My friend Dean is the best salesman I’ve ever known. He could sell anything and, in fact, pretty much has. Cars, Insurance, Software, Pharmaceuticals, Real Estate, you name it and Dean has sold it. I once asked him the secret to his success and he said, “That’s simple. Time. You can sell anything to anyone if you just convince them to give you their time.”
Dean knows what he’s talking about.
Of all the things we have, time is our most precious commodity. You want proof? Put a price tag on the next year of your life. How much would you sell it for? How much would you take to give up a year’s worth of living, knowing everything you would miss, including the lives of your family and friends? I’m going to guess it would take a LOT of money. More than you would earn in that same year, and more than all of your current assets combined. Time is what we value most.
It’s an important lesson to learn. We all spend a great deal of energy looking for new ways to extract money from people - from our clients, our customers, our investors, our donors, our alumni, our members, our department heads...you name it - but very little convincing them to give us their time. That’s because it’s a harder sell. It’s easier for me to write you a small check than to give you some of my valuable and limited time. But, as Dean would say, time is where the real money is. When you, or your product, or your service, or your cause is worth more to me than just my money, when it is worth my time, that’s when you’ve really sold me.
Advertising, sales calls, and fundraising campaigns will get you money. Building relationships will get you time.