Ep 231 | Creating a Sales Strategy for 2024 with Harry Spaight
When you think about sales how does it make you feel? For most people they feel icky and greasy. Sales doesn't have to be that way. You can implement a sales strategy into your fundraising approach so that you have a constant stream of people coming into your network for you to build stronger relationships with.
What you'll learn:
→ why having a sales strategy doesn't mean you have to be salesy.
→ why a sales mindset works for nonprofits.
→ ways to motivate your team to keep pushing forward.
Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:
[5:40] To have an effective sales strategy doesn't mean throwing everything in people's faces. Think about servers at a restaurant. Great servers know the menu, what recommendations to make, ask you if you want desert. You don't feel like you're being sold to but you are. Plus, that restaurant is paying attention to ticket totals and tips to help determine who gets the best sections.
[10:53] It starts with building relationships and making connection. If you just keep coming back to people to ask for money and not learning about what their motivations are and who they are then you'll eventually run that well dry.
[15:17] Create a better breakdown of your fundraising goal to know who to target. If you're looking for a certain amount of donors at a certain average gift then you can track where you're at and which audience you should be targeting.
[23:02] Keep reviewing goals and ensure the team is motivated. Figure out how members of your team like to be appreciated. Ensure that the goals that you're setting have a why attached so people feel excited to help get there. Don't forget to celebrate.
[26:13] Encourage listening and providing value to your audience. Avoid going in to a meeting expecting to close. Go in ready to get to know someone and excited to learn. Come into the conversation ready to provide value and knowing some things about the person you're talking with.
Founder, Selling with Dignity
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[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, hey, excited to keep talking about goal setting and planning this month and this time was sales expert Harry Speight. So I know sales and fundraising are a little bit different. But there's a lot of things that are similar and a lot of ways that nonprofits can take traditional sales strategies into their business to set better goals and to make better plans. It doesn't mean you need to become a pushy salesperson. But it just means that you can create some systems within your small team to support yourself, and to really figure out where your money is coming from. So you know, who you need to target, how often you need to target and how you can maneuver through to reach your goals. So instead of saying, we have a goal of raising $500,000, this year, you can be hyper specific and knowing not just what buckets need money from individual gifts to grants to sponsorships. But also, how many people do you need to bring in your network into those different buckets in order to make sure that you're hitting those goals? How many conversations do you need to be having? And what types of conversation should you be having? What's the data you need to be tracking all the things and so that's what we're going to be talking about in this episode so that as you put your plans together for 2024, you can be more thoughtful about the dollars, the people the average gift, size, all of the things that you need to increase your giving and make that impact that you so desire.
Harry Spaight is a renowned sales consultant, author and founder of selling with dignity, and Keynote Speaker prioritizes service over pushy tactics in his unique approach to sales. Drawing on his mission, background and extensive experience in competitive sales, he offers valuable insights to improve sales performance and drive substantial revenue growth and performance.
So like I said, a lot of times as nonprofits, we don't think about ourselves as business people, we don't think about fundraising as sales, but really, it truly is. And it all comes down to as he says, providing value, which is why I love this conversation so much. We're not out there to try to just push ourselves on people and get that money. We're here to build long term relationships, or repeat gifts over time and gifts that increase over time. So I really think you're gonna like this episode. And I hope that it is coming at a perfect time for you as you're putting your goals for yourselves for your team for your organization as a whole, so that you can set yourself up for success.
But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. These are 30 minute one on one sessions with me where we can go over anything that you need, if you have a sales plan in place, but you just need a little bit of help and how to come up with the marketing materials. For each of those different buckets. It's a great opportunity to do that in one of these calls. You can book them at https://thefirstclick.net/officehours, but we can talk about anything that you need with digital marketing. Again, these are 30 minute one on one sessions, and I really can't wait to see you and talk to you soon. Let's get into the episode.
[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hello, hello, everybody. Please join me in welcoming Harry Spaight to the podcast. Harry, I'm so excited that you're here.
