Have an event coming up? Need sponsors? Whether you are hosting a wedding expo, trade show, or charity event, chances are that you need sponsors to get onboard in order to see any significant financial profit. However, as you may have already realized, securing sponsors is not always an easy task. Selling ads and sponsorship is a skillset that you may not possess. But be not dismayed, my friend. The following three steps could have you well on your way to sponsorship nirvana…or at least get you better results than you had prior to using them.
1. Remember, the Sponsor is the Customer
It is very important to keep in mind that your sponsors are your customers. This fact is easy to forget when focusing on satisfying the needs of your event’s attendees. Remember that, whether your sponsors are your main or secondary sources of revenue, you must view them as your customers and treat them as such. In order to provide a great customer experience for your sponsors, you will have to make decisions about your event that will be agreeable to your sponsors. Decisions made about the event should satisfy both sponsors and attendees.
Even before you consider a venue for your event, or whether you can get people to come, ask yourself if you will be able to sell sponsorship to companies that want to reach this target audience. Some event ideas that do not meet this criterion may need to be dismissed if profit is the motive.
2. Know Your Worth
Even if you’re a no-namer or complete newbie, do not shortchange yourself when you approach sponsors. Do not accept a deal from a sponsor that will jeopardize your event and/or diminish your value. You offer value to the company you are asking to sponsor your event, and they will benefit from choosing to participate. So, do not feel pressured to overextend yourself when requesting sponsorship from a company. For example, companies may ask you for more information like, in depth details about the people who are attending the event. If you provide them with this information, you become less valuable to them, and they can cut you out as the middle man in the future. The value of your event will vary based on the industry you’re in, but once you have identified the value your event offers, do not sell yourself short regardless of what potential sponsors request of you.
3. Be Pro-Active When Looking for Sponsors
The idea of “if you build it, they will come” does not apply to getting sponsors for your event. Don’t just simply send potential sponsors a link to your sponsor packet and sit around twiddling your thumbs while you wait for their response. You are going to have to knock on doors, make phone calls, and send emails to the potential sponsors you have identified. You may be concerned by the fact that these potential sponsors have never heard of you, which would seemingly make them less likely to help fund your event. There are some things you can do to overcome this obstacle.
First, you can utilize LinkedIn. It is a great tool for identifying who plays what role in a company. Once you find the person you need to speak with, contacting him/her directly via phone or email will help you avoid having to get passed the receptionist or anyone else serving as a buffer between you and your target.
Secondly, most often, the person you need to speak with will be the boss or in a senior position. Because of his/her position, he/she will often start work early and finish late. Emailing or calling him/her outside of standard business hours may help you reach him/her easier.
Third, while perusing LinkedIn, utilize the “People Also Viewed” section on the lower right hand column of any company’s page that you have already identified as a viable sponsor candidate. This will allow you to view similar companies that may also fit your sponsorship needs. Continue doing this on each of the subsequent pages, and you will have a list of potential sponsors in very little time.
In closing, think of getting sponsors as a precise step-by-step process. This will cut down on any reluctance you may have, and build your confidence that you are able to win sponsors and host successful events.