January 2, 2013 | Tom Suddes

The First Day… 1 Jan 13


It’s also the first day of a New Year!!!

I’m not real big on ‘resolutions’… but I love the idea of a NEW BEGINNING. It’s a great time to lay out some goals for this calendar year.

I’m just finishing the first 3 months (J/F/M) of the Action Plan to help me make an IMPACT in 2013.

May this be a year of IMPACT for you, your family and your F.I.O. (For Impact Organization)

Note: One of my big, big, big goals for this year is to ‘publish’ a lot more GOOD STUFF at FI.O.

Stay tuned.


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December 24, 2012 | Tom Suddes

Happy Holidays!!

We will be back on January 3, 2013.
With even more ‘GOOD STUFF’ to help make 2013 your BEST YEAR EVER!!

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December 20, 2012 | Tom Suddes

Take Tomorrow Off!!!

For what it’s worth, I am giving you ‘permission’ to TAKE TOMORROW OFF!

It’s Friday. It’s the Friday before Christmas. It’s the last day of the 5,125 year cycle in the Mayan Calendar. It’s the ‘shortest’ day in the year. It’s winter solstice.

There is nothing you’re going to do tomorrow that you can’t get done today.

Tomorrow is for family time, personal time, transition time into the holidays, or whatever you want to call it.

If you celebrate it, have a very merry, joyous Christmas! To all… have a great holiday and close out 2012 with gratitude, joy and family.

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December 18, 2012 | Tom Suddes

How To Get The Visit (A Guidebook)

Here is a Guidebook on How to Get the Visit, summarizing my 40 years of trying to get visits (appointments).

Action: A favor. This is the last Guidebook published in 2012. It’s also the first one that I’m sharing with the For Impact ‘tribe‘ and asking for feedback. (‘Tribe‘ is a Seth Godin word. It’s not tied to the University of North Dakota’s name change.)

All of our Guidebooks are free resources for our readers, users and Kool-Aid drinkers.

I would really appreciate you taking time to let me know if this will help you get visits… if there are other things I could add that would be more helpful… and if you would add anything else that might be of value to sales teams getting more changes to Present the Opportunity.


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December 18, 2012 | Tom Suddes

How To Get A Visit

I cannot begin to count the number of times we have been told/asked “This is all great,
but… we can’t get an appointment. They won’t see us. How do we get in the

Our first response is always the same: “Stop trying to get an ‘APPOINTMENT’!”

The word ‘appointment‘ itself is a problem. It conjures up visions of doctors! Worse, dentists!

Think about the idea of a VISIT. This is not just semantic gymnastics. It’s a mind-set. A
VISIT implies friendship, conversation, mutual desire to be together and much more.

You can read this in a melodramatic tone:

Stop trying to get APPOINTMENTS… with DONORS… to ASK THEM FOR MONEY!

A simple vocabulary change creates an entirely different dynamic.


Getting a visit is both an attitude and a skill.

Here’s a visual representation.

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December 17, 2012 | Tom Suddes


The whole Kevin Bacon, 6° thing is just wrong. It’s been determined it’s actually 2.78 moves or connections between Kevin Bacon and any other actor.

Please pay attention: You are only away from anybody who is a QUALIFIED PROSPECT!

How can I say that?

First, it is very important that you note the term ‘QUALIFIED PROSPECT‘. That means that there is a STRONG RELATIONSHIP to your CAUSE or CASE. (It does not mean a ‘relationship’ with you or another individual!)

Then, IF they are truly a QUALIFIED PROSPECT… you can use your NATURAL PARTNERS (Champions, Board Members. Key Volunteer Leaders, other Current Investors, etc.) to make the contact and the connection… and help set up the VISIT!!!

This might be the best way to explain this.

I am only 3° away from the Pope, the President or the Prime Minster of Israel.

I can reach out to one of the most amazing human beings on the planet, Fr. Ted Hesburgh (with whom I had the incredible experience of working with on the Campaign for Notre Dame). Fr. Ted calls someone in the Vatican… who then sets up meeting with the Pope.

To get to the President, I simply hit speed dial for Dick Celeste, former Governor of Ohio, Ambassador to India, President of Colorado College and now Senior Counsel with The Suddes Group. Dick has Bill Clinton on his speed dial. Bill calls President’s office and sets up visit (since he worked really hard to get President elected).

For the Prime Minister of Israel, I call anyone of a handful of Jewish leaders that we have worked with and ask them to make a phone call or reach out to someone in Israel who can then reach out to the Prime Minister. II know. Probably not a good time to do this. He’s busy. Just trying to make a point.)

