30 Jul How To Have A Call With A Sponsorship Decision Maker
Let’s ‘Future Pace’ for a moment and imagine you’re in the (very awesome) position of being able to speak on the phone with one of the head honchos at a brand you’re trying to land for sponsorship. Brilliant, but….what now?
I recently spoke to a young lady named Nadine who was in this exact position. She recently got in touch with me and explained that she really wanted to work with this brand on an event she was planning and after a few conversations over email with them, had managed to get a call booked in with a decision maker.
Now, I’m out here doing my #HappyDance when Nadine told me that she’d managed to get this call scheduled with the brand manager because in my experience, this.is.EPIC!
Nadine on the other hand, was shaking. and not the Harlem kind.
She was a nervous wreck, with no idea what to say on the phone. She was worried that she wasn’t going to sound like the consummate professional she’d appeared to be via email over the past six weeks and scared she was going to screw this whole thing up. All she knew was that she really, REALLY wanted to get this brand on board for her event in a few months time.
Here’s what I said to Nadine:
The brand have already said yes to your sponsorship proposal.
You might not realise this yet but the brand have already agreed to your sponsorship proposal in principle.
How do I know this? Because if they’ve agreed to have a discussion with you surrounding the project and the terms of their involvement, they’ve factored you into their future brand or marketing plan – now it’s just about ironing out the finer details.
Even though when you get into this conversation it feels like you need to continue with your pitch, that stage is already over, the brand have moved on and are talking to you to try and work out the nitty so that it all works the way they believe it will. They just need you to be as helpful as possible and answer their questions to the best of your ability.
The only way this goes south now is if:
a) You completely switch up the plans for no good reason, and start talking about something that bears no resemblance to what you first explained it would be. Now they’re wondering where else they’ve been kept out of the loop or what else you’re going to spring on them ‘by surprise’, or;
b) You get all weird and panicky and hyper-ventilate-y on the phone and can’t string a sentence together. Or you start speaking in a strange accent that clearly isn’t the one you woke up with this morning. Now the brand are starting to question whether or not you can actually deliver what you said you were going to deliver in the first place without passing out, or if you’ve got an evil twin.
Stay calm. Remember to breathe. Speak normally and be yourself (no strange telephone voices). They already like you and what you have to offer – just answer their questions as thoroughly and as naturally as you can. It’s in the bag.
Confirm what you need from the brand for this sponsorship, including details of how much and by when.
You will have already outlined what you’re looking for in terms of the sponsorship, now is the time just to confirm what you’ve asked for.
Whether it’s money, product, marketing or PR support (or some of all of the above?), you just need to re-iterate this so everyone’s clear.
Also, be specific in your sponsorship request if you haven’t already – it’s all in the details. So rather than saying:
“I’mma need a few t-shirts to give away”
“It’d be great if I could have 50 of the white graphic-print t-shirts delivered to me by 23rd of next month so I can give them away to the first 50 people who sign up to attend the event – these will be some of my die-hard fans so it’ll be great to reward them for being first in line!”
Now, the brand aren’t necessarily just going to roll over and give you exactly what you want, there needs to be room for negotiation if the brand are unable to fulfil that request – but this is a great jumping off point.
Be clear and unambiguous from the outset about what you want or need. This will help you to set the initial boundaries and start the negotiation game (and it is a game!). It also means you’re more likely to stay in control of the conversation, which brings me on nicely to my final point…
Stay in control of the sponsorship conversation.
Know what you want. Know what you’re offering. And if what the brand is proposing to you doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to say “No”.
If you don’t think their offer is the right one, and you’ve spent enough time researching and developing a relationship with the brand (even if it is only over email), then in most cases the brand will respect that and reframe their requirements so that it works for both sides. Remember, the brand manager is on the phone with you because they want to find the best way of working with you.
However, if they refuse to budge, demanding that you work within their terms and you feel like these are unreasonable, then it’s possible that this isn’t the right brand for you to be working with, so I would recommend that you walk away…with your head to the sky.
I know it can be heartbreaking to get SO CLOSE to landing a brand and then it doesn’t happen…but I firmly believe in INTEGRITY above all else.
There are tons of brand sponsorship opportunities out there for you (even if it doesn’t feel like it straight away!) so don’t ever feel like you need to say ‘yes’ to something that doesn’t sit right with you. I promise you, you don’t need that bad-deal-brand.
And if you do decide to sell your soul and work with them anyway, I promise you, you’ll hate it. Keep yourself open for brands who’ll love you and your offering without having to make changes you don’t agree with.
So, just to recap, here’s what to do if you’ve scheduled a meeting with a brand manager to talk about a sponsorship deal:
Firstly, breathe and stay calm. No need to sell them on anything here, just be helpful and answer the questions they ask you.
Next, be clear on what you want and how much of it. A bit of a negotiation might be on the cards but that’s fine, it’s fun, you can handle it.
Finally, stay in control of the conversation. Think about what they’re saying and what this means for you or your business/project. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if they don’t seem to be playing fair!
So that’s what I said to Nadine.
And you know what Nadine did? She got on that call with the brand manager like the rockstar she is and proceeded to LAND THE BRAND – She was absolutely THRILLED to get her first event sponsor and I am so excited for her!
One more telephone call tip I forgot to mention – if that meeting with the brand manager is indeed via phone, or even a video call, jot down some notes or prompts beforehand to refer to during the call to ensure you remember everything you want to say. The beauty of a telephone call is that no-one can see you reading the back of a napkin. If it’s a video call, you only need to put your notes somewhere where you can quickly glance at them to remind you of the key points, the brand manager won’t even notice.
I know this because I do this ALL the time. and Nadine did it too
Hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions, include them in the comments below and I shall be back shortly to answer them as best I can.
P.S. Have you downloaded your copy of ‘7 Easy Ways To Supercharge Your Big Brand Sponsorship Strategy’ yet? It’s the ultimate playbook full of advice based on my own experiences in landing billion dollar brands. Grab your free copy HERE!
P.P.S. If you’re an influencer or entrepreneur and would like to work with me personally to land a brand, send me a message here and let me know what you’re up to and what you’d like to work with me on and I’ll get you all the details!