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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Team Selling

As you can see, this PREDISPOSITION thing is about TEAM SELLING.

This simple visual should give you an even better understanding of how this works.



To get a visit (for the Sales Team), you can set up the visit by using:

  • The Actual Sales Person
  • A Strong Support Person
  • An Even Stronger Natural Partner

This is the opportunity for your board, volunteer leaders or campaign leadership to do something that they can do and then even want to do (especially if you give them a choice of ‘asking for money’ or ‘setting up a visit’!!!)

You can use all members of your stakeholder group to help get the visit. It could be your CEO, President, a well thought of doctor, a key dean or faculty member, a teacher or coach with 25 years of relationships… whomever.

This is also a wonderful way to engage your current investors and build upon their relationship! Have them make the call to set up the visit for you … and if they’ll go with you, that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay.

*Look at the examples in the outer circle of Natural Partners… and determine who would
be best ‘connector’ to get visits for your very best prospects.


We are professionals. We do not make COLD CALLS!

We always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor to our phone call to set up
the visit… to the visit/presentation itself… and to the follow-up.


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.

Note: Predisposition is not ‘cultivation’! (Cultivation is when you spread manure on crops.)

Here are 3 ideas to help you with PREDISPOSITION (#1), to set up visit.

  • The Goal
  • G.T.A.: Grab Their Attention
  • 3° of Separation



The goal is to GET THE VISIT! It is not to ‘sell on the phone’!

With a really strong predisposition e-mail or letter, the follow-up phone call becomes 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 available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

This is not a Tom Hopkins (Sales Training Guru) spiel. It Works. Idea: Have 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 simple closes the end of the note with “I have asked Phyllis to follow-up with you to set up a visit with (MGO).”

Note: I believe my ‘boss’/administrative assistant, Phyllis, can get me a visit with anybody! Having worked together for 19 years, we use this exact system. When Phyllis calls, she is not ‘worried’ at all about answering a bunch of questions or trying to ‘sell’ someone. She’s doing exactly what we communicated to the prospect/potential investor… following up.

Tip: Sometimes the easiest way to schedule is by using someone else you are visiting with that day or week. “Tom is going to be visiting with Jim W. at 10:00 on Tuesday. Could he meet with you before or after that?”

Or, use geography, “Tom will be in Cincinnati next week, and would love to spend 20 minutes with you if that works.”

*Assumes this is a trip.

GTA means be creative… set yourself apart… stand out!

One of the best ideas on this is using a ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ as predisposition.

Turn that gala/signature event into both predisposition and grabbing their attention! Actually say that evening that someone will be following up with you to set up a visit. Or, ‘cherry picking’ 50 or 60 of the very best prospects out of the 1,000 people who attended who get a very customized follow-up note… setting up the phone call to schedule the visit.

We have also used a WOW PACKAGE to ensure that the person knew how important this visit was. Rather than an e-mail, actually sending a letter, with some visuals, and then indicating that this is what we want to share or talk about. Just thinking creatively will set you apart.

Fun Note: *I’m not suggesting you go as far as the extraordinary ad man, Jay Chiat, did. He said this his secret for getting people to take his calls was to call the person’s secretary and say, “Tell so and so his DOCTOR is on the line, and I have the results of his test.” (Chiat claimed that they would rush to the phone.)

My personal favorite creative story is around that busy, always traveling executive, whose secretary/gatekeeper always responds with, “Sorry, he’s traveling or he’s out of town.”

I simply ask the gatekeeper where the prospect’s next trip is going to be. She always asks, “Why?” And I respond, “Because I’d like to get a ticket and just fly with him so that we can talk while he’s on the plane!” (It’s really hard for someone to not be engaged at 30,000’. And, if you can get them on the window and you get the aisle, you can ensure there’s nowhere for them to go.)

The whole Kevin Bacon, 6° thing is just wrong. It’s been determined it’s actually 2.78
moves or connections between Kevin Bacon and any other actor.

Please pay attention: You are only 3° away from anybody who is a QUALIFIED PROSPECT!

First, it is very important that you note the term ‘QUALIFIED PROSPECT’. That means that there is a STRONG RELATIONSHIP to your CAUSE or CASE. (It does not mean a ‘relationship’ with you or another individual!)

Then, IF they are truly QUALIFIED PROSPECTS… you can use your NATURAL PARTNERS (Champions, Board Members, Key Volunteer Leaders, other Current Investors, etc.) to make the contact and the connection… and help set up the VISIT!!!

