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Audrey Learns Habits of Highly Successful Salespeople, and you Can, too!

When consulting on serious matters, Tutor and Audrey believe in bringing all of themselves to the conversation. If you stood in the doorway to Audrey's room, you would see them side by side, sitting on the floor, facing in opposite directions, shoulders touching. On "Go!" he will turn slow majestic somersaults to the right, hitting the wall and returning. She will turn fast somersaults to the left, hitting the wall and meeting precisely in the middle of the room, at precisely the same moment. Her RPMs are three times his, because her circumference is a third of his majestic girth. Upon meeting, each must shout out the one word or phrase that has come to mind. Then another run of the room, then, the next word or phrase, taking into account what the other has said. You will admit, if you are candid, that few Grownup to Grownup Consultations show such seriousness of purpose, and depth of shared understanding.

Round one: Tutor shouts, "Earn!" And Audrey shouts, "Money!"

Round two: Tutor shouts, "Earn money!" Audrey shouts, "To save dogs!"

Round three (by now Rex is running up and down excitedly barking): Tutor shouts, "How?" Audrey shouts, "How?"

Round four: Tutor shouts, "Find the need!" Audrey shouts, "Ask people!"

Now, Tutor and Audrey go face to face, cross-legged, knees touching. Tutor explains that we can "sell to needs or sell to wants." First we must discover who in the Castle needs help, and has the capacity to pay for it. And also, who in the Castle knows and is willing to say they want help. Only after we convert needs to wants in our prospects should we make the ask, or conduct the close. Do not close when you know what the prospect needs. For example, she might need a retirement plan. Close for what the client wants. For example, she might say, "I know I need to save, but God! What I really want is straw hat." What are you going to sell her? Straw hat! Unless you can get her to say, "I want help with my retirement," or "I want more security in retirement." Then once she says that, you can close for your next step in the sales process. Audrey bobs her head. Got it! Needs to be confirmed as wants. But how find unmet needs, let alone unmet wants? Who might have a need? Wouldn't Momma just hire someone to meet that need? What could Audrey do that is not already done? Tutor and Audrey both sense they are making progress on this knotty problem. Both tap the side of their heads with a finger, making "thinking hard" faces, all scrunched up, like you do when you think hard. Now, they must go another round or two to elicit specific ideas. Ready? They are ready. "Go!," shouts Tutor.

Round five: Audrey shouts, "I know!" Tutor shouts, "Who?"

Round six: Tutor shouts, "Really?" Audrey shouts, "Listen!"

What Audrey has noticed is that when Momma has big parties of dignitaries, like to discuss Global Warming, or China Trade Policy, the wait staff and kitchen staff are pressed beyond measure. Every available body is pressed into service cooking, or serving, or cleaning up. The matters are made more difficult by the entourages. For every dignitary there may be three or more Trusted Advisors, Clerks, baggage handlers, body servants, mistresses, traveling companions, chauffeurs, helicopter pilots, or bodyguards. So, upstairs Cook must serve, say, 75 guests, but downstairs he must serve, say, 300 of the entourage. Momma could bring in contingent help, but Legal Counsel and Master Jack recommend against it. Vetting servants at the Castle takes month, like getting into the CIA or the NSA. You can't just have anyone waiting on the world's most important people, at $15 an hour, no benefits, hired off the back of a truck, like migrant workers.  So Cook has a need, but does Cook have a want? Can Audrey get Cook to say the words, "I want help with this so so bad!" Or words to that effect?  Then she is to say, "Would it help if....." Like this, "Would it help if you had totally reliable help that you could call on at a moment's notice, right here in the Castle....?" But to get that far we have to begin we must first probe for the needs.

