Sponsorship Sales: Make a Lasting Impression
8th March, 2012
So, your consumers and audience have been audited, your assets valuated and your sales materials designed. Now the time comes to really nail down specific brands that you will be approaching with your proposal. This is often not thought through. Far too often, rights holders are not taking into consideration the actual likelihood of the brand wanting to partner with the property or the brand’s objectives, this leading to a significant amount of time being wasted in getting knocked back by brands with little interest in discussing the opportunity.
This blog provides a brief insight into how to adopt an improved, more streamlined and strategic sales approach allowing you to encourage qualitative conversations, save time in approaching irrelevant prospects, close deals faster, improve sales staff morale and generally increase sponsorship revenue on the whole.
Prospect lists: It is easy to rush this process and simply name all brands within sponsorship categories that may be of relevance to your property. For example, motorsport lends itself to brands looking to promote the idea of luxury and wealth and/or simply raise awareness on a mass scale as a result of the sport’s extensive global following. Sponsorship categories therefore tend to consist of such brand areas as alcohol, telecoms, financial institutions, insurance, watches and consumer electronics to name those most prominent within the sport today.
Simply listing all brands within each of these categories without really looking into whether they will actually consider the opportunity can be highly time-inefficient and will also hinder the sales approach as the knowledge of each brand will not be deep enough to hold a sales conversation regarding how this opportunity is going to help this brand in particular.
A tailored approach: Take the brand’s objectives into consideration – there is nothing more off-putting than a generic call which screams “you are the 100th prospect I have approached today.” Although initially being more time consuming, researching company and brand objectives will allow for a more engaging and qualitative conversation, giving your contact the incentive to find out more.
As a sales person, this is also much more satisfying than repeating the same old spiel to each prospect you speak to. Taking a thought-out approach will also prepare you to be more responsive when asked, “how exactly do you see us (the brand) getting involved?”
Little details: Research the prospect’s previous activity and make note of some specific points that relate to the platform you are offering. This will show that you have really considered the company and have a good knowledge of what direction they are looking to take the brand in.
Build a rapport: From first contact to signing on the dotted line, most deals will generally require a number of calls and meetings, so try to establish a rapport with your contacts from the get go. Be sure to make notes of any personal comments they have made, plans they have coming up, comments about their day, which football team they support – anything that can be brought forward to the next conversation will help emphasise the fact that you are being considerate of both them and their brand.
Also, keep it in mind that the opportunity you are presenting will be equally beneficial to both parties (the rights holders and the brand) and so a call should take the format of a conversation rather than a one-way sales pitch. By being personable, upbeat and positive, you will project the fact that you believe in your project as a sponsorship platform.
Relevant opportunities: Certain sponsorship opportunities will appeal more to different audiences. For example, financial institutions that rely on consumer trust loyalty may be more interested in hospitality in order to build and deepen their customer relationship. Alternatively, car manufacturers may be keen on utilising online and social media integration, exclusive content and promotions and competitions to build awareness of new product launches.
Feedback: Many disinterested brands will tend to simply state that the opportunity is not relevant to them, providing no further feedback. However, you should always try to ask for more detail on what their current objectives are, how they currently market themselves, and what sponsorships they may look to be involved with in the future. This will give you a better idea of how similar brands may react and how to deal with it as well as give you some key information about the company’s marketing activity. This may prove useful as it may be that they are more suited to one of your alternative platforms.
Sales are often looked at as the most difficult and daunting part of the sponsorship acquisition process; however when it comes to selling your proposal, it is important to remember that if you have a strong property with suitable lead time, are approaching the relevant brands and taking a strategic approach, securing sponsors should be a piece of cake. Just remember, Slingshot Sponsorship is here to help with the rest… and sales too!