I spent last weekend with environmental NGOs from Balkan countries, Lithuania, Estonia etc. at “Let’s do it Balkans” conference. Together with my colleagues Brigita and Jure from media monitoring company Kliping we once again held our workshop How to impress yet-to-be-sponsor so he will listen to you. Here are 10 tips&tricks which represent basic tools that can help you improve your performance skills in the field of selling sponsorships.
A SPONSORSHIP OFFER SHOULD BE LIKE AN ONION.
A sponsorship offer should be multilayered. The dividing lines between general descriptions of an organisation, and in-depth descriptions should be clearly drawn. With the multifaceted offer and contents, which include general as well as in-depth information, every member of the decision-making chain will receive answers to his questions and doubts.
THE OFFER SHOULD BE CLEAR EVEN TO AN OPERA SINGER WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE OFF-SIDE RULE.
A sponsorship offer must answer potential questions posed by any division of the company: Marketing, PR, Sales, and Legal and Financial departments. The CEO of the potential sponsor is mainly interested in the amount of money; the marketing director in the amount of advertising space included in the sponsorship; the Head of PR will focus on your media presence, etc.
PICTURES AND NUMBERS ARE WORTH MORE THAN A THOUSAND WORDS.
Five sentences speak louder than five paragraphs/a photograph or graph speaks louder than five sentences.
Impress your sponsor:
WITH: Your list of achievements: event attendance; a number of club members and supporters; media coverage; analyses of media coverage and sponsorship appearances; photographs; short videos depicting the emotional impact of the fans; crowds of enthusiast – that something special only your sport can provide.
NOT WITH Number of words: descriptions of past events, successes, adjectives (the best, the greatest, the most award-winning, the highest, the most popular etc.)
THE SPONSORSHIP IS A PIECE OF LAND, WHERE A VEGETABLE SOUP, NOT ONLY AN ONION, GROWS.
The content of the sponsorship offer should be fully relevant to the potential sponsor. Additional content, which may be otherwise important to the organisation, will only push the sponsor away, as they will feel that they must read/look through a lot of material to get acquainted with your organisation. The relevance will be further accentuated if you manage to link your offer to their other current marketing strategies. The sponsor’s objectives are different to yours – enquire about their sponsorship or marketing objectives. For the sponsor, a sponsorship deal is a platform on which to build Marketing Communication, Sales, PR, etc. Through sponsorship deals, they achieve their business goals, whereby your success is a means of attaining theirs.
IF IT IS NOT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, IT MAY BE AT THE SECOND.
A bad first impression should give you an impetus to push for a second chance: responses to your first meeting are valuable experiences: aren’t they impressed with your logos? Would they like more events for engagement with clients/customers/business partners? They do not have employees dealing with sponsorships? And so on. Your second impression should demonstrate your flexibility in overcoming these doubts.
FOR COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR SPONSOR CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE (NOT LITERALLY:))
When conversing with a potential sponsor speak the language of marketing and their area of expertise. You will win them over by showing them that you are familiar with their company. You will also present your sport, which representatives of sponsors might not be familiar with from the point of view of sponsorship potential.
EACH COMMUNICATION IS AN OPPORTUNITY.
Adding a personal note to you e-mail will decrease the chances of your request meeting the ‘delete’ button. The number of mass mailings is high while the number of personal e-mails is low. If you do not know who to address regarding your sponsorship offer, use the opportunity to present your club and announce that you plan to make them an offer. Signal your next move: “I propose a meeting”, “I propose a call next week…” etc.
THE POSTMAN DOES NOT NECESSARILY RING TWICE, HE DRIVES A YELLOW BICYCLE AND WEARS A YELLOW AND BLUE UNIFORM.
Your electronic or printed offer should be different to the other 50 offers that the sponsor receives daily: a video or a PowerPoint presentation is a nice alternative to the standard Word document. The first contact is also important: via e-mail, presentation (how many representatives from the sponsor?), or through the traditional method, the post? Regardless of your choice, make sure that you are noticeable even before they know of your intentions.
TRUST IS A UNIVERSAL KEY TO THE SPONSOR’S DOOR.
You will waste less time and effort if you seek sponsors from fields that have a natural connection to you. A company which has little sponsorship experience most likely has little faith in them. In order to gain their trust, you may employ comparative presentations of activities in other organisations.
KEEPING TRACK OF GOSSIPS IS NOT KEEPING TRACK OF MEDIA COVERAGE.
Clipping is not only a collection of the highest possible number of publications, which needs to be as extensive as possible in order to keep the sponsor happy at the end of a sponsorship period. It is also a tool that enables you to see how the media depicts you and your sponsor to your target audience. It is one of the elements for attaining higher trust from your sponsor already in the phase of negotiation; during the year, do not forget to send a collection of your clippings to your sponsor at the height of your exposure – remain on their minds 365 days a year (not only when signing a contract.).
Not a piece of advice, but a necessity: when you sign a sponsorship deal, the real work begins. Until then, raise awareness whenever and wherever, and familiarise yourself with potential and current sponsors.