Talking Past the Sale at Potomac Rotary

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“Nuts!” – General Anthony Clement “Nuts” McAuliffe (July 2, 1898 – August 11, 1975) was the United States Army general who was the acting division commander of the 101st Airborne Division troops defending Bastogne, Belgium, during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge. He is famous for his single-word reply of “Nuts!” in response to a German surrender ultimatum. Nuts is also the speaker gift from the Rotary Club of Potomac.

Last week, prior to going to the District Conference, I had the pleasure of visiting the Rotary Club of Potomac to do my talk on the Rotary Foundation.  To put this talk into better perspective, the Potomac Rotary is consistently one of the most generous clubs in the District in terms of per capita giving to TRF.  Last year this twenty-five member club gave over $8,000 to the Annual Program Fund and AN ADDITIONAL $10,000 to Polio Plus.

With that kind of prior giving record I was worried about “talking past the sale.”  As anyone in sales can tell you, “talking past the sale” occurs when someone says they are ready to buy a product or service and the salesman keeps talking about it until they say something that changes the mind of the buyer.  I’m pleased to say that early reports indicate that I didn’t “talk past the sale” at the Potomac club last week and they are on track to write some big checks to the Foundation as we get to the end of the year.  I certainly hope so, because this club, like many clubs in the District, waits until year-end to turn in their contributions to TRF.  Their year-to-date giving is $105!  YIKES.

(NOTE TO ALL CLUBS THAT DO APF GIVING AT YEAR-END:  Come on people!  Let’s try to make this happen before the last month of the year where paperwork gets fouled up and everyone is trying to jam their contributions in at the last minute.)

I might add another relevant observation about the Potomac Rotary Club.  Our current District Rotary Foundation Chair and Esteemed Past District Governor, Claude Morissette, is a member of the club.  It is somewhat nerve wracking to do a Foundation talk in front of the boss!  If I would have messed up Morissette would have been reminding me about it for months (maybe even years) to come.  Fortunately he said I did OK.  Thanks, Boss.

Potomac Rotary recently changed venues to be a breakfast club, and President Don Harrison tells me that since they made the move there is a new energy in the club and a few new members in the pipeline.  Interestingly President Don shared with me that this is one of the few clubs I’ve visited that doesn’t do a fundraiser.  Apparently that is one of the things on the “to-do” list for this club’s resurgence going forward.  I can’t wait to see how they do.   (Special shout-out to Morris Gevinson who always goes out of his way to make me feel especially welcome. )

One last note….whatever else you want to say or not say about Potomac, they have one of the coolest speaker gifts ever.  Thanks, Potomac Rotary.  You were wonderful hosts and I appreciated the opportunity to talk about the Foundation!!!

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L-R: Jenny Bartolomot, Marjorie Rothschild, Jean Bullock, Jan Brose, Sarah Torrence, Morris Gevinson, DRFC and PDG, Claude Morissette
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L-R: Howard Lerch, Jim Harris, Pam Heir, Mark Gollub, Chris Goode
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Yours truly and Club President, Don Harrison