Major Gift Prospect
“But that’s not what you said! You said that you would call me on Wednesday.”
If you say, “I will call you on Wednesday,” then your prospect will expect a call…on Wednesday.
If you meant, “I will call you when I have an answer for you,” then you must make that clear.
To be accommodating, sometimes we promise things that we do not control, like information from another source. We must choose our words carefully.
For example, if a major gift prospect asks questions about a naming opportunity that you cannot answer on the spot, you say that you will get back to them. The prospect asks when, and you say “Wednesday.” You need to go to your board for more information. But now that is taking longer than expected. So, you wait until you have an answer, even if it goes beyond Wednesday. Remember, in this real example, you didn’t say, “If I have an answer.”
This prospect has every right to question your follow-up. The major gift prospect can wonder if this is the culture of your organization.
The best way to handle situations like this would be to have said, “I will shoot for Wednesday, but I need input from our board.” Then when Wednesday comes, you would call the major gift prospect, (another valuable touchpoint), and say that you are still expecting an answer shortly but wanted to keep them informed.
Adopting this intentional communication strategy will pay off for you every time.
Will this work for you at home too?
Written by: John J. Corcoran
President & CEO