But you can buck this trend for inertia if you approach the process more like a marathon. That means shortening your stride to meet the long and winding road ahead.
Here are four ways you can win more cause marketing deals by being prepared, novel, persistent and practical.
YOUR #1 GOAL IS TO STAY PROSPECT-CENTRIC
Always be prepared to adjust your messaging to meet a prospect’s needs, interests and goals. You may have just spoken to three prospects that were happy to focus on the benefits of cause marketing, but can you make the shift when the next prospect wants to talk about your nonprofit’s mission? Some businesses are more interested in the marketing benefits of cause marketing than others. You have to adjust your pitch accordingly to keep their attention and preserve their potential as a prospect.
STAND OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITION
Sadly, most business people have pretty low expectations of nonprofit types. They expect you to ask for money, and to bring little else to the table except your empty, cupped hands. Act differently. Don’t ask for something; start by offering something instead (e.g. the opportunity to reach a key demographic such as moms). Enlighten them on how supporting a cause can deliver a competitive edge and boost employee morale, among other things. Show them you know something about their industry and competitors. You know what the average fundraiser does (that person may even be you!), step out from what’s expected and you’ll get some unexpected attention from businesses.
DON’T GIVE THEM AN EXCUSE TO SAY NO
This is a pet peeve for me. Mailing prospects reams of information. Not calling people back when you said you would. Presenting programs that lack creativity and flexibility. These are all excuses (no, good reasons!) for a prospect to say no. You never want to get a flat-out “no” from a prospect. Psychologically it’s a big threshold for a decision maker to cross and when they do say no, well, they generally mean it. So why would you want to do something stupid that will hasten a a negative, perhaps fatal response? Think about it.
PERSUASION IS INCREMENTAL
These things take time. It’s not going to happen with one call, or one email, or one meeting. You need to plan for success and how each step will bring you closer. So if the objective of that first call isn’t to seal the deal, what is it? It’s a question you should know the answer to before you ever pick up the phone.