Posted on

Your 18-Month Event Sponsorship Timeline

18-Month Event Sponsorship Timeline
This post was originally published on the Eventbrite blog. Read the original post here

Are you connecting with sponsors at the right time of year? Because when it comes to creating sustainable relationships, timing is key.

With over two decades of experience and over 4,000 brand and industry contacts, President of The Sponsorship Guy™ Larry Weil has some tips to make sure you’re connecting with sponsors at the right time.

It’s never too early to nail down your festival sponsors — but it’s usually too late.

If you want to sell high value sponsorships, use this timeline to make sure you find the right sponsors, secure their partnership, and get them to sign on for another year.

Learn what you can be doing year-round to win over your sponsors.


12–18 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Dec, Jan

ACTIVITIES

Market research

Collect info about your attendees— key behaviors, interests, and spending habits. What type of activities do they like generally?
Ex: if your attendees love luxury travel, spas and resorts should
be on the table.


12–14 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Dec, Jan

ACTIVITIES

Identify companies and contacts

Make a list of potential sponsors and research them. Learn everything you can about those brands — look through the company’s website, press coverage, and social media accounts.


10–12 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

March, April, May

ACTIVITIES

Design campaign

Create your outreach strategy. How many emails will you send and phone calls will you make? What’s your social media strategy? When are you sending your press kit? Create your schedule.


10–12 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

July, Aug, Sept

ACTIVITIES

Launch campaign

Start pushing out your content. Use your CRM to track your outreach — your phone calls, email sends, and social media contacts. Get potential sponsors excited about your event.


2–12 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Feb, Oct

ACTIVITIES

Set up call or meeting

Don’t sell during this first meeting. Instead, discuss the prospect’s goals and establish their needs. That will allow you to design a proposal that’s unique to your potential sponsor.


2–10 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Anytime

ACTIVITIES

Invite prospects to event or property

What better way to get your sponsors excited about your event than to actually show them? If you have the opportunity, invite them onsite to check out your event.


2–12 months ahead of the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Feb, Oct

ACTIVITIES

Present final proposal with pricing

Sign your contract. Next, you and your sponsor should begin advertising and marketing plan your partnership.


At the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Jan, Dec

ACTIVITIES

Collect testimonials and proof

During your event, take pictures of attendees interacting with your sponsor — visiting their booth, wearing or holding their swag, talking to the reps. Collect video endorsements from attendees.


2–3 weeks after the event

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Jan, Dec

ACTIVITIES

Send your fulfillment report

A fulfillment report will dramatically increase renewals and prevent issues. Include anything that will demonstrate the success of your event — actual attendance numbers, news coverage, social traction, and ads promoting your event. Next, you’ll start researching your next round of sponsors.

For more details, please contact me.


Want more? Join TheSponsorshipGuy.com’s mailing list and get insights and updates every couple of weeks.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

How to Close Your Sponsorship Deal With Data

How to Close Your Sponsorship Deal With Data

Not all data is created equal, says sponsorship expert Larry Weil. Instead, he’s sharing how to close a sponsorship deal with data points that are actually meaningful to prospects, and what insights to leave OUT of your pitch deck.

You have done your homework and have used insights to identify a prospect that is likely to value your property. You have figured out your value proposition. You have captured their interest and got the call or the meeting. You have invested hours in creating an appealing presentation. You have told your story, captured their imagination. You can feel it, they are interested. It wasn’t easy to get here, but you are now way down the sales funnel.

The next step is the going to be analytics. Your prospect will ask for the data to measure the potential performance of your proposal. You send them your web, social, demographics and attendance. A few days go by. Things start to slow down. Calls aren’t getting returned. Everything grinds to a halt. What went wrong?

Big brands are sophisticated about data. They have likely invested millions and millions of dollars in collecting, analyzing and reporting the information they need to make decisions. If you want them to take your sponsorship proposal seriously, you must be able to speak the language of data and provide them with insights that validate choosing your property for partnership.

