For Impact


Be In A Position To Advance The Ball

Execution, On Prospects | | Nick Fellers

You’re a development (our word ‘sales’) professional in the relationship business. As professionals, it’s our responsibility to turn ‘pendings’ into ‘commits’. With that in mind, we need to avoid giving these kind of reports:

  • “I haven’t heard back from [prospect] yet.”
  • “I left a message.”
  • “They said they would call us.”

Whether it be fundraising (sales), negotiations or life we need to take responsibility for ‘advancing the ball’. This begins by putting ourselves in the position to advance the ball.

At the end of a great presentation we get so excited. The prospect says something like, “Great, let me think it over and get back to you.” We say, “GREAT!” And then what?

My point is about attitude and less about tactics. You know how to handle a relationship. If you remember that it’s your responsibility to advance the ball then your will find yourself leaving voicemails like, “It’s Nick Fellers calling, I’m sorry I missed you. I can be reached at 614-352-2505 or I will try you again tomorrow.”

Two additional thoughts:

  1. You can also use Action Forcing Events to help you ‘advance the ball’.
  2. Embrace this term (‘advancing the ball’) in your office as a way for your team to talk strategy. Eg. “What can you do to ‘advance the ball with Ms. Jones?”