Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Supporters need more than stories

We’ve got a whole sub-industry within the fundraising sector that does nothing but focus on every aspect of “telling a story.” They shout, “tell your story,” “spread your story,” “give your story more emotion,” etc. etc.


I was thinking about that when I read an article in HBR’s Tip of the Day. It said, “Customers Need More Than Products.”

I thought to myself, what do they mean “customers need more than products?”

The author explained that the best salespeople see a sale as a consultation, not a transaction. A good salesperson helps customers see issues they hadn’t considered, point out opportunities they’ve missed, and refer them elsewhere when necessary.

“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “what the author is really saying is that the best salesperson inherently understands it’s about helping the customer, which develops a relationship of trust. They use their time with the customer to share information and to help them.

But help the customer do what? Buy something?

No, the best form of selling isn’t to get your customer to understand your product better but to get to know your customer better so you can understand their needs, whether your product (or mission) are ultimately right for their needs (or philanthropic desires).

Do you know how rare that is from a salesperson?

Do you know how rare that is from a fundraising organization?

Great products and great stories are terrific to have . . . but focusing on learning more about the customer’s needs (the potential supporter’s desires and interests) ultimately gives you a better chance that more people will become buyers . . . or support your mission.

Isn’t that the way you want to be treated?
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