In the sales world, there is such thing as an ‘assumptive close’. This is where a sales person ASSUMES the customer is ready to buy – So they skip past the close and work on the mechanics. For example, “Tell me when you would like to take receipt of your item and we can get started on the paperwork.”
In our social impact world, I’d like to repurpose The Assumptive Close. I don’t think of this as a closing technique, instead, I think of it as an attitude and a mode of communication that helps you continue toward a closed commitment.
There are times when a prospect is CLEARLY ‘in’, but we haven’t yet confirmed the commitment. Perhaps you had a great visit and the prospect said, “I want to help – financially – give me some time to look at my other obligations…”
If I were to coach you through this follow up strategy, I’d say, don’t think about HOW or IF you’re going to have a numbers conversation on the next visit. Instead, remember the prospect has already said, “I’m IN!!!!”
So, you can continue to move forward with this ASSUMPTION in the next conversation.
Too often, we see uncertainty and doubt creep in. I was with an Executive Director last week, and in this case, she was trying to figure out how to bring up the gift again. She had doubt about the commitment and – absent of a mental model – moved backward and started trying to figure out how to ask – again. Just thinking about this as an ‘Assumptive Close’ helped her frame the next conversation.
The predisposition (framing) for the next conversation was as simple as this: “I’m looking forward to getting together tomorrow and talking next steps. It’s great to know you’re ‘in’. We are so incredibly grateful for your support.”
You can ASSUME it will close and you can communicate with that belief in mind!
The Call Memo is an important mechanic in our Sales Process – It’s an internal memo-for-the-record. I would encourage you to write-up these notes IMMEDIATELY following the visit. Don’t wait!
(I carry a dictation device and transcribe the call memo in my car – minutes after the visit ends.)
Download sample call memo: I’ve altered a real call memo and included training notes to help you learn. You can also download a call-memo-template if you want more structure.
Objectives of the Call Memo:
- Record what happened on the visit. Someone on your team should be able to pick-up the memo and continue the conversation. In most cases, you can have a sheet of paper out to take notes during the visit. I’m amazed at how often sales people don’t take notes!
- Use quotes. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!! The best message in the world is the one that comes from the prospect’s mouth. Capture words and exact phrases used by the prospect(s); put them in quotes.
- Bad: Prospect seemed to like our program.
- Good: “Of everything you’re doing, I honestly don’t really care about the after-school program but I think the summer program has mountains of potential.”
- Help you LISTEN. (Read Vocabulary Wars.)
- Help others on your team LISTEN (even though they weren’t there).
- Make life so much easier when you pull out the call report in six months…
- Use bullets. Easier to read. Easier (faster) for you to download.
- No rule on length. Should capture all the key points that you would need to remember in six months, but shouldn’t take you all afternoon to compose.
The word PREDISPOSE means exactly what it says. (Weird, huh?) We are literally (not figuratively) predisposing the person or persons, in advance, to our contact.
PREDISPOSITION is anything and everything we can do to make it not a cold call (because we are professionals who don’t make cold calls!)
Always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor to (1) your phone call to set up the visit, (2) the visit/presentation itself and (3) the follow-up.
Note: Predisposition is not ‘cultivation’!