Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Don't Send Work Emails (or Texts) in the Middle of the Night

Does this sound like a familiar story — 
It's midnight when you suddenly remember a work email you promised to send at the end of the day. You're tempted to send it right then and there because you either have a deadline, or you don't want to forget to send it again the next day. Before you make any rash decisions, stop and consider the situation. It's OK to send it if your colleague lives in a different time zone where it's daytime to your night. Otherwise, unless the email is an emergency and you actually have people waiting to hear back from you, I advise you to hold off on it till the next day. Here are reasons against sending late-night work emails:
  They most likely won't read it until the next day. If it's related to work, many people often tune out of their work life once they are home. There are a lot of people who either resolve to not check their work emails after work, or not to respond to any work emails until they're back at the office. You're most likely not going to get a response if no one is waiting on you, so hold off on emailing until you're back to your cubicle.
  You'll be reminding them of work during their downtime. Even if your colleague checks her email after work, you don't want to add an additional stressor and remind her of the daily grind that they're trying to escape from.
  The a.m. time stamp is a little iffy. Even if you're more of a night owl, keep those habits to yourself and try not to send off an email at 1 a.m. It might make people wonder what you're doing up in the middle of the night.

Read on for more reasons not to send late-night emails.
  You're more prone to making mistakes. The worst typos come out late at night when you type an email while you're feeling really sleepy. Save yourself from some sloppiness and send the email in the morning. You also don't want to make a mistake and send an email meant for your friend to your boss.
  You should be sleeping. You need to learn to let go of work and to switch out of the 9 to 5 mode when you're at home. Tackling work emails might make it harder to switch out of work mode.
  The alert might wake the reader up. The recipient of the email might leave her smartphone on at night, and if her incoming emails send sound alerts to her cell, the sounds might wake her up from her peaceful slumber.  This is my personal pet peeve having been awakened by a work email that could have waited until the next day!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Are You A Relationship Wrecker????

There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of relationship building for successful fundraising, marketing and communications — especially in the online world.

But what if you're a terrible relationship builder? Are you actually better at alienating prospects and supporters than you are at drawing them into your orbit?

Here are some signs that you are ruining your relationships with donors and actually driving them away…

You're slow to respond
The sheer volume of messages we get on Twitter, Facebook and inboxes overwhelms us all. But that doesn't mean we should ignore online correspondence. Like it or not, responding quickly is part of the culture of online media and ultimately helps build trust. If you are so overwhelmed by your on-line life create an auto-responder to let people know that you will get back to them within 24 hours. Create a calendar to get your content publishing schedule under control. Get more people in your organization blogging, tweeting and updating your Facebook page to share the workload.  But don’t let too long elapse before you respond…donors really don’t like to be ignored.

You take more than you give
Relationships are a quid pro quo. While I'm not suggesting that you keep a scorecard after each event, meeting or phone call with a new partner, be sure to give at least as much as you take. For example, if a colleague offers to re-tweet an article on your behalf, be sure to reciprocate with a link or comment on their blog the next week.

You Don't Know When To Stop
When a donor responds to your appeal by directly saying they can’t right now… don’t pursue it.  Continuing to send them personal emails and phone calls just makes donors annoyed and will make them re-think whether they should contribute in the future. Don’t be so attached to asking for the contribution that you don’t listen to how the donor is responding.

You Are A Non-Profit Narcissist
Narcissus (Greek mythological character) fell in love with his own reflection in the water of a spring and wasted away. Far too many nonprofits still communicate as if they are the center of the universe. BORING!  People don’t really care about your new hire, the fact that you just moved offices or have a state-of-the-art website. They are also not necessarily interested in hearing you constantly complain about your problems. People who donate want to hear what your organization has achieved, how it is helping to make the world a better place and how you are going to specifically use the money they donate to continue doing good work.

You Guilt Trip
Donors want to help, but they don’t want to feel that the future of your organization (or fundraising campaign) rests on their shoulders.  Once you start guilt-tripping donors into contributing you’ve wrecked your relationship and can't go back to them in the future. 

Remember donors give because they choose to…not because they have to.   If any of these tactics sound familiar it is time to put together a new fundraising strategy.  Don’t be a relationship wrecker!

