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How To Ask For Sponsorship: Five Questions For The First Meeting

by | March 7, 2019

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  • The Sponsorship Collective has worked with over 1000 clients from every property type all over North America and Europe, working with properties at the $50,000 level to multi-million dollar campaigns, events and multi-year naming rights deals
  • We have published over 300 YouTube videos, written over 500,000 words on the topic and published dozens of research reports covering every topic in the world of sponsorship
  • All of our coaches and consultants have real world experience in sponsorship sales

Asking For Sponsorship Is Easy!

As Long As You Don’t Ask For Money (Yet!)

Prospecting is arguably the most important part of the sponsorship sales process. It is through the process of discovery meetings, geared towards information gathering rather than sales, that you learn whether or not the market will support your goals.

The goal of the first meeting is not to make the sale but to gather information and demine whether or not you have a fit. The types of questions that you should ask your prospects must reflect the goals of the first meeting.

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5 Questions To Ask Potential Sponsors

Here are the five most important questions you should be asking in the first meeting in order to be able to create a custom sponsorship package:

Who is your target audience?

This starts the meeting on the right path, right away. Don’t launch into a pitch, instead, get your prospect talking about their target audience. Not only will this give you valuable information for your proposal and your ownaudience researchbut it shows your prospect that you understand how sponsorship works.

What action do your customers take right before they make a purchase? How do you typically get them to take that action?

You want to get to know your prospect’s sales cycle and what they see as the most important steps in that sales cycle. Far too often, sponsorship sales professionals rely on logo placement, awareness building and old-school sponsorship tactics without first learning whether or not your prospect even cares about “awareness”. If your prospect is struggling to get customers into their sales funnel and you can help with that, you will stand out from the crowd as a valuable partner.

Tell me about a sponsorship agreement that went badly and why? What made it not produce ROI?

Learning what your prospect hates, what is unlikely to produce ROI and what frustrates them is a GREAT way to avoid making the same mistakes as your competitors. Be ready to hear about things that may be in your stock package or about the assumptions you made about your prospect (good thing you didn’t lead with the sponsorship package, isn’t it?).

What can you tell me about your sales goals for the coming year?

Sales goals typically come with a budget and marketing plan. This is a good thing. Sales goals are the things that your prospect will be measured against, and getting them talking about their pain points will give you an insight into where they may be willing to invest.

What would you consider to be the most important elements of a sponsorship package and what should I avoid?

Never guess at what to include in your sponsorship proposals! Ask you your prospects for their guidance to make sure you get it right.

I know what you’re thinking, you didn’t get a chance to deliver your sponsorship package or describe your sponsorship levels. Keep reading to find out why this is a good thing, and while you’re at it check out my article on the real goals of the sponsorship sales meeting.


What do you notice about these five questions? First, none of them are statements! I know this seems obvious but it’s important to pause here to consider this fact. You should be asking questions and listening far more than talking in a prospecting meeting. If you aren’t asking questions, you are losing the sale.

Most people move into “spaghetti mode” during sales meetings. They throw every fact, asset, offer, level etc. that they can think of at the wall in hopes that something will stick. They hope that the sponsor will hear some magic word or key message and hand them cash on the spot.  The truth is, less is more when it comes to your messaging.


“I think it sounds like we have a fit here, would you agree? Is this a good time for me to put together a draft proposal for your feedback?”

You should never, under any circumstances, submit a proposal or try to move to the next step in the sales process until you have your prospect’s explicit permission to do so. If you don’t have a fit, there is no sponsorship proposal on earth that will close the deal.

Here’s the catch. You can only ask to submit a draft proposal once you have asked the preceding five questions and only if you can genuinely draw a link between their target market and your audience.


If you do your job well and really listen, you and your prospect will be able to work together on a fair price that meets both of your needs. Commit to the process and spend your mental energy focusing on your prospect and helping them achieve their goals rather than trying to sell them a predefined package.

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