No one likes getting cold calls and you probably don’t like making them.
That’s why, these days, you need to insert a crucial step in between your marketing/communications and your outreach calls if you want to set-up more appointments with highly qualified major and legacy donors or prospects.
Introducing the Engagement Call!
Instead of just pounding out cold calls, I recommend you insert an engagement call into your process because it helps fundraisers:
I devised the engagement call as a result of our own ineffectual experience with outbound telemarketing here at MarketSmart. At the time, we were interrupting fundraisers like you (not donors) via telephone as we attempted to set appointments so we could demonstrate our products and services.
In other words, we were cold-calling to set demos. Yuck! Our efforts were usually met with resistance and even hang-ups.
Looking back now, that made a lot of sense because our cold callers were led astray (by me):
We failed. Then, we pivoted.
I guess hindsight is 20/20 but I feel like we (especially me) should have recognized that you simply can’t build a relationship without trust and value. Trust is the cornerstone in the foundation of any relationship. And, an exchange of money only happens when a proper exchange of value exists.
Then it hit me like a bag of rocks. People kept asking us to remove them from our list. Others quietly unsubscribed from my blog. The negatives were outweighing the positives and they were piling up fast. Our cold-calling wasn’t working! The interruptive, ‘us against you’ nature of our outreach was actually ruining our opportunities, not enhancing them.
So we pivoted. And now, thankfully, we no longer take that approach. Instead, we employ engagement fundraising principles to ensure that our marketing outreach is fair. In other words, we practice what we preach. We employ engagement calling! Better late than never, right?
Now we’re setting up more appointments with fundraisers than ever. They trust us more and they are much more qualified to buy. If you’ll learn from our mistakes, you’ll arrange many more meetings too but, of course, with major and legacy gift prospects who trust you and are ready to talk.
Here’s how it works.
We turned things around by developing an outreach methodology that involves trust building and value establishment. This will work for you too but you have to recognize that engagement calling involves a mandatory two-step process involving the following components:
It’s that simple.
Employ the engagement call to:
Getting over the valley of distrust in the first 5 – 20 seconds.
You don’t want to get hung-up on, right? Then it’s important to recognize that the only way to avoid a instant negative outcome is to first find a way to get over the valley of distrust.
Your donors really have no reason to trust you. They’ve been interrupted by fundraisers before and found little to no value in most of those calls. So your predecessors and others in the sector have screwed things up for you pretty badly. In order to remedy the damage they did and cross the chasm (the valley of distrust), you must provide value immediately, in the first 5 – 20 seconds of the first call. Here’s how:
In most cases, you will cross the chasm and your donor will answer your question(s). She’ll tell you about her connection to your cause. Whew! You did it! You set her at ease! You provided value! Engaged with a donor at last!!
Less is more.
Provide value. Build trust. Be patient. Then you’ll set more meetings and they’ll be more trusting, more receptive (and more pre-qualified). Jerk the line too fast and you’ll lose trust and the prospect altogether.
Try engagement calling instead of cold-calling. Then let me know how it works! Others in the private sector have been taking note. You can read more about that here.
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