[Harry Spaight] It's great to be here, Sami, I can't wait for this conversation. It'll be fun.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, it's gonna be super fun. So we're in our month all about year end planning and prepping for 2024. And so I wanted to just have a conversation with you about sales. Because I don't think in the nonprofit space, we really think about how important sales are. I say that with air quotes. But before we kind of jump into that, why is this an arena that you love to play in? And that you're super passionate about?
[Harry Spaight] Yeah, I mean, the thing is, like you mentioned many don't view fundraising as sales. And it really is. So if you think about selling, which is sometimes it's not just selling a product or a service, but it's really selling an idea. And we say this without even thinking it at times, we will say things like what are you trying to sell me on? And it's the idea that people are selling. So in fundraising, you're doing the same thing, right? You're selling people on the idea that this is a worthy cause. And we're looking for support and doing it the old fashioned way, which was just ask people for money is not going to get it done because there's like in sales, it goes way beyond just selling your product or service these days.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Thoughts? Well, the marketplace is just a much busier, more noisy space in general. So you got to figure out how you can kind of cut through that.
[Harry Spaight] Exactly, yes. And we're all competing through that noise, so to speak.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, and so, like, I think as soon as you start talking about sales, you know, some people are meant for fundraising, they, they've got it, they got that mentality. They're great at it. But a lot of people get nervous, they get sweaty, they're like, I don't want to go into sales. I don't want to be spammy or gross. You know, and that's why I'm so excited. You're here to talk about this, because it doesn't have to be that kind of used cars man used car salesman mentality anymore. There's lots of different ways to approach the selling process.
[Harry Spaight] Absolutely. And I appreciate the question, if you think about, I mean, I hear it even on commercials and advertisements, that they're still like, I was listening to this car commercial, I own a new car for as low as $129 a month. And I'm thinking that type of stuff, if you just do the math, I mean, we're talking $1,400 a year, how many years will you be paying $129 a month, I'm on like, 30. So there's some bait and switch going on. Either the payments going to change, or it's something ridiculous. And so that type of mentality, where people over promise under deliver, or there's bait and switch going on. We're all very tired with that. And so, for the honest people who just want to serve, and I liken it to the comparison I use is the server and a fine dining restaurant. And if you think about all the service that they provide, from the greeting throughout the meal, following up making sure you're happy with everything. And then you know, providing the dessert and then the check and then they get a tip. Well, is that server serving only? Or is there some sales involved? Right, so there is sales, but most people don't think of their server as a salesperson. But I assure you, the restaurants do, because they will judge based on the amount of revenue that a person produces that a server produces, and put the Higher Performers with the better tables. So it's sales, but it comes from an angle of service. So for people who feel like they're not so there are some that are very natural, I say natural, they could care less about hearing the word no, they could be the bowl. And in china shop, it does not matter to them, because it's gonna get through the numbers. And then there are others that are like me, maybe you that just kind of feel gross about asking for business, or asking people for something. So if we flip it a bit, and we just think about how can we serve that person, though law of reciprocity, right? If you put good stuff out in the universe, good stuff will come back to you. That will work in sales as well. So that has helped me to get past that gross feeling about the used car, salesperson, no offense to any use car salespeople. Yeah,
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] there's good ones out there. And I want to, I want to expand on that a little bit. Because I love that analogy. It's so true. And it's all about also like, in these conversations, when we're authentic, and we're having real relationships with people we're getting to know people, right? When you go to that restaurant, and you ask that waiter for recommendations for a glass of wine, they're not going to offer you the cheapest option, right? They're going to give you something probably a little bit middle of the road and try to upsell you without really selling to you. And I think the same is true. And we're having conversations with our donors, when they're coming to you and asking. They want to be engaged with your organization. So it's all about you matching them up with the right opportunity and and feeling comfortable and confident that you've matched well enough with this person that you can make a recommendation that might be a little bit higher than what they were originally, originally thinking. But it because you're not just going in with a hard ask. It feels like a more symbiotic relationship.