If you are a Winmo user as I am, you are already used the platform to identify the prospect, understand how they spend their marketing dollars, identify triggers, budgets, even how to appeal to individual decision makers.

Why do you do this? Because it helps you make much better decisions about who is a good prospect and who is not. But are you giving your prospect a similar quality of data that allows them to make the right decisions about working with you? My experience is that in many cases the answer is no.

So how do we fix that? Let’s start by identifying what kind of data is and is not going to help you close deals.

The Sponsorship Data That Doesn’t Matter

When I am onboarding clients one of the first things we ask about is what kind of data they have. Usually, they respond with:

  1. Event data: Attendance, traffic, run of show
  2. Social data: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  3. Website data: Views, clicks, time on site
  4. Demographics: Age, Gender, Income

I try to help my clients understand that these measurements mostly don’t get to the root of what is most valuable to brands. It won’t present your property as having more than a rudimentary level of data. I’m not suggesting you throw these insights aways; I’m suggesting that it won’t close any deals. Here is why:

  1. Event data like attendance is often exaggerated and hard to verify
  2. Social data value is about engagement and alignment in volumes that move the needle for the prospect. It is as much about the quality of the content and alignment with the prospect’s desired audience as it is about the number of followers
  3. Website data: The value of views and clicks without the context of who is viewing and clicking is almost nothing.
  4. Demographics: If you are still talking about demographics I suggest a reboot. Here is what I mean: Demographics may tell you that your audience contains a large segment of women 18 to 35 years old. But your prospect is going to want to know if these women working professionals or stay at home moms, what are their interests, what are their values, do they shop online? Basic demographics don’t tell you anything about their lifestyle, values, attitudes, and preferences, which is what determines why and how they buy.

Close Your Sponsorship Deal With Data That Matters

To get to the information that will get the deal closed, try thinking about this the way to prospect would. They need some data that proves what you say and makes your property a match and worth the investment. Here some key data points that will help close the deal:

  1. Audience Alignment: Provide human insights. What are the values, goals, and lifestyle of your audience that confirm that they are who your brand prospect wants and will pay you to access? How do you know this?
  2. Level of Engagement: Go beyond clicks and likes. How long is your audience engaged? What engages them? How do they participate? What are they saying and doing? What content or activities do they engage with and why?
  3. Volume, Frequency, and Scale: Once you have convinced the prospect that the audience is aligned and engaged, provide data that demonstrates that it is in a meaningful volume. A thousand new prospects a year isn’t going to be worth the time to a big brand.
  4. Cost per, vs. other alternatives: Your competition for this business may not be others in your same business segment. If you are an event, you need to know that your cost per new customer for your prospect compares favorably with other channels. If your CPM is $200 and your prospect can get the same quality of leads from a TV or Digital campaign for a CPM of $15 you are sunk.

If you can use data to show that your attendees or audience is the one the prospect values, that they are engaged in a meaningful way, that you have a large number and that you can provide them at a competitive cost. You will close the deal.

For more details, please contact me.


Want more? Join TheSponsorshipGuy.com’s mailing list and get insights and updates every couple of weeks.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

Why Is It So Hard to Sell Sponsorship?

Recipe for Successful Sponsorship Acquisition

  1. Insights from Nonprofit Industry Survey
  2. Understand what Sponsorship is and isn’t
  3. How to Work with Busy Prospects
  4. Sponsors are Flooded with Proposals, yours must be on Target
  5. Skilled Selling makes a Huge Difference
  6. A Campaign is the Best way to Sell Sponsorship

North American Sponsorship Continues to Grow

  • Why is it growing?
  • How can you take advantage of that?

IEG’s Nonprofit Sponsorship Survey

Do you have difficulty securing meetings and conversations with corporate contacts in marketing and other departments outside of corporate philanthropy?

For the full survey, click here.

