John Zeltin     Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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The Five Most Common Mistakes in Soliciting Sponsors

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In my role directing event marketing,  trade show and sponsorship activities for over 20 years for American Express,  I was approached almost daily with proposals for
sponsorships.  Any successful, profitable, and well managed company is very strategic in its decision making on what sponsorships to invest in.

Following are five of the most common mistakes that organizations make in pitching companies to invest in a sponsorship:

1.   Not doing research in advance of the approach: Taking some time to research the company, its markets, products and services will go a long way toward
helping to craft an approach that will resonate with the prospect.   It is also a good idea to get some background information on the individual you will be speaking
with.   This investment of time will position you well with your prospect.

2.   Cold calling:  This is rarely effective as you either get voice mail or a busy executive who happens to pick up their phone and is not at all reception to listening to
a sales pitch.  Instead, a very brief advance email with some significant facts surrounding the sponsorship and closing with a request for a brief 5-10 conference
is much more effective.

3.   Not building a business case for the sponsorship:  This relates to point #1.  Companies engage in sponsorships for a number of reasons such as raising
market visibility, building relationships with important industry organizations or gaining access to pools of sales prospects.   It is important to provide hard data
on how a sponsorship will help achieve these goals.

4.   Selling rather than conducting a dialog:   It is important to highlight the benefits of the sponsorship but also important to ask a few questions and learn
something about the prospect and their objectives.   Building a relationship with the prospect could result in a sale later if not successful this time.

5.   Using high pressure sales tactics or overpromising:  Both of these have undesirable consequences and need no further elaboration.

As companies are strategic in decision making on sponsorships,  organizations should take the same approach in their solicitations. It will increase the chances of signing
a company up while at the same time fostering a positive image of the sponsoring organization in the minds of the prospects.

2013 by John Zeltin