Extraordinary Events Podcast

Ep 54: Sponsorship the Easy Way

February 23, 2021 Extraordinary Events
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 54: Sponsorship the Easy Way
Chapters
Extraordinary Events Podcast
Ep 54: Sponsorship the Easy Way
Feb 23, 2021
Extraordinary Events

Are you interested in learning how to effectively obtain sponsorships for your upcoming event? In this podcast episode, I touch on the importance of networking, focusing on others, some personal tips and tricks on how to solicit sponsorships and strategic partnerships, and a couple of specific messages you can send your LinkedIn connections to make a lasting impact.

Interested in speaking at or sponsoring our Level Up Your Event Game Conference?  Visit our website at https://www.LevelUpYourEventGame.com

To send us feedback, ideas for future topics, your screenshot of your rating, or any other comments or inquiries, write us at [email protected]!

Show Notes Transcript

Are you interested in learning how to effectively obtain sponsorships for your upcoming event? In this podcast episode, I touch on the importance of networking, focusing on others, some personal tips and tricks on how to solicit sponsorships and strategic partnerships, and a couple of specific messages you can send your LinkedIn connections to make a lasting impact.

Interested in speaking at or sponsoring our Level Up Your Event Game Conference?  Visit our website at https://www.LevelUpYourEventGame.com

To send us feedback, ideas for future topics, your screenshot of your rating, or any other comments or inquiries, write us at [email protected]!

Dr. K: Hello, Hello, my friends! Today is such a great day. I have been super, super, I would say busy, but I don't like to use the word busy. I have kept a very full schedule to maximize my effectiveness towards my purpose. Today, I actually had a lot of different things that I wanted to talk about for today's podcast and so I asked my fantastic interns and some leaders from my class. I said, “What would you guys be interested in hearing about on the podcast? You guys are some of the listeners of this podcast. What would you be interested in?” And I have a list of about five topics now and I'm going to spread them out over the next two months. And I'm just super excited to have you all hear these different topics. 

Today, I have chosen to focus on the topic of networking. As you all have heard, if you've listened to the podcast for a while, I teach an Advanced Event Operations class. And in this class, we actually put on events for the community. We design, plan, execute, and debrief all of these events. And this semester, we are super fortunate to be planning an event for event professionals, which is a really cool experience for the students in this class. Now, this particular event is an omni-channel event. So you can interact with this event, either online or in person. And this event is kind of talking about the best practices for how to actually conduct an omni-channel event. So it's a little bit of an inception in idea. We're talking about best practices for omni channel, as we do an omni channel event for event professionals who plan omni-channel events. It's a little fun, it’s a little complex to think about there. Now, as part of this, we obviously need a lot of speakers and we have almost zero budget. This is a really fun experience for the students as well. They have a budget of $140 to plan a world class conference. They solicit speakers, they solicit partners, they are doing a ton of work for this event and I'm so super proud of them.

When you're looking for free speakers, that can be a little bit difficult because time is valuable, time is money, we all know that on the podcast here today. And so when you're asking speakers in a cold call type of situation if they would speak for your student event, and you're looking for world class speakers, because your target market is event professionals who book world class speakers, then you need to have some kind of in. So I told the students for the first time I've not done this for student event before, I told them I would post on my LinkedIn. And I posted on my LinkedIn and I said, “Hey! Looking for people that would be interested in supporting one of my students' events, we're looking for speakers.” And it's kind of turned into a tagline in my class, where whenever I say, “Oh, this speaker is confirmed!” or we've even had partners reach out interested in sponsoring from that LinkedIn post, and whenever I say, “Oh, this is had or this had.” And the students always say, “It must be nice to know people!” And it's almost turned into a tagline for the class, it must be nice to know people. But this in and of itself is also a really important lesson in the fact that your network is so important. 

Half the speakers that agreed to be speakers were not actually my personal connections, the half of the speakers that agreed were friends of my connections. And I think sometimes LinkedIn is used properly and sometimes LinkedIn is not used properly. I had a rule for the longest time that I would only connect with people on my LinkedIn who I had met at least once before. This was actually a really important strategy for my LinkedIn, because then if I did want references, or recommendations, or I was putting content out into the world, I actually had a personal connection with these people, even if it was only once. If I met someone at a conference, I would reach out to them on LinkedIn and I would send them a message and say, “Hey, it was so great to connect with you at this conference. And this is what I learned and this is what I did.” Now the importance of that cannot be understated and I don't feel like a lot of people utilize this properly. It's similar to when you would exchange business cards at an event and you would actually write on the business card where you knew them. So that way you could go and reference it. It's also when you're writing down people that you have met or know with personal details so you can reference it to make a better connection. Well on LinkedIn, I always send that message so that way it's saved in my records. So when I go and I'm messaging them in the future, or opportunities like this arise, and they go to message me, they know exactly how they met me. They know exactly what event and the fact that I reached out to them first, but that message also sticks with them. 

So there were people on there that maybe I hadn't talked to in seven or eight years. But when they went to send me a message to say they were interested in speaking at my students' event, they knew exactly how they knew me, it was an instant refresher for both of us. And it helps to alleviate the pressure on that relationship, even if it's not a super strong relationship, and especially if it's not a super strong relationship, it relieves that pressure of how do I know you? How did we meet? I don't remember. So I definitely recommend that as a LinkedIn rule. 

