Over the last several months, I have done a great deal of mentoring and training with our clients. From one-on-one mentoring, going on sales and discovery calls, working with a team on best practices for sponsorship today, to keynote conference addresses and full- and half-day workshops on sponsorship, networking, storytelling, proposal development, building a sales culture, and more. Over the past 17+ years, our clients have had huge success with our tools and philosophies. Those that have taken them to heart, and embraced, practiced, and followed them instinctively have benefited greatly. We are so proud of this.
But it is important to understand that one opinion, process, or approach is not the only solution. When starting with a new client or delivering a workshop on a specific topic, I always say, “What I am about to show you has worked for me personally, for our company, and our clients for decades. It is not the only successful approach, but it works when it is done right.” I say this because every organization and staff is different. Sometimes another approach or tact will work better—in part or in whole. Just as in marketing, all media (radio, TV, print, digital, OOH, social) will work. If you use them correctly and appropriately, they will bring you success. If you use them incorrectly, they won’t.
My message is that our services, in combination with your products or services (be they banking or real estate sales, medical services or post-secondary education, sporting events or car sales), will deliver results, but there are also other ways to achieve success. Don’t bash others and say their product doesn’t work when it really does. Don’t emphatically tell your team, “This is the way it has to be done,” because it isn’t. Times, products, and situations change. As a result, new channels and media will appear, and they too will work. Competitors will come and go. Just know that your product works and can help others achieve their goals. Trust in your own product and adapt it with circumstances as needed, but understand that others have products that will work too. Whenever I can, I identify some of my competitors and their successes in a presentation, column, or report. Just because they might do things differently does not mean they cannot deliver success to their clients.
Someone wiser than I once said, “A sponsorship program is much like vegetable soup. No one makes it quite the same.”
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