Every event planner has to do it…those dreaded solicitation calls to potential sponsors for your next conference or meeting. It is really the last think planners want to do, but just like many things we have to do in life, it is one of those tasks you need to do for the fiscal health of your meeting.
However, 5 or 10 years ago, sponsorships were easy to come by. Suppliers seemed to be waiting with baited breath to be called and were honored to plunk down $10,000 to introduce your keynote speaker or say a few words about their destination or venue.
This is no longer the case and event meeting services organizations are having a harder time getting those designated dollars. Why? Because sponsorship rules have changed and many times their budgets are just as tight as yours.
The solution? Start with looking at the selling process through the lens of the of the sponsor. Here are 3 things you can do to get you there.
Surefire Solution #1: Start with your previous sponsors.
Gather the list of of all event sponsors from the last 3 years and approach them about sponsoring next year's event. Find out what they liked and didn't like about your meeting and what changes they want. Give them a great rate if they will sign up early. It takes a lot more effort to garner a new sponsor rather than keeping an existing one. Be accommodating and keep your existing sponsors happy.
Surefire Solution #2: Build your business case.
Find out what organizations are interested in spending time with your attendees, VIPs, and/or speakers. Here are some questions to investigate when doing your homework:
- Do your attendees match the profile your sponsor wants to spend time with?
- How does your event relate to the potential sponsor's business and their goals?
Tell them everything about your attendees including, but not limited to:
- The number of attendees
- The breakdown of age ranges
- Gender mix
- Buying power and
- Whether or not they are the decision maker for their organization
- Let them know who else is sponsoring the event and
- Be prepared with sponsor testimonials and the business they generated from your event
Surefire Solution #3: Send a tailored letter or email to your targeted companies.
Find out the right person in the organization to approach and start out with a personalized salutation of either Dear Dede or Dear Ms. Mulligan — depending on your relationship with the planner. If you use a mail merge system, check and double check that the person in your mailing list is: a) still with the company b) still has the same responsibility and c) their first and last name is spelled correctly.
It is better to send out 25 qualified and tailored letters rather than 250 random, impersonalized emails. Know who you are targeting and make the appropriate pitch as to why their organization needs to be there!
AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment company can help you create unique sponsorship opportunities through splash pages for Wi-Fi access if you rent iPads, photos and videos on video wall rentals or on computer kiosks. Check out their website today to learn more about their unique technological offerings!