So I'm talking to my interns and my leaders and my students in this class. And one thing that I think a lot of people agree on is that I am pretty decent at securing sponsorships. And people ask me all the time, how do you get everything you want for free? How do you do that? What do you do? And it's just so natural in my psyche, like in my body, in my mind, that I couldn't actually put a finger on it for a long time. But it's inherent to my personality, but it's also a learned trait that you can learn as well. I think what makes it so easy for me to solicit sponsorships, partnerships, is that I'm always focused on their success. Whenever I'm reaching out to people, or I'm talking to people, whether it's a speaker or sponsor, partner, anybody really, I'm always asking what their goals, what their objectives, what their mission is. So that way I can customize an experience or a sponsorship to meet their needs. I'm always asking about them. I'm never trying to push my product or my event, I'm always trying to pull from them. So I'll give you one example here. We were trying to almost push out one of our specific sponsorships, you all know that you have like your metal level sponsorships, like your silver, bronze, gold, etc. But then you also have specific sponsorships like you're looking for a WiFi sponsor, or a marketing sponsor, or a mailer box sponsor. 

So we were looking for a very specific sponsorship and we had reached out to two different people. And we were kind of pushing our product, we're saying this is what we need from you. And this is what you get in return. And it was a very good lesson for the students that both of them said no, and that is totally fine. Budgets happen, pandemic happens, objectives and goals don't align totally fine. By what I had done, actually, this is really funny. I love stories like these, I had actually reached out to one of my existing sponsors, and said, “Hey, I'm looking for someone for this particular sponsorship. It's a really good branding opportunity. It's a very key branding opportunity here. And you have way more experience with all of these different people locally than I do. And I was wondering if you would know of some people that I could reach out to because you're already an established partner, you are just so fantastic. Do you know of people that you like to work with, that I could present this opportunity to? And long story short, two days later, they decided that they also wanted to pick up that sponsorship. And

I think sometimes we're always just such in a sales mood that we forget about those relationships and just asking people too. 

I ask people for recommendations for their network all the time. And I think that's how I got a lot of sponsorships in the past as well, is that I would say, “Hey, here's the five different things that I'm looking specifically for sponsorships on, you've agreed to do one of them. Now, who do you like to work with? When you're at events like this, who's at the table next to you, who's also exhibiting, who's also on the sponsorship, because chances are, if you're there, and your target market is the same or similar in these different situations, then you're gonna have the same people in front of you all the time. So tell me who those people are. So that way I can be strategic with my time.” I also love to talk about “Who do you want to get your product in front of, so that way I can make sure they're there at the event at the table. So that way you guys can make that relationship.’ I think that this has always come so easily to me, because just as a teacher, I'm so student focused. I'm so other focused. I am here to help you get where you want to be. And it's the same philosophy when we talk to partners is I am here as a conduit.

I want to know what you want. Do you want students? Do you want volunteers? Do you want partnerships? Do you want your brand in front of people? Do you want reach? Do you want a specific product launch? What do you want, and then let's figure out if my event is the right platform for you or not. And if it's not, that is totally fine. But now I know and I can keep you in mind for future opportunities. And that is A-OK. 

I have been so fortunate to have such a great network over the years, through experience design and event management, interior design, architecture, engineering, all the different platforms. And it's super interesting how they come up after a while, you haven't talked to someone in seven years, you met in a totally different industry. And then here they are speaking at your event for free. So thank you for that. And I just think that it's so important to keep those networks up. And to keep those relationships going. And remembering that it's about quality and not quantity. Just because you reach out to people once a year doesn't mean that's a quality interaction. That is a typical sales technique of “Okay, we need seven impressions within a year before we make an ask bla bla bla bla bla”, that is very much a fundraising mentality. You want genuine, authentic relationships, even if you're only talking to people once a year, once every other year, if that's a quality interaction that makes them feel good, then that is really all it's worth. Instead of liking or emoting on a status, instead of writing a simple comment of congratulations, how about you send them a personalized message and say, “Wow, I just saw that you got a promotion at your job, I am so excited for you, you will have to let me know how this goes in the future for you, keep me updated.” Then if you ever reach out to them in the future, and they haven't kept you updated, but they see that message, then they automatically start out that response by answering the previous question that you had already asked. And then the conversation flows beautifully. It's like no time has passed at all. 

I hope that this has been a productive, useful, efficient, effective use of your time here today. With some of Dr. K's networking and sponsorship and solicitation tips. I am all about the relationship in making sure that you get what you want. With that being said, make sure that you like and subscribe and please please please reach out to us and let us know what you want. When you reach out to me, when you send me a message, when you add me on Facebook, whenever you send us an email or interact with our socials. I see that personally. And I build that into our content calendar for the things that we want to cover on these podcasts. So please reach out even if you feel uncomfortable, send us a message and let us know what you want to hear so we can make this podcast great for you. And if you rate or subscribe, make sure to rate us five stars on Apple podcasts, take a screenshot and email it to us and then I will send you a personalized, customized video message back to you to thank you for listening to the podcast. With that I want to thank you all so much for taking the time to make the time. I'll talk with you soon.