he Art of Persuasion — Laurie Zoss

Bill Gallagher

When you can determine what your clients, donors, or sponsors want, you can persuade them to help you get what you need.


Lori Zoss Kraska, MBA, CFRE is Growth Owl, LLC’s Founder and CEO. She possesses over 22 years of expertise in revenue generation management, corporate sponsorship support, corporate cause marketing, fundraising, corporate social responsibility, nonprofit consulting, executive sales management, training, and marketing strategy roles earning her a reputation for establishing pathways quickly to exceeding revenue/fundraising goals, building high-performance teams, developing relationships quickly, and outpacing expectations.


Lori’s company, Growth Owl, works with purpose-driven organizations to help with fundraising and sponsorship dollars. That is an effort that requires a lot of persuasion, but Lori’s previous 10 years with PBS and NPR gave her the experience that has made her an expert in persuasion. Lori’s goal in starting Growth Owl was to apply the principles that are utilized in public media to a wider variety of purpose-driven companies.


The art of persuasion is not a simple one to master, and in this conversation, Lori shares a host of tactics that work. First, understand that while emotions are used in decision-making, facts-based language will earn a greater response than feelings-based language. People are more likely to be persuaded when they hear supporting facts and numbers than when they hear how you feel about it.


Lori recommends connecting with people at the lowest level of Maslov’s Hierarchy of needs possible. By doing so, you will be able to connect with more people at a more basic level. Highlighting the fears of a company is another angle that can be used, as long as it is coupled with an action-based solution.


Bill recommends connecting with people who actually care about the things that you care about. It will be difficult to persuade someone who is not interested in feeding homeless dogs to donate funds that will be used to buy dog food. And it will be easiest to work with the people who do care when you are speaking in their language.


Lori suggests using the “5 not 50” approach to persuasion. Choose five highly qualified decision-makers, learn as much as you can about them, and approach them. By keeping a greater focus on a smaller number, your chances of effectively persuading them are much greater. Don’t spam everyone in your entire email list, instead connect with those who have engaged with you in relevant ways.


Identify your objective in reaching out before your first communication. Are you trying to sell something right off the bat? More likely you are just trying to get a conversation started. Asking for a five- or six-figure donation is not going to happen over one email with one attachment. Be succinct, be respectful of others’ time, and be ready to engage in ways that get the answers that you are seeking.


Interview Links:

Lori Zoss Kraska



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Scaling Up is the best-selling book by Verne Harnish and our team for Scaling Up Coaches (formerly Gazelles). We share how the fastest-growing companies succeed where so many others fail.


Bill Gallagher, Scaling Coach and host of the show, is an international business coach who works with C-Suite leaders to achieve breakthrough growth.


We help leadership teams with the biggest decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth. Scaling Up is based on Verne’s original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.


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