Becoming Successful

Becoming Successful

Vince Lombardi once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will.” This came to mind recently as I was working with two clients. One is a go-getter. She thrives on the relationship development side of the sponsorship world. She is engaging, constantly coming up with creative ideas and concepts for both her organization and that of her partners. She has been in the industry about eight years and I see her being really successful. She has the will to succeed. She reads, attends SMCC events, posts online, and attends professional development conferences, sometimes on her own dime when the organization’s budget is spent!

On the other side, I am working with a woman who has been in the business about seven years. She is bright and knows the business, just like the other person. But she does not have the will, passion, or desire. To her, this is a job. She is on salary with a bonus structure (which is never earned). Typically, she is one of the last to arrive at the office and is definitely the first to leave. In fact, if she can arrange a 3:00 p.m. off-site meeting, she is usually home by 4:15 to 4:30 p.m. versus the rest of the team which works past 5:00. When it comes to conferences and training, if it is not from 9 to 5 on a weekday, or continues into the evening or weekend, she is not going! She meets budget as she has pretty good relationships based on most of the partners having been with the organization for over ten years, but really does not exceed budget expectations or work to WOW her partners with ideas. Her philosophy has been, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Her time in the role is probably limited based on the new boss in place and the operational sponsorship audit that was done on the department, and its strengths and opportunities.

So, what makes a person successful in the world of sponsorship, fund raising, sales, or sport marketing? Here are four key suggestions.

  1. You need to have passion for what you are doing. You have to believe in your product and your partnership, and love it. As Vince Lombardi noted, you must have the will to succeed.
  2. You need to think beyond your organization. You need to think about your partners, walk in their shoes, and figure out how you can help them. Build a relationship based on your intimate knowledge of their business and business needs.
  3. You need to attend conferences, networking, and professional development opportunities such as the Western Sponsorship Congress – WSC.
  4. You need to understand your organization inside and out and have strong internal relationships. Know what you can and cannot deliver. Engage other departments in your partnerships so they know what you do, and more importantly, what your partners need. Let them be part of the process rather than the last to know.

Let me know what you think makes a person successful while others aren’t!

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  1. Very evident which one will succeed, and which company will be better over time. Passion, drive, engagement are three things which come to mind when I think of employees that will succeed over time. Employee number 1 has a passion to succeed, overachieve, and move up, employee number 2 is going through the motions, and could actually be hurting their respective business. Difficult to find employee number 1, but when you do find them , hold onto them for dear life! They are few and far between. Employee number 2 is going through the motions, and over time will not be going out of his/her way to support her partners in a meaningful way. Only question to ask is whether the managers of employee 2 be smart enough to understand that just hitting basic targets isn’t enough. For companies to succeed and prosper you need someone like employee number 1, and you have to have the foresight to move on from employee number 2, before he/she wrecks your reputation, or simply just mails in the work until retirement comes. There are many Employee #1’s looking to build your business, and can drive revenues for you. Unfortunately far too many number 2’s(pun intended) that simply mail it in for work everyday.

    • John,

      Thanks for this feedback. I cannot agree more and love the line in regards to #1 “hold onto them for dear life!” I can tell you that management of #2 are well aware. It was clearly evident in the Sponsorship Operational Audit we did and they have already acted on it!

  2. Great points John! Great read as always, Brent!

    Unfortunately there are times when managenent doesnt appreciate a #1 type.

    I have worked with #1 types and they can help motivate others as well. Set the example!

    • Thanks Josh! And you are so right… setting a good example is always important… whether others or notice it is not important in my books… it is doing the right thing.


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