Are you surprised Tutor knows consultative selling big time? Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how many Top Producers he has trained for Wealth Bondage? You don't get to be a Senior Dungeon Master to the Stars without knowing a little about Eliciting Human Desire and Converting to Cash. But sales requires commitment, alignment, authenticity, and enthusiasm. Never has Tutor had a salesperson so at one with her product, and so on fire for her cause (saving dogs). She is a fast learner, as they role play probing for needs. "Can you tell me a time, Cook, when you were felt overwhelmed?" Or, Cook, "Thinking back over the last month, do you recall a time when you felt you could not keep up with the work, and even feared for your job?" "Tell me more....!" "So you are saying, Cook, that sometimes it gets so busy you could scream because you have too few reliable staff? Do I have that right?" "Would it help, Cook, if.....?" Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Objections arise as to the size and scope of the proposed solution. Objections are answered: the solution is small, yes, but very strong and speedy. Then, after answering the objection, reiterate the needs, confirm the solution, and close again, again, again. The biggest sales are made after how many objections? Twelve! You got to close until they drop to their knees and beg for mercy.  Stick in, twist, and break it off. In every interview a sale is made. Either you sell them or they sell you. Audrey strides about waving her plastic sword. Objections will be slain. No mercy! Because? Because no dog should go hungry.

Is Audrey ready? Very ready! Tutor and Audrey do a fist bump and race each other down below stairs to the big fragrant kitchen. Let's see how our once and future Queen does under actual Field Conditions.

Earn Rule Save

Returning to Audrey's room, Tutor finds her in Joan of Arc mode, helmet on, sword drawn. "Noble Tutor," she says, regally, pointing with the tip of her plastic broadsword to the forlorn dog in the photo. "This dog needs food! She has been neglected. No dog should suffer! Right, Rex?" Rex is whining and cowering, picking up on his owner's dire mood. "We must save these dogs!" Fortunately, having thought ahead for once, and not used his own fallible judgement, having gone direct to Momma, Tutor is prepared. "Yes, the dogs of New Delhi will be saved. But first, we must formulate a plan. I have taken the liberty of approaching Momma on this matter directly...."

"You talked to Momma, about the dogs? Directly?," asks Audrey. "I did, yes," says Tutor puffed up with the reflected majesty of a trusted advisor who has access to the powers that be, directly. "What did Momma say?," asks Audrey. Tutor hems and clears his throat, enjoying his positional power as one who has direct access. A Wise Counselor, in possession of the Answers to Life's Riddles!, which it is now his privilege to impart to the young. All Audrey need do is listen and be schooled.

Whack, goes Audrey's sword on Tutor's shin. "Ouch," goes pompous, Tutor, "That really hurt." "Speak up, yon Varlet, when I speak to you, as your future Queen." "Yes, Princess." Whack, whack, whack, goes Audrey's plastic sword. "Thou shalt never ever refer to me as Princess, that is demeaning, I am Audrey!" "Yes, Pumpkin." "What did Momma say about saving dogs?" "She said you may, but....." "But what?," asks Audrey. "Momma gave me three words. And she said we have to figure it out ourselves, ok?" "Three words, like 'Abracadabra please and thank you?" "No, besides that's five words." "Tell me what my Momma said, Tutor!"

Tutor loves being a Tutor. He loves dispensing knowledge, wisdom and virtue to young minds in formation. He feels the dignity of his high calling, as a pedagogue and moralist. He draws himself up to his full height. His right arm goes out straight. His index finger, for pointing things out, goes up straight at a right angle to his extended arm. Now, holding his portentous silence, his face as impassive as a Butler's, as Audrey fidgets impatiently, he pumps his arm like a piston, on a mechanical man, forward and back. His upright index finger moves so close to Audrey's nose it makes her eyes cross, then back out, then in. Then, in his most pompous, teacherly voice, like a panelist at a World Synod of Wise Counselors, he intones: "Earn, Rule, Save." "Wait, Audrey says, "What are you saying? It is supposed to be Own, Rule, Save. Look! It is on my t-shirt, see? And it is on my flag." She points to her toybox over which the Audrey flag is, indeed, flying.

