In August I spoke at the Florida Festival and Events Association, and although the topic I was speaking about was creating a successful sales deck, the questions were focused on prospecting sponsors. A few weeks later I spoke to a group of professional sales representatives and again the prospecting questions arose. It is no secret that sponsorship prospecting can be tough, many would argue it’s the hardest part about sponsorship sales, and I would probably have to agree. It can be the most time consuming and defeating process, but I hope today I can give you a few tips that might make it a bit easier to create a prospect list.
Tip One: If you want to find prospects that sponsor events…go to events! I always encourage my clients to check local advertising on TV and Radio, but there are a lot of brands who really only spend their marketing money at events! Check out events that are similar to your event. Not only will it give you ideas for prospecting, but it can also give you ideas on activation!
Tip Two: Evaluate your contact list! I don’t just mean your business contacts: go through your Facebook, LinkedIn, and even the businesses you personally use. Sometimes we forget who we actually have connections with, like a friend that works for a company that could get you connected to the right person. Ask your gym, bank, or grocery store that you frequent. Businesses are more likely to spend money with those who spend money with them.
Tip Three: Google! Spend some time online researching events similar to yours in other states or areas. Most events post their sponsors online, and even if their sponsors don’t operate in your state or area, it can give you ideas to similar categories to prospect. For example most states have a lottery, and state run lotteries tend to sponsor events.
Tip Four: Really evaluate who your audience is, and what their lifestyle is like. Keep in mind: you do this to really figure out what the audience is into, and not necessarily what you personally like. Once you get a good idea of what your audience life-group is all about then you can brainstorm brands or prospects that would “fit” that group. If your event has 7,000 campers who attend it, then an outdoor lifestyle brand or store might be a good fit.
When creating your prospect list make sure you keep the best interest of the event and prospect in mind. It will be better all around if your prospects make sense for your event audience. You want your sponsors to help build a better event for your patrons, and you want your event to help your sponsors reach their goals!