How to Get Over the Problem of Asking for Donations with Clay Neves (Archive)
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Clay Neves, is Owner of Personal Sales Dynamics, a consulting and coaching firm that empowers small business owners to attract, engage, convert and retain the variety of business relationships their businesses need to survive and thrive. He has over 33 years of sales management, VP of Sales, and Chamber of Commerce Executive experience, working with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike, Clay has consistently multiplied sales results using the variety of prosperity relationships. In fact, he increased sales for one multi-million dollar post-secondary vocational training school by almost 900% in just 3.5 years, resulting in an Inc. 500 award for that company. He conducts monthly networking clinics for several Chambers of Commerce. He also serves as Club President for CEO Space International Utah Chapter. He is a master wordsmith in business and personal life, and is a student of language and words and an avid writer of prose and poetry. His book, A Wealth of Friends, 7 Essential Relationships Your Business Needs to Survive and Thrive is schedule for release the end of May. He lives in the Salt Lake City area with his wife of 32 years.
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Hugh Ballou: Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange. We are going to talk about a delicate subject today. It’s money. I hear money come up a lot. People want to raise money for their enterprise but are bound up with the words or the fear of asking for money or the fear of rejection, or maybe we don’t think we should be asking for money because we positioned it wrong in our brains.
Russell, we’re back together again. It’s Tuesday at 2, and we are broadcasting live. How are you?
Russell Dennis: It’s a beautiful day out here in Denver. All is well. Yes, this is a great subject because the reality with money is that everybody has a relationship with it. Your personal relationship could impact your work, so we’ll talk about that today.
Hugh: I met this gentleman recently. I watched his program on one of the learning platforms, and it’s a really well-done program. We had a chat just a couple weeks ago at CEO Space, and I got to know Clay. We spoke last week and learned more. I said, “Why don’t you come on and talk about this topic to nonprofit leaders?” We hit the wall when it comes to having the conversation about money.
Let’s introduce Clay Neves. Clay is our guest today. Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange.
Clay Neves: It’s good to be here.
Hugh: Tell people a little bit about yourself and your background and why you’re doing this.
Clay: I started out in sales at the ripe old age of 12. My mom bought me a suit, thought it might be good for me to learn how to sell. She bought me How to Win Friends and Influence People. I read it. She taught me four things on how to contact people. It’s probably the most important sales training I’ve had in my entire life. Basically, eye to eye contact, then smile, then shake, then, “Hello, my name is Clay. What’s yours?” then ask them a question. Keep asking them questions about themselves. People love to talk about themselves. Go forth and sell these greeting cards. And I did.
I had various sales jobs. When I was about 27, because I was finishing up my college work a little older, I got a job as a business to business telemarketer selling long-distance calling plans. Only the old people remember that. Long-distance numbers, we had to dial in the number and then connect to it, and then we could dial the number we wanted to dial, and then we had to put in another code. It was ridiculous. Anyway, I was amazing at that.
About a week in, because it was a big project and they had to hire about anybody who could breathe, they promoted me to supervisor. I had ten, anywhere from about 18-23-year-old, women, most had no sales experience whatsoever. They had a handset to. Call on, and I had a monitoring phone with a handset. This started naturally, but it became systematized that as I was listening to their call, they would miss these opportunities that they would think were objections. I’d go over and whisper in their ear what to say, and it would turn the conversation around. I’d only have to do that a few times before they got the feel for it themselves. The timing of answering an objection, what to say, how to say it, to use the analogy of a tennis game, to keep the tennis ball going back over the net. All you need to do is hit the ball one more time over the net than they do, and you get the sale, right?
Anyway, we were the top team every week. I ended up managing that entire program including instituting a statistical quality control program where we could statistically score the presentations. As I listened to hundreds and thousands of these calls, I built up over time an instinct in terms of what keeps the conversation going and what shuts down the conversation. With each script accordingly, put it back on the floor, listen and test and measure statistically again. This is program after program. I opened a call center for the company. I ran that for the company. It wasn’t very much longer before I was managing these five outbound, mostly business to business call centers. I picked that up.