[Harry Spaight] Yes, exactly. So that's such a great point. So this requires some thinking, some research, some ability to differentiate people from each other. Right? Because you're now treating people differently. And that is something that's necessary to be successful in business because people have different goals, different objectives. We want to serve people from where they are and who they are versus treating everyone the same. So finding out what is valuable for people, what drives them, what energy they Have can be very helpful in getting the objective accomplished. Yeah, was that one?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And how important do you think it is for nonprofits to kind of step out of this kind of fundraising mindset and jump into more of a traditional, like, as if they're, they're working with prospects in the same way as a for profit would, and creating kind of a formal process, a workflow, a way to kind of maneuver people through because we can't treat everybody as individuals, but we can put Well, we can treat everybody as individuals, but we can put people into buckets of, they're more likely to take this action. So now we know okay, they're gonna go on our email list, or we know they're going to be one on one conversations, or we know they're going to, you know, be somebody we're going to talk to about legacy, like, you still are going to be putting people into kind of buckets, so you know how to treat.
[Harry Spaight] Yeah, so like in the corporate space, we frequently will look at it is really what is the opportunity for the lifetime value of the client. So some are going to buy hundreds of 1000s, if not millions, st and others, 10s of 1000s, and some 1000s? Hundreds. So if you kind of put it in that category, you're treating everyone, as human beings, you're not saying someone's less valuable or another, but you're just looking at the financial opportunity. So for those that are looking at this and saying, Well, how can I serve people now, instead of just looking at them as the number and say, Wow, this guy, here he is loaded, he we're gonna get a lot of, we know what he's doing. And we know that we can just just keep taking Well, in business, and in sales in business, this is what has been the mentality of many in sales. It's like, I know, I can get business if I just go back to Harry every few months, because he'll buy from me. But eventually here, he gets tired of that. And Harry starts listening to other people that are now speaking to him. And they're finding out what does that person What does Harry speak to myself into third person? I don't know where that came from. But you can imagine you're speaking to the person. And you're now finding out what drives them? What interests do they have? And can you make a connection with that person, right with your client? Can you make a connection for them to help further their interests? And so now, when you're looking at the business aspect of it, it's not just about what we're going to get from them. But really, what can we provide? And maybe it's through our members, it's your other donors. And we're having networking events taking place so that people can work together. And now it's a sense of community versus we've got all these random people that are donating to us, but there is no real synergy is going on. So can you become a hub for your clients and help them and their missions is a one thing that I would think of, and then you ask something along the lines about, you know, viewing it as the sales. So putting people in buckets, right? It's not, it's not a bad thing. It's just understanding where you're spending your time how you can serve people, and there's only so much time in the day. So logically, if running a sales team, and if I was talking to someone who had a quota responsibility of bringing in X amount of revenue each month, that if they were in a sandbox that was not allowing them in any stretch to hit their number, I would encourage them politely that we have to upscale, we have to go look for bigger fish, and people are people. So don't be intimidated, because we are all human beings, we all have the same interest that it just some are a little bit higher scale than others. And that's where we might want to spend more of our time. What's your what's your thought on all that?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I think, you know, what I like about putting people in buckets is it allows you as an organization to see where you're sitting, like, what is the health of your donor base? And how can you really kind of set that up for success for your organization? Because you know, now, like you just said, Okay, well, you know, we're doing great in this area, we're not doing so great in this area, we need to like find more people in this area in order for us to come up with the goals that we have, instead of just looking at our number and being like, you know, I think a lot of small organizations do this where they say, Well, we have to hit $500,000 in donations this year in order to hit our operating expenses and to provide the impact that we know we want to do for this year. And then they just go after that $500,000 and stead of well, okay, let's break it into X amount of these donors X amount of these donors X amount of these donors so that we can have that targeted list. And I think that's the biggest difference between a sales team and a small to medium sized nonprofit fundraising.
