"Sponsorship is a relationship that requires you, the sponsorship sales person, to be a good listener."

sponsorship written in handwriting

Sponsorship mistakes are common. It's is a tough business. If you’ve ever tried to drum up even $500 for your daughter’s soccer team, you know I speak the truth.

Sponsorship sales and marketing is a minefield full of potential pitfalls and it’s competitive, so I’m sharing some tips to save you time and money (and hopefully keep your credibility intact too)!

Stop doing these 5 things right now and you’ll sell more sponsorships – guaranteed.

1. Stop Talking So Much

Sponsorship is a relationship that requires you, the sponsorship sales person, to be a good listener. Dig deep into understanding the needs of your prospective sponsor by asking questions and sitting back to listen. Let them talk.

2. Stop Trying to Close the Deal in the First Meeting

The first interaction is for the purpose of discovery and fact finding – leave your cheesy and aggressive closing tactics at home.  This type of one-liner is a definite no-no:

“What would it take to get you into this new car today?”

cartoon man next to car for sale

Sponsorship isn’t car sales. There’s a lot of to'ing and fro'ing involved. Be patient.

3. Stop Focusing on Logo Visibility

Every brand has its own unique reasons why it may consider sponsoring your event or organization. Don’t assume that your sponsor prospect is looking for brand impressions. The logo pizza is dead. Not all sponsors are obsessed with seeing their logo plastered everywhere.


sponsor compilation graphic


There are other hooks – like lead generation, engagement, corporate social responsibility and more. If you make an attempt to understand what your sponsor is really looking for, you can build a relevant sponsorship program.

4. Stop Pitching Gold, Silver and Bronze Packages

1993 called and they want their sponsorship proposals back. Sponsorship levels where you up the price from one level to the next and include a few more PA announcements and event tickets to justify the higher status level (and price tag) is not where it’s at any longer.

It’s okay to present a menu of options to a sponsor, but let the sponsor weigh-in on which assets on your menu are the best fit. If you listen more and talk less, you’ll figure out exactly what to put in the proposal (see #1 above). Leave gold, silver and bronze on the podium where they belong.

gold silver and bronze pillars

5. Stop Being So Pushy.

The first call or meeting is about THEM, not about YOU. Yes, you’re excited because you have a great property to sell and you want everyone to know about it, but going in aggressively with flashy presentation materials, analytics, and demographics in the first meeting is overkill. Think of it like a first date – would you show up with your resume, testimonials from past partners who think highly of you, a slideshow filled with flattering photos and then proceed to talk all about yourself?

Hopefully not.

Tone it down and play it cool. In fact bring nothing to the first meeting. Make it all about them.

Best of luck with your sponsorship journey! Feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary 15-minute telephone consultation if you’d like more tips on building sponsorship partnerships.