I have done a lot of inside sales, but I have also done key account selling to major corporations like Citibank and AT&T. I had a great set of clients that I managed on the east coast as a business account executive for a national company, as well as experience as a chamber of commerce president. That gave me some insight into the nonprofit world. The way that they were selling memberships and donations was terrible. I think a lot of that will apply. We may talk about that and how it applies to a nonprofit.
We focus on that word “nonprofit” to the exclusion of the word that follows it. Nonprofit business. Right? Sales is still a very important part of any nonprofit business, at least that’s what I see.
Hugh: Oh, yes.
Clay: I also was hired by a company to take their seminar marketing channel. We took that from about 300,000 to about 3.5 million in about three years. We also earned an Inc. 500 award along the way. That was an amazing experience.
But these principles of sales growth I think are universal. 33 years of sales management experience, there is not a lot of sales situations I haven’t seen. There is not a lot of sales problems I haven’t coached salespeople through. There is not a lot of deals gone sideways. You see patterns. There is a handful of things that you can correct as you start to categorize them and understand what’s at the heart of the problem. That’s a little bit about my background. Been heavy into networking and building business by building these relationships and partnerships and leveraging relationships I already have to bring new sales relationships. Been doing that very well. Of course, as a chamber of commerce president, that was my stock and trade. That’s why I’m here.
Hugh: Love it. Let me reframe what you just said. We, meaning Russ and I and those of us at SynerVision Leadership Foundation, spend a lot of effort working with people to understand why this so-called nonprofit (by the way, that is the only organization that I know of that constantly defines itself by what it’s not), we describe ourselves by what it’s not, but really, we are a tax-exempt business. There are strict rules about what happens with that money flow. We have hit on a crucial point. We need to install good, sound business principles into this charity we run.
I think we all melt down when we are raising equity money or a business, trying to pitch a new product. It’s not our thing, we think. What’s the biggest challenge with people selling- We are selling an event we are doing, we are selling a sponsorship, we are selling donors or grant-makers on why they should fund an initiative. What do you find is the biggest hang-up with anybody, but most especially those running this tax-exempt charity we were talking about?
Clay: The biggest thing I see in nonprofits is we are so utterly convinced that our donors, our sponsors are the ones that are doing us the favor, that the value is only flowing one way. In a sense, it’s not selling, it’s more begging. It feels like that sometimes, you know? But if you go from the assumption that doggone it, this sponsorship has value, you start to look at it from the aspect that what I have to offer solves a problem, not only for the people my charity serves, but for my sponsors. What is that problem that sponsors have that make them pay money for a sponsorship? Well, the best way to do that is ask your best sponsors. What are they getting out of this? Why do they spend the money? What problem does it solve for them?
When I first took over the chamber of commerce, we had a sales guy that would go out and basically shame people into joining the chamber of commerce because the chamber of commerce did so much good in advocating business interests within this city. They should be part of that. You can see why membership was lacking. I turned it around and said, “Why would a business owner pay money to become a member of the chamber of commerce? What are we doing for them?” The question was turned around. Not why aren’t you a member of the chamber that does so much good for businesses in general, but the question then became: What are you trying to accomplish in the Murray City area? Tell me what you are trying to get to here. Who do you need to connect with? What do you need to put out there? What constituencies do you want to be more exposed to? What do you want to accomplish here? We talk about their business objectives. In that, we found several ways that chamber membership could help them meet their objectives, could solve problems. We had to begin the discussion in terms of what do they want their business to be, what are their goals and objectives?
Once you speak to your biggest donors and sponsors, you will find the problems that you solve for them. Then as you approach potential sponsors and potential donors, the questions that you ask evolve around those potential problems. You can ask them in what I call “Have you ever” form. “Have you ever wanted to be more connected in the community? Have you ever thought that it’s not just about making money, but it’s about giving money away so that you can save money on taxes, too? Just talk about it from their interest rather than the interest of the nonprofit first.
Now, that being said, what nonprofits offer is also a huge psychological and emotional value exchange. People want to give back. We want to talk about how they feel about that and what some of their objectives are. What criteria do they have in terms of giving and sponsoring? What availability do they have as far as time and money? These kinds of questions are coming in and exploring a little bit where they are.
