It is a numbers game. I don’t care how you look at it… it is still a numbers game. You need to get proposals in front of people. The more proposals, the more closes you will have. I told this to a client earlier in the summer. She gets that it is all about relationships, but still a numbers game. You can have great relationships with huge amounts of trust, but if you don’t make the ask… put that proposal in front of them you won’t get the sale.
She represents several properties that she sells for. We provide mentoring and coaching to her with inventory asset development and valuation, prospecting, discovery sessions, getting those meetings, proposal development and negotiation, like we do so many clients. But she stands out to me because of her effort and resilience. I want to share with you three basic understandings that I have seen her, and many others master to become successful in this sponsorship world.
- Success is not always measured in the closes… it is in the process and learning. You may go months without a close, in fact you may go for months with nothing but “no’s” or “things have changed” – and we sure know they have. Those that are successful, know they need to continue to put in a strong work effort and be resilient. When the “no” comes, determine what the follow up plan is. Was this an abrupt turn around and really a no… or was this a “no, not right now” and if so when is your follow up and how will that follow up appear – casual or more business oriented? If you are learning with each meeting, each proposal, each win and each rejection, then it is always a win. Understand what you can take away as a learned addition to your arsenal and then you win every time. This lady does just that… every time.
- It is important to build a relationship, but as she quotes to me often when I ask how she is feeling after she gets a no or a delay – “I am not attached”. She believes in the organization she is selling for, otherwise she would not sell for them. She not only believes in the organization, but she believes the assets that the property holds will deliver great ROI for the sponsors she works with on those properties. But she does not become attached or emotional to the prospect / sponsor. When she gets a no, she analyses and moves on (be that a deferment or an end of the line action). She does not take it personally. She is able to separate this. She knows in each case she has done the best she can to show the prospect the benefit / value / ROI in the proposal and opportunity but knows she can only lead the horse to water. Even thirsty hoses are stubborn sometimes and miss seeing the water / opportunity for success right in front of them. I like the line “I am not attached”. You cannot take a “no” or rejection of your proposal personally… no matter how hard you worked on it or how much you believe it would benefit the sponsor… and the property, don’t become attached!
- Keep your funnel full. It is critical that your funnel is always full. And that does not mean you have lots of names on a spreadsheet of people you can call on next. When we work with our clients on prospect development, we have them set up a series of funnels. The prospect list (that list that has all the names and the details on research such as contact info etc. has all been completed), then the leads, those that we are presently reaching out to and trying to get a meeting with or have had up to no more than 2 meetings with. Then there are the discovery clients, those that we have had more than two meetings with, and we are delving deeper into their needs, objectives, budgets etc. Then once we know exactly what they need in the way of assets and a program and we know the confirmed budget and we have a tentative yes “we are a go” then we write the proposal and pitch it. Then there is the negotiation phase of the funnel and finally they fall into either closed or dead funnels. But when you get a no, then you should have about 3-7 in the proposal phase funnel already and perhaps 6-10 in the discovery phase and 10-15 in the lead stage… so the funnel has other prospects at different stages of the process so that you are always moving business forward.
I remember talking to this one client after she got a “no”. I asked what was the next step. She responded, I will follow up in a month or so as they suggested, but right now I have these prospects in the proposal development funnel and these prospects in negotiation that I need to focus on. She had prospects in the funnel, all phases of the funnel. She did not dwell on the “no” because she had other active prospects on the move. Too many people put all their eggs in that one basket and when they get a “no” they have only leads in place… and it is months before they make their next pitch. This lady would be pitching within weeks if not days because she had her funnel phases full.
Three easy and basic understandings that can help you to also be successful.
Be sure to check out all the great topics such as this one on sales process and the amazing speakers for the upcoming WSC events, at WSC® Alberta Forum in Edmonton November 25-26, the WSC® Ontario Toronto Forum (October 6-7) or WSC® Ontario Ottawa Forum (October 20-21, 2020). Seating for all three events is limited, so register today to ensure you get all the support you need to make your sponsorship program bounce back with success. Refund guarantees are in place, so there is no risk if you cannot attend. Register today for best pricing!
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