The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Three little words.

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There is lots of pressure on gift planners these days to produce results. By results, I mean closed gifts.  At the same time, donors are increasingly skittish about making commitments, even commitments that aren’t due until death.  What to do?

According to management guru Tom Peters, most successful sales conversations don’t end by closing the sale.  According to Peters, the goal of a sales call (or in our case, a visit or call with a donor) is to “have your relationship with the customer be better at the end of the sales conversation than it was at the beginning.” He says, “Successful selling is usually not about going for the close. It’s about advancing your relationship.”  And, if advancing that relationship can help you uncover the underlying resistance to the gift, you’ll be that much closer to removing the obstacle and ultimately closing the gift.

One effective way to do this is to use these three incredibly powerful little words: tell me more.  Try it the next time a donor raises an objection or expresses an interest in an aspect of your work.  According to Charles Green’s Trust Matters blog, ‘tell me more’  is a “simple and elegant way to invite someone to share information with you. Distinct from a targeted, intellectually-impressive question, ‘tell me more’ implies an absence of time pressure, agenda (as in motives), and a desire to show off.  Its subtext: The agenda is yours, my time is yours, and my focus is devoted to you, not me. Its beauty is in its simplicity and its focus on the <donor>.”



Written by Phyllis Freedman

March 17, 2010 at 11:57 pm

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