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I’m just back from an event in Vegas – one I actually attended as a participant, not a sponsor – and I had the opportunity to observe what was going on in the sponsor area from a different perspective than usual .Boy was it revealing!
The experience reminded me how important your internal work is when you sponsor to connect with potential clients for your business.
So today I’d like to focus on the inner game of sponsoring and sales.
On the surface, sponsoring and speaking looks like an outer game. The booths and clothing and stage presence and words the sponsors and speakers are using…
But there’s a lot going on under the surface. There’s an energy you are carrying with you as a sponsor, speaker, and salesperson that trumps everything else.
I brought a guest with me to this event, and she is pretty new to the world of events. And one of the first comments she made to me was about the sponsors who lined the hallway into and out of the main room. Her comment?
“They look so desperate.”
Her comment really got me thinking: Here was a sponsor area lined with talented people who have a real gift to share with the world, most of them dressed impeccably and standing in front of professional, attractive booths. And yet it was clear that she was picking up on something happening below the surface. Many of these sponsors had neglected to work on some of the finer points of sponsoring and selling – what was going on inside of them as they stood at their booths.
Here are 3 inner game strategies I suspect many of them missed.
Inner Game Strategy #1: Make sure you’re focused on the right thing. Let’s face it, we are in business to serve people and make money, and that requires new clients for our business. So, yes, we all need a certain number of clients and a certain amount of money coming into our businesses. There is a need underlying this and every other marketing strategy. So we are sponsoring because of a need. But the mistake I see is sponsors forgetting to switch this focus when they are at the actual event – because sales is all about helping other people with their needs. So once you are at the event and in sponsor mode, your focus needs to switch to the attendees‘ needs. Otherwise they can sense your neediness, and they just want to stay the heck away from you!
Inner Game Strategy #2: Be different than everyone else. You are at the event in a different capacity than the other attendees. You have invested more than they have to be at the event. You have positioned yourself as an expert by being there in the sponsor role. But it doesn’t end there. You must be different than them. You must interact differently than them. Because at the energetic level, they are determining whether you are someone who is just like them or someone who can truly help them. The conversations you have with them and the energy you hold underneath that are the keys. Do your conversations sound just like every other conversation they’re having in that room? Are you holding the same energy as those people who run around the room spewing out what they do and shoving business cards in everyone’s hands? That’s how “everyone else” acts, and if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that, you know how ineffective and needy it appears.
Inner Game Strategy #3: Remember why you are there. Yep, I saw it happen again! And it never ceases to amaze me. More than one of the event sponsors stood up at the microphone during the event Q&A and talked about their business problems in front of a room full of their potential buyers. One of them even talked about how many problems she was having making sales. This happens when people forget why they are there. When you are a sponsor or speaker, you are not an attendee at the event. You are there to connect with potential clients for your business. And especially if you are selling high-end products or services, no one wants to buy that from you if they think you are just like them.
Sponsoring and speaking to grow your business can be an amazing marketing strategy – in fact, it’s pretty much the only strategy I use to connect with new clients. And it requires a pretty good investment of your money and time. The last thing you want to do is flush that investment down the toilet.
Stay on top of your inner game as well as your outer one and you’ll see your sponsorship ROI skyrocket!
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