The Greatest Secret in the Fundraising World

secret 2

As revealed, by yours truly, to an audience of 50 charity professionals in Bath on 26th November……

” The greatest secret in the fundraising world, and yes it’s common sense, but it’s not common practice…the greatest secret is that the rewarded donor gives, multiplies and returns with more”

What are you doing to reward your donors for their generosity and sacrifice?

Play it again, Sam!

Sam Burgess

Hi Sam,

We, Bath Rugby fans, just want you to be happy…in the best place for you.

It’s been great having you in Bath, watching you develop from Bath United to your recent England exploits down in The Smoke,

Along the way, hopefully, you’ve developed  lots of great memories, made  lots of new friends , and risen and overcome plenty of challenges. Make a list of all the high points, refer to it regularly, and forget the rest,

You can play rugby league or rugby union to a world class standard. How many people can say that?

Which will it be for the next few years?  It’s your choice and we’ll back your decision all the way.

Play it again Sam…the game you love, in the place you want to be……dare greatly……again!

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt 1858-1919

More work to be done?


The Association of British Insurers have just announced that insurers paid out £3.4bn to protection policyholders in 2014.

A cause for celebration?

Maybe not. Closer analysis tells me that if you strip out income protection claims, then the average payout on death, critical illness or permanent total disability was £28,738. About one years average income for the claimants and/or their families.

And to think that people like me have been banging the protection drum for the past 46 years!

There still seems to be plenty of work for highly effective protection advisers.

We can surely serve our clients better than this?


The 10 Best Stage Fright Sufferers


Susannah Clapp, Guardian Theatre critic has just announced” The 10 Best Stage Fright Sufferers” and you know what…… you are not on the list!

Notable amongst the 10 are……

Adele” I’m scared of audiences”…..”I get shitty scared”

Ewan McGregor -“…he took preventative action before starring on Broadway last year, tweeting about his use of an app called Conquering Anxiety.”

Laurence Olivier” ..suffered five years of agonising dread following a press night in 1960,when he found his voice diminishing and the audience “beginning to go giddily around”….The venerable Sybil Thorndike gave him trenchant advice “Take drugs, darling, we do”!

So why aren’t you on the list?

Well, I bet it’s because you have your own techniques for minimising the problem.

Here are three techniques I would recommend…

1. Don’t take drugs, and don’t take alcohol either.

2. Remember you’ve got a message you want your audience to hear, and they, if they’ve been given a free choice to attend, want to hear it. Enjoy the recognition they’ve given you, just by turning up!

3. Use your nerves to your advantage. Let them fuel your preparation. Prepare, prepare and prepare, so that when you stand up to present you have no regrets.

Final word and a bonus piece of advice from the pianist Steven Osborne, also on Susannah’s list…“Chiefly he urges a sense of proportion-“Ask yourself; when I’m on my deathbed, will I still care about the fluffed note in bar 14”!

Keep spreading your words and I bet you won’t be on Susannah’s list next year either!

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of Kian McKellar on Flickr

Obama at his best!

With his electrifying eulogy last night to Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney, U. S President Barack Obama once again reset the bar for public speakers across the world.

Three lessons hit home for me  –

1. His theme was “Grace” and he stuck to it.

2. He addressed the elephants in the room and did not shy away from contentious issues.

3. He closed strongly, leading the whole congregation (and the watching world!) in singing “Amazing Grace”.

Can you learn from his performance and make your next presentation even better?

Watch the video. It will be time well spent.

P.S. If you can’t sing, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways of closing strongly!

Have you ever been coshed?


Coshing is the practice used by airlines to manipulate the sleeping patterns of passengers by raising the temperature on long flights, usually of five hours or more, to calm passengers and give flight attendants a break.

Medical experts contend that the practice amounts to mass sedation.

As Dr Ian Perry, a London based physician and international aviation consultant said – “Passengers may get off a plane feeling tired and wretched, with sticky eyes and numbing headache……”

Has it happened to you?

Well, if you are in business the answer is almost certainly yes, even if you have never flown!

That’s because many business presenters adopt the same practice, they induce sleep and mass sedation in their audiences.

They cosh them! They leave them feeling tired and wretched….!

So, whats the answer?

Well, it’s difficult to influence other presenters to take action but you can do something about your own impact.