I spent two years on an LDS mission in Japan. Basically, what I was doing there was trying to persuade people about an anthropomorphic god to a culture that believes in a very mystical, pantheistic concept of God. I had to start from where they were. I had to start from their understanding of the word we used for God. A word that might not have had the same meaning to me that it had to them. I had to start with their meaning. We have to come at them from their interest, from their language, just like in any sales situation. But we should not be coming at it from the aspect that we have nothing to offer them, that there is nothing they get out of this sponsorship, and they are just doing it out of the kindness of their heart, and that’s it. We are doing as much of a favor for them as they are for us. That is why it is a value for value exchange.
Does that make sense, or am I just rambling here? I never know. My wife says, “All right, Clay, we get it.”
Hugh: I am going to go to Russell. Russell comes up with this topic often. Not only in raising money, he is an expert at creating value propositions and attracting money, but also in recruiting board members. Russ, talk a little bit about the conversation is like in finding out what they are looking for.
Russell: I am glad there is people out there that embrace that dreaded “v” word. When you get in nonprofit circles, it’s a word that nobody utters. I went to an event put on by a chamber of commerce where they actually had nonprofits pitch what they were doing. At the first annual event we had zero out of 12 nonprofits mention the word “value.” Value is what you bring to the table. Values are what drives you, what is at the root of everything you do. It’s very important to look at values as well as value. That by the way, I have four steps to building a high-performance nonprofit. Step four is clearly communicating the value you bring. You have to do that in language that resonates with the person you are talking to. It could be a board member, a volunteer, an advisor, people getting your services. Value is in the ear of the beholder. You are talking to them about how you solve their problem, and everybody has a different thing they are interested in. It’s finding that.
Part of that is being clear about who you are. Communicating that in terms that are meaningful to them so that they see you as somebody that can help them. You are offering a partnership. We are partnering and collaborating to solve this problem. It’s not a hat and hand process. Nobody gets any training on any of this. We are all selling. We are solving problems, but somehow this notion of selling makes us feel like used car salespeople, not that they are unethical.
I know a couple of folks here. There is a young lady by the name of Lisa Malick, a good friend of mine, his wife. I know a young salesman here in the Denver area, a six-figure salesman, Aaron Cabot, my godson. He and Lisa could sell shoes to a man or woman with no feet. It all seems like it’s a mystical, magical skill, but it sounds like it’s something, too, that could be taught. I think our relationship with money has an impact on how we approach sales. What has been your experience with that kind of dynamic? How does that impact you?
Clay: I said it a little differently, but it’s music to my ears when you said value is in the ear of the beholder. I teach that value only exists in one place, and that is behind the eyes and between the ears of the perspective relationship that you are trying to form. And only there is the value of what we’re offering found. It has nothing to do with the price of what we’re offering, other than the fact that the value had better be greater than the price or you’re going nowhere.
How do you establish value? Are we conversant in the language of the donor or the sponsor who are often coming at it from a “business” decision? The good news is there is no such thing as a business decision. Every decision a businessperson makes is for personal reasons. They may couch it in a business decision, but if a decision is made, it’s for a personal reason. Either they think it will help their situation, help them look good, or help them look better to whomever it is they need to look better to. It may be something that’s important to them intrinsically, a value they have that this will really help and they have established a certain level of contribution or donorship that they either can or want to put toward that value to be seen as a good person, or to have exposure, whatever their motive. Their motive might not always be altruistic. It may be flat “I need a tax exemption, a tax deduction, and if I can make myself look good and get exposure in the community at the same time, well, heck, why not?” We need to know what that is.
It comes down to asking the right questions in the right sequence so that it’s absolutely not a presentation, but a conversation. I try to teach my clients we don’t have sales presentations; we have sales conversations. We ask questions conversationally. We don’t get into survey mode. We don’t get into interrogation mode. It’s a conversation. There are conditioned responses that we have. As we get into conversations, questions are one of the strongest conditioned responses. We’re asked a question; we just have a conditioned response we need to answer. If we understand the question, if we know the answer to the question, and if the question is easy enough, we will answer it without thinking. In building questioning sequences, we make it so easy for them to answer the questions that they do it without really thinking. We can get to their true thinking that way. Does that make sense?
