Here are some things to think about among team members as you prepare your visit strategy.
Clarifying the goal
In a sales model, every visit with a prospect or lead should have goals. Relationship building and networking are not goals, they are underlying principles (see ‘No More Cultivation Visits’).
Clearly articulate the goal of the visit for everyone on your sales team. Remember, the goal determines what you say. For example, you might identify these objectives/goals for the visit:
- To get the prospect’s permission to discuss the funding plan (qualifying and predisposing).
- To get the prospect to say or ask, “How can I help?”
- To ask for a gift to fund the vision.
Roles: Identify the leader to manage flow
Before the visit, it’s important to identify and designate a visit leader to manage the flow.
No sales call or presentation ever goes exactly as scripted. The visit leader makes adjustments and controls tempo, altitude and flow.
When I’m leading, I will say to the team (executive director, board member, etc.),“No matter how the visit might appear to meander, 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:
“Sarah, 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.”
We will also review the Presentation Flow before each visit as a reminder of the general flow.
Identify key questions and who will ask them
We typically outline some key questions with the team as a way of forced listening. The tendency will always be to talk too much, so we review some key questions as a way of coaching everyone about the importance of listening (i.e. letting the prospect talk). [See ‘2:1 Rule for Dialogue’.]
- “I know you spoke of the need to increase impact in your giving. Could you talk a little bit about what that means to you now?” For a prospect who is thinking strategically – asking this question not only gets the prospect sharing information, it’s also incredibly relevant.
- 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?”
(For more on how to ask and questions to guide the ask, see ’Discovery Questions, Alignment Questions, and Closing Questions’.)