Don’t cosh your audiences, as it’s all so unnecessary, and so easily avoided. Seek help and advice from someone like yours truly, and leave your audiences feeling fresh and inspired, after their flight with you!

Why not become – The Worlds Favourite Presenter? (see what I did there?…British Airways and all that jazz……!!!)

Image attribution: CC image courtesy of stereogab on Flickr

Be a PIG thinker when the time is right!


When something bad happens to you, like you lose a sale, are you a PIG thinker?

Do you think…

-it’s Permanent, it will happen every time,

-it’s Internal, its all down to me and,

-it’s General, it will happen everywhere I go.

Not such a good idea eh? But if something good happens, like you make a sale….?

Be a PIG thinker when something good happens in your business or your life!

And, of course, be a TES ( Temporary, External, Specific) thinker when something bad happens!

You know it makes sense, oink!

7 Habits of Highly Effective Protection Advisers

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People die and their families suffer challenging financial consequences. People are ill and disabled, and lose their incomes. People suffer critical illnesses and lose their lifestyles. People need the protection that financial advisers can provide.

My 45 years in the financial services business, and recent experience delivering seminars and workshops, tells me there are seven key differentiators between the highly effective and average protection adviser.

Habit one – They build long term relationships

They do not engage in one night stands, they build mutually rewarding relationships. As Theodore Levitt wrote in The Marketing Imagination –“ The sale merely consummates the courtship. Then the marriage begins. How good the marriage is, depends on how well the relationship is managed by the seller”. Customer lifetime value is all important. Mighty oaks from acorns grow!

Habit two – They stand on their client’s hilltop

They don’t just view the world from their own hilltop. They make a conscious decision to see what the client sees also. The beach ball of life highlights that we can all look at the same item or situation and see different things. It’s not good enough just to be aware of your own sales process, highly effective advisers are also aware of their Clients Decision Journey. They are customer-centric.

Habit three – They fully diagnose the client’s problem

They don’t skimp on diagnosis. Not for them instant remedies thrust upon unsuspecting clients. They practice slow selling, using open and searching questions to fully diagnose the client’s problem where one exists. They use their one mouth and two ears, and listen twice as much as they speak.

Habit four – They welcome objections

They don’t stumble or stutter when their clients expresses a view. They realise that more often than not, it’s a request for more information, an opportunity to clarify or expand on things, an unanswered question. Highly effective advisers handle such questions and comments professionally, either in advance via their sales process, or as they are raised by their clients.

Habit five – They target their efforts

They don’t just see everyone as a potential client. They focus, first and foremost, on existing clients. They serve them well through their developing lives and are in constant contact ensuing their ever changing financial needs and wants are catered for. Only then do they prospect for new clients, carefully targeting the client segments they chose to serve. They realise that the more targeted they are, the better their messages resonate.

Habit six – They blow their trumpets

When they go about their business lives, people notice. The highly effective adviser realises that their brand is a result of their reputation multiplied by their visibility. A poor reputation and high visibility serves no-one well. An excellent reputation and low visibility is a wasted opportunity. The ideal is an excellent reputation and high visibility. A visibility audit helps advisers find more opportunities to see and be seen.

Habit seven – They look after themselves

They are not just human dynamos at work. They serve their families well, they look after their health, and they develop their technical knowledge and business skills constantly to maintain competitive advantage. They talk nicely to themselves, using PIG thinking, and above all, ensure their own financial affairs are in order.


So how do you fare when measured against the seven habits? Are there areas you could be working on to the advantage of yourself and your clients? Could you be more effective?

Go take action! Your clients and prospects need the protection that only you can provide.

Time to take action…

act now

“Now is the time to take action because ….

Action unites every great success

Action gets results

We often get caught in the trap of seeing enormously successful people and thinking they have some special gift

When the only gift the successful person has over the ordinary person is the ability to take constant and never ending action !”

Ker Tyler, Chief Executive Officer, Fit for Leadership Ltd

Are you a fire engine or a milk float?

images (1)images (2)People notice fire engines when they go about their business,

People don’t notice milk floats when they go about theirs.

Maybe that’s why milk floats are increasingly extinct!

How about you going about your business? Anyone notice you? You don’t want to go the same way as milk floats, do you?

Get noticed!