Feb 26, 2019 at 12:00 AM
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Seven Replies For "No Sponsorship Budget"

We've all been there. You've got a hot sponsorship prospect that's asking all the right questions and showing strong interest in your sponsorship opp only to later come back with a deflating "it's not in the budget for this year" rejection. Rejection has to roll off your back if you're in sponsorship sales. It's the nature of the beast. Whether you're good or bad at sales you'll receive plenty of it and the best sponsorship salespeople know exactly when to move on to better prospects and when to keep pushing for the partnership despite objections. One of the most common sponsorship objections you'll come across is: "the budget has already been spent." Here's the rub though, sponsorship isn't a donation so if you're showing your prospect a tangible return on their sponsorship investment then why wouldn't they go to bat for more budget? More often than not, it's an excuse because the opportunity doesn't show enough value or some other reason.

Here are a few common ways to push back on the all-too-common budget objection:

1. Can I demonstrate the ROI on this deal... Who wouldn't want to invest $1 to make $2? If you can demonstrate that the return will solve a very tangible problem for the sponsor and/or return a multiple of the investment, then the cost of the sponsorship becomes less of a daunting number and more of a function of the expected value/return they'll be receiving from the deal.

2. Before we take the deal off the table, let's talk about structure... There are different ways you can structure sponsorship payments to make the deal more attractive to cash-constrained companies. Perhaps, it's accepting more product than originally anticipated (in lieu of cash) or maybe creating a contract that shifts the bulk of the consideration to a subsequent year of the deal. If you offer the willingness to explore alternative payment structures and there's still hesitation, you'll know that the opportunity just isn't a fit and can spend time elsewhere.

3. I see, no problem... what do you think would be in the budget? There's nothing worse then not knowing what budget a prospect has or doesn't have. This reply will force the prospect to at least put a number or range out that you can work with to offer a more appropriate package for them. Assuming the budget's not 0, that is.

4. Did something change since we spoke last? Generally speaking, your sponsorship prospect wouldn't invest time to explore an opportunity if there wasn't at least some consideration available to invest. So finding out what changed between your last conversation to today, would be helpful in identifying if there's a path forward for the partnership.

5. Does that mean the entire deal is off? If you're gone far down the road with a prospect make them acknowledge that there were parts of the proposal that were attractive and see if you can re-structure the deal around those benefits.

6. Gotcha. Since we obviously both agree this is a great partnership, who do we need to pitch this to to get the budget approved? Take budget off the table for the time-being and see if there is an opportunity to work as a team with your prospect to get the budget-holder on board. If this one works, your partnership will be off to a great start before it even begins!

7. ----------crickets------------ When all else fails, just shut up and listen. If you don't respond immediately when your prospect tells you it's not in the budget, chances are your prospect will start to over-explain. This will help you get to the truth of your prospect's objection and you’ll be in a better position to determine whether there's an opportunity to save the deal.

Sometimes budget concerns really are a hard stop for a potential partnership. Other times, they're a negotiating ploy, misunderstanding, laziness or any number of other factors. Knowing the difference can help you make a quicker and better decision on whether to fight for the deal or find a better prospect. Next time you hear there’s no budget left give one of these a try.

Have you ever turned a budget objection into a sponsorship deal? Tell us how you did it in comments and you could win a free subscription to SponsorPitch.