I have set-up and counseled quite a few board members on how to do a successful solicitation. One of the best pieces of advice that I was given is to “practice the ask out loud.” This means that once you have set-up the solicitation pair and figured out who is doing what piece (ie. Who is acknowledging, who is soliciting, etc.) then practice actually saying the solicitation. Often times people think this is a little silly but it can make a huge difference. Even if it takes asking a board member to humor you, say the ask out loud it is worth it and can make a huge difference.
The ask is the part of the solicitation that you want to go the very smoothest. Sometimes if the number is really high when you actually ask for it you might have a hard time getting it out. Saying it out loud helps you to become comfortable with the wording and make it your own so that it doesn’t sound like someone else’s script or ideas.
Many times the part of the solicitation that you are the most worried about is the ask (see a post from early on in my career: Ask and You Shall Receive). If you’ve had the chance to recite exactly what you are going to say it can make a world of difference. The ask is usually only a small amount of time at the end of the solicitation and yet it is what everyone is worried about throughout the entire solicitation process.
Have you ever used this trick before? How has it worked for you? Do you have any other tricks that you’d like to share?