Hugh: Can you give us an example of one of those sequences?
Clay: Here is a typical sales question, and we may put it into multiple- We come into the office, and we sit down with the person, and we say something to this effect, “We are here to save the whales. We think whales are really, really important to our ecology and the health of the planet. We need your help, so how much would you like to give today?” That is our sales question. Either that, or we get into it, and it’s such a complex question. What do you think is the best reason to give for altruistic reasons or tax savings? What is it that you have done in the past? We ask about five or six questions before we let them answer it and they are so confused about what we want to know so they don’t answer.
But if we go in with a more natural conversation, or even personal style, like if we would if we met somebody at a cocktail party or a birthday party for a cousin or a family reunion or a new cousin-in-law. What do we do? We introduce ourselves, and then we ask them something very easy about themselves, “What do you do, John?” “Oh, really, how long have you been there?” We build question on question on the answer they gave us. We go down that path a little way, asking subsequent questions that clarify the answers they gave us to the original question until we understand that. Then we can change the subject with another question. We might ask the first few questions about what they do. Then we might ask, “Where are you from?” Then we ask a couple of questions about their answer to that. “Oh, I’m from Boise, Idaho.” “Oh really, Boise? Were you born there then?” “No, I was born in Salt Lake City.” “How did you get to Boise?” We might ask a couple of questions that way. As we are doing this little dance of reflective questions and getting the responses, we are so accustomed to giving when we are first introduced to somebody. We are building a foundation of common ground, of trust. We can then escalate those questions incrementally until we can get into some really serious questions that they feel okay answering for us.
For example, “John, have you ever been a donor before? Have you ever sponsored some charity before? How did that work out for you? Was it a good experience? If not, why? What went wrong, do you think? Do you have any value or intention of looking at sponsoring or donating to nonprofits in the future? If so, what criteria might you use? What causes are important to you? What ones do you tend to align yourself with or align themselves to your values? Which ones are you most interested in?” We start to build a profile of how he gives. “When you give, what was the reason beyond the fact that you wanted to contribute to a worthy cause? What else did you feel you got out of that? Or that you wanted to get out of that?” If we have done our homework and spoken to our best donors and to our best sponsors, and we see a pattern as we talk to ten or twenty of them as to these deep-seated reasons they give, the ones that go beyond their true altruism, we can be ready for a really meaningful discussion. For example, we can ask questions when we get their trust about their tax situation. “What does your tax situation look like this year, John? Are you concerned? Has it been a great year for you and you have a lot more profitability? Do you want to get something out of that other than just giving it to the IRS this year? Tell me about your tax philosophy this year. What’s going on with your business?” We get them to talk about these reasons that we are aware of because we have done our homework talking with our best donors, the ones we want to duplicate, and we can then craft our conversation around the value that our best donors receive so that donors and sponsors like them will be attracted by them. It will be their language. It will be familiar to them. Does that make sense?
Hugh: I love it. There are a couple of things that are underneath what you’re talking about. One of the most common problems that Russell and I see when we interact with these organizations, either clergy or nonprofit executive directors, is burn-out. We are talking to these people now, these executive directors or clergy, and we are telling them this is what they need to do. There is another piece of this. We burned out because we over-function. We are doing things that could be delegated. We can blame the board for making us do things or not do things. It’s our fault because we are doing things for them that they should be doing.
This is a two-prong question. What advice do you have for these leaders that are listening to this? What can they do to then teach their stakeholders, which would include board members, staff, others, to make presentations and be part of that?
What does it say on your shirt? I know you have a good program that people can walk through and learn. We are not here to sell stuff, but it’s an awesome program that I think would get people a good leg up on us. So tell people what’s on your shirt and how people can find that. This is a very tricky topic that we all get stuck in.
Clay: You mean my spaghetti stain right there? Just kidding.
Hugh: Right there on your shirt.
