Here’s How We Got Suppliers To Pay Us To Use Them – Sponsorship Lessons
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m going to show you how we get brands to pay us for GIVING AWAY their products.
When many of us begin our sponsorship journeys, searching for those lucrative deals, we often jump straight to global mega brands like Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
The challenge with this approach is 99% of people think the same way and attempt to approach the same handful of mega brands. Don’t worry, these brands have spent millions of dollars to be top of mind for much of the world’s population, it’s why they jump straight to the forefront of our thinking when seeking sponsorship (I mean, they’ve got enough money right?).
What this means though is many of us simply miss the opportunities sitting right in front of us. Those companies we already have a relationship with and already have a degree of trust or understanding with.
They are your Suppliers, Fans, Donors, Participants and Members (Or as I like to call them, your low-hanging sponsorship fruit).
In this post I’m going to share with you how we got our suppliers to pay us to choose them, and how you can too.
1. Understanding your costs
It’s important to understand what makes up your operating costs for your organization. I used to work for a half-marathon and 10km fun run and walk. We used to attract 15,000 participants a year and spend roughly $100,000 on hire equipment like fencing, marquees, stages, tables, chairs and generators for the event.
For all organizations, events, clubs or charities, you will have operating costs in order to deliver your service.
Find out what your biggest costs are and what would make the biggest impact if you didn’t have to pay that much.
2. There needs to be competition
This strategy has the best chance of succeeding if there is competition between businesses who provide those goods and services which impact heavily on your operating costs. Even if there’s not, trying this method may still get your suppliers to pay you, or heavily discount their services.
In my case, I figured $100,000 worth of business to one hire equipment company for a couple days work was a decent amount of coin.
And since there was more than one hire company in town I figured that $100,000 worth of business might be attractive to one of them. We also had a few other minor events throughout the year which we’d need additional hire services.
Having more than one competitor in the hire equipment space means I have the ability to shop around.
3. Ask for sponsorship in return for securing your business
Once you know there is competition for the products and services you purchase in order to run your organization then you can now ask around all of those suppliers to see if they’d be willing to sponsor you in order to obtain your business.
For me, I went to our current hire equipment provider and asked if they’d be interested in sponsoring one of our other events we ran (an awards evening which we struggled finding sponsorship for). I sweetened the deal with all of the additional sponsorship benefits they’d receive by coming onboard as a sponsor, and they could continue being our supplier of choice for our half marathon and 10km fun run.
They weren’t interested.
No worries, I quietly went about talking to their competitors and what do you know, the very first one I approached jumped at the chance to come on board as a sponsor and also secure the $100,000 worth of business.
Each business is different and you’re simply asking if they’re interested in such a deal. Some may be keen, and some may not.
4. The Win-Win-Win results
Whenever you’re looking to get other brands or businesses involved by way of sponsorship, you have to remember who you’re doing it for.
It’s always about your fans, participants, donors, members and guests. It’s about providing a better product or service to them.
The good news is, this deal did exactly that.
The new hire equipment company were happy to front up a decent sponsorship by way of cash for our awards dinner which we held later in the year, in exchange for securing the $100,000 worth of business associated with our half marathon and 10km fun run.
Not only that, they were a superior supplier, they provided a better service and their range of products was larger.
They could see the potential in us promoting their services to all of our participants and also gave us a 20% discount on all hire equipment throughout the entire year for any additional events we ran.
In the end the results looked like this:
- We received a cash sponsorship for an event we normally struggled to get sponsorship for
- Our customers, and us got a superior service
- The hire company got a decent sized contract as well as all of our additional event business, and much of our participant’s business
Talk about win-win-win huh?
Many of us forget to ask those we already have relationships with for sponsorship, including our fans and supporters. That’s the low hanging fruit and should be the first place to look.
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