10 Ways to make Your Sponsors Love you - and sign up again for next year!

Sep 27


Warwick Merry

Warwick Merry

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Follow these 10 tips for showing them the love and they’ll come back every year as a true event partner.

Being a sponsor is tough.

You invest significant money on the event. You have to spend more money getting your team,10 Ways to make Your Sponsors Love you - and sign up again for next year! Articles your marketing paraphernalia, your giveaways and your technology onsite. You then have to get to the event early, stay late, always be nice to people (even if there are behind the scene dramas happening), get a ton of leads and then head back to the office after the event with a load of work to catch up on as well as following up your new leads.

So as a PCO how can we make things easier for the sponsor?

Here are 10 Ways to make your sponsor love you:

1.    Use their name and make it personal
While it may be the company that is sponsoring your event, make sure you know the key people behind the sponsorship. When you are talking about your sponsor, be sure to mention the people too. While your delegates may want to deal with the brand, it is the personal relationships that make the most difference. Having a name will make it easier for your delegates to approach the sponsor and start a conversation.

2.    Bring them food/drinks

It is hard work being on your feet all day. Even though there will be particular meal times for your sponsors, having your team come around with bottles of water, a fresh brewed coffee or some yummy treat will go a long way in endearing you to them. This is particularly appreciated for the exhibitions that are running all day.

3.    Make them sounds fantastic
Typically the MC will acknowledge the sponsors, ask for a round of applause and let everyone know how important they are. Then they seem forgotten. Brief the MC with some detail on each of the sponsors and get them excited about them. By sharing some anecdotes and observations, the sponsors become real and not just the necessary people who help fund the conference.

It is the difference between a TV advert that screams “buy my stuff, buy my stuff” and a storyline that engages the audience and calls them to action.

4.    Get expert coaches

At some events, the major sponsors get five or ten minutes to address the plenary. You can almost see the delegates’ internal flinch when this happens. They all know that this is when the sponsor tells everyone how good they are.

It is worth getting your major sponsors coached on how to present the best message from stage. Not about them but about their value to the delegates. A punchy 5 minute message can really lift the room and make a great difference. It is also worth getting some instruction for your sponsors on how to increase their results from sponsoring your event.

5.    Check Their Satisfaction daily
As a PCO, you have a thousand and one things to do.  Make sure that one of the high priority things is to catch up with your sponsors daily. Frankly, this is where a huge chunk of your funding comes from so you need to pay attention to them.

Listen to any issues they may be having and get one of your team to address them. Discover any great results that they may have achieved and put it in your file to use for next year’s marketing. You can also let them know what is happening soon or what other things are going on in different areas.

Having this kind of conversation actually makes you money. If on the second day, a sponsor is raving about how good this event has been for them, why wouldn’t you take out your signup form and get them to commit to next year? Too often we, as PCOs, make it hard for ourselves and don’t get them signed up when they are in the mood. We wait until our process kicks in and we sign them up three to six months prior to the event.

We are huge fans of getting your sponsors signed up for next year before this year is even over. At the very least make sure you have set next year’s prices and have the forms available if your sponsors ask for it.

6.    Help them with bump in and bump out

While you don’t have to physically help your sponsors carry their equipment in, they would truly appreciate it if you had a few people on hand to assist them. At the very least, a check list of items that they may need or things that they have to consider would go a long way.

If you do provide a check list make sure that it is an easy to read check list with tick boxes so they can tick it as they go. This is all about making it easier for your sponsor.

7.    Have a Single Point of Contact
We love the idea of a Sponsor Manager for your sponsors. We would encourage each PCO to have someone trained in managing sponsors. Not just in how to sell to them but how to look after them. It is a different skill set to organising and running an event and in all honesty, some people should not have anything to do with sponsors as they are ill prepared to deal with them.

When the sponsor is on site, it is worth giving them the name and number of their contact person. The single contact person means that there is clarity in communication and less chance of missed or mixed messages.

8.    Send them customers

Nothing says “I love you” like sending customers their way. As a PCO you will often come across people who may need your sponsors’ products or services. Why not refer them to your sponsor? On-site you can walk them up to the stand and introduce the client. Outside your event a simple phone call or email is great.

Just because the event is over, doesn’t mean you stop referring. In your normal course of business, why not refer to your sponsors. You can use the opportunity to upsell yourself too. When you call them you can say something like, “Hi Julie. It’s Warwick here from Awesome Events. I had someone ask about wingnuts and then I remembered when you sponsored our major conference how you make wingnuts. So I want to get you in touch with them, is that ok?”

Naturally they will be thrilled and they will think highly of you and of how that sponsorship is worthwhile.

9.    Make them feel special

Nobody wants to be “just another one of the sponsors” so make sure you talk each sponsor up when you are chatting with them. Be genuinely enthused about what they are doing, the impact they are having on your event and their presence.

If you can, have one of the keynotes give a special presentation to Sponsors only. Sometimes a Sponsor Breakfast can be great. You can even run a post-conference sponsor only webinar. Do whatever you can so that the sponsors feel valued, appreciated and special.

10.    Say Thank You

Too often the sponsors get forgotten. Many sponsors we have dealt with feel that people only pay attention to them when there is money to be collected. It wouldn’t take much to send a post-conference thank you card, maybe a thank you basket or perhaps something uniquely matched to their taste.

Showing the love to a sponsor will pay back dividends time and time again. It will help them become lifelong event partners rather than a short-term grab for cash. So how will you show your sponsors you love them?

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