Moving From Selling Benefits to Selling the “Experience”

With over 160,000 non-profit organizations in Canada, the competition for sponsorship dollars is fierce, with some companies receiving 300-500 proposals a week. And like it or not, the reality is that there could be dozens or even hundreds of organizations offering sponsorship features and benefits similar to your proposal. So the big question is, how do you stand out from the sea of competition?

One of the most powerful approaches you can use is to move away from features and benefits as your key selling point and focus on presenting the “sponsorship experience”. In other words, you want to provide an opportunity for your prospect to see, hear, touch or get a taste of your sponsorship opportunity – to appeal to the emotional “hot buttons”. Here are some quick tips on how you can sell the “experience”:

  • Visual Representation – Use visual images to give your prospect a sense of what it’s like to be part of your audience. If you have a conference, show pictures of your customers listening intently to a speaker or show a crowded trade show floor. If you are running a public event, show your customers participating in one of your signature activities. Where possible, show sponsor profile opportunities in these visual images.
  • Auditory and Customer Emotional Representation – Post an on line video (through your web site or a link to You Tube) that features your event or activity and includes audience testimonials. By demonstrating the customer experience, you are providing the prospect with a clear vision of your product and its importance to your audience.
  • Peer-to-Peer Representation – If you have current sponsors, feature their testimonials in your promotional material. Nothing speaks stronger than a third-party endorsement of your product.
  • Impact Representation – If your organization is dedicated to a specific cause, use case studies and statistics to demonstrate the results that are achieved through sponsored initiatives. This provides a clear vision of the good work that a sponsor can be a part of through their involvement with your organization.
  • Creative Representation – Brainstorm for other creative ways you can demonstrate your sponsorship product or brand through one of the senses. For example, if you are an environmental group that is involved in planting trees, include a seedling with your proposal that includes a quote from a community member that benefited from your program (don’t try this on line).

The bottom line is that by focusing on the “sponsorship experience”, you can move beyond logos and other unpersonalized benefits to an emotional level where the prospect begins to visualize themselves as a willing participant. And once you make a connection at this level, the rest is a matter of details.

Later,

BC

Adding Value To Sponsorship Proposals

As part of my Designing and Selling Your Sponsorship Program workshop series, I offer 30-minutes of free consultation within 30 days of each workshop. One of the most common questions I get asked in these post-workshop consultations is “How do I add value to my sponsorship packages / proposals”?

The answer is quite simple – you add value by providing benefits that are aligned with the prospect’s (potential sponsor’s) business objectives.

There are a number of ways to do this. The first is to ask yourself, “If I was in my prospect’s shoes, what would I think is valuable in a sponsorship? (hint#1: I’ll bet it’s not just logo-type benefits) and in the same breath, If this was my money, would I get excited about the sponsorship proposal that I have in front of me”? (hint#2: probably not, if it’s just logo-type benefits). If you can’t answer the first question and/or answer No (be honest now) to the second question, you need to do some more homework.

The second way is to take the time to research the prospect’s current sponsorship projects or marketing thrusts to see what they are currently involved in. Thanks to technology, most of this can be done on line. While it may be somewhat dated (what’s been done or what they are currently involved with vs what’s coming down the road), this research will provide you with insight about the kinds of things that are important to them.

A third and even more obvious way is to ask the prospect what’s important to them before submitting a proposal. Not only will you get a sense if what you’re offering as benefits is of any interest to them, you’ll also be sending a clear message that you are also interested in their success, not just your own.

Later, BC

Top 10 Sponsorship Resolutions for 2008

It’s a new year and time to get on track and remove some of those bad habits we’ve picked up in the previous year. Here are my Top 10 New Year Resolutions that you should consider if you want to be successful at sponsorships.

Repeat each of the resolutions below with right hand firmly placed over your heart (in patriotic fashion). I resolve:

1. To understand the associative value of my sponsorship property (s) so that when a prospect asks, I have a clear answer why they should invest in my sponsorship program;

2. To listen to the needs of prospects before submitting a sponsorship proposal;

3. To move beyond “cookie cutter” sponsorship packages;

4. To have a rationale for how I price on my sponsorship packages;

5. To prospect for leads on a year-round basis;

6. To set aside time each week to conduct “cold calls”;

7. To faithfully deliver sponsorship benefits as outlined in the agreement;

8. To ask for the sponsorship sale;

9. To ask sponsors how they will measure success – and provide post-sponsorship reports that address their criteria;

10. To be a sponsorship ambassador by delivering added value to sponsors and promoting the discipline as a legitimate and effective marketing medium.

Good luck in 2008!