with the IMPACT so that he or she says, “This is incredible, how can I help?”
This shift in thinking save hundreds of hours, thousands and thousands in fundraising costs and countless lives (because we will generate much more INCOME for our IMPACT).
*Warning: It’s pretty easy to run down this list and blow off a number of these with a “We’ve already got this/done this” attitude. I encourage you to take a look at the resources we’ve provided below and create an Action Plan for 2016.
Set up your next month’s visits right now!
ENGAGEMENT is all about FOCUS and DISCIPLINE and EXECUTION.
Don’t ‘think’… DO! Once you have your Funding Plan and ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY laid out… EXECUTE! (ACT!)
Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!!!
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 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).