I say that you should make it your goal that in meetings you talk only about 25% of the time and you let your donors talk about 75% of the time. Before you can ask for a bigger gift, you need to learn what your donor would be willing to invest in, and you don’t learn by talking, you learn by listening!
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
- Ernest Hemingway
Most of the people we’re calling on won’t really hear us out, they won’t really take a serious look at our organization and our case until they feel like they have been heard; until they are convinced that we have listened to them. And why should they?
What happens when we don’t listen?
- You don’t allow the prospect to gain ownership.
- You dominate the conversation instead of guiding it.
- You don’t give yourself room to think ahead.
- You put the spotlight on yourself instead of the donor.
- You don’t learn anything.
- You aren’t hearing any concerns because you’re not probing.
- You’re not uncovering giving clues.
- You won’t understand what the donor is willing to invest in.
- You miss out on reality that the donor is more likely to “buy” when they’re talking!
- You provide more opportunity for you to say something the donor disagrees with.