Do you want leads every single day? Maybe meetings with sponsors every week and new sponsors every month?
Today, I have a special training series I want to bring to you that will help you achieve exactly those objectives. And before you ask me–does this training really work?–let me spare you that question and say yes, it does.
Therefore, I’d only recommend you follow along with this training if you’re ready to launch your sponsorship program now. Not two weeks from now, not two months from now, but right now.
Okay, with that little caveat out of the way, I think we’re ready to jump into the training, so let’s do it!
How to Get New Sponsor Leads Every Day
The goal of any company is to have a consistent influx of leads. After all, leads drop out of the funnel all the time, and by that token, so do customers. New leads allow a company to easily replace lost leads or customers without too many revenue fluctuations.
So what does that have to do with you, the lone sponsorship seeker reading this training guide? That’s simple!
You need to think of yourself like a company trying to generate leads but with sponsorship prospects instead.
Like leads, you never know if a prospect will drop out. Perhaps they don’t have as much money allocated as they thought, or you can’t fulfill their needs as you hoped. Whatever the issue, they’re gone, done, yesterday’s news.
If you don’t have a new lead to take their place and your event is coming up six months or even three months away, you will be extremely stressed.
Having new prospects available reduces that crunch.
You won’t have to send as many cold emails or make as many cold calls since the prospects are coming to you.
So how do you do it? How do you get new prospects every day? That’s just what I’ll tell you now.
Know Your Audience
Identifying prospects who might be willing candidates to work with starts with knowing your audience.
I always say that your audience is the crown jewel of your sponsorship assets, the most prized possession, and the greatest thing you can offer a sponsor.
Simply put, if your sponsor doesn’t care about your audience, there’s no working relationship, period. The same also applies to prospects.
Without knowing who your audience is, or by only having a loosely-defined audience, you’re taking shots in the dark each time you reach out to sponsorship prospects.
That makes it difficult to get responses from the outreach you’re doing and next to impossible for leads to come to you.
So what does knowing your audience mean, anyway? It means recently having surveyed your audience and being able to cull at least 20 data points from your audience segments.
Let’s say that one of your segments is suburban moms in their 30s. You can tell me 20 data points about that group.
In doing so, you break down what is a general segment into highly specific niches. And, because I haven’t said it on the blog in a while, the riches are in the niches!
You must be able to provide information such as gender, age, location, income, who they bank with, their preferred automotive brands, their telecommunications preferences, and what your audience plans to do in the next 18 months, such as buying a home, going to college, or traveling/vacationing.
This is how you can tell a prospect facts like, “My property is a conference with 375 event professionals. Up to 30 percent are VPs and C-suite, 50 percent are mid-level professionals, and 20 percent are consultants.”
Then you can follow that up with a question like, “Which of these audience segments appeals to you the most?”
By having this kind of data and being able to ask these types of questions, you’re speaking the language of sponsors, and that language is marketing.
It’s not donations or investments. It’s certainly not philanthropy. It’s marketing!
Know Your Prospects
You’ve got audience data–hooray! Now it’s time to use that data to look for prospects.
Let me guess, you probably already have a process for that, right? You choose which companies you want to work with based on how much money they have.
Well, when you do it like that, you’re not speaking the language of sponsors, which is marketing. That’s why you end up empty-handed without the money you seek.
So let’s pivot away from that line of thinking, shall we? What I want you to do instead is look at your audience survey.
Why? Well, because a lot of great information is in there. Remember, your audience will have divulged which automotive brands they use, which forms of media they consume, etc.
The connection between audience and brand is already well-defined, so these prospects are the ones you want to engage with first. They’re your hottest prospects by far!
Next, knowing what kind of media your audience consumes, do yourself a favor and consume that media yourself. What kinds of brands do you see advertising? Collect the names of these companies, as they’re the next on your prospects list.
There’s yet a third group you can tap into, which are known as endemic sponsors. An endemic sponsor has products and services that align with your property, be that an event, program, or opportunity.
I’ll use the easiest example – food brands at a food festival. Those are endemic sponsors.
Many sponsorship seekers start and end with endemic brands. The thing with these brands though is that they’re not your warmest prospects by any stretch. They could be interested in your audience (and vice-versa), but that’s not to say they are.
In other words, endemic sponsors have some value but should not be your bread and butter.
You can even expand your prospect research further, and I recommend you do. For every brand on your list so far, research several direct competitors.
Using the food example from before, if you were considering an ice cream brand as a sponsor, then you’d look up which brands compete with that ice cream brand such as Turkey Hill, Friendly’s, Blue Bunny, Talenti, etc.
Prospecting this way can easily net you hundreds and hundreds of possible sponsors. I’ve even had clients with thousands of prospects. Some will undoubtedly be warmer than others, but all are viable.
And that’s all there is to it if you want to get leads every single day!
How to Get Meetings Every Week
Now let’s talk about how you can set up sponsorship meetings more often.
The way to landing meetings every week isn’t sending your sponsorship proposal to the prospects you worked so hard to find. It’s by reaching out with the intention of…that’s right, scheduling a meeting.
I know that sounds simple, maybe even too simple, but you’d be surprised how many sponsorship seekers make the wrong move.
Okay, so your next question is this. Do you really need meetings every single week? Perhaps not, but I’d still recommend it as a benchmark to achieve anyway. And why is that?