Definitions: Sponsorship or Philanthropy?

Philanthropy:

  • Corporate funding for a nonprofit with no expectation of a commercial return.
  • These funds can come out of either corporate giving programs or corporate foundations.

Sponsorship:

  • Defined by IEG in 1982 as a commercial relationship between a company and a property in which the company pays a fee in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with the property.
  • The payment is unrestricted and the amount is based on the value of the rights and benefits included in the sponsorship rather than on the budget or need of the rights holder.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

How to Win Sponsors for Your Event (and Bring Them Back Every Year)

eBook-How to Win Sponsors for Your Event (and Bring Them Back Every Year)
This post was originally published on the Eventbrite blog. Read the original post here.

Sponsorship can mean the difference between turning a profit — or a financial disaster.

Imagine you didn’t win over the sponsors you needed for your festival or event, so you’re left footing the bill for items your sponsors would have covered. You’re then forced to provide a subpar experience because your budget is tight. Then, attendees (and the press) condemn you on social media.

Don’t let that happen to you. Find out how to get into the heads of sponsors — and create relationships that are long lasting and mutually beneficial.

Download this ebook to learn how to:

  • Better vet sponsors to ensure they’re a good fit for your event
  • Effectively prove your value proposition
  • Retain your most valuable sponsors, instead of starting from scratch with every event

Preview

Finding Your Sponsors

In a saturated market, events are looking for new ways to stand out. The right sponsors can be a major draw for your attendees, and can actually be the deciding factor for attendees on whether they click “Buy” — or if they pass you by. That means in the near future, brand partnerships could be the difference between building a sustainable business — or stalled ticket sales.

But some brands might already be in multi-year contracts. Some brands might be more interested in your competitor (or already sponsoring them). Some brands might not be the right fit for your audience. So how to do you find the right sponsors for your brand? First things first: Do your homework.

Making Potential Sponsors Fall in Love With You

Whether you’re a pop-up bridal show or a multi-day car show, the key to winning the right sponsors is proving your value.

“If there’s one thing I would underscore, it’s that every sponsorship should be approached as a collaboration, a partnership based on customized goals and execution” says John Riccardi, Strategic Account Manager at Eventbrite. Now on the music team at Eventbrite, Riccardi previously managed sponsorships for various large-scale promoters and festivals.

Want your sponsors to see you as a true partner? Here’s how.

Mistakes to Avoid

Sponsors talk — so if you damage one relationship, you’ll damage them all. Here are four mistakes to avoid to make sure you don’t become a sponsorship pariah. Share this list with anyone on your team who interacts with sponsors.

Managing Your Relationship With Your Sponsor

According to IEG, nearly six out of 10 sponsors are looking for an early exit to at least one of their sponsors. To make sure you’re not one of them, you need to continually maintain that relationship — and prove your worth.


Download the eBook

For more details, please contact me.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

The Sponsorship Guy’s Secrets to Success – Eventbrite Interview

3 Secrets to Success - Eventbrite Interview
This post was originally published on the Eventbrite blog. Read the original post here.

Sponsorship is a multi-billion dollar industry, with an annual growth rate that has surpassed advertising and other forms of marketing. Yet this steady growth rate doesn’t mean it’s easy to find sponsors for your event. If anything, it’s harder than ever to secure them!

In fact, a recent ESP survey found that 58% of sponsors said they planned to end a sponsorship prior to the contract term — a 28.8% increase from the previous year. So how can you grow your sponsorship dollars while keeping the sponsors you already have?

To find out, we at Eventbrite talked to sponsorship expert and founder of The Sponsorship Guy, Larry Weil. Read on to discover his secrets for winning sponsorships today.

1 | Your job is to be a sponsor advocate

Today’s sponsors have many choices for how they will to connect with their target markets. So it’s not enough to sell the activation and call it a day. You have to manage that relationship and stay relevant to your sponsors.

