Aug 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM
written by Gail Bower

Selling By Phone is Tough. Here are Three Ways to Make it Easier.

Here's the bottomline: if you don't tell anyone about your sponsorship opportunities, if you don't work together with prospective partners to co-create meaningful opportunities, you're not going to have sponsors nor the revenue from that source.

You know this, of course. But that doesn't make having actual conversations with real live sponsors any less scary, right?

Here are three suggestions:

Don't fight the fear. Fear (with consciousness) can be a good thing. Fear surely saved many a caveman and woman from untimely death. Fortunately, sponsor prospects are not known for attacking much less defending themselves to the death. Rather for modern day cave people, the worst you have to fear is calls and emails that go ignored. Silence. (You may know this, too, and still there's fear.)

Solution: If you can sit with the fear for a few minutes and grow curious about it. Ask what it has to tell you. From my experience, usually the fear will tell you that you're missing something – a piece of information (but don't get stuck in research-land), a tool, important skills. Figure out what you need and give it to yourself. Thank your fear.

Change your mindset. Your fear may be telling you all kinds of wild stories – you're not good enough, you have nothing to say, they'll laugh at you, they'll say no, etc. etc. Do you hear any of this kind of talking?

Solution: If so, you need to outwit that voice and become clearer about the value of your sponsorship opportunity. And you need to change your mindset from beggar to partner. You're not begging for dollars. Your intention should be to enthusiastically let prospects know about an opportunity for them that will help them accomplish business objectives. If that's not your intention, there's a problem.

Do it anyway. It can be scary to call people you don't know or to position yourself or your offerings in a new way. But, as I said at the beginning, no calls, no sponsors. If you've checked out #1 and #2 above and deduced that you're suffering from fear that's becoming procrastination, do it anyway.

Solution: Set aside time first thing in the day, get relaxed and comfortable, smile, and make your calls. They shouldn't be cold calls, and therefore the person should be at least neutral to hear from you. No more excuses. Just make the calls.

One more suggestion: Imagine success. You may just be surprised by an interested sponsor, and you don't want to blow it.


Gail Bower is President of Bower & Co. Consulting LLC, a firm that assists nonprofit organizations and event/festival producers with raising their visibility, revenue, and impact. Gail Bower is a professional consultant, writer, and speaker, with nearly 25 years of experience managing some of the country’s most important events, festivals, and sponsorships and implementing marketing programs for clients. She offers running commentary on sponsorship at, and allows us to republish here when the subject fits. You can also follow her on SponsorPitch here.