We help social entrepreneurs and really cool organizations implement a true sales model for philanthropy. The word SALES is supposed to grab your attention!
“You’re in sales, get over it.” – Tom Suddes
Most of us got into this work for the IMPACT, not the fundraising… and certainly not ‘SALES’!!! But ‘SALES’ holds the key to resourcing the impact we want to have. Pat Williams and Jim Denney are co-authors of some the world’s great leadership biographies – from Bear Bryant and Coach Wooden to Mother Theresa. Here’s how Pat Williams writes about Walt Disney as a salesperson. Note: I’ve pulled dozens of nuggets out of the book and threaded them together. As always, just read the book – How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life
Virginia Davis (Walt’s original Alice) told Pat that Walt Disney was a great salesman: “The more I examined Walt’s life, the more I saw what a profound insight this was. From the very beginning of his career, Walt was a salesman— one of the greatest salesmen the world has ever known.”
Many people look down on selling as somehow beneath them. I hope you don’t make that mistake. All the wealth in America can be traced to the fact that somebody somewhere sold something to somebody else. Selling is one of the most honorable professions around— and one of the most rewarding. It is also one of the toughest. What does it take to be a great salesperson? I would suggest five qualities that every great salesperson must have. Build these qualities into your life and you can sell like Walt. Those five qualities are honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, courage and persistence.
Honesty.All great salespeople are honest. Does that surprise you? That’s probably because you have been raised on the stereotype of the fast-talking used-car salesman in the plaid jacket. Sure, shysters abound, and they give a bad name to the honest salespeople who make their living by trading value for value. But the best salespeople are people of integrity. A great salesperson lives on repeat business. The key to repeat business is trust, and the key to trust is integrity. Anybody can sell to one customer one time. A great salesperson builds relationships of trust on a foundation of truth.
All great salespeople are fired up about their product. Enthusiasm is contagious; it affects everyone around you. How did a twenty-year-old cartoonist convince a group of Kansas City businessmen to part with $15,000 so he could open his studio? Enthusiasm! Voice actor Corey Burton told me, “
Walt was excited about his projects, his movies, his theme park. When he was excited about something, his excitement fired up everyone around him. That’s how he sold his dreams.” Disney film editor Norman “Stormy” Palmer recalls Walt’s power to motivate. “Walt’s enthusiasm made over-achievers out of all of us,” he told me. “You got caught up with his energy, you believed in his ideas, and you wanted to please him. He transmitted his excitement to all of us. If it hadn’t been for Walt, there would have been a lot of times we would have settled for less than our best.”
Confidence. Confidence is not a feeling, it’s an attitude choice. Even if you don’t feel confident, you can still adopt an attitude of confidence. You may not be comfortable selling yourself or your product, but so what? Nobody is comfortable selling. Nobody ever became successful by staying within their comfort zone. If you want to succeed, you have to do what Walt did: take a big, confident step outside your comfort zone, and start selling your dreams.
Courage. Psychological studies show that high-achieving, successful people are not overly concerned about what others think. This was true of Walt Disney. He never catered to his critics. He never worried about rejection. He kept selling his dreams. 5. Persistence. Walt absorbed the blows and soldiered on, fueled by a total and utter belief that his vision was right. Walt was successful because of one rock-solid Midwestern value. It’s called perseverance.
It’s worth bottom-lining these three gems:
The best salespeople are people of integrity.
Enthusiasm is contagious.
Confidence is not a feeling, it’s an attitude choice. (Write this one on your MIRROR!)
Reposting one of our most popular nuggets from Tom about how to measure success and productivity in your Development Operation.
RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT: What every Investor wants from their investment and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.
I feel this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood from our sector – Something I want to help change.
With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization invests money and resources in their development/fundraising operation (whether it’s a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division) but doesn’t measure that RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.
ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem:
Here’s how much money we Raised (the numerator).
Here’s how much money we spent/Total Expenses (denominator).
R – TE = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!
In the For Impact approach, the development function ‘write checks’ to the IMPACT.
R ÷ TE = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING.
For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M then your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.
There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:
Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)
In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:
3X is minimum model/benchmark.
4X is great.
5X is something you should be very proud of.
If you’re running a Campaign within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a nickel (five cents on the dollar.) That would give you a 20X ROI.
If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member, I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison.
