Selling Sponsorships Virtually

By Paula Beadle

While events have been cancelled, postponed or placed in a holding pattern, many sponsors are planning for 2021 and exploring sponsorship opportunities. During the last few months you have likely discussed with sponsors how you are both pivoting and adjusting objectives in light of the pandemic.

There has been a shift in how we typically have conversations with our partners. The days of in-person lunches, boardroom meetings, jumping on a plane, or site walk-throughs are not currently in the cards and that may not change for the foreseeable the future. This may be a tough realization for some to accept, and a welcome change for others, but it’s certainly part of our new reality.

For the first time, you and your partner are seeing into each other’s personal life. As we heard recently from our friend Amber Burda, it’s the first time she’s welcomed such a broad network of people into her home – where her kids are playing in the backyard and her fishing poles are on full display. Take time to recognize you and your partners are getting to know each other on a deeper, more personal level.

Now is a good time to get comfortable with virtual presentations. We’re providing tips for selling sponsorships virtually and if you want more in-depth information, we’ve provided a few of our favorite resources.

Be Camera Ready. We are all taking a more casual approach to our work as we adjust to working from home, but when it’s showtime bring your best self to the virtual meeting. Hey, I’m all for embracing a more casual aspect to meetings, but you should be putting these basic points into practice:

    1. Adjust the camera so you are centered in the frame
    2. Don’t look down or up at your camera. Look your camera straight in the eye to maintain direct eye contact
    3. Maintain a strong voices and good visual image
    4. Consider what your background says about you
    5. Focus on the conversation even if you are muted
    6. Take a pause, make sure someone has completed their sentence and give others a chance to respond
    7. Every meeting should have a facilitator and an agenda


Helpful resources:

How to Elevate Your Presence on Virtual Meetings from Harvard Business Review

5 Things CanceledCon Taught Me About Virtual Events and Life

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Virtual Backgrounds 

Good Feng Shui for Video Conferencing During Isolation

If you really want to improve your virtual selling skills, we recommend our friends at Techretaries and their online workshops. This includes a live 1.5 hour online workshop with in-depth feedback on how you look, sound and connect with your audience on Zoom. Gain the technical chops you need to be a Zoom wizard. Check it out here: Look Great, Sound Great on Zoom – Online Workshop

 

Lay the Groundwork. It’s important not to neglect your meeting preparation. When you’re on a virtual call, you’re up close and personal with your sponsors and they can see every ounce of distraction, disagreement, and how unprepared you may be. Come prepared and do some dialog practice to navigate curve balls in the conversation.

Helpful resources:

Sponsorship Sales 101: Five Tips for Getting the Meeting

Meeting Checklist and Preparing and Agenda Setting

 

Maintain Your Sales Process. Although we are shifting to a virtual environment, the sales process has not changed.  You may need to make slight adjustments, but the same principles apply. Caravel Marketing had developed and refined our sales process over decades of selling sponsorships, here is a visual cue of our sales process:

Be sure to check out the blog Revisiting the Sales Process & COVID Considerations for more helpful information related to the Sponsorship Sales Process.

Helpful resources: 

5 Ways to Keep Your Sponsorship Sales Process Active

Sponsorship Sales Success Part 1: Mastering Internal Efforts

Sponsorship Sales Success Part 2: Mastering External Efforts

Throughout every step of the sales process you should consider how to put your best virtual self forward. Make sure your communication, whether via email or video conferencing, is top-notch.

 

About the author: Paula Beadle is the CEO of Caravel Marketing, a national consulting company specializing in sponsorship marketing, and the founder of Sponsorship Mastery, an annual summit and programming dedicated to improving individual and organizational sponsorship performance. She is a results-driven trailblazer with a proven record of developing smart strategies and creatively connecting the right partners. Paula has helped iconic events and major brands achieve their goals through innovative sponsorship initiatives, generating incremental revenue and successfully coaching thriving teams, executives and boards.