Now Tutor and Audrey must puzzle it out, as heroes might who have consulted the Oracle at Delphi, prior to waging war, only to find the cryptic utterance baffling. "She obviously knows the real motto," says Audrey. "It is on the shield in the great hall, behind her throne. It is on the Castle's stationary, business cards, and Annual Report. It is in our Constitution that Master Jack wrote up, and we all signed with the great seal, in red wax. In fact, it is on the great seal, too. 'Own Rule Save.' Now, Momma is just going and changing it? You can't change the Constitution just like that. We would need to talk to Mildred in PR. We would have to get more parchment. We would have to get buy-in from all our stakeholders, including me, Tutor. Momma can't just go changing things. Our Values, once we sort the Values Cards, and get it down to three, and write them down, are fundamental to all we do. You said that when we made our Mission Statement. We judge all our stuff by it. We hold ourselves accountable to it. You said it was our 'lodestar,' and you showed me our moral compass, made of brass, and how it always pointed to the lodestar, remember? And you moved the lodestar around and the compass spun and spun. Now you just go changing it? That is not fair. And it is making me very confused. This is the doing of Grownups! They always wreck everything. And how does this save any dogs?" Audrey sits down, upset, her sword cast aside, her helmet askew.

"Well, the official motto is one thing, of course, and that is our moral compass long term, as you point out. One day you shall inherit, own, rule, and save the earth and all things in it, thank God! But for now you own nothing...."

"I do so; I own Rex. And my toybox and everything in it."

"Momma changed only one word. Which?"

"She changed Own to Earn."

"Why earn?"

"To make fun of me! Because I don't earn anything. I am just a kid. She is saying I can't rule anything or save anything until I grow up, and Momma dies. And I don't want Momma to ever die! I love Momma." Audrey goes to her dark place, the night terrors. And Tutor knows he must bring her back to the daylight.

"Momma loves you, too, kid, and she knows what is best. If she said Earn, she means you can earn. She told me more, too." 

"What?," asks Audrey through tears that come and go in childhood, like showers on a sunny day.

"Momma said she would 'consider any reasonable plan.'"

"For saving dogs?"

"Maybe she meant a plan for earning the money yourself, I think, to save dogs. The more you earn the more you save! Cinchy! Earn a lot. Save a lot of dogs! The more you earn, the more you save."

Audrey is a lucky kid; she knows Momma loves her, even as busy as Momma is. Earn Rule Save. A new secret motto, just for now. Own Rule and Save for the long term. Earn Rule Save for now. But how? It is time to get magic markers, the drawing pad, to work on the plan. But, of course, no plan is valid without empirical research first. 

Audrey Acquires a Target

You, presumably, are not very literate, at least I hope not, since you would then be able to detect the hidden meanings in Gifthub and I would then probably be fired for breach of confidentiality among the declasse  billionaires, I serve as Consigliere, at least in my impoverished dreams, but I assume you see movies and know the moment in Top Gun, when Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, sweating in his flight helmet, yells, "I've got tone! I've got tone," meaning missile-lock, and soon his rocket will blaze up the bogy's tailpipe. Well, Tutor is watching over Audrey's shoulder as she sits on her floor, with a new National Geographic in her lap. Momma has subscribed to it for her, as part of making sure she does not grow up in a bubble. This first issue is about New Delhi, and has a spread of seven pages, "The Dogs of New Delhi." Audrey's got tone!  She flips pages forward, she flips them backward. She flip them forward. She studies each page. Then back. Tutor can see where this is going, and it could cause all kinds of trouble. Yet, it is a teachable moment.