Clay: That’s my logo: Personal Sales Dynamics. I call it Personal Sales Dynamics because my mission is to put the personal back in sales. When we form relationships on a personal level, we almost always do it better than we do when we are doing it on a business level. It’s natural to us. Somehow we get it right. We are able to make friends. We don’t feel unnatural about it like we are pushing ourselves on somebody. If you are selling like you are pushing yourself on people, you are not selling the most effective way. Just like when I met my wife, I didn’t go up to her and say, “Hey, what are you doing next Friday night? I have a chapel set aside in Las Vegas.” I asked her to dance. Then, would you like another dance? Would you like to go to lunch? Would you like to get ice cream? Would you like to go to dinner? Then she invites me over to her place for dinner. Then we keep going out. Pretty soon, we fall in love. Then I reach a point where I want to trust her with everything I am and everything I have, and 32 years later we are still happily married. But I didn’t get there overnight.
The best business relationships are built incrementally, too. We can speed that up. We can make it more effective. We can systematize it so that we can get there the most sure and quick way we can. But we don’t want to cross the line of putting too much out there, much more than they want, at any given stage so that we push them away. Does that make sense? Sales isn’t about pushing; it’s about sucking. I mean that by creating a vacuum if they are interested in what you are saying, they will be sucked into it.
Hugh: That’s not what I mean when I say I suck at sales.
Clay: In the way I am talking about it, that’s a good thing. I have seen people that suck at sales the other way, too. It’s usually because they are pushing, not sucking. It’s not being a milquetoast by the way. It’s not asserting yourself into the conversation. It’s doing it in such a way that you’re inviting them to self-qualify. In other words, there is a lot of talk in sales about how you have to be good at qualifying your potential clients. No, I am terrible at it. I have never going to be as good as qualifying potential customers as they are in qualifying themselves. I just have to give them the opportunities to do that. What opportunities can you give them at a little level to see how interested they are?
It’s one of the reasons that a lot of my business is based on free stuff at the beginning. Would you like four chapters of my book for free? I know that if they don’t take that, if they are not interested in four chapters of my book for free, I’m wasting my time talking to them about buying a whole book, or engaging in me for a 13-week 1:1 coaching regimen. If they qualify for that, ah, okay, I follow up after they have read it, “Have you read it?” “No, I haven’t.” “Oh, okay, I thought that was interesting to you.” “Oh, it is. I have just been busy.” “Do you still intend to read it?” “Sure.” “Let me call you next week and see what you think. That would be helpful if you could give me some feedback. Do you think you could do that? If I called you next week.” “Sure.” I call them back in another week and they still haven’t read it. What am I learning? They haven’t continued to self-qualify. I found the extent of their interest.
But if after the first week I call them and they go, “That was awesome. I want the whole book.” “That’s great, here is a link to order it. You might also be interested in some of my online training. Let me hook you up on a couple free videos and see how those work out for you. Sound good?” “Oh great. I can’t wait to get the link.” He gets the book and the link, and I follow up in another couple of weeks. He goes, “When can I get some more videos? That was awesome.” But if he says, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy. I haven’t had the chance to do that.” I call two weeks later and same thing. What does that tell me? When I do a free seminar, what does it tell me when somebody hasn’t given me their money but they have given me their time? That says a lot. They have self-qualified.
What can we put into our recruitment process for donors, for board members, for whatever? Give them an opportunity, an invitation. If they are interested at all, they will step toward you. Then what is the next step? What is the next step of invitation? If you have asked the right questions that heighten and help them understand they are interested, this is a value to them. they will keep stepping forward. Sometimes we just ask far too much too soon. That I think is one of the biggest downfalls in selling is that lack of sensitivity of what they are ready to commit to.
When I take on a partner, they want to go big and get excited about taking it to Vegas, I’m like, “Look, why don’t we try one client back and forth and see how that works and see how we like working with each other? I would propose our next step be I’ll refer a client to you and you work with them, you refer one of yours to me and I’ll work with them. After we’re done, let’s reconvene and see how that worked out. I would really love to expand this. I want to make sure we understand the best ways to work together. Don’t you think the best way to do that is to start with the first step?” I don’t like to say something small. I like to work it out on a small scale before we expand it. Think big, start small, test, test, test, test, validate, duplicate, accelerate.
