I also use this to find out what a donor is thinking about my presentation.
I use these 4 words all the time – and I get terrific benefits and feedback! I can’t tell you how valuable they have been to me.
It’s a very simple, single question. And it is guaranteed to evoke a response from your donor that tells you where he stands.
But more importantly, it generates the donor’s own thinking about your issue.
It encourages him to ponder your presentation, to digest your material, to think about it, to react to it. It encourages him to embrace what you have just said.
Here is my key to success.
I ask this Golden Question:
“What are your impressions? . . . .
And then I shut up and listen carefully.
This question encourages the donor to think more deeply about what you’ve presented. She is not going to get hot and bothered about your cause just by listening to YOU do all the talking.
She needs time to mull over what you’ve said. She needs to “stew” in the urgent need or bold vision that you’ve just presented to her.
So you ask the Golden Question and you sit tight.
What will you find out?
You’ll find out where your donor stands! : )
You’ll get her to really react to you and what you’ve said.
You’ll get something much deeper – and more informative – from her. Much deeper than if you had just presented, thanked her and then left.
Remember it’s always all about the donor. We forget this. We think we have to be great salespeople and make a great pitch. NO!
What we have to do is FOCUS on the donor – and listen to him or her. We have to draw out the donor, and get her engaged with us about our cause. And you won’t do that if you do all the talking!
Here are some real-world situations where “What are your impressions?” has served my colleagues and me very well:
1. I just conducted an Advice Visit with a potential donor to my favorite cause. At the end of our visit, I asked him “What are your impressions of these ideas? And he told me what his reservations were about our project. I was able to address these issues and he became a substantial donor.
2. I was walking out of a facility tour with a major, major gift prospect. He was actually a candidate for the leadership gift in this campaign. So I asked him: what were your impressions of the tour?” Well after 5 minutes of conversation – with some very careful maneuvering from me – he invited me to bring a $5ook proposal to his family foundation meeting the next week!
3. I just made a presentation for a capital campaign consulting project that I would love to do. I presented against one other firm. As I was chatting with the President of the College afterwards, I asked him his impressions. He told me that he liked me a lot better than the other firm. : )
4. I train boards a lot in fundraising and friendmaking. But I can’t make it just a one-way presentation – I have to get them to ponder and digest the material we are discussing.
So I model the Golden Question all the time, frequently asking them “what are your impressions of these ideas” – it gets them to mull over the discussion and really embrace it.
5. My friend, a Vice Chancellor at a major university recently made a big presentation to the Board of Visitors. She wanted to gauge the Chancellor’s reaction to her ideas. She asked him, “What were your impressions of my presentation?’ And she got some terrific positive feedback!