'Selling your work' with Frances Tipper

28 February 2020 | By Frances Campbell

 

Last month our Associate team here at Cause4 were lucky enough to attend a Selling your work workshop with Frances Tipper, which forms part of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Creative Entrepreneurs incubator programme. 

This half day training covered the basics of pitching, understanding your audience, and closing deals.

We started in the deep end with 60 second pitches on a randomly selected topic with no time to prepare. A daunting task that really pushed us out of our comfort zones to say the least! Pitching can feel daunting, it forces you to ‘switch on’ and sell your work in a way that can feel alien to the way you normally communicate, but afterwards we all agreed we felt more confident and eager to put our training into practice.

So what did we learn from the day? Here’s what the team had to say about the training:

 

Nye Greenfield, Development Associate;

“The training with Frances Tipper was really helpful in getting us to think about our audience. This was extremely important when composing documents, such as Cases for Support, as it is essential to convey messages in ways that the reader understands. The training also prepared us for face-to-face negotiation, and made me think about how I present myself to others.”

 

Sarah Teale, Marketing and Events Associate;

“Frances Tipper is clearly a lady who could sell snow to someone who already has a lot of snow. I think my main takeaway from the day was Frances herself. From the second we came in she was warm, genuine and excited to see us. She knew who we were and (at least pretended) to care about us individually. From most people you wouldn’t stop to analyse basic niceness, but with Frances it’s probably safe to assume it is her ingrained exceptional sales skills. ‘Liking’ – one of Cialdini’s 6 methods of persuasion, if someone likes you they are more likely to buy from you. Knowing your target audience is absolutely necessary in helping them understand the crucial question: ‘What’s In It For Me?’. In her teaching and in herself, Frances Tipper sold me hard on her selling techniques, and I am excited to try and take them forward in my professional career.”

 

Frances Campbell, Development Associate; 

“Despite the daunting start (I had to pitch scarves to the group!), it was great to get a chance to pitch in a supportive and warm environment. Frances was great at giving feedback and was really considered in her responses. I think for me this was the key to the day, building confidence can take time and gaining peer feedback is a great way to hone your technique. Even though we are unlikely to ever have to pitch an object off the cuff like that again, it was a great way to show us that we have the skills already, we just need to feel confident, well-rehearsed and remember our audience when we pitch for real.”

 

Naomi Chapman, Development Associate;

“As well as general discussion and coaching on our sales techniques, the main thing I took away from the session with Frances was a comprehensive set of techniques to bring up the quality of my pitches, no matter what the context or audience. Conversations around how to open and close were invaluable to me, and Frances’ techniques for sales, as well as her advice to test them all and find the ones that work, is guidance I am sure I’ll carry throughout my career. As an example of such a technique: try closing a pitch with an ‘alternative close’, which presents your audience with two options, putting you in control of future action!”

As a team we agreed unanimously that we left the training feeling supported, confident and raring to get pitching! Understanding each aspect of the sale from presentation, the theory of persuasion, the pitch itself and the way to ensure a final close, is invaluable in fundraising and beyond. There’s a lot that goes into a successful pitch, but whether you are pitching your business, a corporate partnership or a wider project, getting each component right will help you feel confident and get that sale. We would highly recommend taking the time to practice in a group, gaining peer feedback and pushing yourself to think creatively about how to engage your audience.

We want to thank Frances Tipper for the training, it’s made a great impression on all of us here in the office and we were thrilled to be a part of the day!

If you have any advice on selling your work in fundraising, get in touch here @OfficialCause4

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“We are pleased to support the development of these materials, through Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy, to provide a comprehensive bank of knowledge and experience that can be easily accessed by leaders of arts organisations and practitioners, both in the UK and internationally. One of our priorities at the Arts Council is to help arts and cultural organisations become more resilient and sustainable as they explore new revenue streams.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of ACE

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