Have you ever thought that event sponsorship was just a waste of money? Maybe you thought about being a sponsor of an event and then talked yourself out of it because you just couldn’t see how you could make it work out for you?
Well welcome to the “I’m Just Not Sure About Sponsoring” Club. For a while it seemed like I was acting as President of this club. I couldn’t see how I would possibly recoup my investment, I was terrified of the thought of putting together a booth and don’t even get me started about the thought of actually talking to people at the event.
I have been noticing a couple of things in our Decisive Minds sponsor team meetings. #1 There are questions around whether event sponsorships really pay off and then #2 Those who do finally get the courage to commit (and it does take a certain level of courage) aren’t really sure what their approach should be to the sponsorship.
Event Sponsorship 101
As a service based entrepreneur, would you like to know how to Double Your Event Sponsorship Return? Change your objective and focus on follow-up!
Understanding what would benefit you the most in a sponsorship opportunity will help you to make all your money back plus, plus. I think that most of us who are new to the sponsorship game are looking for one thing – sales. What I think is a better approach is two-fold.
First, building your brand awareness, name recognition and business visibility.
- Does the sponsorship offer you the ability to place a flyer or advertisement in the event materials, resource guide or binder? Remember that participants take course materials home and keep them. Especially if you can get your materials in the binder for the event. This kind of advertising can live on forever. For example, after Take Action Get Profits, during which we show entrepreneurs how to make money online, we turn the recordings and the binder into a home-study course. This means that anyone who sponsors with us will be promoted to anyone who purchases our home study in years to come. Think about that, your sponsorship dollars are paying off for years to come.
- Do you get recognition from stage? Think about the powerful impact of having the person who is hosting the event on the stage recognizing your company for the work that you do and for being a sponsor. There is a certain level of trust between the host and the audience. One of the things we promise our sponsors at Take Action Get Profits is major recognition – I will refer to them throughout the program, recommend their products and services and give them time on the mic to share.
- Are there times and activities designed to get people to your booth? I have sponsored a few events lately – one had designed activities and had special times for people to visit with the sponsors. The other had no structure – no set times – no idea how to drive traffic to the booths. It was a huge lesson for me. It taught me that as the event host it is my job to design an experience for my attendees and also for my sponsors. We are going to have games at our event that require people to visit each sponsor to win some big prizes, we will have special times that are just focused on promoting and getting people to talk to the sponsors and I am working with the hotel right now to design the flow of our main room so that attendees have to walk past the vendors to enter the ballroom.
Second, using event sponsorships to build profitable relationships and make you more money than actual sales at the event can.
Sales are great at an event, when they happen, but the majority of the time event attendees are looking for information. I’m not saying don’t have something to sell – I think you should but I want you to understand that it shouldn’t be your main focus.
- Use the event to gather qualified leads. Do some sort of give-away so that you can collect business cards but I want you to go a step further. Engage the people who stop at your booth in a conversation. Have 1 or 2 open ended statements that you start off with. Remember open ended questions start with words like “how”, “what”, “when”, “where”. As a business coach I might say “What is the 1 thing that is really working in your business?” That will start a conversation. Understand what a qualified lead is for you and when you start to talk to someone who doesn’t fall in that category have a plan for how to end the conversation. When they are a qualified lead schedule them for a follow-up call after the event. If you can’t schedule at the moment then let them know you will be contacting them within a day or two of the event to learn more about them.
- Give your current customers an opportunity to meet you and take your relationship to the next level. I found that those previous clients of mine that I visited with at an event that I recently sponsored, ended up purchasing more products from me after the event.
- Once the event is over you absolutely, no questions asked, must force yourself to do the follow-up and it should happen within 72 hours of leaving the event. If you have made good notes about your visit with them you can easily move right back into the conversation you were having in your booth. You will also find that there is a totally different level of relationship at this point since they have met you face to face already which means that you should be able to move them into a higher ticket program than you might have been selling at the event. This is the part of the strategy that will double your returns!
One last event sponsorship question: Where should you be sponsoring?
When I am deciding on an event I have 2 questions:
- Are the attendees my ideal clients?
- Do the attendees have to pay anything to attend? Do they have “skin in the game”? If you can answer yes to both of these questions you need to take the next step to find out what event sponsorship levels are available and what is the best fit for you.