“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” Anthony Robbins
You might be thinking, “This is a rather odd resolution. What is this all about?” I’d be inclined to agree with you, if I were you. But I’m me and this makes perfect sense!
In my experience, one of the major reasons MGO’s get stuck in their work with donors is that they fail to ask good questions. And they fail to ask good questions because they are not curious enough about their donors, their own organization or the projects they are raising money for.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a caseload strategy session for my clients and the MGO is stuck on how to move forward. I begin to ask a couple of simple questions and immediately we are on our way to coming up with a new strategy or idea that leads to a solution.
I ask myself, “Is this the job for these folks?” But then I realize that these are actually good people who, once unstuck, can implement a great strategy and come to a positive outcome. I think it’s more of a case of learned behavior to NOT be curious, to not continue to ask more questions.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Come on, just tell me the answer so I can get on with it.” I think that’s it in a nutshell. We’re so eager to execute that we don’t step back, pause, ask questions, ask more questions, wait, and then wait some more for the breakthrough.
“Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In sales there are usually four or five “no’s” before you get a “yes.” Jack Canfield
Whenever I interview someone, one thing that immediately strikes me is whether the person I’m interviewing starts asking me some really good questions. This tells me they are curious. And I know from experience that if they are curious they seek out solutions to complex problems.
We all know major gift fundraising has some very complex problems. When you are putting together some six and seven figure gifts (and for that matter, even a $10,000 gift can sometimes be complex) there are a lot of pieces to put together. The MGO’s who ask good questions and show curiosity are the MGO’s who are the most creative and most successful.
“When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die.” Lillian Smith
So, make 2012 the “year of curiosity.” You’re going to need to literally re-train yourself to keep asking questions. “Who do they know?” “What are they involved in?” “How can I get closer to this person?” “Why do they give so much more to this organization and not mine?”
Great questions lead to breakthrough answers. Go ahead. Ask away.