“The important part is to remember that there are more things that sponsors have to choose from than ever,” Weil says. “They’re also measuring more than they ever have. And if you get to the mid-season or the middle point of a sponsorship deal, and you don’t know how the performance is, you’re not doing the job.”

So what does success look like? Practicing basic client relationship skills, including:

  • Knowing what fulfillment means for each sponsor
  • Understanding their objectives and how you will measure them
  • Staying in touch and reporting back regularly

2 | Remember that everything is not a great match for everybody

Sponsors today don’t have time to go through your sponsorship deck and figure it out themselves. They’re looking for strategic partnerships who will support them to meet their goals.

“It’s all about them,” Weil says. “You have to get your value proposition in the first five or six seconds and that requires study… What’s the value [to the sponsor]? ‘We help engage this audience.’ ‘We help reduce costs X.’ That’s what you have to be able to do.”

The most important thing? Listening to your potential sponsors, because they’ll tell you what they want. Then you can get them into a conversation, so you can find out things like:

  • How they acquire their customers
  • Their most successful channels
  • What their goals are

3 | You need data to stay competitive

Technology has changed everything for events, including how sponsors measure their return on investment. That means you need to know where to find the right data and how to report it.

“Data is where the CMOs are today. People get a lot of data on television advertising, digital advertising, and if you don’t have some of that to give them on what they’re doing around your event, then you’re going to be at a disadvantage when they’re deciding how much they’re going to allocate to events and how much to not events,” says Weil.

Take your event app, for example. You can find out information like what apps attendees are using, how did they get to your event, what influencers do they follow. With that data, you can:

  • Identify opportunities for your sponsors you would never have considered
  • Support what you’re doing right with your sponsors and fulfillment reports
  • Even change where staff is located by monitoring traffic at your event

For more details, please contact me.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

5 Tips to Fix Your Call Reluctance and Win More Deals

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy - Business woman on the phone

Would you rather call or email a prospect? Sure, you can send off a bunch of emails, (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t) but we all know the data on email conversions. Has anyone ever responded to an email by thanking you and saying that they are ready to buy? My experience is that you are much more likely to have a break through from a phone conversation than an email.

So why don’t you make more calls? Call reluctance and fear of rejection results in procrastination. Do you recognize any of these symptoms (excuses)?

  • It’s too early call. It’s after 5. It’s lunch time.
  • I will call right after I (fill in the blank).
  • People don’t answer their phones, and I don’t like leaving voice mail.

If you are going to be successful you are going to have to face up to the fact that you are going to have to make phone calls. Here is how to get over your reluctance and have successful calls:

1 | Know your value proposition.

No one want to hear you prattle on about how great your company is, its cutting-edge technology or how it is the industry leader. What can you do for them? What problems do they have that you can fix? When you call, tell them how you just helped their competitor reduce costs by 15%, improve average transaction speed by 30%. Check my favorite sales book Selling to Big Companies, by Jill Konrath. $10 on Amazon. A classic on how to break through to busy executives.

2 | Turn your cold call into a warm call.

Don’t you dare call and say, “I’d like to learn about your company’s needs” or anything of the kind. They are too busy. LinkedIn groups are full of rants about how much people hate that. At the very minimum, look them up on LinkedIn, confirm that they are likely to be the right person, or can get you to the right person. Review their website, and Google the company and click on the news tab. You will come away with something to open the conversation: “I see your new initiative targets millennials; our event has thousands in your key markets”.

3 | Use a script.

I frequently hear people tell me they don’t like scripts because they don’t sound natural. My response is always that every academy award winning performance you have ever seen is based on a script and dozens of rehearsals. One of the most common reasons that people stumble during calls is because they are trying to figure out what they are going to say while they are talking. You can create a decision tree for any script based on responses. Knowing what you are going to say allows you to be and sound comfortable which is much more likely to get you a positive response.

4 | Know when to move on.