[Harry Spaight] Right? Well, I mean, yeah, so you bring out some good points there. So what I would look at then is really take my pool of donors, just like I would suggest to a business, look at your number of clients. And look, where's the revenue coming in from? So if the donors are coming in, so if you it's typically going to be the 8020 rule, the top 20%, right, it's just life. So I can be safe was saying that the top 20% are going to be responsible for 80 80% of your donations. The same is true in business, right? So what do we do with that knowledge? We want to encourage the 20%, we want to, I'm a big believer in helping the top, produce more. And instead of focusing on the bottom and raising the bottom, it's there's typically more opportunity in the top. And so how can we look at those people and say, What can we do for them? Because they've already done this? What else can we do for them? And who else do they know that might come in through this? Right? So you're kind of breaking it down, and you're analyzing the numbers, and you're looking at the people, and you're looking at the number of contacts that you have? And hopefully, you're not taking things for granted? Because people just like in business, they can go different directions. And we're, you know, if if some member of the 20%, then that's going to hurt more than the 80%. Sure. Right.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. And I think to like going back to your statement about understanding your time and capacity, I think that's the beauty of where some of these digital marketing strategies come into place. Because, you know, we do you know, every person that comes into your network that donates, there's a cost associated with that acquisition, right? So we don't want it to be a situation where you got these new donors in for your year end giving campaign this year. Awesome. And then they don't hear from you again, until you make that ask next year, right? Like, that's the surefire way to lose them. And you kind of alluded to this before, like, if you keep going back to the same people to ask, eventually, they're gonna go away, and you need to fill that in with other people. But I think it's smart, what you're saying about really taking care of the 20%. And I think that's how you put together your plan for your team on like, Okay, well, how do we, these are the people we need to focus on? What are our strategies for still nurturing and showing impact to those people that are new donors or have given twice? So like, I guess my question to you is, like, what are kind of some of the key data points that we want to make sure we're tracking so we can get a better picture of what it actually looks like inside of our organization?
[Harry Spaight] Yeah, so the things that I would look at is like, first of all, I haven't looked back at the past year, and just say, okay, so this is where our numbers have come from so forth, so far this year, because without that knowledge, it becomes too random. And you can't really focus. So having numbers can be very helpful, just and if you're not tracking activity. I know that's scary. For some people. I've never been a huge fan of it, because it can go into micromanagement. Yeah, but understanding that we all need to be doing stuff during out during the day, what is the stuff that generates revenue is really what it comes down to. And that is, for the most part, it's going to be one to one meetings, right face to face whether or zoom or whatever it is, but you're having one to one conversations with people. And I would look back and say, Okay, let's be honest. What What have we done so far if we're not tracking? And so you'll be surprised and like, there's no judgment here. You just you just want honesty to give yourself a starting point. If you get that once you get that number, and you say, okay, so we helped generate this amount of revenue through donations with this amount of activity. From there, we can now go around the room and say, Have we really put forth this is the stuff that matters have we put forth our energy focusing on this enough to get to where we want to be? And so then you get goals from people and you get goals from your team. So look, I've averaged whatever, five meetings a week. Okay, well, you should be doing 20. Okay. Someone will say that right? So it's almost impossible to go from five to 20. But can you go from five? to seven? Right? Let's, let's stretch it a little bit. And then let's try that for the next 30 days, let's really focus, can we get to that. So the more activity that is revenue generating activity, is going to help you to get to a higher number. So it's really breaking things down. And I think the tendency today for people who are not in sales, and even I, I still struggle with it is I have to prioritize what it is I need to be doing to generate revenue. And you can just simply do it and ask write down your list of activities you want to do during the week and just say, revenue or no revenue or not, right? And then you'll know it's like, Okay, I've got non revenue generating activities, and I've got revenue, generating activities, answering emails, or cleaning out my email inbox is not revenue generating, right, answering internal emails about you know, what I'm having for lunch on Thursday, is not revenue generating. Right. So we've got to prioritize, and then helping people do that will again, help you in the overall mission? I spoke a lot there. I apologize. But I'm not Oh,
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] well, I think what's great about this, too, is that burnout in the fundraising space is really high. Like the development staff at organizations, there's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of just in time work. And so I think what I like about this and taking the strategy into your 2024 planning is it kind of takes the emotion out of it, because it builds trends for your organization. So now you can, instead of, like you said, don't micromanage the data, but instead it's like, okay, as a team, we did 30 calls this month, from those 30 calls, we had 20 follow up calls from those 20 follow up calls, we raised $20,000, whatever, I'm just making stuff up. So then you can track then month over month as a team, right, what those trends are, and then eventually, year over year, right? Because we know some months are going to be more than others in general, right? It's not fair to just do month to month, but then now you can as a team say, Okay, well, then, just to your point, if now we're at seven, and we stretch to nine calls a week each, what could that do for our average of of increased sales? So it gives people a benchmark to work towards? And then a way to say if somebody's not, I mean, if somebody's not necessarily hitting their numbers, it's easier to have a conversation and say, Okay, where do you need support? And what's going on? And who are the, then you can kind of maybe right, look at the data to see, well, who were their calls with? And is there something else unique here that we should be? Taking a look at?