One last story. I am only 2° away from the Dalai Lama. At an international conference, I poured (fire hose?) my energy, heart and soul into a keynote talk. Afterwards, a wonderful woman came up and said, “Thank you I learned so much… I will never forget this day.” Then she put her long white scarf around my neck and said, (BTW) “My brother is the Dalai Lama.”

There are two great books on this phenomena, 6 DEGREES by Duncan J. Watts and LINKED by Albert Barabasi.

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December 13, 2012 | Tom Suddes

Women Rule… at Christmas

Women Rule is a great way to make the point of the Power of Women. Their role in philanthropy (as both ‘givers’ and ‘askers’) has never been more important.

I always make this point: There is going to be $100 Trillion of wealth transfer in the next 30 years… and who is going to end up with all the money? WOMEN!

*I just read that 80% of all the people who live to be 100… are women.

Here’s a fun holiday story that also supports Women Rule.

Do you know what would have happened if there had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?

They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, brought practical gifts… and there would be peace on earth.

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December 12, 2012 | Tom Suddes

Thoughts… on FOLLOW-UP

Here’s a great way to CLOSE MORE GIFTS: FOLLOW-UP!!!

I have pulled together some THOUGHTS… ON FOLLOW-UP, from my own experience as well as those from Nick and The Suddes Group coaches. READ. SHARE. USE.

In our world, there are three parts of a great ASK:


In the real world, this third piece is mostly an afterthought. “I met with them. I’ll wait
for them to call back.”
UGH! This could be the worst mistake of any VISIT/ASK.

Going through the effort to Get a Visit… Share the Story… Present the Opportunity… and
then NOT Following Up is not only wrong – it’s disrespectful!

Why? Because it’s not about you. It’s about them! They’ve given you their time and their attention… and it’s up to you to help them move from Success to Significance and be truly happy that they have been able to make a difference/impact.

The secret to success in high-end relationship-based selling is simple:


*It’s probably impossible to misquote or butcher one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms, but
here goes:

“Half of the game is presentation. The other 90% is follow-up.”

An Important Story.

Here is a personal story that I think supports this whole idea of FOLLOW-UP.

I have been working with the Unreasonable Institute since their founding four years ago. Amazing people and amazing program, run out of Boulder, Colorado on University of Colorado campus. Teju and his team are world-class supporters of Social Entrepreneurism!

I do a two-day ‘workshop’ during their five-week course for the 25 Fellows from around the world selected to be part of this program.

Last summer, I had four conversations (out of 30 or more) that actually led to me strongly recommending specific prospects for seed investments. These were prospects I knew, and felt would be a perfect fit for these nascent Social Enterprises.

I was in my ‘speed-dating’ mode, with Fellows lined up to meet and get coached by the Old Guy. I told each of these four to follow-up with me for more info and help on these referrals.

Only one of the four followed up… two months later with an email. I did not respond right away and ultimately it got lost in email backlog.

Again, three did not follow-up at all. One did not follow-up on her follow-up.

ALL of these Social Entrepreneurs were great people… with great potential… and a great opportunity to change the world. ALL were perfectly positioned for seed investment. ALL said they really, really, really needed the money/investment to scale and grow.

Sadly, I did not make a big enough deal during our time together about the importance of FOLLOW-UP and PERSEVERANCE.

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December 11, 2012 | Tom Suddes

Count the Days… or Make the Day Count

[Here is a fascinating true story that will challenge you to re-think how you live your days.]

In a Washington, DC Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Here’s what happened:

  • A middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
  • The violinist received his first dollar from a woman who threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
  • A young man leaned against the wall to listen, then looked at his watch and left.
  • A 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. This action was repeated by many other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
  • The musician played continuously, but only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.
  • About 20 people gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. (The man collected a total of $32.)

Read more

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December 10, 2012 | Tom Suddes

The Precious Present

Tis the season for ‘presents’. Here’s my ‘gift’ to you today: ENJOY THE PRECIOUS PRESENT!

The PRECIOUS PRESENT is actually a gift to ourselves. I first read the book, THE PRECIOUS PRESENT, by Spencer Johnson in 1998 (August, Wake Forest). It begins, “Once there was a boy… who listened to an old man.”

The whole point of the ‘story’ was around the zen-like encouragement to
Be Fully Present… Live in the Moment… Enjoy Today…

Yesterday is wood.
Today is fire.
Tomorrow is ashes.

– Eskimo Proverb


*This book is a great ‘gift’ to give to loved ones this holiday.


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