Is now the time of teach Audrey about Effective Altruism? I mean, Audrey has saved one dog, Rex, from the shelter. She has found that even one dog, in a Castle in the Sea, is very expensive. Even the direct costs run well over one thousand dollars a year, and Tutor has never even taught her about indirect costs, like the body guards who accompany her and Rex on the helicopter, or in the motor launch, when Rex needs grooming, his shots, or to have his teeth cleaned. The true cost of this mutt (not that Tutor would ever call him that to his face) may be $20,000 a year. Audrey's allowance, grossed up for the direct costs only, is totally gone for small presents for Momma on her birthday and at holidays, and for Rex. So, what if.....? I mean really. What if we were to return Rex to the shelter? He was slated for death several months ago, and has had some good times. What if we were to take that allowance, or the fully loaded indirect and direct costs, and use them to save The Dogs of New Delhi?  Do the math, as my boss Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of Wealth Bondage, with a Harvard MBA, likes to say. The numbers would tell a clear moral story. For the sacrifice of one mangy dog, Rex, we could save as many as 1,000 equally worthy dogs in New Delhi. How can we possibly not do it? "All dog's lives are equal," as Gates Foundation says of human lives. We can't be biased in saving dogs! Or do it at random. Rex, meanwhile, has his snout on Audrey's leg, looking up at her with sad soulful eyes. She is his savior. A girl and her dog is a special bond, but should the world's richest girl live in a Castle surrounded by a  raging sea, and oblivious to the suffering around the globe?


No, says, Tutor, love is not a zero sum game, and wealth may not be either. Every dog is special, and no dog should be treated like an integer, or bead on an abacus. What we must do is to appeal directly to Momma. Tutor has, as you can see, learned from his recent beatings. Rather than letting things take their course, and Audrey getting in trouble, and then he as Whipping Boy, getting his back flayed bloody, he will go, as His Employer told him he must, to ask permission rather than forgiveness. He will treat Tess as a Momma-in-Charge, because she is.


Tutor now stands upright like a Butler in attendance, ten feet from Momma as she works her iPad, in the drawing room. Sitting on the couch, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, hair as wild as Audrey's but tawny brown, no lipstick or make up, long nervous fingers, going at the iPad's keys as if she were Lizt, with hair flying and eyes flashing, playing a mad cadenza. Is the beautiful?, you might ask. Were you to line up ten men by brainpower, ask each starting with the dimmest, you would find the first indifferent, and that by the time you reached the last, he would be simply smitten, overwhelmed. She is so alive with a lambent force, electric. Say money is the operative life-force, God in Action, naturalized, how much money is she making make per second, per keystroke, or stanza? Inconceivable. More than you or I in a lifetime. Can she spare a glance, even one brain cycle? After his recent fiascos will she even deign to acknowledge Tutor's subaltern presence?

Dear daft Tess is in a flow state, her long nervous fingers making trades and trills, breaking "counter-parties" across the globe. Then, at the climatic moment, where, if she were Lizt, she would fall silent with a crashing flourish, and rise from the piano bench,  to a standing ovation, she says, "Yes?," looking up and through Tutor as if at a crowded hall, her global market.  "It's Audrey-related, Milady." Tess's eyes come around, focused and intent. "All is well, Miladay, she is safe in her room, but I believe she has acquired a new target." Small smile from Momma. "Flying?," Momma asks. "No, Milady, dog-related." "That National Geographic?" "Yes, Milady." "And?" asks Momma, holding up her hand like a police woman making a stop sign: "Keep it brief, Tutor. Time is money. Restrain yourself!" "Yes, Milady. I am afraid she may stow away on a package boat to India, or try to fly there." "And you are thinking I might fund the saving  of hungry dogs in New Delhi?" "Not my call, Milady." Momma devotes one full brain cycle (perhaps worth $10 mm to what are called Family Dynamics, in the professional literature, in a field in which she is a talented amateur). "Three words, Tutor." "Yes, Milady?" "Earn, Rule, Save." Tutor now understands why Momma is in charge. Earn, Rule, Save. "I will consider a reasonable plan," Momma adds, "at market rates. Dismissed." Yes, Milady." "O, and Tutor, you did right to ask." "Yes, Madam." "For a change," she adds back on the iPad." "Yes, Madam."


