Let’s start from the beginning: a good idea is not the only thing you need, but it’s the first one. If you are thinking that the lack of money is a problem to carry an idea out, you probably don’t like your idea much or you are not feeling like doing it.
As brand manager, I supervise and approve all collaborations or sponsorships at the clothing company I’m working for (¡Ay Güey!). But I also know the other side. When I was producing beauty pageants in Spain, a big part of the time working was dealing with companies and looking for sponsors to make the ideas of the organization happen.
So these are my recommendations:
1. Start with a plan
Don’t burn your bridges! You must walk before you run! You need to be prepared for every meeting, every mail, every phone call. The idea is not viable until it becomes a project, and as project it has to be planned. Be critical and don’t contact us before you have all your homework done.
I’m tired of getting emails and phone calls of people that “want to do something great” or “have the best idea ever” but after few questions, some of them don’t even know how to reply on: what do you exactly want from us? What do you offer in exchange? How are you going to get all you are proposing done?…
2. Make an analysis, look for competitors and make your idea different
Look for the good and the bad, for the best and the worst. It’s important that you know all of those points, specially the weakness, before your potential sponsor finds them in the middle of a call or a meeting.
Try to be original. And if you copy, make it better.
3. Look only for the right companies
Because we sell t-shirts doesn’t mean that our brand is focus on young people. The truth is young people isn’t our target for two reasons: they prefer foreign brands and they don’t have the budget.
Get all the information you can about the company and then discard if you don’t have the same target. Not every company suits in your projects. Know 100 doors, but potential ones.
4. Be brief and to the point
Don’t send a big email with another “official letter” attached. It can work with other bigger companies, but the truth is when you get more than 200 emails per day, you don’t have time to read big explanations. You only have the first paragraph to catch someone’s attention.
Use audiovisuals if you have and be brief, please.
Orthography is very important.
Don’t copy and paste.
Don’t forward emails.
Don’t send the same email to different people from different companies.
Don’t use the CC, personalize every email.
Customize your email signature.
Avoid HOTMAIL, GMail looks better…
5. Always follow up
Ok, great. You got in contact with the right person in the company you were looking for, but this is only the first step. Follow up emails are the most important in closing deals.
Build good relationships, respect proposals, enforce agreements and take care of the “post-event”.
If you commit to send audiovisual content to your sponsor… Send it! No excuses.
Use tools that help you getting you goals. These are my favorites:
– Follow Up: a relationship manager for Gmail that helps you send better email, build smarter conversations and track your emails.
– Boomerang: if you work with people in different time zones or you are an early bird or an night owl, schedule your emails. This complement for chrome allows you to schedule emails in your Gmail.
– Google Drive (Sheets): take advantage of having your data in the cloud. You can access from everywhere. I use spreadsheets to track the progress of each project, email, sponsorship.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced when looking for a sponsor?