It’s simple. Sponsors rarely make decisions–especially decisions involving significant amounts of money–instantly.
They need time, so not every meeting you have is necessarily going to lead to sponsorship dollars entering your hand (or wallet or bank account, however you’d like to think of it).
You can give the sponsors the time they need to make up their minds when you have a lot of meetings scheduled.
The same factors are at play as what I discussed in the section above. Sponsors will seem interested at first, but as soon as specific monetary figures are announced, they will drop off.
Having a meeting scheduled with another prospect means that if you lose out on the first sponsor, you at least have someone waiting in the wings.
To meet most sponsorship sales goals, you need to have 40 meetings on average. Isn’t it easier to do one or two meetings a week than it is trying to cram 40 meetings into a very short span of time right before your event, program, or opportunity?
It almost seems like a hypothetical question when I ask it like that. Yes, of course it’s easier!
So let’s dive into how you can get meetings with prospects every week.
Reach Out to the Right Parties
A company is a huge overarching structure comprised of many smaller branches or divisions.
Rather than reach out to the company as a whole and possibly not be able to get past the secretary, you need to know which party within the company to contact.
That could be the sales department, the sponsorship department, the marketing team, the branding team, the communications department, the product development department, or even HR.
Those divisions or branches are the seven access points to sponsorship dollars.
You must research the company structure of the prospect company you’re interested in, find an access point, and then get the contact information for one to three people within that department.
Continue this for each access point and you’ll have about 21 people per company to have a meeting with.
Remember, your prospect company list could be in the hundreds or thousands, so it’s very easy to see how you can end up scheduling one sponsor meeting a week.
Okay, but you’ve tried something like this before, and no one ever gives you the time of day. That’s probably because you’re not using what I like to call the 7×7 Outreach Method.
Here’s how it works.
Take one point of contact in one branch or division at a sponsor company. Send that contact three emails, then one phone call. Then follow that up with two more emails and another phone call.
I call it the 7×7 Outreach Method because if you do the math, that’s seven contact attempts for seven access points.
You’re not sending two or three or however many emails all at once, of course. You want to space it out and give your contact a chance to respond.
You should only reach out once per business day, whether you’re emailing or phoning.
Hopefully, you’ll hear from the prospect long before you lobby your seventh communication attempt, but if you don’t, move on to the next contact and then the next one.
Barring that, continue to the next division on your list.
So if the sales contacts you reached out to don’t say anything, then try the sponsorship division, and if they don’t reply, then the marketing team, and so on.
If you’ve exhausted all your communication attempts per department and no one has gotten back to you, you should you cross that company off your sponsorship prospects list.
How to Get Sponsors Every Month
As promised, I also want to tell you how to obtain new sponsors every month.
Although this timeframe is the longest, this might seem to you like the most gargantuan task. I promise you, it isn’t, especially if you’ve followed the framework I’ve established throughout this training.
Between the new sponsor leads and all the meetings you’re having, you will obtain sponsors every month.
Okay, but why would you want sponsors that often? That one’s easy: for money!
You need to know where you stand financially long before your program, event, or opportunity is immediately on the horizon. You also want to have cash in the bank before you need it so you have the time to properly use it.
So, without further ado, here are the steps for earning new sponsors every month.
Have a Discovery Meeting
As I talked about before, the goal when reaching out to sponsorship prospects is not to send them your proposal. That’s putting the cart before the horse.
Instead, your goal is to sit down to a meeting. This isn’t just any meeting but the discovery session.
During the discovery session, you ask specific questions of your sponsor to get to know more about them and their company’s current challenges and goals.
The discovery meeting is not a sales meeting, so there will be no sales pitches here. Instead, most discovery meetings follow a flow.
First, you want to build rapport, which you would do before having any type of meeting. The goal of gauging the prospect in a conversation is to connect with them as equals.
Then you can discuss the prospect’s audience, asking questions about the audience’s makeup, interests, and needs.
You can then naturally segue into a conversation about the prospect’s marketing goals, including their short-term and long-term goals and how they plan to achieve them.
Now is a good time to ask about challenges or roadblocks that have impeded the company’s progress and why.
It’s only at that stage that you diagnose the prospect’s problem(s) and recommend a tailor-made solution in the form of your activations and assets.
How do you know what kinds of questions to ask? I have a great resource full of discovery questions on the blog. I’ve also included a range of discovery questions in the accompanying training workbook, so make sure you check that out.
As the discovery session wraps up, if the prospect is interested, they might ask to see a proposal. Tell them you’ll put together something, then ask what the prospect’s budget range is.
Once you have that information, you’ll go back to your office to start on the proposal.
There’s one more important step between now and then: BAMFAM. You know, book a meeting from a meeting.
While talking to the prospect about compiling sponsorship proposal materials and budget, ask them if the next X day works at Y time to discuss everything.
If it does, the prospect will agree, and if they’re busy, they’ll propose their own date and time. Make sure you’re available then to meet.
Meeting more of your sponsorship goals doesn’t have anything to do with how many times you cold-email a prospect or send your sponsorship proposal unsolicited.
Rather, it has everything to do with audience research, good prospecting practices, outreach, and working your way toward the discovery session.
With these steps, you can begin obtaining more sponsorship leads, having more fruitful meetings, and closing more deals with prospects!
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
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