The sponsorship marketing industry is relationship based. And the basis or foundation of any relationship, personal or professional, is trust. If you cannot trust your best friend or spouse, the relationship is most likely doomed. If you don’t trust your partner as a police officer or firefighter, if you cannot trust your business partner or a fellow employee, chaos will soon erupt. The same goes for sponsorship agreements. They are based on trust. People buy from people they like and trust.
If your dentist told you that you needed a cavity filled, you would trust them. If your mechanic told you that you needed new brake pads, you would trust them. If you doctor told you that you needed an x-ray or blood test, you would trust them. So, why is it when a sponsorship professional tells a prospect that this custom-designed package will deliver the measurable ROI they seek, the prospect hesitates? It is because there is a lack of trust!
We talk with our clients about building trust in several ways. We emphasise the importance of small, slow steps that will develop long-term and devoted relationships. If they move too fast, we warn them, they will “spook” the prospect, just like asking someone to marry you on the second date when you have only met once, exchanged two emails, and had a single phone call in your “long history” together. Based on several recent client discussions on building trust, here are a few of the top ideas.
• As a property, spend more time asking questions about the brand and learning their business than telling them about you.
• Ask about the prospect’s needs instead of telling them yours.
• Stop proposing solutions until you know their problems and issues.
• Don’t pitch a proposal. Work through concepts.
• Engage in conversation and discussion rather than making an ask.
• Tell stories of other sponsors’ successes—not your property’s success stories, but the success stories of sponsors that achieved their goals.
• Better yet, connect them with your sponsors to let them meet (without you) and ask questions.
• Don’t rush the process. Work at the speed of the sponsor.
• Help them with other issues. Perhaps you have expertise in media buying, running events, or logistics and they need help in those areas. Don’t ask for anything in return— just help them out.
Build trust. Deliver results. Renew!
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