...And we're really looking forward to partnering with the National Pso...National Sor.....National SO. Uh, never mind. Just please call me back
What you just read was the tail end of the message left to me by a salesperson for a cycling accessories company eager to work with our event. The word he was looking for was psoriasis or suh-rahy-uh-sis as in the National Psoriasis Foundation. He could have easily found the information right on this website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psoriasis. He also could have heard the word pronounced on any number of YouTube videos on the topic.
Up until his bungled close, I was intrigued and intended to call him back. I didn't. I'm not the most sensitive guy in the world but hey, I wanted to feel a little special. The fact that he probably didn't look at the name of my organization until it was time to tell me how eager he was to partner with us told me I wasn't as special as I thought. It did tell me that I was clearly the 5th, 15th or 50th call in his rotation that day. Let me be clear - I get it. I have my call list every day too. But take the time to look down, see who you're calling and know HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE NAME!
So, in the spirit of turning this negative experience into a positive one, I wanted to share 5 basic suggestions for starting off on the right foot when prospecting for new business relationships. WARNING: Several of these are going to be no-brainers (think Captain Obvious in those clever hotels.com commercials). But as I saw with this recent phone call, the obvious isn't always obvious to everyone.
No More No Less
Those words may not be the most inspirational way to kick off a (hopefully) motivational note. I'm highlighting them as I've been planting this sentence in my brain when I force myself to head to a gym at least twice a week.
I go there to do my least favorite thing in the whole wide world - strength training. I'll be blunt: I hate it. I would always prefer running, biking or hockey as my workouts of choice. I don't know why I have such an intense dislike for it and I'm not going to try to figure it out. But, having recently turned 50, I've noticed my joints seem to be taking it hard so something has to change. I know from reading and logic that strength training is a good friend - or at least an ally - of folks that love the endurance stuff. I've made a pact with myself to stick with a regimen of getting in at least two workouts for the next three months (as you may know, it's supposed to take 90 days to change a habit).
Why does this matter? Because It's All About The Base. Not the Bass that Meghan Trainor is singing about in her big hit. I'm talking about the Base. Base as in foundation, bottom, support (as a noun) or, used as a verb, to build, construct, form, or ground. It's often said that the toughest part of reaching a big goal is getting started. I would argue that it's equally challenging to make the long-term commitment to putting a base or foundation for success in place.
Whether we're starting a strength training program or beginning a prospecting program of reaching a set number of new donors per month - we need to start somewhere and create that foundation for success.
That's where this idea of No More No Less can be really helpful. I've found - and maybe you have too - that when we start something new like a job, project or exercise program, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and novelty. This excitement has the potential to create an arc of super highs and deep lows. In my strength training example, there have been a few days where I've been "feeling it" more than usual. The weight lifting, squats, etc. don't seem half as bad as they usually do. Naturally, I'm tempted to do lots more that day. There are other days where the drudgery of doing it seems worse than what I'm imagining for my upcoming visit to the dentist. And of course I just want to bag it for the day.
No More No Less allows you to keep and establish that Base. That's where your growth comes from. So here are some suggestions for Building Your Base - no matter what the sport or activity:
Robert Grabel is the President of Nonprofit Now! You can find his posts here and at www.robertgrabel.com
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