Whatever You Do, Don’t Bore Me!


We talked about this last time: if you’re in sales or fundraising, sometimes you may find yourself dealing with a highly Analytic donor or client. You try to establish rapport using warmth and — pardon the expression — schmooze, but it just doesn’t work.  These prospects insist on data and proof, which can make it challenging for us highly Relational types to build a connection using our usual approach. When dealing with Analytic people you had better have your empirical information close at hand! Credibility only comes when they believe in your competence.

But there’s another type of prospect for whom the exact opposite approach seems best. These are the strong-willed, impatient, even impulsive types, sometimes called Drivers (although that’s not a perfect description). Drivers make decisions quickly. They march to their own drummer. They are absolutely not afraid to skip steps, start in the middle, and cut you off halfway through your presentation. And in my experience, the absolute worst thing you can do when dealing with a Driver is to make him or her feel bored.

I’m that way. I remember having an insurance guy make a presentation to me — this was back in the day of the flip chart desk-top presentation using a special notebook (the paper kind) with charts and graphs in plastic sleeves. When he opened this thing up and I saw about 40 of these pages my heart sank! Are you telling me I have to sit through forty of your flipping charts (double entendre intended)?!! I was bored before we even got started! And, no, he didn’t get the order.

Now if I had been the Analytic type, which I suspect he was, I would have devoured those 40 charts. I might even have wished for more. I might have asked for my own hard copy so I could study them on my own. But the salesman never stopped to figure out that I was a Driver who abhorred the thought of sitting through a protracted presentation. If he had done something very simple at the outset it would have set my mind at ease: he could simply have said, “Don’t worry, we’re not going through all of these — I’m just going to show you the ones that are of interest to you.” I would have breathed more easily and actually paid attention. And he might have sold me a policy.

So there’s two equal and opposite approaches to the sales presentation. For the Driver, be brief and to the point, and don’t bore me — but have the information ready in case I ask for it. You can keep it light, keep it moving, and be direct, and it’s okay to ask me for a decision because I may already have made it before your presentation is even finished. For the Analytic, be thorough and businesslike, take your time, and don’t schmooze me. Build trust by presenting me with facts, and don’t expect a speedy decision, because you’re not going to get one.

For those of us in sales and fundraising, different learning styles really do keep things interesting!

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