Does your prospectus follow the same old format? I’ve seen a few lately and I can tell you from my experience, chances are your prospectus needs a fresh approach. It’s time to shake things up and create something that will catch the prospect’s attention. I have a few tips for you:
Prospective sponsors want to see some data in your prospectus. Data tells, and stories sell. But don’t ignore data. Who’s going to be there? How many attendees will the sponsor potentially reach – any relevant statistics the prospect can share with the boss to help close the deal.
Stories sell. Specific testimonials from sponsors about how they improved business through sponsorships. But, the general, “We never miss this meeting” just doesn’t get your anywhere in my view.
Your prospectus should also be organized by business objectives. For example, organize by thought leadership opportunities, access to VIPS, branding, whatever sponsors see as the tactics they want to implement. Try this instead of just listing sponsorships in chronological order.
Provide customization. Contact the prospect directly to discuss their business objectives and customize a sponsorship opportunity that effectively meets their needs.
If you still have: firstname.lastname@example.org for your association prospectus, DELETE IT. This email address doesn’t give your sponsors a feeling of connectedness. It does nothing to invoke confidence that you’re willing to work with them to develop the very best program for their sponsorship dollars.
A sponsor’s “timing” must also be considered. Know the cadence of your industry and when your sponsors are buying. Most often, the standard is September and October because businesses are planning and buying during Q4 for the following year. If you miss the opportunity in their budget cycle to get new dollars, the likelihood of selling that sponsorship drops dramatically.
Launch a new prospectus every year. This isn’t just exchanging the image of the Breakers Hotel with the Broadmoor (because that’s the destination this year). I’m talking about eliminating the bottom 10% of your inventory that’s not selling and has evoked little interest. You should be adding new inventory every year.
Following the actual event, interview your sponsors about the program because their feedback will help you build a better prospectus the next year. These are the questions you should ask:
- “What were you trying to accomplish with us? How do you measure success?”
- “What would you change? What would you absolutely keep the same? What would you tell us about another sponsorship that we could learn from?” Huge question.
The bottom line is – you won’t know what your prospects want or need unless you ask. If your sponsorship program has a hit a wall – I recommend you make some changes and start by picking up the phone to personally inquire about their business needs. Your prospects will be more receptive when asked, “What could we build for you for our next event?”