I know that many of you reading this, are actually quite literate. You would have to be cultured to serve as the  Trusted Advisors to the World's Wealthiest Families, just as, if  a cook, you would have to be a Four Staff Chef, at least. These wealthy kids are headed to Harvard. What if you, supposedly their mentor, only got into Colby? And some of you are  among the creme de la creme, The Most Trusted Advisors. You have multi-disciplinary fluency. You create cross-disciplinary syntheses of a very high order. You are always looking for the best practices of Successful or Happy or Flourishing or Resourceful Dynastic Families, so that those you serve do not, as you say, "get deported back to the Middle Class," and you with them, carrying their luggage to the docks, sweating like a Coolie, glancing around the docks to see if you can pick up a new arrival, some parvenu to The Paradise of Wealth, immigrating from the Old Country of Broken Dreams. As a literate person you are familiar, I am sure, with the conventions of Omniscient Narration. So, for your benefit, please, let me, as The All-Knowing Author, point the moral, the Best Practice that Tutor has had to learn the hard way, his back crisscrossed with scars that may never heal. No matter how wise and virtuous we are, no matter how in touch we may be with Wealth and Will of God: "Ask Momma first." Always ask Momma first when it comes to Wealth in Families, The Compact Across Generations, Wisdom and Wealth, Entrusted Wealth, Lives in Trust, Resourceful Families, or anything of that nature. Seems obvious. But who does? Even if you have no clients for wealth and wisdom, even if you are just an ordinary Middle Class person, and just getting by, you also can learn. Same rule applies in all happy families: Ask Momma first.

Beyond Planned Giving to Fellowship in the Spirit of Love (Philia)

Excellent article on establishing a planned giving program from Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. To the article I would add a caution and some encouragement for a slightly different slant. Planned Giving programs are struggling and have been for several years. The Tools and Techniques of Charitable Planning are no longer news. Donors have long since heard about them from other nonprofits and increasingly from the Philanthropic Advisors employed by banks, brokerages, and insurance companies. The field has tilted towards the forprofit advisors, leaving the planned giving officers, and National Committee on Planned Giving, struggling for a new direction. A better approach might be to think in terms of marketing to the affluent, regardless of whether the gift is an annual gift, a capital gift, a major gift, or a planned gift. Then ask how you can align your organization's mission and its core values with a donor education and appreciation program that will help donors work more effectively with advisors on the donor's "inspired legacy plans."

If your organization has a heart and soul, and a passionate commitment to treating each constituent as an end in herself or himself, and not as means to an end, then you are already at the leading edge, although no one has told you yet.  I train both nonprofit and forprofit philanthropic advisors. When it comes to heads nodding when they read the last few sentences, it is the nonprofit dance majors, or the mythology majors, or the religion majors, or literature majors, who see immediately the point. The forprofit advisors find it more difficult, not only because their training may have centered on tax, or finance, but also because a big forprofit has to talk "vision and values" with all comers - with members of every group, community and sect, so long as they are money-laden. That can be hard - being encouraging about their vision and values to all comers, from all secular, political, and faith traditions. Candidly, it can feel sometimes like hypocrisy or like being a well trained professional at love itself, artfully providing a personal service.  (Don't even say it;  yes, I have been there. I am not proud of it, but I can't deny it.  That was when I was young and foolish, though, and besides, I needed the money. As an English major down on his luck, what else could I do? All I had to too was shine the rich people on about their precious "vision" of a better world. Listening with big empathetic eyes to the self talk of the deluded. Nodding encouragingly and waiting for the bit when I could at their money.  It was so easy and so lucrative. I wonder sometimes why I ever gave it up.) Much more valid, authentic, sincere, less forced, less like simony,  if your organization and its donors share a common language of value, and think of one another as constituents, or colleagues, or as donor friends, or fellow alums, or as fellow congregants. 

The Church of Latter Day Saints, Catholic Charities, Jewish Federation, Yale University,  Cisturcian, a Women's Foundation, Giving to Asia,  - good luck competing with Fidelity, Schwab, or Bank of America on high powered planning, credential ladened staff, efficient back office, or on tools and techniques.  But what does that leave? Maybe vision, meaning, purpose, community, love, and hope, faith, wisdom, a nurturing environment in which a constituent might dwell and raise healthy children. A fitting place to contemplate death and legacy under the aspect of eternity.  And guess what the hottest topic is in philanthropic planning? All that "touchy feely stuff" as the expert advisors tend to say with a shudder of disgust.  "Discernment" they have been taught to call it,  writing it down in their notebooks as a good hook for a sales process. Discernment, the wisdom of the ages, provides a competitive edge with High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs). Write that down. Want me to spell it? D-i-s-c-e-r-n-m-e-n-t. And yes, it will be on the exam.