Hugh: Another way of saying that is you can do one in a row.
Russell, what’s cooking in that brain of yours? What are you hearing? Do you have a question for our guest?
Russell: This is all great stuff. Relationships are what it’s all about, and everything is personal. It’s a courtship. This is one thing that is pretty commonly overlooked, like in the grant space for example. There are a lot of private foundations out there, and a lot of people will go out there cold and send a proposal to a private foundation. The better path is to pick up the phone and ask for a few minutes with one of the program officers after you have looked through their material and done some homework to see, Okay, let’s look at what they funded last year, what they say their priorities are because when you ask that program officer for that 10 or 15 minutes, you want to find out what’s not on the requirements page. Dig a little deeper and ask them some questions. You might even have a project in mind as you are asking the questions. You mention that program, “Does this sound like it would fit with your priorities?” If they say yes, “Oh, would it be okay for me to send a proposal?” Even though they are open, you are asking. What you are doing is checking where what it is you want to do fits with their priorities. It’s really all about finding their priorities, and that takes some time and patience. But it’s well worth the effort because finding out what a good project looks like for these folks will save you a lot of time and aggravation, and it will save them a lot of time and aggravation. That time could be put to a better purpose.
For relationships, there are some essential relationships that a business would need. What are some essential relationships that a nonprofit would need?
Clay: Is that a question?
Russell: Yes, sir.
Clay: I think the relationships are very much the same. We just have different names for them with the nonprofit. We have customers and clients. Depending on the nonprofit, they may term those different ways. In some nonprofits, the people being served are sometimes called clients. I am on the board of a nonprofit that works with people getting out of incarceration, particularly for drug-related offenses. We get them jobs, and they actually pay a lot of their way. We call them clients. But we also have donors and sponsors, which a business would call customers or clients. They are the ones that give the money in, right? We have vendors. We have people we buy stuff from, much like a business because we are a business. We need partners. We need referral partners, affiliate partners. We need financial partners, just like a business does. Banks, credit unions, financial institutions, as well as investors, which could be something different than donor in the nonprofit world. But the relationships all revolve around four things, which are the cornerstones of all relationships, whether you are in business or personal relationships, nonprofit or for-profit.
First, there has to be a common ground of mutual interest. Something has got to be important to both people, both parties. They share that value. They share that interest.
Second comes mutual trust. Without that trust, there is nothing. One of the best ways of teaching people they can trust you is this instinct that you need to build in terms of how much of you they want to take at any given time. We trust those boundaries. They feel they can trust us with those boundaries. As the relationship grows, they relax those boundaries or expand those boundaries, and the relationships grows. Interest, trust.
Third is mutual respect. For the relationship to continue to grow, there has got to be that respect for each other, which goes beyond just liking each other or having something in common. You admire the other person to a certain extent.
Lastly, a value for value exchange. If I am not giving value in a relationship, and the other person is, two things will happen. One of two things, or maybe both sequentially. Either they will cut back the value they are giving to me, or the priority of giving me value, or they will stop giving me value altogether and the relationship will either go dormant, or if it is so egregiously uneven and so adamantly by one party I’m not going to participate in giving you value but I expect value from you, that may be damaged irreparably. We have relationships all the time where we like the person, but events have separated us a little bit. We meet them a year or two down the road, and it’s like no time has gone by. That flame restarts immediately if those other three things were there: the respect, the trust, and the common interest. If we still have that common interest, it can be renovated very quickly.
Those are the things that really are at the foundation. Are we building a long-term relationship? For example, I do this in my book and on my tapes, I talk about the difference between what I call a finite relationship and an infinite relationship. I got this from a book by a man named James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games: Life is Play and Possibility. In that, he talks about how we play two kinds of games. Finite games are those games which we play to bring to an end with a winner and a loser. But the whole purpose is to end the game once we start playing.
Infinite games are different. They are engaged in, and the whole purpose of the game is, to continue play. As long as people continue to play, all players are winning. Instead of playing within a set of boundaries like a finite game, we continually negotiate the boundaries to keep the game going. Does that make sense?