Monday, May 14, 2012


The process of getting new business has several components including networking to meet new people, getting referrals of people who might need your services, letting these people know how you can help them in solving their problems and last (and probably most difficult) closing the deal.
Closing the deal is the part of the sales process that makes business owners most anxious because this is the stage that sometimes takes the longest and has the biggest potential of falling apart.
Yet, there are ways to make yourself a better “deal closer” even if you’re not the natural networking type and aren’t up on the latest sales techniques – Here are some techniques that really work:
Get beyond “yes”: Time is your enemy. Once you’ve gotten your target to agree in principle that you’re going to make this deal, move them as quickly as possible toward getting it into writing. That’s because into the narrow opening between “yes” and signing on the dotted line can creep things like second thoughts, competition coming up with a counter proposal or unforeseen events. So if you get a verbal expression of interest then move as quickly as possible to a written agreement that hopefully closes out the sales cycle.  When meeting with a client always bring at the very least a preliminary contract or letter of intent and get it signed.  Getting the deal agreed to and signed on the bottom line quickly is the goal.
Create a sense of urgency: Sometimes the person on the other end of the deal will be happy to close it – when they can get around to it. Timing may be much more important to you then to them. So if necessary, you want to create a sense of urgency to get their commitment, and that may require some final concessions to refocus their attention. This may involve offering a 2% greater discount if the sign on now, net-30 terms instead of net-10 requirements, or offering a two-year service agreement instead of one-year coverage. Give them a reason for signing today rather than next week.
Use the threat of competition: Unfortunately, in order to get the other side to close, sometimes an entrepreneur will have to get them to understand that if they don’t do the deal with you, you’ll do the deal with someone else.  Sometimes this involves bluffing, sometimes enhancing the appeal of what you’re offering.  The important thing to remember is to let the prospective client know that you have other clients and as much as you want their business you can’t wait around forever until they make their decision.
Generate “late-breaking news”: Throughout the relationship-building and negotiating process and beyond, be funneling helpful new information to the prospective client. This might be a press release about a new product, a copy of a story about your business that you’ve managed to land in the local newspaper, the result of a new independent test of your service, or that one last testimonial from an existing customer that you’re keeping in your back pocket.
Be prepared to not close: The reality is that most deals don’t close, if you measure by the number of potential relationships and transactions that your company pursues. Something happens. There isn’t a fit. The timing isn’t right. You must disdain losing any deal and fight hard to land every last one. But you also need to be sober about the percentages – so you can raise them.
Of course, every deal worth its salt must not be lopsided – it should stem either from mutual compromise or a true “win-win” scenario. And empathy goes a long way.
When negotiating remember
§  The deal is actually closed before the deal happens. Courting and building relationships over time are the only guarantees of succeeding in closing a deal. And that can take years
§  Be the best listener you can. Hear the other person’s pain and think about what you can you do to solve it? Focus on the positive
§  Tricks are never good: If you need them, you’re not in position to close the deal anyway. Create true value. That’s what will help you sell faster at the price you want.
§  Don’t talk too much - don’t be afraid of silence. Produce an order form, don’t rush anything, remain confident and make eye contact. When the customer signs, and the sale is made, keep friendly and resist any urge to sell them anything else. Leave on a friendly note so you can keep a long-term relationship.

We would like to hear from you about your “closing techniques”…

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Most business experts consider referrals as the major source for new clients in most business sectors.  Prospects that are referred to you are usually good quality prospects and are easy to convert to new client.
It is imperative for businesses to have an active and specific strategy to consistently generate referrals.  One of the best ways to get referrals is to ask for them from existing clients, colleagues and personal contacts.  When you ask for referrals it is important to remember:

§  Review your client list and choose those clients who are very happy with the services you are providing.

§  Remind clients of why they sought out your services and ask them if they know of anyone with similar needs.

§  Keep in contact with former clients so and make sure that they remember the excellent services you provided and how happy they were with the results.  Don’t lose touch!!

§  Ask for referrals in a positive and proactive manner.

§  Make sure clients, colleagues and personal contacts know about anything new that is happening with your businesses.  If you have new products, hired an expert in a specific area or even if you have done continuing education.

§  Select a frequency for asking for referrals and develop a system to remind you.  Experience indicates that asking for referrals 2 or 3 times a year is not offensive and could be very productive for you.

§  When you have a special event or party for your business invite clients and colleagues to bring people they know who might be interested in your services.

§  Always show appreciation to and thank the people who provide referrals.

When cultivating referral sources, realize that most people who send referrals your way do so for a variety of reasons, but above all, they recommend you for the following two reasons:  FRIENDSHIPS and TRUST.
People like to help people they like and believe in. Take time to get to know those in the platinum and gold levels of your database and to let them get to know you. Share the vision you hold for your business. Let them catch your enthusiasm and buy into your dream. The result will be a vested interest in your success and the desire to help you achieve your goals.