Some prospects are just going to be a no. Even if you think they are wrong you will waste more time trying to change their minds than it is worth. Move on to the next call.

5 | Study and Practice.

If you want to get in shape you wouldn’t expect to go to the gym and start bench pressing 200lbs the first day. Call your own phone and leave a message that you would leave your prospect. How did you sound? It’s no different than checking yourself in the mirror before you head out the door. You should know how you sound. Do you sound upbeat and positive or like you are grinding it out?

Tip | Don’t call your best prospects first.

Call your least important prospects first. Consider them a tune up. If you mess up with them you haven’t lost a big opportunity.

I have had plenty of people tell me that I’m a “natural” on the phone. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my twenties, I had horrible stage fright and would have done anything to avoid making a telephone sales call. Really the only difference now is that I have lots and lots of practice and experience. I still prepare for making calls every time. I make sure my value proposition is on target, that I have a premise for why I am helping my prospect be successful, I use my script and I don’t get my feelings hurt if it is a no. A no just means I’m getting closer to my next yes.
Most of all keep in mind that if you are doing it right that you are going to help your prospect be more successful, get promoted, maybe even turn around their business. You may be opening the door to a long-term business relationship. They may really need your product or service, the only thing in the way of them buying may be your ability to pick up the phone.

For more details, please contact me.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

I told them no 5x. Then I did my homework…

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy - African Woman, African Muzik Magazine

With 20 years in the sponsorship business I like to think I can separate the winners and losers quickly. Efficiency has become a necessity because I get approached by hundreds of properties each month.

So when I was contacted by The Second Annual African Muzik Magazine awards my first reaction was: I don’t know anything about this channel, how can I possibly be the right guy to represent this property? But they persisted and so I dug in and did my homework.

It quickly became obvious that I almost passed on a great property that the mainstream knows almost nothing about.

I had to dig, but here are a few highlights:

  • Not only is there a great awards show, but the fan base on Facebook has over 500,000 likes and a reach of over 21 million.
  • The demographics for African Immigrants are higher in education, income and home ownership than the U.S. average, by a lot.
  • The brand loyalty and use of social media is double the national average.

It was like finding the secret fishing hole that almost no one knows about. And isn’t that one of the biggest problems we marketers have? Dealing with the noise of over marketing in our channels?

I was so tied up in making quick judgments that I almost passed on a real jewel. We are having great success with our outreach. It took time to distill their messaging and perfect the outreach and now we can see the path to continued growth for many years.

P.S. I wrote this to share the business lesson that I learned from a prospective client. If you would like to know more about the African Muzik Magazine Awards please contact me.

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

4 Event Technologies Transforming Sponsorship

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy - Crowd of Business People at Trade Show Booth
This post was originally published on the Eventbrite blog. Read the original post here.

Event sponsorship used to be simple. Event creators identified generic forms of exposure — like ticket giveaways, trade show booths, and logo placements — and sold them to brands.

But if you still rely on this technique, you won’t win brands over. Today’s sponsors have access to digital marketing tools that help them reach their target audience more easily and at a lower cost.

If you want to sell sponsorship today, you’ll need to match the return that brands get from digital ads. That’s where the latest event technology comes in. Here is how you can use new tech to pave the way for innovative and more valuable event sponsorship opportunities.

Mobile event apps

Mobile event apps are a staple of modern events. These interactive apps empower attendees to take control of their own experiences — and stay connected to all your event has to offer.

Using an announcement feature available on most mobile event apps, you can send attendees targeted messages. This means you can send a personalized invitation to attend a demo from a major sponsor or catch a session they’re likely to enjoy.

You can also send an alert to attendees letting them know about the sponsored lounge areas — the ideal place to meet a colleague.

Wifi analytics

Offering Wifi at your event helps attendees stay productive while they’re out the office. What you might not realize is that encouraging attendees to use your Wifi gives you additional insights you can share with sponsors.