Note: One last example of why ROI is a completely different level of thinking than simply “This is how much money we raised this year.” I can guarantee a small not-for-profit organization an additional $100,000 this year – Hire two ‘major gifts officers’ at $50,000 apiece. Send them to For Impact Boot Camp. I guarantee that they can go out and raise $100,000 in the next year (combined.)Same thing would be true with a larger organization at $1M. Hire five major gift officers at $200,000 each. I’m fairly confident if they followed any sales process they would each be able to raise $200,000 in the next year for a total of $1M.
Happy Birthday to our youngest grandchild, EJ, who turns 6 today! (I’m holding her in the photo below.)
Today is also my BirthDATE (March 19th is my birthDAY, thus today is my May birthDATE.)
Don’t forget to celebrate your birthDATE every month!
For the last 20 years, I have tried very, very hard to make my BIRTHDATE a special day every month.
I’ve been quietly trying to encourage everyone around me to CELEBRATE their own BIRTHDATE. And, not so quietly, I have challenged thousands of individuals at certain speaking engagements to do the same.
Here’s a great goal/challenge for 2016: Make your BIRTHDATE a special day for YOU!
Do something solo: Breakfast or coffee shop, with a journal or a book. A motorcycle or bike ride. A yoga class. Whatever.
Then, do something special with those you love: Spend a little time with the g-kids. Catch up with a sib or a child away from home. Have lunch with the ‘girls’ or a beverage with the ‘boys.’
I also use the 19th as the once a month review of my goals (lifetime, this year, upcoming 90 days, etc.) and to set Action Plan for next 30 days.
Most people laugh (hard) when I tell them to take their BIRTHDATE off. Yet, if we can’t set aside even one day every month for ourself… things are pretty screwed up.
Tom has been receiving notes from around the world, people reaching out to share what he has taught them. One of the big themes has been the importance of Life Balance. With our own team, we call this “Integration” – Being able to integrate all the facets of your life to achieve happiness, fulfillment and overall health.
Here’s a great note from the archives – Tom talking about his mentor who introduced him to “personal goals” and “family first.”
It may seem a little weird to talk about “PERSONAL GOALS” when you’re dealing with SALES or SALES GOALS. Frank Sullivan, however, was all about writing out ALL of his goals and plans – personal, financial, business, health, etc.
Frank was literally the first person in my “business life” (and, actually, one of the very few people) that talked about his personal life and his family and his own goals – as they related to his business and sales goals.
Frank’s the one who first gave me the idea of solo time with the kids, which I turned into BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST, where we went over their favorite books, TV, friends, food – And, did their GOALS for the upcoming year! I tried to capture all these notes in one journal/green book (that I still have today.)
By the way, if you’ve never done ‘GOALS’ with a 3-year-old, you’ve really missed out!
Frank came down with Alzheimer’s at the end of his life, but, by then, he had impacted so many people and left a huge legacy. “Personal goals” and “family first” were his GIFT to me. I am forever grateful.
This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!
Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!
“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.” – Theodore Roethke
I believe it has meaning for us as INDIVIDUALS and as SALESPEOPLE.
You learn by going where you have to go – If you want to learn to sell, you need to get face-to-face with more people. If you want to learn to make an ask, then you’ve got to do just that – ASK. If you want to learn to surf or ski or box, then you must practice surfing, skiing, boxing.
Robin Williams told Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting that he had never “done” anything – He only read books. He hadn’t “smelled the paint in the Sistine Chapel, etc.”
I’m sure you get the point.
If we “learn by going” then we need to execute on our plan to VISIT with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. As much as possible.
P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:
This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.
“PRODUCTIVITY is the act of bringing a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL. Every ACTION that brings a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is PRODUCTIVE. Every ACTION that does NOT bring a company (organization or person) closer to its GOAL is not PRODUCTIVE.
What I’m telling you is…
PRODUCTIVITY IS MEANINGLESS UNLESS YOU KNOW YOUR GOAL.””
Eliyahu Goldratt is an Israeli physicist who has been described by Fortune magazine as a “guru to industry” and by Business Week as a “genius.”
He wrote a self-published, underground best seller entitled The Goal (North River Press, 1984, Revised 1986 and 1992).
This may be one of the best ‘business books’ I’ve ever read. It’s not dense, text-heavy business gobbley gook with charts, tables and Venn diagrams.
It’s actually written as a fiction story. Jonah (the consultant) uses the Socratic method of asking questions of Alex (the manager) to completely turn around a faltering business/ manufacturing plant.
