On the last post I talked about building relationship as the first step toward getting a relationship. Now, I want to go back to the original questions/objections I started this post with and give you my suggestions on how to handle each one.
FIRST, my assumption is that you are on the second or third contact with this donor, that you have not asked for a meeting the very first time you made contact (unless it was a very natural result of your first conversation), and that you have worked at building trust and relationship and a reason to keep talking in earlier contacts.
If this is true and now you have asked to meet the donor and the objection coming back to you is one of the objections I listed in the post before this one, here are some ideas on how you might respond:
- I don’t need to meet because I already know what you do and have confidence in your organization.
Response: That is so good! It makes me feel really good that we have won your trust. It would be really, really helpful to gain your perspective on how we might tell our story to others. Would you be willing to talk with me about how we gained your trust and how you developed your confidence in our work?
- We are quite content with our level of association with your organization, know that they put our $$ to excellent use, and will continue to keep them in our consideration, unless we hear something to the contrary.
Response: Excellent! I am so happy to hear that. And one thing I have been hearing in our conversation(s) is your interest and concern about X. Would you be willing to give us more input into how we might communicate information about that program better?
- I appreciate your interest in me, but I’m a private person and don’t want to establish any personal relationship.
See response to #1.
- I haven’t read your letter, it’s probably somewhere on my desk. Not really interested in seeing anyone, would rather the $$ go to those in need.
Response: Oh, the letter was a simple introduction to our efforts here to relate to our partners in a manner that solicits their ideas and perspective vs. just their money. In fact, NAME, I am really not interested right now in talking to you about money, although I am sure we will in the future – my greater desire now is to be able to relate to you in a manner where I can get your ideas on how we can do things better. For instance, you currently work in/give to X and that is an area that is important in the organization. I would love to be able to talk to you, for just a few minutes, from time to time to get opinions on topics in that area. Would that be OK? For instance [ask a pertinent question related to X].
- I just don’t have the time to meet.
Response: I know. I’m sure you are really busy. A talented person like yourself is pulled in so many ways and, quite frankly, NAME, we greatly value what you can give to us in opinions and ideas. That’s all I am talking about here – just giving me a tiny bit of your time, like 15-30 minutes, to discuss X, Y and Z so I can gain your perspective on it. That would be really helpful. Could you squeeze me in this week or next? I promise I will NOT ask you for money and I will not be longer than 30 minutes.
- I love you guys. There’s no need to take the time to meet with me. I’m on board with what you do.
Response: See #1 response above.
- Don’t waste your time coming out to see me. I am really fine talking on the phone.
Response: Wow! That would be great! I would love to do that. So, I will be in touch with you, NAME, from time to time to get your views and opinions on things. [Call two or three times then have those calls lead to a meeting].
- I am already committed to your organization. I don’t need a visit. Just send me the information.
Response: I am so glad you are committed to the work we are doing together, NAME. I would really like to sit down with you next time I am in PLACE and get your ideas on how we can get others to be as committed as you are. Would you be open to that?
- Frankly, I don’t want to be pressured for money.
Response: “Whew, NAME, I am really glad you said that because that is the last thing I want to do. My interest in talking to you is to understand why you are involved with us and how we can make your experience with us better. In fact, I learned long ago that going for the money with a good friend and donor like you is the worst thing you can do. I mean, you don’t give because we ask you to, do you?” And then move to what is really trying to happen in the relationship and make the point that what happens between you is true partnership, etc.
You can see, in all of these situations, that what we are suggesting is to get OFF of the objection and onto something that has real value for the donor. Create your own version of this in the situations you face. And give us feedback on what works for you so we can share it with others.