[Harry Spaight] Okay, all right. So I think I lost you a little bit, Sammy. But I'm just giving you the thumbs up here. The so what I got out of have from what I heard, is, when you're looking at that activity, you have to tie in to what people's goals are. So in sales leadership, I'm not sure you know, if everyone's thinking the same thing. It's got to be exciting for people, because otherwise, the added activity does not necessarily mean everybody rallies around that. So tying it into their why, or making contests or holding out some additional benefit for the person, maybe it's if you hit this target, you get, you know, take a Friday of you know, in the middle of the month off, or, you know, we're gonna go out for a luncheon or we're going to do this together, we're gonna go do paintball or something. But there's something there that gets the team motivated to work together. And I think this is helpful beyond just the target. What's your thought on that?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I agree with that, because I don't think we celebrate enough. The milestones along the way. We want to celebrate the big nugget, but we don't celebrate the hard work that's happening to get us there throughout that journey.
[Harry Spaight] Exactly. So and it's the journey that allows for the big nuggets, right? Because if you're not doing the day to day stuff, then don't expect great things to happen. But if you can get the team to do the day to day stuff, and understand that some days people are just not going to be in the mood. They can have conversations, right? You just say look, I know it's Tough, I've been there. So what can we do about it? How can we push through it? You know, let's have some fun, let's do a little spontaneous contest for $5 or $10, Starbucks gift card or whatever it get people inspired. And leadership should recognize that we've all been there. I mean, we all have crappy, rainy Monday mentality sometimes. And we're not always on top of the, you know, the game. So just recognize that's going to happen on your team. And then just, hey, let's have a little conversation and see if I can help you out a little bit today, as you know, a little you know, you're in a little funk or something. Yeah.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Well, I want to circle back to kind of tie this all together in regards to, yes, we need data, we need the numbers so that we can set our goals. But how do you ensure that then it doesn't become that we don't then turn our team into those those car salesman's that we don't want to be like, how can we kind of create tools and resources to support them when they're in the field to still be sharing the impact to still be talking the way that we want? And not just, you know, trying to be that hard hit or going after the dollar?
