I have just read your Blog post about facing the fear of asking and wanted to thank you for addressing an issue that affects me. I am feeling more confident now, but was wondering if you could give me some more information about how I actually go about conducting a prospect meeting?
Following our recent article Face the Fear of Asking we received this email from a young fundraiser and thought we would post our response for the benefit of all our readers.
An Easy Guide to Conducting a Prospect Meeting
Step One: At the very beginning of the meeting devote around 5 minutes to small talk. Discussing familiar things you share in common (such as family/friends, interests or an event you both attended) will warm up your prospect and help you to relax. Be charming, complimentary, but most importantly, genuine.
Step Two: Be prepared with a line that will bring the conversation around to business, such as “Mrs Smith, while I could chat with you all day, the main reason I am here today is to discuss Charity X’s campaign to fund a very important new facility.” Then proceed to making your case for support. Make sure the information you provide at this stage is tailored to your prospects knowledge of the organisation/project and addresses their specific interest in becoming involved.
Step Three: Conclude your case for support with a clear, specific and direct call to action. Something like “Jane, because of your long-standing commitment to Charity X, we want to give you an opportunity to play a key role in our new campaign. I know how much you love your garden so wanted to ask if you will consider a gift of $50,000 to fund the landscaping component of the project?”
Step Four: At this point, pause to allow the prospect to answer your question. Listen carefully to what they have to say and ask for clarification if necessary. Mental notes of the discussion are preferable, but if your memory is bad, make sure you jot down key points for future reference.
Step Five: Now is the time to address any objections your prospect has raised or provide additional information requested. If they do not give you a straight answer, ask what information they will need in order to make a decision or under what circumstances they will support. Even if the prospect declines your proposal, remember that there is no such thing as a “no”, only a “not now”. Remain positive, calm and professional and leave the door open to future interactions with the prospect.
Step Six: At the end of the meeting verbally summarise any agreements or decisions made meeting and clearly outline the next steps. Be sure to let the prospect know when they will next hear from you, especially if they have asked for more information or time to think over the proposal.