Archive for August 16th, 2013

August 16, 2013

7 Magical Words to Earn Respect, Trust, and Appreciation

I want to give you seven wonderful words that can help you earn the respect, trust, and appreciation of your prospects and donors.

Before I give you the magical phrase, I want you to know that I recognize that this post is about something that is common sense. However, given a couple of my wife’s recent encounters, I can tell you that just because the miraculous phrase is common sense does not mean it’s usage is common practice.

That’s why I’m going to share it with you here:

I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

Many nonprofit professionals think they need to know the answer to every question a prospect or donor asks. They think if they do not readily know the answer, they’ll appear stupid, ignorant, incompetent, or all of these or worse. So, they make any number of mistakes when they’re stumped, including:

1. They side step the inquiry. In a classic deflection move, some development professionals will simply acknowledge the question and then change the subject. Inside, they think, “Whew! I dodged that one.” Unfortunately, the reality is that the person who made the inquiry will almost definitely notice the dodge and be annoyed by it.

Albert Einstein by Philippe Halsman-19472. They start sputtering. In this case, the development professional starts struggling to answer the question but only ends up half answering a bunch of questions that were never asked. While the person who asked the question might find this somewhat amusing, he’ll still notice the original question has gone unanswered.

3. They will make up an answer. Some development professionals will, on occasion, make up an answer. They’ll do this because they think the answer is probably right and that there will be no harm if they’re mistaken. Sometimes, a development professional will outright lie in order to avoid being seen as lacking in information. Unfortunately, in this electronic age, there’s a good chance that the person who gets cute with the facts will end up being caught.

Instead of letting yourself be caught in your own uncomfortable trap, just use the amazingly simple, powerful phrase:

I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

When you use that phrase, you’ll be telling your prospect or donor:

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