I have recently started getting involved in discussion groups on linked in and wow, what a lot of great questions there are! Today, I addressed a question about the top five things a sponsorship seeker should bring to a presentation to a sponsor.
Before I found the question, many people had answered, but those answers had a lot more to do with how sponsorship has been sold in the past than how it should be sold, and how the world’s most successful sponsorship seekers sell it. And when I talk about the world’s most successful, I’m not talking about the biggest. No, I’m talking about the sponsorship seekers who increase their sponsorship year-on-year, even in really tough years. I’m talking about sponsorship seekers who deepen and extend their relationships with sponsors, until they become one of the highest-performing sponsorships in those sponsors’ portfolios. I’m talking about sponsorship seekers who engender such fierce loyalty and support from their sponsors that they actively advocate the property to other sponsors.
If that’s what you want, you need to drop all the crap about “impression rates” and ROI. Impressions and visibility as sales tools are about 20 years out of date. And as a sponsorship seeker, you are in no position to be able to tell a sponsor what the sponsor’s returns are against their many and varied objectives. While you’re at it, drop all the overt, self-important hoo-ha about how great or needy or worthy you are. You’re selling. It’s about the sponsor’s need, not your need or your ego.
That said, this is what I recommend you bring/discuss/incorporate into your offer:
- Evidence that you understand the sponsor’s brand (attributes, values, personality), target markets (psychographic more than demographic), and objectives. This is actually quite easy to get, if you know where to look.
- Creative ideas for leverage. Your proposal must be anchored on creative ideas you’ve come up with for them to leverage the sponsorship. Put yourself in their shoes. If you could do ANYTHING what would you do with the sponsorship. The best several ideas will form the core of your proposal.
- Examples of how your other sponsors have achieved a commercial return, defined as changing the perceptions and/or behaviours of their target markets. This can include financial data, but much of this can be measured in other ways, such as increasing propensity to try or trust. This shows that you know how to be a partner and know it’s not about you and your need.
- Market research from your most recent event. Bonus points if you have asked what the three best and three worst things are about the event, as it shows you are a) asking the right questions; and b) have some opportunities for your sponsor to amplify the good stuff and fix the bad stuff, creating added value for the audience.
- Short case studies about how other similar sponsors have done amazing, creative things around sponsorships like this. This shows how astute you are and gives the sponsor a high comfort level about working with you. Again, this information is not hard to find, but you have to know where to look.
If you need a rundown on the whole sponsorship sales and servicing process, complete with numerous checklists, brainstorming exercises, and templates, you may want to get hold of my book, The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 3rd Edition.