I will say it and repeat it ‘til I’m blue in the face: God gave you two ears and one mouth; you, as a candidate, should use them in the same proportion on the campaign trail…as Kevin Gentry reminds us in today’s featured “hot tip.”
What makes for a successful donor visit?
By Kevin Gentry
Is it “getting the order,” as in the sales lingo used to describe securing a major gift or pledge?
Perhaps, if that is what you believe to be the next best step in your donor cultivation strategy. But I might suggest that success is frequently determined by how much you listen and learn from your meeting.
Because, after all, how will you know what to sell to your customer until you fully understand what it is they wish to buy?
Just yesterday, I was reminded again of my own shortcomings in this area. Yes, just yesterday.
And I was reminded of it on three separate occasions, in three different donor meetings. I guess you could say I’m a really slow learner.
In each of my meetings, I caught myself trying immediately to sell my prospective customer on the product I wanted them to buy. Each time, I also observed their body language – the distracted glance away, the shifting in the seat, the grimace, the wince, the polite smile obscuring the gritting of teeth.
And each time, I miraculously managed to snatch some element of victory out of the jaws of defeat by kicking myself under the table and then asking something like, “Please tell me if you would, how did you first get interested in these ideas?” And then maybe followed by, “What do you consider to be the most serious threats we face today?”
Only then was I able to listen – and to learn. And to then try to respond appropriately to the various opinions or interests these good folks expressed.