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Profile of the Educated Professional

by Emily Taylor
27 04 2011

Knock, knock, knock.  Our well educated sponsorship professional is about to walk into the office of a potential sponsor for his second meeting.  We’ll call him Joe.  Joe is purposeful, he’s prepared,  he has a transparent agenda – and one that both with benefit from at the end of the day.  He is invited in.  The small talk is kept to a minimum as they move into the purpose of the meeting.  Joe confirmed their appointment 24 hours before with a brief overview of the agenda he wished to cover for the sake of efficiency.  The dialogue begins.  But before we go there, let’s back up.

Joe was in charge of securing sponsorships for a major festival in Miami. The festival had grown 20 percent each year since it’s kick off 5 years before, and they were ready to really take it to the next level with a partner ready to come alongside them.  Joe had put together a survey for the attending audience the year before where he acquired valuable information about what the attendees did and didn’t like about the festival. He learned a lot – including the major areas of opportunity they needed to address.   He spent the next several months researching potential partners who might be a good fit for meeting those goals and winning the appreciation and loyalty of his audience. He found 3 companies that he felt would benefit most from committing to a partnership – they all had participated in like events in the past, they all had interest to a common target audience, and he had brainstormed some very creative and interactive activation strategies that would prove to be mutually beneficial and memorable at the same time.  Most would stop there and have done more than most as they picked up the phone and prepared to pitch – but Joe didn’t stop there. He had a formal, customized proposal put together for each of these potential partners.  It was complete with an introduction, valuable stats on the unique nature of the opportunity as well as a clearly informed understanding of brand he was addressing as well as a few unique ideas for how they might activate a partnership with some photos to capture the potential – just to give the sponsor something to envision.  The price was offered as negotiable upon the interest of and unique interests of the sponsor upon a meeting.  All of this information was sent in a notebook to the office of the brand manager of the company with a personalized brief introduction.  The only ask was for a meeting to discuss the opportunity. That meeting happened.  The two discussed more details around what the event was about, and why they were pursuing this particular brand as a partner.  After several pointed questions were answered and the interest was obviously there, Joe asked for a second meeting.  The purpose was made clear – to discuss the marketing interests of the brand and to brainstorm ideal activation strategies if they were to become partners.  The focus was on the brand. 

Now they’re sitting down in their second meeting – Joe knows what he wants and he has a list of questions he has prepared to walk through with the sponsor in order to be both efficient with their time and gather valuable information to further edit and formalize the final proposal.  As the discussion ensued, time flew.  Joe looked up only to realize there was only 10 minutes left before their allotted time was up, so he stopped and gave the sponsor a heads up, asked for an email with a few items they had previously discussed would be helpful for him to know.  He then promised a formalized document including the items they discussed and invited the sponsor to communicate other insights upon any fresh concepts.  He gave timeframe for the next expected correspondence and gave a heads up that they were speaking with two other sponsors, but for xyz reason, they’d love to gain a partnership with him as soon as possible.  They shake hands, the timeframe is honored, next steps are established, and Joe walks out the door and on his way to meeting number two.

So what did Joe do right?

  1. He put together a customized proposal that stood out – a little extra effort goes a long way.
  2. He did his research – he knew WHY the relationship could be mutually beneficial.
  3. The proposal was custom – he brainstormed a few ideas of his own off the bat.
  4. He honored the sponsor’s time
  5. He focused on the needs of the sponsor and the conversation revolved around the brand – not the property.
  6. He ended the meeting with a call to action, a next step.  They both knew when and how and who would participate in the next correspondence.
  7. He was honest about their pursuit of other partners – giving credibility to the value of the property and lighting a fire under the feet of the sponsor to make a decision and commit.

Anything we missed here?  Any other great profiles of the educated professional?  Send it in – we’ll highlight it.  Keep in mind – this effort is truly an effort – sponsorship sales professionals are singing for their supper, but that extra effort that makes you stand out is one that will help you actually get that supper instead of singing until your voice is hoarse with no results.  Let the fun begin!

Categories:   sponsorship sales | tips
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