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Sponsorship Seeker Skills

5 must-have skills every sponsorship seeker needs

Before we dive into the 5 must-have skills you need to be a successful sponsorship seeker, I want to quickly cover a few important topics with you.

  1. You can learn almost anything these days
  2. As a sponsorship seeker, you’re in the marketing business
  3. You operate in what’s called a 2-sided market

Let me explain…

Unless you’re sitting on a pile of cash, you can’t outsource the skills you need in the beginning. You need to work on these skills yourself to be a successful sponsorship seeker.

Today however, more than any other time in history, you have access to the training you need whenever and wherever you go. Thanks to the Internet, there’s a huge amount of relevant information available at the click of a button.

Even if you do intend to hire someone to do the work for you in the future, the more you understand, the better the feedback you can provide, resulting in better outcomes for you and your sponsors.

Next it’s important to understand that fundamentally you’re in the marketing business. Whether you’re seeking sponsorship for an organisation, sporting team or an event, you need the skills to get people to know, like and trust you enough to become your sponsors. That’s marketing.

And lastly, you operate in a 2-sided market. Think of examples like Uber – they bring passengers and drivers together and market to both sides.

On one side of your market are your fans. These are the people who follow and support what you do. On the other side of the market are your sponsors.

You market to both of these groups:

  • to fans to build your audience and engagement
  • to businesses to get them to sponsor you 

Two sides of the same market. You sit in the middle between these two groups, bringing sponsors and fans together to create opportunities.  

Keep these points in mind as we look at the 5 must-have skills you need to be a successful sponsorship seeker.

Copywriting

Copywriting is salesmanship in print. It’s the art and science of using words to sell something.

As a sponsorship seeker, your goal is to sell yourself to sponsors and engage your fans. Good copywriting skills help you write better pitches and proposals, create content, and generally write effective business communications.

Copywriting also teaches you psychology and influence, 2 useful skills to have no matter who you are communicating with.

Copywriting resources:

Personally, I like to use the PASTOR copywriting model explained in Ray Edwards’ How to Write Copy That Sells.

Public speaking

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and about 75% of all people are affected. If your palms get sweaty and you feel sick at the thought of giving a speech, you’re very much in the majority.

If you can overcome your fear and seek out public speaking opportunities, you’ll go a long way to becoming a successful sponsorship seeker. Interacting with the public and the media is part of the role. The better you can connect and speak with fans, the more valuable you are to a sponsor.

Public speaking tips:

Building rapport 

People are more likely to sponsor you if they genuinely like you. Here are my top 3 techniques you can use to help build rapport with your sponsor.

Get to know your sponsor by asking questions and being genuinely interested in what they do. If you share common interests, that’s a big tick. Bonus points if that shared interest is what your sponsorship is connected to e.g. a particular sport or activity.

Find common ground so you can create shared experiences. For example, say you both holidayed in Hawaii. Ask them questions about their trip and share your experiences. Perhaps you ate at the same restaurants and visited the same sights. These shared experiences create a connection that goes beyond a purely business relationship.

Be empathetic towards your sponsor. Let them know you understand their challenges. Focus on listening and learning. There’s plenty of time for them to get to know you and what you have to offer.

Rapport building tips:

Just-in-time learning

Have you ever read a text book or watched a training video and completely forgotten what it was about a week or two later?

It’s the old use it or lose it problem. If you don’t quickly put into action what you’ve seen or heard, you simply won’t remember it when the time comes to use it.

One of the biggest problems sponsorship seekers have is a lack of time to do all the things that need doing to be successful.

This is where just-in-time learning comes to the rescue. The aim is to only learn things just before you need to use them. E.g. Don’t watch a video on how to make a website unless you plan to build one right away. It’s a waste of time and stops you from working on things that matter right now.

The trick is to plan out what you want to do and then learn just what you need to get the first task done. Then move onto the second one and so on. Don’t jump ahead and try to learn too much at one time. Stick to the current task and concentrate all of your efforts on that. Get it done and move on.

Content marketing

So what exactly is content marketing? Technically speaking, it’s a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.

If you received an email newsletter today – that’s content marketing. This blog article? Content marketing. And that “dogs doing crazy things” video you watched on YouTube last night? You guessed it, content marketing.

In our context, the purpose of content marketing is to create different types of content to tell your story to fans, build a relationship and get them to choose to support you and your sponsors over the alternatives.

Learning to create and publish content that attracts and retains fans also shows your sponsors how committed you are to building your audience. This will give them confidence you’ll deliver the same type of commitment to them throughout your relationship.

Content marketing resources:

Take action

It’s time to take action. Pick one of the skills above and commit to becoming a successful sponsorship seeker. Use the just-in-time learning strategy to focus all of your attention on just one skill at a time that will help you get sponsored.

If, like most of us, you struggle to find the time you need to get the important work done, take a look at these go-to guides which have really helped me get the important stuff done.

Happy sponsorship seeking, Kym.

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