For Impact


What They Didn’t Teach Me… About Altitude

Blog | | Tom Suddes

I was just thinking this morning about Mark McCormack and some of the great stuff he wrote about in What They Didn’t Teach Me at Harvard Business School.

McCormack started IMG, which is now probably the largest firm in the world representing athletes and musicians. My copy of McCormack’s book is dated July of 1990, shortly after it came out. He also wrote the THE 110% SOLUTION and a terrific book called On Selling. (By the way, he was probably one of the best SALES PEOPLE ever.)

What I remember most about his thinking on SALES was around the idea of ‘ALTITUDE’ (even though he didn’t use that word).

“I get an agreement, IN PRINCIPLE, to the deal.

Then, we can always work out the DETAILS.”

“PRINCIPLE” is at 30,000′! Nick is always reminding our training attendees or coaching clients about staying at 30,000’… even when asked a ‘detail’ question, get back to 30,000′ as soon as you can.

The “DETAILS” are at 3′.

Here’s a great example from the For Impact (aka not-for-profit) world around the ‘PLANNED GIFT’.

‘TRAINED’ (especially LEGALLY-TRAINED) Planned Gift Officers go in SELLING ‘INSTRUMENTS’ (CRT’s, XML’s, XYZ’s) at 3′.

‘RELATIONSHIP’ Managers SELL at the highest level of engagement, simply asking “Do you want to Leave a Legacy and make an Impact on our cause/case/org???”

If… “Yes”, then… “Great. Let’s get your people together with our people… and we’ll make it happen.”

Special Note: At times, I have found it necessary to gently remind investors, philanthropists, givers that their attorney and accountant work for them, not the other way around. Family and kids will still have way more than they ever need, and this is a way to move from Success to Significance, etc.