[Harry Spaight] Okay, so that's a great question, I think the answer might be for me, is, how are you providing incredible value for your clients, that you're going there, where you've researched them, you know, something about them, you've checked out all their social media, their website, you've tried to make connections as to where they are in the community, what have they done, and then provide value, everybody can use something. So it can come from the conversation, you can listen, you can hear, and then you look for ways to provide value. That's what I would look for. At the end of each week, I would be looking at the meetings and I would ask, you know, I would have a box basically, to fill out how did I provide value for this person? And if you go through that, I mean, I'm telling you, it is a game changer. Because, you know, my Angelou has a great line. People don't remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel. Yeah, if you get people feeling good after meeting with you, then, you know, you're not gonna ever be that used car salesperson. You know, how can I get you in this car today? You know, how can I get you to make this donation today, you're not going to be that person. So provide incredible goals goal beyond. Go beyond just listening, listening can provide value, don't get me wrong. But what else can you do? And listening is not to be underrated by any stretch, because most people don't listen. So if you can go in there with full intentionality on listening, and how can I serve? What value can I bring to this person? And they're going to tell you something, you may not have that answer right there. But you come back to your office eventually. And you give your team and say, This is the conversation, I need to do something for this person who has ideas, someone's gonna say, Well, look, there's right.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So many good things that you said there. So I want to make sure we shout out three of them. One is listening, I agree with you 1,000%, maybe as a team come up with a list of questions that are great for people to walk into a conversation with the donor with. But I love that so much. Because it also removes the pressure from you going in making the ask because now you're not going in feeling like you're pitching. You're going in trying to just have a conversation and you're asking questions and letting it just kind of guide naturally. The second is providing value. Again, I think that's a great brainstorm for the team. But the third thing that I think is critical is that you're not going in to close the deal that day.
[Harry Spaight] Exactly. So that is mindset. So the mistake a lot of people have is they need to get that done today. And I'm of the mindset that no, you serve. You make the ask if when it's appropriate, right. You don't make the ask before it's time because then you come across needy, but you let people know what you're doing clearly. And when they asked and said this is what we do, and this is how we serve. And then you kind of let it go and you just say what's your thought about that? You'd be very casual. And then listen, right? And then there's follow up after that. And if you look at it at the long game, because this is major account selling, in my opinion, right where you're, it's a longer sales process is a longer process. What's
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] another data point to track then to ensure we're setting our goals and timelines appropriately would be lead time like on average, from point of first conversation to gift? How long does that take so that you can kind of put that into your tracking so that you don't have that pressure? You're not sending people out to have conversations where they feel like they need to close it. They know, this is typically how long it takes to get a gift of this average size for our organization.
[Harry Spaight] Beautiful. Yeah, 100%. I would definitely track that. It's great.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. Okay. Well, I think we've given people enough things to think about. And especially with the data piece, hopefully, you have a CRM that's already tracking this, and you can just start pulling some reports and get that but if not a simple spreadsheet to get started. Just get started. I love that you said that earlier, Harry, if you had kind of one last nugget of wisdom or something you've learned in your time of sales that you wish you knew, earlier in your career, kind of what might you want to share with listeners today?
[Harry Spaight] I'd say that the big thing is play the long game, right? Take all the pressure off of today, keep serving the business will flow. But in the beginning, when you're kind of needy, you just need to act like you have been there before. This isn't your first rodeo just chill, have good conversations, the business will flow. And just that's a way to live in sales. I've been doing it for a long time. And there's sales does not need to be a grind. This does not need to be a grind, folks. You can really enjoy it and serve people and really have a great life.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That's I love that. So good. Well, Harry, if people want to connect with you learned more about you check out your book, how do they do all of those things?
[Harry Spaight] Yeah, real simple selling with dignity.com. And you can find my book there, download a few chapters. Schedule a call, happy to have a conversation, see if I can help you out
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] of that. And we will have all of these linked up in the show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/231. Harry, thank you so much for being here today.
[Harry Spaight] It's been great, Sami, thank you for having me. Okay, so
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] what do you think? Are you ready to tackle your numbers or start tracking your numbers, there's so many data points that you can be tracking. But I hope that you start with really understanding where your money is coming in from and what those big buckets are and how you're going to make sure that you can work with your team to support those goals. So many good nuggets in this episode. And I want to say thank you again to Harry for joining me and sharing all of his wisdom on sales and fundraising. You can find all of the information and resources in the show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/231. For now, I really hope that you will subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss an episode, including some of the fun bonus episodes that we've been launching these last few months. They've been getting great feedback. And I'm very excited to be able to share some of my colleagues and friends and their podcasts with you on topics that I know that you could use support on as well. Now, thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you in the next one.