Here is the best way to explain this.

I am only 3° away from the Pope, the President or the Prime Minster of Israel.

I reach out to one of the most amazing human beings on the planet, Fr. Ted Hesburgh (with
whom I had the incredible experience of working with on the Campaign for Notre Dame). Fr.
Ted calls someone in the Vatican… who then sets up meeting with the Pope.

To get to the President, I simply hit speed dial for Dick former Governor of Ohio, Ambassador
to India, President of Colorado College and now Senior Counsel with The Suddes Group. Dick
has Bill Clinton on his speed dial. Bill calls President’s office and sets up visit (since he worked
really hard to get President elected,)

For the Prime Minister of Israel, I call anyone of a handful of Jewish leaders that we have
worked with and ask them to make a phone call or reach out to someone in Israel who can
then reach out to the Prime Minister. (I know. Probably not a good time to do this. He’s busy.
Just trying to make a point.)

One last story. I am only One Natural Partner away from the Dalai Lama.

At an international conference, I poured (fire hose?) my energy, heart and soul
into a keynote talk. Afterwards, a wonderful woman came up and said, “Thank
you. I learned so much… I will never forget this day.” Then she put her long
white scarf around my neck and said, (BTW) “My brother is the Dalai Lama.”

*If you want more on this, there are two great books on this phenomena, 6 DEGREES by
Duncan J. Watts
and LINKED by Albert Barabasi.

The Visit Story

Perhaps your process to get a visit goes like this:

[A phone call or email from the ‘development officer.’] “Could we come and see you to talk to you about our annual campaign?”

There IS a story here … But it’s a BAD (VISIT) STORY.

  • Development
  • Annual Campaign
  • No ‘WHY.’ No ‘IMPACT.’

Here are some thoughts to help you create a GREAT (VISIT) STORY.

  • Go back to our core message: Impact Drives Income. WHY are we visiting? WHAT are we trying to do [IMPACT]? WHY do we want this person’s time? Is it to ask for money? Or, is it to help change lives, save lives and impact lives?
    • “We are visiting with people to talk about HOW to transform education in our community.”
    • “We are engaging key stakeholders in a conversation about the future of health care in our community.”
    • “This is a movement; you are part of it. We have light years to go to change [insert cause]. This is an important conversation and we hope to have thousands more like it throughout the country …”
    • “We will be sharing where we’re going and asking for your help.
  • The story you tell yourself is AS important – if not MORE important – than the story voice. You must BELIEVE this is a phone call to change and save lives. If you believe this, your SPIRIT will trump any script. If you don’t believe this, a script will not help.
  • Be Assumptive.
    Nobody wants to have a visit to talk about money.


    And yet, some $300 Billion is given away in the US each year.

    Why is this?

    Because just about everybody wants to make a difference. Just about everyone wants to help.

    Everyone you’re meeting with (or hoping to meet with) WANTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD! They want to have exhilarating discussions about making a difference. They just don’t want to have a meeting about ‘giving money.’ Giving money is a means to an end.

  • Don’t make decisions for the prospects! Just a reminder.
  • Bonus thought: Part of the STORY is about the PEOPLE on the visit.

    This is a great team-selling tip: YOU are a cool person!

    Have a board member or natural partner help to open the door with this story, “You’re going to really enjoy spending 30 minutes with Stephanie. She’s a rock star … one of those people that makes us all want to do more to change the world. Stephanie and her team are amazing social entrepreneurs.”

OGs Note: A Story to Get you Started

The most visits I’ve ever made in one day is 13. Here’s the story…

Jim Frick was my boss and mentor at Notre Dame. As Vice President for Development, Jim was one of the early pioneers in the college and university fundraising arena.

One day at a meeting with the entire Development Team, he was encouraging (in Jim’s case it was more exhorting and prodding) the five Development Officers to get out and make more visits.

He said he had made 12 visits in one day… and couldn’t understand why we weren’t making more visits.

I was a ‘young pup’ Regional Director of Development. I was also pretty competitive. I decided I was going to try to break Jim’s record. I set up 13 visits in one day in Indianapolis. I asked my two best Champions and Natural Partners to help me set them up. It turned into a ‘game’. I was running around downtown Indianapolis. Never got in a car. Had a number of people meeting me in Bill McGowan’s office. Started with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast and finished with a 7:00 p.m. dinner.

