Team Dinner, London 2013
Yesterday in my team’s Prospect Management meeting (a conference call across eight time zones), we listened to a colleague talk about a recent prospect meeting. The dinner meeting included my colleague, our “Key Exec,” a “Key Faculty Member” and the prospect – a prospect my colleague had brought to the table as a previous relationship and had been cultivating very well.
In planning for the meeting with this prospect, our Key Exec wanted to start the evening by playing a video that provides an overview of our organization. My colleague pushed back and the idea was dropped.
However, what followed was a conversation the prospect describe to my colleague as “stilted”. The Key Exec launched into a long overview about the organization (which my colleague had provided during several previous meetings) with little break for comments or questions from the prospect. Over the course of the meal, there was little room for (or the ability for my colleague to make space for) either the Key Faculty Member or the prospect to chip in naturally.
Now a “roadblock.” The prospect didn’t leave with a good feeling, which he communicated to my colleague. It is a terrible feeling for a fundraiser when a prospect has signaled his or her enthusiasm and an unfortunate relationship roadblock occurs and stops momentum.
I’ve worked closely with this Key Exec. He is smart and can be charming. He can adeptly pivot conversations with donors and prospects to find the sweet spot of their interests. After the call, I reflected on some issues that may be at play. I wondered, how do we, as fundraisers, remove those relationship roadblocks?