Modern Wifi options allow you to gather analytics about your attendee’s internet usage — from what devices they used to their general demographics and everything else in between.

Understanding your audience — especially what products and services they’re most interested in — is the foundation of successful event sponsorship. Ask your venue or Wifi provider what data you can collect and use the information to attract potential event sponsors.

Proximity technology

From RFID to Bluetooth low energy “beacons,” proximity technology provides insight into what happens during your event. Attendees use these small and inexpensive devices to broadcast their location to friends and colleagues attending the event with them, as well as check into sessions.

For sponsors, this tech can show how often attendees visited the trade show floor and which booths they stopped by the most. Beacons can also prompt event-goers to check out a sponsor’s booth when they come near it. This insight enables you to optimize traffic to high profile sponsors and quantify their ROI (return on investment).

VR and AR

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have graduated from buzzwords to must-have event tech. According to a recent survey, 88% of event creators planned to use VR in 2018.

These technologies can personalize the event experience — either by opening it up to new fans who aren’t present or to add a new dimension for attendees at the event. They’re also becoming a popular choice for sponsorship activation.

For example, at SWSX McDonalds used VR to transport attendees inside a Happy Meal box. Once inside, they could use virtual paint brushes, balloons, and lasers to decorate the walls. After they finished, attendees could share their creations on social media — giving McDonalds exposure to their networks.

At another event, commercial van manufacturer FCA used AR to show off a new line of vans — with only one van physically present. Attendees could be customized the van with tablets to test different color schemes. AR let the company showcase all of their models without.

Evaluate your “sponsorship readiness”

Using the above event technology can help you gather valuable insight, create engaging sponsorship opportunities, and increase sponsorship revenue. But tech will only have an impact if you’re already what I call “sponsorship ready.”

To see if you’re ready to attract big sponsors, get this tip sheet to learn nine rules for event sponsorship success.

For more details, please contact me. 

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo
Posted on

9 Tips to be “Event Sponsor Ready”

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy - Blog - Are you read? Road

This post was originally published on the Eventbrite blog. Read the original post here.

Rules for event sponsorship success

Sponsorship is a $62.7 billion industry. Its annual growth has surpassed other forms of marketing and advertising. With so much spending, your chances of winning event sponsors could be increasing — right?

Sponsorship expert Larry Weil says the answer greatly depends on what he calls your “sponsorship readiness.”

“Most people aren’t ‘sponsor ready’,’” says Weil. “It takes a lot of effort to put on an event, so I understand why. But if you want to find and secure the right sponsors for your event, you need to be prepared for sponsorship too.”

Using these rules, Weil has helped hundreds of sponsorship sellers — from sports and entertainment to conferences and consumer events — increase revenues. If you want to sell high value sponsorships, evaluate your process and integrate them.

1 | Don’t Procrastinate

“Sponsorship sales is an iterative process. It takes time to build a relationship and get commitment,” says Weil. “In a perfect world, you should start 18 months in advance of your event. No matter when you start, it has to be before your prospect’s budget planning cycle begins.”

2 | Stay Focused

What you do with your time also determines the quality of your event sponsors. “A few minutes on Google or LinkedIn isn’t going to help you find the right sponsors for your event,” says Weil. “It takes dedicated concentration, focused intent to determine whether or not someone makes a great sponsor.”

Your action item: Block an hour (or two) to focus on this task. Make sure to shut out distractions like social media and email. This exercise will ensure you don’t just find the perfect sponsor — it’s a more productive use of your time. Studies show that people who focus on avoid multitasking have increased productivity and engagement.

Relentless focus also ensures you’ll learn more about each potential sponsor, something that will help you out when you reach the decision maker.


Who buys sponsorship?

The process of identifying sponsors for your event (called prospecting) starts by listing companies who could sponsor your event. But once you’re ready to make contact, who should you talk to? Who’s the decision maker?

