Why silence is golden

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Silence is golden for fundraising

Silence is golden

A couple of decades or so ago, I was fresh out of school selling advertising space for a local newspaper.  A retailer asked me to write up a proposal and visit him.  I laid the proposal in front of him and started explaining how the ad campaign I developed would increase sales for his business.
He kept his eyes focused on my proposal and gently raised his hand suggesting that I should let him read it. I waited for a minute and watched him read it. But it was only about 50 words and he seemed to be staring at it a long, long time.
I just couldn’t help myself. I felt compelled to convince him of the merits of my proposal. So I blathered on about something or other.
What happened next was something I’ll never forget.
He took a deep sigh and looked up at me. His face was turning red with anger. His eyes were seething with discontent.
Then, he let me have it yelling, “Get the #$%!@# out of here! Don’t they teach you anything about selling at that newspaper? You wouldn’t even let me think about it!! Now get out!”

That’s when I learned that silence is golden.

When people are making financial decisions, you have to shut up. You have to let them think.
I think tons of sales (and donations) are lost simply because salespeople (and fundraisers) just don’t know when to shut up.
No matter how uncomfortable you may feel, just remember that you owe your prospect a few moments of silence so they can think about your proposal. After all, it’s about them, not you.

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Theresa Nagle
7 years ago

And, I’ve found, that if the donor is fully engaged reviewing the proposal (either written or oral) and not asking questions, the longer you allow the donor the silence of his/her thoughts, the larger the ultimate gift may become!

Margie McCurry
7 years ago

Make the ask.
The next one who speaks, loses….
old, old adage! try it!…. give them time to think!!

Antosa Isherwood
Antosa Isherwood
4 years ago

Excellent Advice!:) Thank you!

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