I got a call from a charity organization yesterday asking for a donation to support their cause. I tend to get a number of these types of calls during the first days of the quarter – always someone reading me a script and then asking for money. Yesterday’s caller was particularly persistent.
I’m certainly not opposed to supporting charities that I believe in. There’s usually a certain amount I give away each year. But that said, I’m not going to support every charity that calls me up asking for money. And I’m far more likely to support a charity that tries to keep me in the loop and make me feel like my donation is appreciated.
For anyone cold calling for money, here are two things to keep in mind:
1 – Why Should I Trust You?
When you call asking for money, I have no way to verify over the phone that that you are who you say. This is particularly so when the number comes up as ‘unlisted’ on my caller id. In an age of rampant fraud and identity theft, I am very hesitant to give anyone my credit card number over the phone.
In fact, in most cases, I actually feel safer donating through your charity’s website because I know I can check out the contact of who owns the domain and where it’s hosted through a simple whois search. That’s all public information. If I’m uncertain about a website, I can do a google search to see if there have been any complaints against the organization. I have none of this available during a phone call. Even if the caller does offer me a website, I have no way of verifying that they are affiliated with the website.
2 – Why Should I Support You?
Yes, I know that you need my support and you appreciate anything I can give. Everyone that calls me asking for donations says that. Yet I never hear where my money goes once I donate and I never hear from you when you’re not asking me for money. There’s no relationship here. There’s just you asking for money.
For instance, yesterday, the caller was clearly not listening to me. He had a mission, and it was for me to fork over some – any – amount. He didn’t care about my past or future relationship with the charity. He wanted that money and he wanted it then and there. When I politely told him that I would not be donating money that day, he turned it around and told me “Well, how about I put you down for $X.” We went through this cycle 4 times, each time X got lower. Each time, I became more annoyed that he was not listening to me. I’m not the type to hang up on someone, so each time, I firmly said no and waited for him to end the call.
Most charities realize that while I might not donate at this time, I may in the future. In this case, ‘no’ really means ‘no.’ But by constantly pushing and not listening to a word I said, he turned me off to ever donating to that charity. The thing is, I have donated to them in the past. It’s a good cause. But there are others out there that aren’t so pushy.
Not Just For Non-Profits
For-Profit business owners should also keep this advice in mind. When you make a cold call, the person on the other end probably doesn’t know anything about who you are and what you do. Why should they trust you and why should they listen to what you have to say? I’m a busy person. What’s in it for me? That’s me. Not you. Me. I don’t care that you have a sales quota to make. I care about my problems and making my life easier. And right now, I have a million emails to answer. Clients to tend to. Reports to write. Mail to go through. Meetings to attend. How can you help me solve a specific problem I’m having now? If you don’t have a good answer, please know that I don’t have time to listen to your sales pitch.
If you’re looking for sales call strategies, I highly recommend Jill Konrath’s new book, Selling to Big Companies.