In the introduction to the Permission-Based Asking ModelÔ, I gave you the rationale for the model – read it again to get context.
Today, I want to talk about the first step or phase: “Connect.”
Before you move into this phase, I want to be sure that you have the following things in place:
- Do you have a current relationship? Is the donor qualified, or are you just approaching them cold? By “qualified” I mean you’ve already been in contact with them and they have signaled that they want to relate to you one-on-one. If you haven’t done this, don’t proceed with this model. It won’t work. You must have a current relationship.
- Do you know the passions and interests of the donor? If not, you must secure that information first. It’s not enough to know the donor or have talked with him or her. You must have a clear grasp of what drives the donor’s giving motivations so you can properly engage and have an authentic, integrated and clear conversation with the donor. (We’ve written a lot about this, and you can find more information on the Passionate Giving website – just search for “passions and interests.”)
OK, let’s say you’re good with the two items above. Now, you need to secure a meeting. Jeff and I have written extensively about this as well. And it’s not an easy task, I know. But remember this: the ONLY reason a donor will not meet with you is because you don’t have anything of value to share.
So, the secret to getting the meeting is to give the donor something of value. And that value lies in serving their passions and interests – giving them a steady diet of information that they are interested in so that they want to meet with you. Read about getting meetings here before you go on.
OK, you’ve secured a meeting, and now you’re face-to-face with the donor. It’s time to connect. That’s the sole objective of this phase – to emotionally connect with the donor and to get into the present moment together.
Perhaps you talk about a trip the donor just took, or the child the donor just dropped off at college, or the surgery the donor had, or the life circumstance she has been telling you about. It needs to be something that matters to the donor and signals that you are now here and present.
You begin by saying something like: “Before we begin our meeting, I’d love to hear more about…” – and then you authentically process the information the donor gives.
When you’ve arrived at a natural transition point – you’ll know it because the donor is obviously done answering your question – when you get to this point, then you move to your facilitator role and you ask for permission to move on – you signal transition to alignment.
Doing this confirms that you are the facilitator of this meeting, ensuring that things move forward as needed. And it gets you to the next phase of the asking model.
That’s the essence of the Connect phase of our asking model. Stated simply: you are connecting with the donor in a manner that shows the donor you know her and are present to her and her passions and interests.
This isn’t an easy task, so don’t let yourself think that connecting in this way is no big deal. It isn’t. But if you are thoughtful about it, and you let the donor’s passions and interests (plus the personal knowledge you have acquired about her) drive the interaction you will, indeed, connect emotionally – and you’ll be on your way toward the next step of the asking model.
In my next post, I’ll go through the align, be curious and ask stages. It will be fun and informative. Talk soon.
Read the whole series on Permission-Based Asking:
- Permission-Based Asking: An Introduction
- Permission-Based Asking: Making Connections (this post)
- Permission-Based Asking: The Alignment Circle
- Permission-Based Asking: Celebrate
- Permission-Based Asking: The Alignment Cycle Matrix
- Permission-Based Asking: Dealing with Fear, Developing Conversation