Here are some things to think about if you’re having trouble getting a visit. Think of these as ingredients you can tweak within your visit and predisposition strategy.
- Change the predisposition message.
Example of a bad message: “I want to talk to you about our fundraising campaign.”
Uber-basic reasons to meet that entail a stronger message:
- This is something that would appeal to you (Impact / legacy / solution).
- Personal (“Support me!” If you have a personal relationship).
- Novelty (Meet this entrepreneur).
- Change the medium.
Perhaps your email is lost in a digital communications clutter. We often look at other innovative ways to cut through the clutter: sending books, sending a FedEx package (eg. a book), making a phone call.
Just yesterday we were working with a client who called the prospect (after two unanswered emails), only to learn that the prospect HAD been responding with enthusiasm but the prospect’s reply emails were being stopped by a spam filter on the prospect’s side!!!
- Change the messenger.
One way to help with the previous two points is by changing the messenger (i.e., the person reaching out to the prospect). Related: If we don’t have a natural partner – someone who can reach out to the prospect on our behalf – WE can be the messenger.
- Change the ‘receiver.’
If the prospect is a corporation or a foundation, consider reaching out to another contact within the organization.
- Change the ask. (Another form of changing the message.)
A question to ask ourselves is, “What would it take to get in the door?” Often, we predispose toward a funding intent–if that message isn’t landing, consider the following:
- Use a two-step visit / ask. The first visit is explicitly an opportunity to (re-)engage and (re-)establish a personal connection, while also using the in-person setting to predispose the funding conversation… which happens on the next visit. (This ties into cutting through the clutter of digital communications.)
- Invite them to an event or experience, and use that as an engagement pathway (see below).
- Change the engagement pathway.
A 1:1 visit and ask / discussion are the engagement strategies to maximize investment, but other forms of engagement can be helpful to support this effort.
Examples of engagement pathways:
- Connector outreach (peer-to-peer) introduction
- Direct/connector invite to an event or experience
- “Same place yourself as the prospect” (attend a social functions or designated conferences)
Finally, persistence should not be ruled out. As a default, we reach out to a qualified prospect 10+ times before we remove them from a portfolio. In those ten outreach attempts, we change up the predisposition strategy (message / ask / engagement pathways).