Dec 07, 2009 at 02:46 PM
written by Ron Seaver

How To Get Sponsor Referrals

Nothing "sells" your sponsorships better than a happy sponsor. And of course nothing makes a sponsor happier than having their expectations met.

So first order of business here is to make sure that you're taking great care of your existing sponsors. (Let me ask you – do you even know what their "expectations" are? Hmmm… good question, eh? Well ... there's not time like this moment to have a sit-down with your existing sponsors and ASK them!)

And speaking of "...ASK them..." --- that's my word today (...well, actually ... that's two words…), on getting Sponsor Referrals. You've got to ASK for them!

Of course the best time to ASK for them is when you're successfully delivering results for your existing sponsors. You've worked hard to build a strong rapport with your sponsor --- which means that you're there for their success, and they're there for your success. If you've done a good job, it's a good partnership. So why not mention to your sponsor that your event (...program, publication, speaking business, etc.) is really taking off thanks to sponsors like them. ("Thank you!") And your plan is to continue growing your sponsorship family with companies just like them.

That said, you'd sure appreciate it if they would feel free to recommend your event to any of their co-horts that are looking to grow their profile within your industry.

Sometimes that'll be enough to have them bringing up a couple potentials. But more times than not, they'll just smile, nod and say they'd be happy to. That's okay – you’re now "on record" with them that you're looking to add a couple additional sponsors and you've "deputized" them to help you in your search.

Now that you've got their verbal "buy-in" ... see if how, moving forward, you can't start helping them to help you.

What do I mean by that?

Easy – keep an eye out for any particular sponsorship "candidates" that you might have an interest in tapping into that are coming into contact with your current sponsor.

For example – let's say you notice that your current sponsor is also a sponsor of "XYZ" conference. (This conference attracts similar "types" of attendees as you do…) That said, are there any OTHER sponsors to this "XYZ" conference that you think might be a great fit for your event?

Great! Simply put the bug into your existing sponsor's ear that you'd welcome an introduction into one of the decision-maker's at this other sponsor's company. Ask your sponsor if they wouldn’t mind grabbing you a name, or better yet ... a business card into this potential sponsor's decision-maker.

In short – help your existing sponsor's keep their antenna up for you with other potential sponsors. (Now don’t forget ... the key here is to be sure that you're making your existing sponsors "deliriously happy"! Do that and no doubt they'll be more than happy to spread a little love your way!)

Good luck!

Ron Seaver, president of Seaver Marketing Group and The National Sports Forum, and author of "Brought to you By... - The Ultimate Sponsorship Sales System" has over twenty-five years of experience in the field of marketing and sponsorship. View all of Ron's posts here. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, SponsorPitch, LLC.