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5 Ways to Close More Sponsorship Deals in the Next 90 Days

by | June 5, 2023

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Are you on a quest to increase your sponsorship quotient? This isn’t an overnight process, but if you’re willing to put time and work in, you can begin closing more deals within the next 90 or so days. How do you do it?

Here are five ways to taste more sponsorship success over the next 90 days:

  • Request new audience data
  • Sharpen your prospecting process
  • Ask better discovery questions
  • Don’t be so gung-ho about the sponsorship proposal
  • Renegotiate with current sponsors

If you’re surprised by the list above, you’re likely chasing the wrong things, which explains why you’re struggling to close sponsorship deals. This guide will tell you how it’s done so you can begin closing more deals and hitting sponsorship objectives!

1. Request New Audience Data

This first point assumes you have audience data in the first place. If you don’t, that’s your first order of business. 

What is audience data? It’s the results of a poll you issue your audience. You should quiz them on demographics, geographics, and especially psychographics, as the latter helps you understand their pain points and motivations best.

I have a PDF guide full of de-facto tips for compiling your first audience survey.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Chris, what if I don’t have customers, per se?” You might not, but you still have an audience, whether it’s board members, attendees, donors, and yes, customers. 

Audience data drives so much of a successful sponsorship program. You’ll use this information to create teeny-tiny audience niches that you can present to your sponsorship prospects; they always want to see this over broad, everyman audience data.

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You’ll also rely on your audience data as the backbone of the prospecting process, which I’ll talk more about later. 

The thing about audience data is that it can become out-of-date. Customers (or donors, attendees, etc.) can move, get a new job, retire, or find totally new brands they’re obsessed with. 

Your company or organization serves this group, so it’s your job to keep current with what’s going on in their lives.

Since you have at least 90 days to remodel your sponsorship program, I’m all for issuing a sponsorship survey to your audience. You want data that’s as up-to-the-minute as possible.

I suggest sending the survey every six months moving forward, as this will keep you current on your audience’s needs, interests, and pain points. 

What if this is your first sponsorship survey and no one has bothered answering? I have a few best practices for garnering more replies, so let’s take a look. 

  • Send the survey with plenty of time in advance for respondents to get back to you. Ideally, you should give them upward of a month. That’s enough time for you to extrapolate data and still meet your sponsorship objectives without rushing your audience.
  • Use channels your audience already spends time on, which will motivate them to take the time to complete the survey. For example, if your audience is largely online, email them the survey rather than send it through snail mail. 
  • Speaking of motivation, offer rewards and incentives to inspire your audience to do the survey. You might issue cash prizes, a gift card, or an exclusive discount. 
  • Send a few reminders over the survey period. People will forget, and sometimes your email is enough to get them to look over the survey again. 

2. Sharpen Your Prospecting Process

How many times have you reached out to major brands and Fortune 500 companies because they seem like they’ll be the best sponsors ever? Probably often, right? Yet how many times do you hear back? It’s often crickets, I would wager.

There are many reasons large-name sponsors don’t work out 99 percent of the time. These brands are so large that they’re inundated with sponsorship requests from you, your competition, and everyone. Many of these requests are unsolicited, which reduces the likelihood of you hearing back even more.

More importantly though, sponsorship seekers don’t select prospects based on the right criteria. You can’t rely on name value alone. You must also consider your audience.

That’s why I said audience data helps you when prospecting. Remember all those brands your audience mentioned using and consuming in the survey? The data should be pretty fresh in your mind. 

Those are the brands you want to focus on primarily when you begin prospecting. Why? Your audience already has a connection to those brands. They’re regular, buying customers or users.

So what does this tell you? When that brand shows up at your next event, they’re going to gravitate toward it. This will ensure you can achieve the goals you laid out for the sponsor. 

You can create a red-hot prospects list simply by gathering all the brands your audience mentioned and starting with those companies. 

Do you want to continue building your prospect list? Check out the brands your audience mentioned. See what kinds of companies advertise to those respective audiences and add those brands to your list.

You can even take it a step further by researching which brands you think would advertise to your audience based on the brands they consume and add those companies to your prospecting list.

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To round out your list, research the competitors of every brand on the list, adding at least two or three per. 

You could end up with a prospect list of at least 60 brands and upwards of 100 or more. Rather than curating them based on no other criteria than status, you plucked brands that will truly resonate with your audience. 

That’s the foundation of successful sponsorship!

3. Ask Better Discovery Questions

The discovery session is a must if you want to close more sponsorship deals at all, let alone in 90 days. For those who are unfamiliar, the discovery session it’s the first meeting with the sponsor where you discussed their goals, needs, and challenges.

I’ve seen sponsorship seekers use the discovery session as a guise for a sales meeting. Then they wonder why they never hear back from the prospect after that initial meeting.

