Yes, NoIf you’re going to ask people for money, you’ve got to learn to love objections. Or at least be comfortable with them!

Working on a session for the APRA conference in Boston, I’m relearning how fun objections can be.

Seriously, if there were no objections, we wouldn’t be needed. It would be so clearly self-evident that people would simply fund our cause. While that may seem like a state of bliss, if your primary job is fundraising, it could mean unemployment!

Here are Zig Ziglar’s five reasons to like objections:

1. Objections show interest

Many sales trainers refer to objections as the beginning of the sales process. So to in fundraising. Objections show the donor is interacting with what you say.

Objections become much easier to take if you see them as the donor-to-be asking you to help him figure out how to make the gift. If he says, “But my kids are in college…” you could tuck your tail and run. Or you could offer him ways to make the gift that would fit his need to also pay tuition.

2. No objections and you’d be out of a job!

Enough said. Especially in this economy!

3. Objections are better than questions

Questions can be very distant and theoretical. A donor can ask a question without it being a personal question. But not so with objections. Objections are, by their very nature, personal. Therefore, objections show the donor is interacting with your ask on a personal level, not a merely theoretical one.

4. You don’t have to answer them all

This is the biggest “wow” of them all for me! I always thought I needed to cram every possible answer into my head so I wouldn’t get caught off guard by an objection I couldn’t answer. But you don’t have to.

Sometimes, the very best thing you can do is ask, “If that were never solved, would that keep you from making a gift?” If no, they’ve indicated they’ll make a gift. If yes, then you’ll be getting closer to the real objections. (Most of us start off with surface objections and eventually get to the core thing holding us back.)

5. They’re consistent—usually only 5-7

Isn’t this cool?! Last month, I proved this to a team of major gifts officers for a university in the Southwest. I had them write out as many objections as they could think of, one per post-it note. When they stuck the post-its on the wall, we started grouping them according to themes.

It was so cool seeing how more than 70 objections so easily clumped together. Once we had them grouped, we started coming up with ways to overcome the common objections. This was an exceptional group of major gift fundraisers so they amassed a few more than 7. But the 10 or 12 we came up with were far more manageable than the 70 or so we’d started with.

Once you know the common objections, you can even work answers into your cultivation materials and the stories you highlight. It’s kind of fun!

I’m not sure this totally convinces you to love objections. But hopefully this will go a long way toward neutralizing the fear they can evoke.

The next time objections show up, instead of freezing, hopefully you’ll be able to say, “Well hello, we’ve been expecting you.”

Posted on 23 November 2009

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