THE GOAL, on one hand, is complex, with terms like: throughput, bottleneck, the theory of constraints and the cloud theory.
At the same time, it is incredibly SIMPLE: KNOW YOUR GOAL!
IF PRODUCTIVITY is a function of understanding your GOAL… being able to define SUCCESS… being able to MEASURE your progress…
Nixing the event and focusing on getting more visits is a simpler, more productive approach. It may feel challenging to work through the ‘but-what-about-objections.’ So, here’s a few ideas:
You need a good message and story for the visit. Absent of this people hear (and what creates our reluctance) is “Can I come and ask you for money?” If instead people heard (and we believed), “We’re having an amazing impact and need more people like you to know about it!” (Read more The Story for the Visit here.)
The first visit doesn’t need to be an ambush for money. Quite the opposite – the goal should be to ENGAGE. To LISTEN. And then to overwhelm the other person with the IMPACT so that he or she says, “This is incredible, how can I help?”
This shift in thinking save hundreds of hours, thousands and thousands in fundraising costs and countless lives (because we will generate much more INCOME for our IMPACT).
What really is the GOAL of any Development Office, Advancement Office, Development Officer, Hospital Foundation or College Foundation???
In my world, it’s to: WRITE A TRIPLE NET CHECK TO THE (BLUE) ORGANIZATION!
Our role in ‘development’ is to provide as much GREEN INCOME as possible to help SCALE and GROW the BLUE IMPACT!
It’s that simple.
What does ‘Triple Net’ mean? I borrowed it from the real estate industry, where it’s usually referencing a triple net lease. (Read more here: Triple Net)
For us, it means that ALL COST OF FUNDRAISING is deducted from the REVENUE generated by the Development Team (Green People)… therefore, resulting in a triple net (actual check) being ‘written’ to the organization. (Again, the Blue People.)
I don’t want to go too Jack Nicholson on you, but I do want to make this crystal clear.
This has nothing to do with the IRS, accounting, 990 AR’s or whatever.
This has nothing to do with CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education), AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), CRFE, etc.
This has nothing to do with what you decide to ‘count’ or not ‘count’ relative to the cost of fundraising.
The only measure of success is determined by how much money (INCOME) you provide to your organization/institution to help them Save Lives, Change Lives, Transform Lives (IMPACT).
Put one more way, our job in ‘Development’ is to FUND THE VISION.
This is getting long, but it’s a really important topic to me at this moment. Here are 3 more BIG thoughts around this subject:
Everyone in our industry knows that the absolute best way to raise the most amount of money… at the least cost… is through ‘MAJOR GIFTS’. This is where we actually sit down, shoulder-to-shoulder, on a visit with a qualified prospect and make a great presentation and ultimately present the opportunity for them to help.
The cost is a ‘nickle on a dollar’ while the ‘special events’, golf outings, mailings, etc. cost is ‘three quarters.’.
I have to tell you that I have seen far too many Development Operations spending one dollar to raise one dollar in the last few years.
I can quickly show anyone reading this the way to raise $1M in the next year, and I will personally guarantee it!
Hire 10 Major Gift Officers, paying them each $100,000 a year to ensure good quality people.
Have them trained at our Boot Camp (on how to make a visit, how to present the opportunity, etc.)
They will each raise $100,000 in real money over the course of the year.
There it is. They just raised $1M for your organization. When you look at that silly scenario, you realize that raising money is not the goal/measurement of a Development Office.
In our world, a Development Officer should be doing a minimum of 10X and ideally 20X their respective ‘cost‘.
‘Cost of Fundraising’ is not some fuzzy math issue. Again, it’s not how you decide to ‘count’. It’s actually a very easy and simple equation:
R – AE = N³C
Revenue – All Expenses = Net, Net, Net Cash. (To be shipped over in a Brink’s truck to the BLUE PEOPLE.)
*Warning: It’s pretty easy to run down this list and blow off a number of these with a “We’ve already got this/done this” attitude. I encourage you to take a look at the resources we’ve provided below and create an Action Plan for 2016.
Set up your next month’s visits right now!
ENGAGEMENT is all about FOCUS and DISCIPLINE and EXECUTION.
Don’t ‘think’… DO! Once you have your Funding Plan and ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY laid out… EXECUTE! (ACT!)
Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!!!