As difficult as it can be to refrain from trying to sell, you have to. This isn’t a time to bring your sales materials and inundate the sponsor. You can also leave your elevator pitch at home.

If not treating the discovery session like a sales meeting, the other thing I see among sponsorship seekers is squandering the discovery meeting. They either don’t know the right questions to ask or they don’t ask enough questions.

Either way, they don’t get to the root of the sponsor’s problems, which means they don’t truly understand where the sponsor is coming from. This shows when it’s time to present assets and activations, as what they present doesn’t fulfill any of the requirements.

So what kinds of questions should you ask a prospect during a discovery session? Well, that depends on what you want to know most.

I’ve compiled a list of 37 discovery questions to take inspiration from, but by no means should you ask all of them. You shouldn’t even ask half of these questions, only five to 10.

I organized the discovery questions by category in the link above. The categories are audience, business goals, and ROI and success measures. To determine which questions to ask, I recommend you look into your sponsor research.

That’s right, you’re supposed to research your prospects before reaching out. Even though your audience might mention loving this particular brand doesn’t automatically mean they’re going to be your next partner.

You’re looking for similar values and ideals, and at least information on whether the brand is accepting sponsorship right now. As you do this cursory research, you should learn more about the brand, which eliminates the need to ask all sorts of discovery questions.

Instead, focus on the questions that bridge gap between what you found in your research and what you still don’t know about the prospect.

Once you have this information, it still doesn’t necessarily mean that you and the prospect should work together. If you can’t solve their problems for them, but it’s not a match.

4. Don’t Be So Gung-Ho About the Sponsorship Proposal

If you only have 90 days to close your next sponsorship deal, you don’t want to waste a second. However, if you’re spending too much time on your sponsorship proposal, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Sponsorship proposal is just a document. It’s not a silver bullet, and it’s certainly not a sponsorship shortcut. 

No sponsorship deal that I’ve ever personally been involved with or orchestrated happened just because of the proposal. It’s supplementary material at best, and at worst, it can cost you a sponsorship deal if you present it too eagerly or include the wrong information.

The proposal is supposed to be all about your audience, with case studies sprinkled in. You get about four sentences to talk about your company, and just as many to talk about your cause. 

You should not include any pricing information in the proposal, and you should definitely skip the gold, silver, and bronze tiers.

Even if you read the proposal perfectly, that doesn’t necessarily mean sponsors want to see it. You should never bring a proposal to your discovery meeting; if anything, you shouldn’t even have the proposal ready yet. You don’t have enough information to put it together.

Here is what I recommend: write the proposal if you must, following my template if you do. Then put it away somewhere in a drawer and forget about it.

If your prospect asks for it, then great! You’ll have the proposal ready to go. However, many sponsorship deals have happened without a single proposal changing hands so it’s not a must at all.

Don’t give it too much energy or you might not make your deadline.

5. Renegotiate with Current Sponsors

This last strategy for closing more sponsorship deals in the next 90 days sort of feels like cheating, it’s that easy. You don’t necessarily have to go chasing after new sponsors. Instead, why not focus on the ones you already have?

If you had a positive relationship with your sponsor, and they reaped benefits by working with you, then theoretically, you two could work together again. I say theoretically, because some factors can prevent a future working relationship.

For example, if your sponsor spends their budget, then even if they really want to work together, there’s nothing they can do. That is also the case if they simply don’t have the availability.

How do you overcome these issues? That’s simple. If you know you want to work together again, mention it as early as possible.

After your event ends, you’re supposed to produce a sponsorship fulfillment report full of images, audience details, revenue earned, and other milestones achieved. The report should also go over the objectives you promised to sponsor and how well you delivered on them (be honest).

After you send this report to the sponsor, use this opportunity to host a meeting between you two. That’s the right time to bring up renegotiating. 

Ideally, you should have sent in the post-event report within two or three days of your event, program, or opportunity. You can meet anytime after, but the sooner, the better, as the event will be fresher in everyone’s minds. 

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It’s then that you should talk about renegotiation. You might choose to pitch a single-year deal to the sponsor or even ask for an extended, multiyear sponsorship deal. 

You can’t go into a sponsorship renegotiation deal with the same assets and activations you sold before. I recommend discussing with the sponsor whether their needs or challenges have changed and creating new assets and activations based on that information.

You must also value your new batch of assets and activations, which refers to determining how much they’re worth based on market research. 

If you ask early and you have high-value assets and activations, many sponsors will allocate room in their schedule and budget to accommodate you, especially if you have a proven track record of delivering! 


If you could snap your fingers and increase your sponsorship deals, I’m sure you would. While I would love if life worked like that, it doesn’t. You must be ready and willing to do the work to achieve the objectives you seek. 

Doing these things takes time and effort, but the result is more closed sponsorship deals, and not just in the next 90 days, but long-term!