Visits were brief and not very productive. I think I might have raised $50,000 or $75,000 that day. All about QUANTITY over QUALITY


Our 3X3X3 strategy is a practical and productive approach to this paradox. 3 visits a day… 3 days a week… 3 weeks out of the month. This allows a full-time Major Gift Officer or Development Officer to make 25 to 30 visits a month… and allows quality time for setting up the visit and for follow-up.

Getting a Visit is both an ATTITUDE and a ‘SKILL’ (or even better a ‘SYSTEM’).

With that said, I’ve tried to summarize 40 years in the field (20 of them trying to get ‘appointments’… and the last 20 having much more success getting ‘visits’) in a way that will help you get visits with your best prospects. Following are some nuggets and ideas framed within


I hope this helps.

How to Get a Visit

Stop Trying to Get an Appointment

I cannot begin to count the number of times we have been told/asked “This is all great, but… we can’t get an appointment. They won’t see us. How do we get in the door?”

Our first response is always the same: “Stop trying to get an ‘APPOINTMENT’!”

The word ‘appointment’ itself is a problem. It conjures up visions of doctors! Worse, dentists!

Think about the idea of a VISIT. This is not just semantic gymnastics. It’s a mind-set. A VISIT implies friendship, conversation, mutual desire to be together and much more.

You can read this in a melodramatic tone:

Stop trying to get APPOINTMENTS… with DONORS… to ASK THEM FOR MONEY!

A simple vocabulary change creates an entirely different dynamic.


Engagement Tool: Altitude and Notes on How to Use

Here is a deeper explanation of the power of ‘ALTITUDE’ on a visit/presentation:

  • Always go (back) up. Nick Fellers has a really great way to use ‘altitude/elevation’ on the presentation. When training or coaching, Nick makes this very clear: When in doubt… when challenged… when questioned… ALWAYS GO (BACK) UP TO 30,000’! (The Vision…The Message…The Purpose.)
  • Get ‘buy-in’ at the highest level. As you make the Case for Support, the prospect/ potential investor needs to understand and acknowledge their acceptance of the ‘blue’ VISION and ‘red’ PRIORITIES. Sometimes this is “You had me at hello.” (Renee to Tom Cruise) Other times, it may take the entire first visit to get them to understand and agree that this is an important cause and case. Regardless, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about the Plan or How They Can Help if they don’t ‘get it’ at the highest level.
  • Dissent on the descent. To put this in another way, there can be no ‘dissent’ on the descent! I think of this as kind of the opposite of getting the ‘bends’. If a diver ascends too quickly, they get a case of the ‘bends’. It’s painful and many times life-threatening. During a presentation, the prospect can get the ‘reverse-bends’ if you descend too rapidly. “Hello. Thanks for seeing me. Here’s our campaign Can you give $100,000?”
  • ‘Permission to proceed’. We have actually incorporated this specific terminology into the presentation. (It’s actually the words used to complete a ‘transfer’ on a high ropes challenge course!) “It seems like you’re fully engaged with both our Mission and our Message. Would it be okay (permission to proceed) to go deeper and talk about our Strategic Priorities and our Plan to make all this happen???”
  • Altitude is not always top-down or hierarchical. You can ‘enter’ at any level. You can focus on any level. You can travel up and down… and even side to side, especially when you’re using an Engagement Tool.
  • Learn to draw! The Engagement Tool is meant to be used with markers, colored pens or some writing instrument. You can add visuals such as arrows or circles or words as you use this framework. Write on it! It encourages participation and conversation!
  • Ask questions! Again, since this is all about ENGAGEMENT, CONVERSATION and DIALOGUE, the Engagement Tool should allow for multiple ways to ASK QUESTIONS!!!
    • 1. The ‘Blue’, 30,000’ Question:
      “What do you know about… our Organization/our Current Vision/New Goals?”
    • 2. The ‘Red, 14,000’ Question:
      “Which one of these ‘3 Circles’ (Priorities) is most important to you?”
    • 3. The Green, 3’ Question:
      “Based on your understanding of the Purpose, Priorities and Plan… would it be okay to talk about how you can help?”
  • Transition is important: Always use questions to transition from the levels of dialogue or engagement. E.g.
    • “What does your involvement with (Org) mean to you?”
    • “Did you have a unique experience at (Org)?”
    • “Are you willing to be a ‘CHAMPION’ for (Org)?”
    • “We are asking everyone in our family to help in 3 ways. Can we go there?”
  • ‘Permission to Proceed’
    We also call these ‘transition questions’ – because they TRANSITION within the flow.

