Some things to think about among team members before you go on a visit.
- Clarify the goal.
- To get the prospect’s permission to discuss the funding plan
- To ask for a gift to fund the vision.
- Identify the leader to manage flow
There can be one and only one person managing the flow of the visit. Identify that person within your team then trust in that person.
No sales call or presentation ever goes as planned. Someone is going to have to make adjustments and control tempo, altitude and flow. Trust in the leader, follow the leader.
When I’m leading I will say to the other person (executive director, board member, etc), “No matter how chaotic the visit might seem at any point I will always be in control of the flow and navigating toward the goal.”
If I’m leading I’ll cue the other person along the way:
“Bill, could you talk about your experience in starting summer camps at other organizations? I would like to share with [prospect] some of your experience and the approach we’ll incorporate to start new programs.”
Note: I think it’s fine to change the leader in the middle of the visit – but the point is to know who is navigating.
I will also review the PRESENTATION FLOW before each visit as a reminder of the general flow.
- Identify key questions
It’s paramount that you clearly articulate the goal of the visit for everyone on your sales team. Remember, the goal determines what you say. I did a coaching call yesterday in which we established two objectives:
About the strategy above: The prospect visit was not set-up to be an ask so we needed to get permission to talk numbers. That could be permission to come back and talk about the funding plan on a next visit or, if the prospect were to say, “How can I help?” we need to be prepared to move on to objective 2 on this visit.
I hope the example seems simple. The key is that we didn’t just send in a team to do ‘stewardship’. Nothing worse that a visit with no goal alignment and tons of opportunity.
Actually, number three should read: REMEMBER TO LISTEN
We typically outline some key questions with the team as a way of forced listening. Tendency will always be to talk too much. We review some key questions as a way of coaching everyone about the importance of listening… of letting the prospect talk.
For a visit we strategized on Monday.
- “I know you’ve often spoke of the need to increase impact in your giving. Could you talk a little bit about what that means to you now?” — Clearly the prospect was thinking strategically – asking this question not only gets the prospect sharing information, it’s also incredibly relevant. Probably some hot buttons and land mines to avoid.
- And, if we’re not sure what to ask for, “NAME, I would love to share the funding plan if that’s okay. Before I do, could I ask you to speak to how this might fit with some of your current funding priorities?”