How many times have you sat in a meeting with someone, awkwardly having small talk, as you and the person try to figure out how to proceed? The person you are sitting with is bracing for when money will come into the conversation and you are anxious about asking. Whether you call this meeting a sales call or a donor visit, manage the elephant in the room, share your agenda for this meeting you requested.
Not a prepared agenda on paper, but a verbal statement. Brief, to the point, and states your plans for the meetings. A simple recipe that starts with: what you will do in the meeting; then what you want from the person you are with; your hopeful outcome; and close with an engagement.
If this is an initial visit with a donor, it may sound like this: I just wanted to spend about 40 minutes with you to learn about your interests, and your knowledge of our organization. I hope I will say something to you that will peak your interest. From there, we can decide how to proceed. How does that sound?
If you have a proposal, then say that, and say when you will present it: Thank you for continuing our conversation. I have put something together for us, but I wanted to share some updates on our programs first, especially the ABC program you asked so many questions about. That will give more meaning to what I have prepared. I hope to have a commitment on how you would like to support us at the conclusion. Is that reasonable?
If it is not about money, say that, but still have a goal: You have been a great supporter, today is not about another donation. We need some help responding to some concerns about our national organization. Hopefully, you have some good ideas on how to approach this. I need a good action item or 2 for us. Can you help us?
An agenda helps everyone to be focused on a goal, and to understand your expectations as the meeting organizer. It makes the most of your meeting with your prospect and demonstrates respect for the time they are giving you. If this is a major donor, their time is valuable and they will appreciate the value you place on it. Like any of these techniques I have shared in #saleswithapurpose, they get better with practice.