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.’
Like predisposition, follow-up requires a specific strategy. Too often, wonderful presentations/asks/sales visits are wasted because there is no follow-up.
A typical scenario includes someone making a great presentation and then ‘hoping’ a gift comes as a result of the ask. Or, sometimes there is only a phone call that comes weeks (or months) later in which the substance of the dialogue is one question: “We were wondering if you had a chance to make a decision?”
It’s probably impossible to misquote or butcher one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms, but here goes:
“Half of the game is presentation. The other 90% is follow-up.”
We consider our work finished when we get to the point of making the request. We feel like we’ve shared everything we can and now it must be in the prospect’s hands. That notion is wrong. In fact, follow-up is 90% of the effort!
Some reminders to help you with follow up:
- This is not some one-off transaction. It’s all about a true relationship. Follow-up is about advancing the relationship, opportunity or plan WITH the prospect.
- It’s either win/win or lose/lose! You’re presenting an opportunity to save lives, change lives or impact lives. Stop being so bashful.
- Follow-up is about taking the opportunity to continue the excitement generated on the visit. You’re need to keep the momentum. This could mean:
- An immediate follow-up letter.
- An immediate follow-up phone call from champion or volunteer.
- An immediate follow-up phone call from you.
- Don’t dodge the issue! The worst follow-up is when you step politely around the pending request (hoping the prospect brings it up or announces to you a commitment.) Using your own style you need continue to work with prospect to advance the ball – be direct, sincere and authentic and remember – Hope is not a strategy.
Read more Thoughts on Follow Up from Tom.