“Finding the person who makes sponsorship decisions can be a lot like finding a light switch in the dark,” says Weil. “Their professional titles will vary wildly from company to company. But I’ve come across a few common ones that serve as a good starting point for my clients.”

People who buy sponsorships often have titles such as:

  • Brand managers
  • Business development executives
  • Marketing executives
  • Product placement executives
  • Sponsorship executives
  • Communications and PR executives

3 | Know Your Value Prop

“Event sponsors want to know one thing: what’s in it for them?” says Weil. “Don’t waste a prospective sponsor’s time until you know their business and understand how your event will help them grow.”

What do sponsors want? Weil can sum it up in 5 words, “Anything that improves their business.” Use your knowledge of attendees to discover the brands and products or services they love. After listing potential sponsors, have an open discussion with your team about each segment of your audience and how valuable they really are to each sponsor.

Not sure where to start? Contact Larry Weil>>

4 | Choose Your Words Wisely

Sponsors get bombarded with requests. Using the same, generic words won’t help you stand out. “Avoid saying things like ‘state of the art’ and ‘out of the box’ when speaking to sponsors. These terms are overused and add nothing of value to your offerings.”

Instead, focus on your value prop. “Remember: it’s about them, not you. Lead with your value prop. Write email subject lines and leave voicemail messages that speak to their business objectives.”

5 | Don’t Send Unsolicited Proposals

“People send out their unsolicited proposal or presentation and wonder why no one responds,” Weil says. “It doesn’t work like that. You need to establish a relationship and get to know their needs first. Then, once you’ve confirmed their interests, present your proposal — preferably in person.”

The best method of contact? According to Weil, the phone is mightier than the email.

6 | Keep a Comprehensive Sponsorship Inventory on Hand

The chances you’ll connect with a decision maker who wants to get down to brass tacks and asks for the pitch are low. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the opportunity. “You never know when a prospective sponsor will be ready to talk business,” Weil warns. “If you have a comprehensive list of your sponsorship inventory with you, it enables you to respond with concrete examples that meet their needs.”

Whether you keep a print out in your briefcase or spreadsheet in the cloud doesn’t matter. Just make sure you’re ready to take advantage of their interest.

7 | Let Them Name Their Price

Once you’ve researched the market rate and set a price for your sponsorship assets, Weil suggests keeping your calculations close to the chest. “Don’t advertise the price of your sponsorship on your website or sponsorship materials. When you meet with sponsors, help them calculate how much the opportunity with worth to them. If you break this rule, you could be leaving money on the table.”

8 | Beware of Information Overload

“If you want someone to delete your email without hesitation, send them a long-winded, 600-word email explaining every intricate detail about your event,” Weil says. “If you’re worried you’ll leave out something that will win over your prospect — don’t. Keep it short and simple. No one’s going to read a long email if you haven’t established a relationship first.”

9 | Know When to Give Up

Be prepared to move on to the next prospect, quickly. “It is unlikely that you can convince a prospect who lacks interest or has told you no to change their mind,” says Weil. “Don’t waste your time or theirs. Keep going. Find the prospect who needs what you are offering.”

Ready for the next step?

Selling a high value sponsorship is a step-by-step process. The first step is to capture their interest. Build toward the sale with incremental increases in information, confirming alignment and listening at every stage. Your prospect will help you put together the perfect deal if you let them.

Get in touch to get started >>

About Larry:

Larry Weil, The Sponsorship Guy

Larry Weil is a nationally recognized sponsorship expert and thought leader with over $200 million in deals to his credit. TheSponsorshipGuy.com is the leading sponsorship marketing agency for Virtual and Destination Events. Media outlets, large corporations, and entrepreneurs all seek out his insights and opinions, which have been published in print, digital and broadcast.

Sports Business Journal Logo
Fox Business Logo
ABC News Logo
DigiDay Logo
SB Nation Logo
Eventbrite Logo