How to Get 394 Warm Sponsorship Prospects in Your Pipeline – for Free
How many prospects can you reasonably handle in your pipeline without running out of time to treat them all properly? 150? 250?
What if I could offer you 394 warm prospects? And what if I could offer it to you…for free? I know what you’re thinking: anyone can download a list of the 394 biggest companies in their area of interest. But, I didn’t say 394 cold prospects, I said 394 prospects who will take your call and meet with you.
I have two techniques that I would like to share with you, and neither requires a sponsorship proposal or a complicated valuation (though you should ALWAYS know your value).
The Business Breakfast
Let me state for the record: sponsorship is NOT fundraising. Fundraisers and charities may use sponsorship as a revenue tool, but it is most definitely a form of marketing (not corporate philanthropy). Why am I telling you this? Because the first strategy is borrowed from the charitable sector…and is the single best tool for growing your pipeline.
How do I know it works? Because a consultant friend of mine helped me triple the revenue of a charity I worked for (yes, three times the revenue) in 18 months!
Here is what Mena has to say about the business breakfast:
“We’ve used business breakfasts extensively through our work with clients, from fundraising for capital campaigns to finding community ambassadors for the organization’s work. They have proven to be a fabulous tool to get up close and personal with prospects and in bringing new contacts to the organization. What I love is their simplicity, how well they can work to get people introduced to your cause but also the fact that they work for organizations of all shapes and sizes. We have used them in relation to multi-million dollar campaigns to launching fundraising programs for small start ups.”
~ Mena Gainpaulsingh, Purposeful Fundraising Inc.
Here’s how it works
First, you need a referral network of some kind. Current sponsors, service providers, suppliers, people you golf with, your board of trade, your board of directors if you are a charity…anywhere you know people and talk to them regularly.
Here’s what you do:
- Identify one person, with a conveniently located office and board room that holds up to 20 people
- Ask them to hold a low-key networking breakfast, coffee and muffins only, and to invite three of their colleagues
- Identify three other people in your network and invite them to your networking event if, and only if, they can bring three people from their network
- At the event, network for an hour before the business day starts. Have your host introduce you as a friend and colleague and then tell the crowd you want two things from them. The first, is to buy them a cup of coffee in the next two weeks. The second, is for someone in the crowd to agree to hold an identical event for you next month
Not only will you have your next business breakfast planned but you also have a pool of prospects to come, who can bring three of their contacts. People love to network! What better way to start a new relationship than by offering your prospects value before you even ask them for a penny.
What do you do over coffee? You ask them their thoughts on who you should be talking to about your sponsorship opportunity, you ask them what they value in a sponsorship offering and how the two of you can work together. Still stumped? Check out my 5 Questions for Every Sponsorship Prospect.
How the math stacks up:
One business breakfast per month, 12 new prospects = 144 blazing hot prospects every year.
So what about the next 250 prospects? Let me show you!
How to Get Sponsors: The Friday Five
Here’s how it works (you even get to take vacation with this method):
- Take your never-ending list of cold prospects
- Every week of the year, except for two, send a list of five prospects to that same referral network
- Do it on Friday at 1:00 in the afternoon when nobody wants to do any real work and ask one question: Do you know anyone on this list, or at these companies, that you can introduce me to?
- Write the introductory e-mail for them so all the have to do is forward it and CC you.
- The trick? Use LinkedIn to research your five prospects to make sure they are connected to at least one person on your referral list
How the math stacks up:
Five prospects x 50 weeks/year = 250 warm prospects who will take your call.
Sponsorship Pipeline Building
These two techniques work, and they work well. When my clients implement these two techniques I always hear the same complaint: I’m struggling to keep up with number of prospects.
394 prospects in 12 months, not including your ongoing prospecting by asking your sponsors for referrals, looking at your competitors and attending networking events.
Chris Baylis is a corporate sponsorship and cause marketing expert. Chris has managed the entire spectrum of the sponsorship process, raising millions of dollars for charities, associations and not for profits and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Connect with Chris via: The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+