I. The power of cultivation and active listening A. Get to know your prospect B. Gauge your prospect’s interest in the project at hand C. Expand prospect’s relationship with organization D. Understand the prospect’s motivation(s) II. How do you know when the time is right? A. Know your prospect B. Project carefully laid out and explained to prospect C. Prospect is amenable to discussion and not distracted by other significant events D. Solicitation is the logical next step III. Staging the solicitation A. Choose location carefully B. Select the other participants thoughtfully C. Draft outline of solicitation meeting, including location, activity, assigned talking points D. Rehearse by talking through solicitation with other participants
IV. The Ask A. Be mentally prepared for your role in the solicitation B. Have answers ready for anticipated questions C. Stick to the “script” but don’t panic it the prospect goes in a different direction D. Ask then stop talking and listen E. Remember that this is but one in a series of conversations with the prospect
V. The Response A. “No” can have several meanings, most of which mean “maybe.” 1. I don’t have enough information to make this commitment. 2. I’m not ready to make a decision. 3. Now is not the right time for me to make this commitment. 4. This is not how I’d like to support this organization. 5. I have no interest in supporting this organization. B. “Yes” requires thoughtful listening and prompt follow-up.
How Can I Say Yes if You Won’t Ask Me? Jim Duncan, Memphis Botanic Garden Fontaine Huey, Atlanta Botanical Garden Doug Conley, The Gardens at SIU-Edwardsville Memory Derthick, Terra Design Studios