- Post on facebook and other social media sites
- Draft a letter for one of our Committee Chairs to review
- Email several fundraisers in need of assistance
- Confirm travel reservations for upcoming conferences
- Lock down a meeting with several corporate teams
All sound important right? To me they did too...Until they didn't.
I was suddenly reminded of a very on-point segment of a Tom Hopkins CD I recently listening to. If you're not familiar with Tom Hopkins, he's considered one of the top Sales Trainers in the World. Hopkins talks about the phenomenon of salespeople (and I believe you can include fundraisers here as well) often FEELING like we're doing Real Sales Work when in fact, we're not. For example: You get up in the morning and get dressed. Feels like real work. You review your calendar and top leads. Feels like real work. Respond to a few emails. Feels like real work. You get the point...Do enough of this stuff and there goes your day. Boy were you busy!
It's so easy to get caught up in action and activities while never getting to the meat and bones of what our key role is: Getting in front of decision makers that can say YES and making a personal connection. We (and I include myself) can find it incredibly easy to fill our day with actions that seem like Sales/Prospecting Activity when in fact, they're not.
The Test for Sales/Prospecting Activity: Are you unique or IRREPLACEABLE in the interaction? For example, when you pick up the phone to call someone new, knock on a new door or personally connect with someone before, the only one making that happen is YOU. YOU are IRREPLACEABLE.
Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that everything else we do is pointless or doesn't matter. It absolutely does. I'm simply encouraging you to double-check that you're doing the all important work of personally connecting before you do the other stuff. A few suggestions:
- When in doubt, apply the Test: For Sales Activity, YOU are irreplaceable in the advancement of the sale or donation. (Let's call them) Incidental Activities, while valuable, are almost always one step removed from an actual client/donor interaction. Emails can be sent with an e-blast. Prospect research is just that. Editing your website or some other element of your leave behinds is great. But do you really want your clients and donors raving about your great brochure or YOU?
- Organize Your Day So You Spend The Bulk of Your Time On Sales/Prospecting Activity: Morning person? Afternoon person? Doesn't matter. The only way you're going to advance your cause is to do the all-important work of Sales/Prospecting Activity. Picking up the phone. Knocking on the door. Trying out a new engagement line on your first 10 calls of the day. I'm tempted to suggest doing this stuff first thing in the a.m. but people work differently. Hit these activities when you're at your BEST and you have the maximum enthusiasm.
- Prioritize Based On Closeness to the Sale/Donation: Somewhat inherent in these suggestions is prioritizing your work by how many degrees or steps removed from a client or donor you are. It should be fairly obvious. Let's call them A Level Activities; Direct engagement and contact with a customer. B Level Activities: Those that may bring you closer to a A Level Activity and advance your purpose. These include e-blasts, letter writing, prospect research and the like. C Level Activities: (Ironically, we tend to love these because they're so comfortable) Making your travel arrangements, ordering incentives, returning a non sales related email.
Remember, there's only so many hours in a day. Make them all count!