Instead of aping advisors with tools and techniques, or providing high end discernment services to all comers, as if you were a salesperson, sit  quietly, invoke whatever is most precious in your tradition, and reach out to your constituents to suggest they bear that shared trove of tradition in mind as they meet with advisors. Say you are willing to create a quiet space, among friends, where they can think this through, achieve discernment in a place they hold holy, rather than in a place of business.  Then bring in the advisors, under your banner, and managed to the spirit of your organization and its reason for being. You will do much good for donors. Money will move in the spirit of community and higher purpose. And you will get your share  because you stand for something the donor loves, and because you keep that special spirit alive, when the world seems bent on making money the measure of all things. 

Our Money Narrative: Rewriting that Story

An excellent set of questions from Thomas Hupp. They facilitate an awareness of our own "inner narrative" about money. Going through the exercise with Thomas at a financial permaculture conference, helped me bring to consciousness my own moral narrative about money. (Goes back to the Gospels and Christ's disdain for those who put things of the flesh above those of the spirit.) Good questions for a donor to ask, or for an advisor to ask of a potential philanthropist.

1.  What were your family's financial circumstances when you were born?

2.  When did you first learn about money?  Was it from your father or your mother?  How old were you?  What were the circumstances?

3.  Did you have an allowance?  Did you have to work for it?  Did you have chores to do?

4.  When was the first time you bought something with money you had saved?  Where were you?  What did you buy?  Was it money you earned or was it given to you?

5.  Do you remember your first paycheck?  How did you earn it?  How much was in it?  What did you do with it?

6.  Do you remember losing money?  How much was it?

7.  How do you relate to people who have more money than you?  Less?

8.  Did you dream of one day having a particular job or career?  Have you achieved this?  Whay or why not?

9.  Have you ever accomplished an important task or project involving money?  What was it?  What made it successful?

10.  Name you 5 most disempowering beliefs about money.

11.  Rewrite those 5 beliefs with reverse intent.

Giving When Money is Tight

Carol Kirshner at Dollar Philanthropy reflects on giving when the family budget is tight:

With that said, what areas of life do you feel blessed or fortunate?  Do you have a talent or a gift?  Do you get along well with kids, the elderly or animals?  Do you have a few extra hours?  Do you have a few extra dollars? 

Remember, it is not the amount that matters.  It is the fact you act.

Where do you have abundance and how will you share it?

Inspired Creation

Son of a midwife, Socrates called his method maeutic (meaning midwife in Greek).  Among the Graces and the Muses, no males.  Yet how can this be? Most well known philosophers, poets, historians, etc. are men? Maybe our wisdom traditions are telling us, "Shut up and listen to that feminine voice that seems to come from without or above."  Milton and company took dictation.  We master a discipline in the hope that one day a Muse will master us, our voice hers.

Helen LaKelly Hunt, "Will Women Fund Their Own Revolution?"

Helen LaKelly Hunt, "Will Women Fund Their Own Revolution?" One of the best articles you will ever read on women's philanthropy in the context of a male-dominated (in other words hard headed and emotionally obtuse) estate and financial planning process.  I have read this article over and over trying to take its messages to heart.  If in certain circles philanthropy is gendered female, and if the woman's philanthropy is limited to a philanthropic budget (to a small share of income and zero share of principal), that may be because in her world the door to the counting house is locked and bolted, leaving her in the parlor to make nice with small dollars. When a woman's wisdom is excluded from the planning process, the overall legacy plan may be blind. Worse, perhaps, as in this case, there may soon be two legacy plans, his and hers, once the divorce papers are signed.   Getting the woman's wisdom to partner with the male perspective and rule the entire legacy plan, not just the giving budget, strikes me as a very big opportunity for planners, families, and society. Nonprofits can promote this.