This is a guest post by Jeremy Overton.
If you’re doing your job well, hopefully you’re getting into conversations with donors where you begin to realize you’re touching on the limits of your knowledge base. Although we strongly suggest scheduling time each month to meet with professionals in the area to talk about what they see happening in their accounting, legal and financial advice practices, it’s impossible for you to keep up with all the strategies that exist in today’s complex estate planning environment.
Sometimes, donor professionals are too quick to move to “close the deal” when the conversation turns to hypotheticals. This is one of the first mistakes that lead to a lack of commitment on the part of the donor.
We all know that the hardest part of this entire process is getting the donor interested in pursuing a strategy – so here are three tips to help solidify the momentum you’ve gained and increase the likelihood that they’ll take action.
Turn it back: When your discussion turns from the donor, their passions, resources and the ultimate benefits they will receive from their donation, make sure and turn it back. Without interrupting, casually shift the conversation back to the ultimate benefits. “I think I can help, but I’d like to hear more about …”
Seek to Understand: This is one of the most valuable of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Pausing the conversation to clarify and understand the wishes of the client will accomplish three objectives: 1) showing them that you’re listening intently, and 2) giving them the opportunity to correct you if you’ve misheard them, and 3) activating another of their senses (hearing) that will help make the conversation more memorable and vivid for them.
Give ‘em a chance: Once you’ve verified understanding, you may be tempted to begin giving advice. Instead of suggesting that they contact their professionals or that they meet with professionals you’ve used in the past, preface that conversation by asking the following questions first:
WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE OUR NEXT STEP?
WHAT’S KEPT YOU FROM HAVING THESE CONVERSATIONS IN THE PAST?
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
If your donor expresses any hesitation, apprehension or a need for help at the thought of any of these questions, you’ll put them in a position to better perceive the value you’re providing when you help them move on to the next step.
We hope these tips will help you transition confidently when a donor expresses interest in executing a planned giving plan and wants to move on to discussing specifics.
Jeremy Overton, advisor, coach and local leader, has spent the last 12 years educating individuals, families, and business owners. He specializes in motivating those who are interested in having a greater impact on their communities, the people they love, and the causes they support.
Both as an author and presenter, Jeremy provides a framework for his audience to understand and simplify the complex ideas. His skill lies in helping his clients look at the problems they face in a unique way. His work provides clarity about where you are and what’s next for you and your business.
You can learn more about Jeremy’s new book, Plan On It, at http://iplanonit.com.
His articles about discussing planned giving , hosting charitable events and connecting with donors have appeared in The Major Gifts Report, a monthly newsletter subscribed to by thousands of charitable professionals across the United States.