A lot of people in sales attack sales as a finite game. “I’m starting this, Oh, good, we are in the process, then I want to close this and shut it down, and I win. I got your money!” I remember a sales manager told me, “Sales is war!” I don’t know, but I don’t like that model. I don’t like scorched earth. I want relationships that are going to pay me forever because I am providing value. What I am providing is much less of value to me than it is to them. What they are giving me is of much more value to me than it is to them. Then we are both winning. And it continues. That is the best way to do games.
Hugh: Let me interject in here. Joyce White Nelson says on here, “Conversational sales builds rapport. Then we are able to come back later.” You are talking about that.
Clay, I want to get back to this leadership piece. We are an influencer as a leader. We are sitting in the influence seat with our stakeholders. I know I have seen one of your digital programs, which is quite good. I don’t remember how I got there or what platform it was on, but I am thinking the stuff you are talking about, the leaders that are listening to this can then be empowered to- Actually, we are selling the concept to our board members that they need to get off their parking lot and do something. There is a sales piece to convince them what they are supposed to be doing anyway. It means we have to sell them the concept, sell volunteers on the concept. There is still the same principle of value exchange here. You have some tools for those people to share, and then they can help educate those people around them. It’s not only the leader that does this. In fact, we are the leader, not the doer.
Clay: Exactly. If you want to define leadership, I like to define it this way. Leadership is getting all the right things done through other people. Good leaders get things done through other people. They don’t talk about getting it done; they don’t think about getting it done; they don’t circumlocute around getting it done; they get it done. But it gets done through other people. They have that capacity to make it of such value to the person they are delegating to and the belief that it is such a meaningful thing to the person they are delegating to that they can’t help but do it. That is leadership. Whenever we are trying to get somebody to get something done, we are leading. Guess what? That is also selling. Selling is leadership. I am trying to motivate another person to make a commitment and do something, whether that is write me a check, or whether that is let’s schedule a common webinar, or whether that is will you be on our board? Whatever it is you are asking them to do is the sale. I don’t like to have sales presentations. I like to have sales conversations. I don’t like to close sales. I like to commence relationships where we get things done.
Hugh: Awesome. You sound like you are on a soapbox there, but I am going to Amen all of that.
Clay, as we round out this really helpful interview, what do you want to leave people with?
Clay: A couple of things. Number one, the biggest reason salespeople fail—I have 33 years of sales management, I found this to be true—they simply do not contact enough people. If I can do anything for success in nonprofit or profit, you have got to totally change your paradigm for how many people it takes to meet your donation and sponsorship goals. You just simply must contact more people. I call this exposure is everything. Get out there, press the flesh, go to networking events, and meet people.
Secondly, fortune is in the follow-up. Now, you don’t need to follow up face-to-face. That takes too much time sometimes. But that is what you have systems for. It’s a one-to-many channel follow-up that takes no more time to send ten out than a million. Or you know, relatively speaking. That one-to-many channel of keeping in touch with people highly leverages your ability to do so. Invite them in those messages, in your newsletters, in those letters that you send to keep top-of-mind awareness. Invite them to take a step in. That is follow-up. What dictates when they are ready to buy? It’s not what we say. They don’t even determine the timing of it. Most of the time, it is some event in their life that takes place that determines that. We have got to be top-of-mind when that happens so that they think of us and come in.
The third is work with the willing. The ones that step forward to you look for that next step. Everybody you’re selling to should not go, you should not part with them without having clearly defined our next step. “John, what is our next step?” This kind of language is so critical. If he says, “Let’s get together,” “Okay, as long as we are here, what time next week would be good to get together?” And you commit it. Sales as in leadership is nothing more than getting commitment from the other person.
Hugh: Clay Neves. You’re good at what you do. It’s called Personal Sales Dynamics.com. Thank you so much for sharing such a wealth of practical information today.
Russell, good to have you here today.
Russell: Clay, thanks a million. It’s keeping that conversation going so that we always know what that is, what those folks want needs to get done. When we are in constant communication, we know what it is.
Hugh: Two brilliant guys. Thanks for being here today.
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