Reaching Prospects

Every day, rights holders seek to get inside the doors of prospects. They want to meet them.  They want to build relationships. They want to pitch them. Every day at the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™, we work with clients to provide them the skills and training to do so.

Last week, I met with a young man who is just getting started on the sponsorship sales side. He reached out to me, fed my ego, and said through a LinkedIn message, “I understand you are an industry leader. I am just starting out. Could I buy you a coffee and grab 30 minutes of your time to pick your brain? I feel I could learn from your wisdom and would really appreciate the opportunity to meet you. Many people in the sponsorship industry have mentioned you and your company to me over the past few months.” What am I going to say? No, stroke my ego a little more and then maybe? No, I immediately responded and said I would be glad to meet him and have coffee. So, when we met and chatted, he asked a lot of questions and I espoused my limited knowledge. What he really wanted to know was how he should prospect. Did I have any advice for a “newbie?” We came up with the Six Steps to Prospecting Success.

1. Know what you have to sell. We talked about his need to understand exactly what his property was about, what could be sold, what was sacred, what creative licence he could use, etc.

2. Know the value of the product. We chatted about the need to know the real market value of his product. If he were selling radio, print, or Facebook, he would know the exact value of the commercial, ad, or pop up. He needs to know that for his assets.

3. Build your prospect list correctly. We looked at his supplier list for the organization, their subscriber lists, and where people work. We talked about starting at the back of the yellow pages as a prospect tool, because no one ever gets that far. We talked about driving to work every week by a different route so he will see new retail storefronts. We discussed going deeply into sectors and seeking to become an expert on certain ones.

4. When asking for the meeting, ensure you let the prospect know you don’t have a pitch. I reminded him of how he got the meeting with me-he fed my ego. We talked about coming to every prospect meeting to learn and not sell; therefore, tell the prospect you won’t bring a proposal or pitch them on the call.

5. Overcome objections. When prospects say they gave to your cause, the team can’t win, or sponsorship can’t be tracked, play to their egos and say, “Hey I could learn from you for sure,” and focus back on getting a meeting instead of trying to refute their objections.

6. Attend ongoing professional development and networking opportunities. It is essential to attend events such as next month’s Canadian Sponsorship Forum, or even better, the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ in October. Go where brands participate as delegates, network, and obtain introductions. Then we talked about a unique opportunity at the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress for newbies and seasoned veterans alike. It is called PitchFest where select rights holders attending the Congress will have the chance to sit face-to-face with three national brands to make a sponsorship pitch. Ten sponsors are participating. Each eligible rights holder will have an opportunity to pitch to three of them! What an opportunity!

Yes, there are short cuts to getting in front of prospects.  PitchFest at the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ is one. Register for the Congress today and be one of the limited few to get 15 minutes in front of Canada’s top sponsorship marketing and community investment brand decision makers. The confirmed brands in PitchFest are:

1.     Xerox Canada

2.     The Mosaic Company

3.     TransCanada

4.     Imperial Oil

5.     GoodLife Fitness

6.     Stantec

7.     MNP

8.     IHG – Holiday Inn Group of Hotels

9.     RBC

10.  TELUS

You probably won’t close a sale (but you might); however, you will have a chance to pitch an idea to people you may never get a face-to-face with. It is like speed dating. The win comes once you develop the relationship. PitchFest provides an opportunity to meet the right people and begin building a relationship.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

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