Could you persuade someone to donate a quarter of a million dollars in 120 seconds?
Last year one of our clients was in this situation. He shared his story with me last week while I was leading a workshop for his nonprofit staff. Here’s the backstory. The nonprofit director was rejected multiple times by this prospective donor, a local senior business executive. Not just rejected, but he was told very frankly by the executive that meeting was a waste of time.
With persistence, the nonprofit director sent out a final Hail Mary:
“Give me 15 minutes of your time. The first 10 minutes you can tell me all the reasons you don’t want to donate and the last 5 minutes I get to share with you what we’re all about.”
Miracle number one: A meeting was scheduled.
When the time came, the executive shared his disdain for nonprofits that don’t actually fix problems — organizations that don’t offer holistic long-term solutions. The nonprofit director sat respectfully, honoring his commitment to listen for 10 minutes.
But 10 turned into 13 and now he only had 2 minutes – 120 seconds – to make his case.
In those 120 seconds he passionately talked about how the nonprofit met the gritty, deep and complex needs of the homeless. Shelter, food, mentoring, resources for addicts, long-term housing, training…
So let me ask you the quarter-million dollar question: How well can you articulate your own value?
To the prospective client that’s been in the pipeline for years? To the venture capitalists in your final round of crowd funding for your new business? To your manager, or their manager, or their manager? Maybe you’re not raising funds. Maybe it’s a new idea, a new product, or a potential partnership.
Could you effectively persuade them in 120 seconds?
Here’s the two-minute game plan:
1. Clearly articulate your value.
How is your solution fixing a problem or filling a need?
2. Clearly articulate how your solution is better than others.
Differentiate yourself from competitors! Know why you’re the better solution.
3. Be passionate.
Your audience is perceptive. If you lack conviction and passion, they will too.
And in 120 seconds, miracle number two happened.
The demeanor of the executive changed. His skepticism faded, his expression warmed, and he thanked the nonprofit director for coming.
Weeks later they got a check for $250,000. Miracle number three.
Truth is, these aren’t really miracles. The nonprofit director’s persistence, passion, and ability to articulate the value of his organization sealed the deal.
About the Author:
Amy Wolff is a coach and trainer with Distinction Communication Inc, a Newberg, OR consulting firm specializing in message development, presentation design and delivery skills coaching. For more information about the company, visit www.distinction-services.com