Everyone lives in a bubble. Even nonprofit consultants live in a bubble. Whether it’s in their local town, your business or even a Facebook community, like anyone, you have limited exposure to the “outside world.” What you listen to on the radio, watch on TV, or catch on the internet just re-enforces it. Your life, like mine or anyone’s is 98 percent “in the bubble,” and just a little bit outside… and what’s outside is scary!
What bubble do your nonprofit clients lve in? The nonprofit bubble.
While your world touches theirs, your world also includes some of the business world, too, whether you like it or not. That’s not the same for your nonprofit clients. For a lot of them, besides their family, you and your fellow consultants could be the only non-nonprofit people they touch in the day-to-day life. Otherwise, it’s partner nonprofits, clients and maybe government agencies.
No wonder they don’t trust you! You’re as alien to them as Star Wars’ new villain.
Before you start muttering “Luke, I am your father,” here are three ways you can break through their defensive shields without firing a laser pistol.
- Get a referral. Saying “Our friend Bob said I should call you,” even though they may not know Bob well, makes a big difference in getting an appointment with someone new. Your mutual friend could be a LinkedIn connection, a trade association buddy, or a colleague in the same organization, just to name a few.
- Have your reputation proceed you. Have you written an article in a publication your prospect read, or spoke at a conference client attended? Make yourself someone they want to meet because you’re now known as an “expert.”
- Share some of your expertise, for free. A couple of good ideas go a long way to building trust. You don’t need to give away everything you do, just give them some samples. Tell a story about how you solved a problem for a client just like them.
Connecting your bubble with theirs is essential. Your clients need to know that you’re not there to break their bubble. You’re there to understand it… and them.
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