By Joe Waters, Guest Contributor, Selfish Giving
Of the three types of decision-makers I’ve discussed in this series (Thinkers in part one and Feelers in part two), Deferrers fascinate me the most because they are full of faith in the wisdom of others.
Watch them when you give them a proposal or a packet of information on your organization. They don’t look at the pictures like a Feeler, or pour over your numbers like a Thinker. Nope, they linger over the section where your partners are listed. They defer to the wisdom of others.
If ABC Company is involved, they want to be involved. If so-and-so calls and asks The Deferrer to support your program, that goes a long way. Deferrers are not patsies, mind you, but credibility and reputation matter a lot to them. Aristotle called this power of influence ethos.
Here’s how to pitch your cause marketing appeal to “The Deferrer.”
Identify People They Know and Respect
I’ve always followed a simple rule when it comes to influence: Persuasion occurs through identification.
This means that the more your prospect can relate to you—in this case through a strong, mutual connection—the more likely you are to convince her to give cause marketing a try.
Remember, you’re looking for key connections to your prospect. How do you find people your prospect relates to? Well, thanks to the Internet, it’s a heckuva lot easier than it used to be!
- Start by Googling your prospect to learn more about her. What industry events has she attended? Who has she mentioned in speeches she’s delivered or in articles she’s written? Who has she appeared with on panels?
- Visit LinkedIn and research her contacts. Has she written any recommendations for people? Has she received any recommendations from others?
- Is she active on Twitter? Who does she follow? Who does she talk to? Who does she retweet?
Through my own partnership research on Google, I once discovered that my prospect had spoken on a panel with a CEO that supported my nonprofit. One call to my contact confirmed that they knew and respected each other. One more call from my contact got me a meeting. Soon after, I had a new cause marketing partner!
Affirm Their Trust with Relevant Testimonials
Appealing to The Deferrer is not about name dropping. These decision-makers defer to others for good reasons. You can affirm this trust by providing a solid testimonial of a partner’s experience with your organization.
In the example I used above, I didn’t simply drop a name to close a partnership deal. At the meeting, I explained in detail how our mutual contact worked with my nonprofit and how we BOTH benefited from the partnership.
My prospect didn’t agree to a partnership simply because of his faith in the person that referred me to him. He agreed because I convinced him that a good decision for someone else he respected was also a good one for him.
- Good testimonials compare apples to apples. Be sure to show how your example relates to their business. Don’t assume they’ll connect the dots on their own.
- Good testimonials aren’t full of hype. Don’t fill your testimonial with lots of quotes about how fabulous you are. Your prospect is looking for results. Show them what you and your partner accomplished together.
- Good testimonials include a variety of appeals. It’s easy to label a decision-maker a Deferrer and not a Thinker or Feeler, but the truth is that no one is just one type, although one type usually dominates. That’s why you should round out your testimonial with evidence (e.g. stats, figures, graphs) and appeals to emotions (e.g. pictures, stories).
Be Deserving of Deference
Deferrers want to work with people they admire, respect and trust. And it’s not enough that you bring good tidings from others. You must be that man or woman. Just as they are trustworthy, you must be trustworthy. Just as they are competent, you must be competent. And just as they are professional, articulate and polished, you must be these things too.
You are a surrogate of the great men and women whom deferrers look to for their decisions. The Queen’s messenger just doesn’t carry her seal. He too is well dressed and spoken. Be the Queen’s man.
I’d love to hear your cause partnership sales experiences. Have you encountered any of the personalities described in this three-part series—The Thinker, The Feeler or The Deferrer? Comment below.