Once you have sponsors for your event the key is keeping them. Retaining sponsors takes loads of pressure off your sales efforts, especially if you’re able to retain 90% of your sponsors. This is why the importance of keeping your sponsors happy can be greater than signing them in the first place. Here are 8 ways to keep your sponsors happy.
1.Refer to them as partners.
While most sponsors are not equity partners, they are very much partners in the event. Referring to them as a partner implies an active role and a vested stake in the event’s success. No one really likes simply writing a check to be a part of something, but everyone loves being a partner. It seems simple, but just referring to them as partners is a bigger deal than it might seem.
2. Be their brand ambassador to your audience and partners.
Sponsors want to be attached to your event for any number of reasons. One of the biggest things you can do is actively seek to build their brand in any way you can. Be their advocate to your audience and other partners. Think about creative ways you can go above and beyond for them. Actually, try using their products (or service) and tell your audience how great it is. Further, post great product reviews on social media, or make sure you include their booth set-up in your Instagram posts.
3. Make a key introduction for them.
Do you know a big supplier who might be a good customer for one of your sponsors? Make an intro. Even if they don’t get the deal, they know that you are in their corner and looking out for their best interest. It’s also great to introduce them to other partners. You never know what kind of cross promotions (that will benefit the event) will come out of those conversations.
4. Go above and beyond what you promised.
Think of the classic saying, “Under promise and over deliver”. It’s really important to communicate to all of your staff the importance of going the extra mile for your sponsors. After all, a lot of that sponsor revenue will be covering their salaries. Encourage everyone on your team to be proactive. If you see something that’s less than ideal for a sponsor, fix it. It’s always good to have a few extra surprises up your sleeve that sponsors don’t already expect. It can be anything from delivering some food (or a cold beer) during the event, to adding them to a promotion they weren’t expecting. Be creative, and have fun delighting your partners!
5. Reach out
Never hesitate to reach out and to see if there is anything else you can do to help them grow. You won’t know that something isn’t working if you don’t ask. Even the act of simply asking how you can help them goes a long way. A check in with a sponsor emphasizes that you care and that you’re concerned about their experience.
6. Be open to hearing their concerns or ideas.
It’s your event, and you can’t always accommodate everything, but make sure sponsors know you are open to listening to their ideas. You’re going to get all kinds of suggestions. It’s OK. They don’t know all the reasons why their idea may not work. Take the opportunity to simply say “Thanks, that’s an interesting idea, we’ll sure talk about it.” Don’t shoot anything down. You are also going to hear some fantastic ideas! Sometimes as event promoters, we’re so ingrained in our work that we can miss the forest through the trees. Listen to sponsors concerns and if you can't fix it on the spot, let them know you will think about a solution and get back with them.
7. Be honest.
If there are areas that you fell short, own it. Events are chaotic, and we all know things can get dropped. Be humble and talk about how you plan to fix it for the next event. Most sponsors do enough events to know that everything doesn’t always go perfectly according to the plan. However, I find that if you’re upfront, admit that it wasn’t what you expected and talk about a solution they are quick to forget.
8. Send an event re-cap report.
A sponsor recap report is a great way to remind them how great the event was, and how they were included in the success. Let’s be honest after a grueling event (or event series) everyone just wants to take a breath. It is also human nature to start looking forward to the next event. That’s great, but before you go full steam into the next event, block out a few days and put together a sponsor re-cap. If you’re working with bigger brands, their bosses will expect it. A great sponsor re-cap allows you to showcase your success, and put you one step closer to renewing all of your sponsors.
Putting in this added effort will literally “pay dividends.” If you found this article helpful check out our 6 Secrets to Attracting Great Sponsor's .