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Set a high bar for your next deal

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Like many CEOs, Dan Quiggle also raised funds for his favorite nonprofit organizations. He recalls asking a billionaire for a hefty donation to a particular charity.

Quiggle, co-founder and CEO of America’s Choice Title Co., made his pitch with care. He began by thanking the billionaire for his support.

“Today, though, I’d like you to consider a very generous donation of $1 million to continue to build our programs,” Quiggle said. Then he remained silent.

Quiggle understood that after making a pitch, it pays to keep quiet and let the respondent chime in. That gives you a sense of where you stand.

After a long pause, the billionaire said that his biggest donation to date was $250,000 and he rejected outright the notion of a $1 million gift. But he agreed to give $500,000.

Quiggle thus met his goal by starting with a vastly inflated number and letting the other party set a lower, but still substantial, figure. And he wasn’t finished yet.

“Let me just send you a proposal,” Quiggle added. “All I ask is that you look at it before making a final decision.”

As he left the billionaire’s office, Quiggle stopped to chat with the titan’s personal aide. He asked for her advice on the best day and time to send the proposal, and she replied, “Send it over at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday. He gets a financial report at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday that always puts him in a good mood.”

Following her tip, Quiggle sent it promptly at 8:45 a.m. the next Thursday. And he ultimately scored a $1 million donation.

— Adapted from Lead Like Reagan, Dan Quiggle, John Wiley & Sons.

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