    • “Would it be okay?”
    • “Would it be possible to?”
    • “At this time, I’d like to talk specifically about the Funding Plan if that’s okay with you.”
    • If there was a poor job of predisposition, you might even be able to get away with: “I know we didn’t come here today to talk about numbers but it certainly seems like we’re in sync about the projects. Would it be okay if I were to share the Funding Plan?”

    Asking for permission to proceed allows you to be comfortably assertive.

  • Customize it. Put the person’s or company’s name at the top, write in the specific Priorities or Projects to be funded, or whatever.
  • Leave it with them. Many Prospects will actually ask if they can keep this ‘visual’ representation. You can leave them ‘their’ copy… with all the handwritten notes… and a clean copy that they can share with others (if needed).
  • Fold or front/back. You can fold the Engagement Tool so only the ‘blue’ is showing. Keeps their attention/focus at 30,000’! (Then, I open it to ‘proceed’).*We also have put a (Campus) MAP or ‘drawings/sketches’ of Building Projects on the back.
  • Size matters. We (almost) always use this as an 18 x 24 or at least an 11 x 17. Plenty of room to write, draw, etc. Plus, you can stand up, move around and ‘engage’ your way through the Framework.
  • Finally, PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. The more you use the Engagement Tool… the better you will be able to control the FLOW of the visit. And, you will figure out what works and what doesn’t.

O.G.’s Notes: 100 Visits in 18 Days

Jim Yoder is one of my closest friends (since our days together at Notre Dame) and a former partner of The Suddes Group. Jim has been running/managing large campaigns for over 20 years.

When he was working on a $1.5M Campaign for Economic Development (over 5 years) in a small community in North Carolina:

He spent 3 DAYS …



working on the Funding Initiative.

He made:

100 VISITS!!!


Oh, and by the way, Jim had never met any of those prospects/potential investors personally before he made those visits … AND he Presented the Opportunity for them to make an investment (JUST ASK) in almost every single instance!

I told Jim that 100 visits in those 18 days was more than most Development Officers and Major Gift Officers Make in a year.


Everybody Has a Plan Until First Contact With The Enemy

I hope you have all now seen or read one of our absolute favorite quotes by Andy Grove:


We’ve been astounded over the years by how many people PLAN, PLAN, PLAN … RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH … CULTIVATE, CULTIVATE, CULTIVATE</br> …</br>and never ENGAGE!


Perhaps these two quotes by a legendary warrior/philosopher and a not-so-legendary boxer might also help.

Sun Tzu
(The Art of War)

Leon Spinks

The ‘PLAN’ is not the answer.

GET OUT AND ENGAGE. MAKE FIRST CONTACT! (It’s not the enemy!) GET HIT. (Make visits. Take your best shot.)

Your ‘PLAN’ will be a thousand times better after you have had this first contact and gotten hit than it is right now if you’re writing it in your office or conference room or in a bubble.

Engagement Tool: Notes and Thoughts

* Following are notes and thoughts to help you understand this at the conceptual level… as well as how best to USE the ENGAGEMENT TOOL to produce ‘closes’, ‘commitments’ and ‘cash’.

  • It grabs their attention! The SIMPLICITY and VISUAL nature of this ‘piece’ is so totally different than most material being used on Visits (which are not designed for one-on-one Presentations!)… that it commands attention! (Most likely, this will be the first and only actual ‘Presentation’ Tool for your organization.)
  • It is all about the ‘REAL ESTATE’. (Location, Location, Location) Using the constraint of limited space, the Engagement Tool tries to capture an organization’s IMPACT POINTS and many of the TALKING POINTS necessary to make a great Presentation and, at the same time, provides for meaningful ‘white space’ to allow for emphasis, additions, or clarifications.
  • It actually allows for a ‘TRIPLE ASK’!!!
    (Annual Operations)
    (Priority Projects)
    (Legacy Giving)
    [As opposed to ‘cultivation’, multiple visits and never getting ‘dollars on the table’, much less ‘in the bank’!]
  • It is designed at ALTITUDE. (See here for more.)
    30,000′ Why Purpose Blue
    14,000′ What Priorities Red
    3′ How Plan Green

    We have used this ALTITUDE FRAMEWORK as an integral, critical part of our presentation FLOW with hundreds of organizations on thousands of visits. It works.

    • Start with, the WHY. Once they’re on board…
    • Move to the WHAT. Once they understand …
    • It’s on to the HOW. HOW you will execute and HOW they can help.