How to negotiate sponsorship deals

I have recently began sponsorship negotiations with many companies. Just a few weeks ago, while browsing Twitter, I stumbled upon a Finnish association devoted to sponsorship and event marketing. I got very excited about the existence of such an organization, and immediately booked a ticket to their next event. We had been working on sponsor deals with Suvi Liukkonen for a few weeks before attending this event. Somehow everything we had already planned, was pretty much in line with what we heard at the event. Here’s some advise to help you in your negotiations with sponsors.

Customize your deal

Companies are more likely to accept your proposition, if it can be customized to their needs. Don’t offer just one package, offer some options. But not too many. A clear presentation of the options will help you with negotiations.

Switch roles with the buyer

Make the benefits of the sponsorship abundantly clear. What does the buyer get? Show some numbers of your media reach and marketing plan. Be very specific with your offer. A good deal proposition serves as a draft for the contract that you should make.

Thoroughly research the sponsor candidates and create profiles of each

It’s very important to know who you’re talking to, and what they need. Get accustomed to the company’s values and current goals. Look for information on their previous collaborations. Search for recent news articles about the company. Check their social media accounts. Try to understand what the people in charge are up to.

Money is often the last thing you need

Sometimes you need the influence or the products of your collaborator. The value of influence can be greater than what you could afford, or even know how to buy. If the company supplies you with products, it’s usually a cheaper form of sponsoring, because the purchase price is lower than the sales price (which would be your price if it wasn’t for sponsoring).

Companies need more than just logo exposure

Just displaying logos isn’t enough to attract a collaborator’s interest. It doesn’t tell your audience anything about the sponsor company. You should be able to tell a story about the brand, otherwise it will go unnoticed. You should provide a results report of the sponsorship project, designed to suit the needs of the sponsor. If you can prove your usefulness, it’s easier to renew the sponsorship deal.

Be sharp!

Sealing a deal requires a great deal of communication – meeting in real life, by email, telephone and in all kinds of messaging platforms. You should stick to your promises and schedule, so that you can get actual answers. “No” is also a good answer, because you can then move on to the next sponsor candidate. In order to get a “Yes”, you need to have a contract, which can be signed.

The importance of contracts

You should always have your sponsor sign a contract of the sponsorship, just to make clear that you both completely understand what you’re trading. If you’re trading services to products, both parties should write equal-sized invoices of the same sum, to avoid any issues with taxes.

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