First, let me say that yes this post was inspired by the outstanding book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey is a genius and you should read his book! That said, this post is about how to be a better sponsorship seeker. I have observed five habits that all of the best sales people exhibit.
Check out what I consider to be the most valuable qualities and habits to consistently sell sponsorship and build real partnerships.
Habit One: Take time to reset in the middle of the day
We’ve all done it. Why stop at lunch when you can power through, eat while you work (or not eat at all). After all, the more time we spend working the better right?
If your job is to complete a particular activity, for which you are paid by the hour, then yes. Work through your lunch. If, however, your goal is quantity and if you are measured on the bottom line (as in your sales or fundraising goals) then you should take lunch. Every single day.
Go for a walk, get some food, call your spouse, read a book. In other words, treat your day like it has two distinct parts. No matter what happens in the morning, your afternoon is a distinct day.
Working through lunch means that you are not spending quality time on your projects. Take some time to refresh and you will be far more effective.
Habit Two: Do the things you hate first
Get to work in the morning and before you even check your e-mails, make your to-do list. Put the things you hate or dread at the top of that list and do them first. Do them quickly and get it out of the way.
Why? Because if you know that you have a list of tasks waiting for you at 3:00 PM, you will procrastinate and avoid the task all day. You will also dread doing the work all day long.
The best part of running a marathon? When it’s over! The best part of tasks you hate? Being finished with them.
As soon as you finish the tasks you hate, get out of the office and reward yourself with an expensive cup of coffee or any other reward you can think of. You’re now free to move on to the tasks you love.
Habit Three: Set small goals and do them every single day
If I were to ask you whether or not making three cold calls every day would make your budget, you would say “no chance!” What if those three calls were part of a sales funnel with seven steps and you moved three people up a level every single day?
Check this out. Set up your sales funnel like this:
- Intro e-mail sent
- Phone call
- Discovery session
- Proposal submitted
Now every day research three new suspects, qualify three new prospects, send an intro e-mail to three people, call three, have three discovery sessions and submit three customised proposals and follow up with three prospects who have received a proposal.
You are only moving three people at a time but if you do this every single day, you will make budget and then you will exceed budget…as long as your audience is well defined, you’ve done a proper valuation and are focused on your sponsor’s goals of course!
Habit Four: Get out of the office!
You can’t sell sponsorship from behind a desk. Fact. Everyone and everything at your organization will conspire to keep you in the office. Fact.
There are always internal meetings, budget reviews, staff meetings etc. Here’s what you should do: block three days in your calendar as out of office. Rearrange all recurring meetings to the two days you plan to be in the office. Decline every meeting request that comes your way unless it’s with a prospect or someone who can introduce you to a prospect. Pack these days with networking events and drop by the offices of your warm contacts.
Once your two “in office” days are full, that’s it! No more meetings. People may give you flack but the fact is at the end of the year they are going to judge you on one number, your sales. You will make some sales by e-mail and phone but you won’t build the best partnerships from behind your desk.
Habit Five: Always be positive, no matter what
I know, I know…be positive always? People will think you’re unstable! Nobody can be happy all the time. Note, I didn’t say happy…I said positive.
When people turn you down, thank them. When people are too busy to talk to you, get off the phone and happily follow up later. If people stand you up or cancel meetings last minute, act like you couldn’t care less. In fact, tell them not to worry and make them feel good. Use humour to keep things light and follow-= up for a reschedule.
This is not a positive thinking exercise, this is a mental health survival technique. You are going to hear “no” a lot. In fact, if you don’t hear “no” ten times every day, you’re doing something wrong (see habit four!). If you let it get to you, you will burn out. If you burn out, your prospects can tell and will naturally move towards “no thanks” more often.
No matter what they tell you, react positively and…believe them! If they have no time, that isn’t “no thanks” it’s an invitation to reschedule. If they have no budget, that isn’t “no thanks” it’s “ask me when we should meet to get into the next budget” or better yet “tell me how I can split my payments to bridge fiscal years.” If you are always positive, no matter what, it is much easier to overcome objections until you get a yes or a firm no.
Right now, pick a habit and try it every day this week. If you aren’t happier and more successful as a result, stop!
Chris Baylis is an expert in sponsorship valuation and sponsorship strategy. Chris works with brands and sponsorship properties to define their sponsorship goals, determine market value of their sponsorship assets and create strategies that work.
Chris is the Managing Director of The Sponsorship Collective, a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and international speaker and consultant on all things sponsorship marketing.