Five sales tech­niques cor­po­rate fundrais­ers can learn from companies

Good cor­po­rate fundrais­ers are good sales peo­ple. They may be sell­ing social change, the chance to make an impact, or a good feel­ing – but they are def­i­nite­ly sell­ing. With this in mind, Peter Chiswick from Remark­able Part­ner­ships is pleased to share the five essen­tial sales tech­niques that every cor­po­rate fundrais­er should learn.

Written by
Remarkable Partnerships
September 14, 2022
Credit: © Photo supplied by author, Remarkable Partnerships
I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.’ - Estée Lauder

Lesson #1: Create intrigue

When British sandwich-making chain Greggs decided to launch their first vegan product, they knew they needed to ignite an already crowded market. To create an element of intrigue, Greggs used a marketing technique called ‘drop culture’ to launch its vegan steak bake. 

Using teaser videos, they announced something big was about to happen. When it launched, flagship stores were given huge physical adverts and their ‘vegan steak bake finder’ tool went on Gregg’s website to help customers buy the in-demand product. 

The launch was a huge success. As well as winning many marketing awards, they increased their year-on-year sales by 13.5 per cent. 

This case study shows us the power of curiosity. As a corporate fundraiser, we encourage you to offer your prospects an idea, without telling them what the idea is until they meet you. The power is in the intrigue. 

Lesson #2: Help your prospects discover their pain points

Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, ‘It's not the customers’ job to know what they want.’

Successful companies understand that in order to sell anything, you must first understand who your customers are and what problems they are facing. By acting as a consultant, rather than a salesperson, you are better able to solve those problems. 

When Steve Jobs set up Apple, the company understood that consumers found technology both confusing and unreliable. In response, Apple revolutionised the way people view technology: creating a simple and consistent experience across their products. The rest is history.  

So, when talking to your corporate prospects, find out what their key pain points are. Then when presenting your partnership idea, tailor your idea to the problems that your prospects are trying to solve. 

Lesson #3: Sell with stories

Telling stories is one the most effective sales techniques of all. By telling stories, you connect on a personal level and provide an insight into your ‘why’. The most successful salespeople are able to make their audience feel an emotional and personal connection – hence the saying ‘people buy from people’.

A good story grabs their attention, motivates them to take action and most importantly is memorable. A study by Stanford professor Chip Heath found that 63 per cent of those tested were able to remember stories, while only five per cent could remember a single statistic.

Lesson #4: Become an expert closer

As the famous sales mantra goes, sales is as simple as ABC – Always BClosing.

The most important part of the sales process is closing the deal. Everything else leads to the close – the result. It is important to practice reassuring hesitant prospects, helping buyers organise their thoughts and reaching their own conclusions. 

In order for you to become an expert closer, consider using the following methods:

  1. Assumptive close: in the assumptive close the aim is to be assertive and not aggressive. You achieve this by moving the negotiations forward under the assumption that your prospect is ready for partnership, and tackling any hesitations as they come up. 
  2. Pros and cons: listing the pros and cons of your partnership helps your prospect organise their thoughts. It also allows you to determine the key elements that are important to them.
  3. The time-limited offer: this method can create a sense of urgency in the negotiations if the buyer is hesitant and wants to consider alternative options. 
  4. Summary close: by summarising all the options discussed, you provide the prospect with the opportunity to picture what your services may look like before making a decision. 

Lesson #5: Understand your prospects’ communication

High performing sales companies develop their people to build better and more meaningful business relationships by using four simple colour profiles. Using the ‘personality insight model’, they build communication models based on four colours:

  • Fiery red = Competitive / demanding / purposeful 
  • Sunshine yellow = Sociable / dynamic / enthusiastic 
  • Earth green = Caring / encouraging / sharing 
  • Cool blue = Questioning / precise / formal 

These colour profiles provide insight into how people want to be communicated with. Rather than using trial and error, sales teams are able to mirror their prospects’ communication style and quickly develop stronger relationships. For example, for social sunshine yellows they will spend lots of time on the phone, whereas with formal cool blues they will stick to emails. 

We recommend you think about what colour profile best represents your key contacts and mirror their communication style. You will start to see results instantly.

About the author: Remarkable Partnerships

Remarkable Partnerships is a UK-based consultancy helping companies and charities create major, long-term partnerships.

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