When you understand that building sponsorship relationships is about marketing needs (and not asking for handouts), you learn to approach each step of the partner relationship building process differently, especially when it comes to the (...gulp...) discovery call!
Discovery calls are often the step in the collaboration and relationship process many speakers, authors, and entrepreneurs feel most apprehensive about.
So today, we’re bringing you 7 valuable tips and great questions to ask sponsors to help pinpoint their marketing needs.
When Is a Discovery Call with a Sponsor Appropriate?
Before you ever schedule a call, keep in mind there are two crucial steps from our Raise a Dream 7-step process for building sponsorship relationships that you must spend time on FIRST before you talk with potential partners.
You can get a copy of this 7-step model from our free ebook on our homepage.
Essential Steps Before the Discovery Call - Clarity & Connection:
There are two sets of information to prepare before you get to those great discovery call questions.
First, you need to identify and get clear on your own project, needs, and potential value.
Ask yourself some key questions, such as:
Who is my target audience? (Be VERY specific with details.)
Where could sponsorship fit into my launch, speaking, book, or media tour?
Can I clearly communicate my project, target audience, and sponsor benefits?
If I were the potential sponsor, what would make me interested in my project and brand? How might I want to interact as a sponsor?
Next, spend time on Step 1 (Identify & Research) and Step 2 (Connect) of the sponsorship relationship building process.
The brand research process is critical to preparing for a discovery call and to building a relationship with the brand ambassadors and sponsorship team. You might review the sponsor’s website, social media, press releases, videos, annual reports, and LinkedIn pages. Whatever path your research takes, it is important to learn about their brand, understand how their sponsorship/community investment and marketing funding work, and explore whether there are some synergies.
We can support you through our Big Dream Primer Program, which goes into more detail about researching sponsors, building connection relationships, and preparing for discovery conversations. Or, check out our event page for upcoming LIVE 1-Day Sponsorship Intensives where we can help you in person through this process. At the live event, you’ll get to hear directly from sponsors who join the sessions by Zoom and video. They share the questions that are important to them and the mistakes they see people making.
Great Questions for Sponsorship Discovery Call Conversations:
Once you’ve properly prepared and made those important first connections, selecting and/or personalizing some of the questions below will help you learn what you need to know about whether there’s a rewarding marketing fit with a potential new sponsor.
Who is your target audience? How do you reach them? What do they most value?
How do you typically engage in collaborative projects and sponsorship?
What are your marketing goals over the next 18 months to two years? What messages are you most wanting to communicate to your target audience?
What is your biggest value? What are your most desirable benefits? What are the most important aspects of a sponsorship arrangement/proposal? (Raise a Dream Hint: It’s not exposure or visibility, free swag and tickets that they probably can’t use, or their logo on a sign or website). How we can best connect you with our audience and provide you maximum benefit through this partnership?
From our conversation, it sounds like our values and mission are closely aligned and there is the potential for some great synergies between us. I'd love to hear your thoughts about what you would like to offer in this collaboration/partnership?
What would you like to see happen? What would make sense from your perspective?
What makes sense to you about moving forward so that we can best serve you in this partnership?
Create a list of questions that you can have handy and close by for these types of calls and conversations.
Optimizing Your Discovery Call Performance:
In addition to preparing your research and questions, we suggest taking your prep one step further. Every week, practice these questions out loud in front of a mirror. It may sound goofy, but we know from doing this ourselves that your preparation for a conversation can be the difference between getting the next call and conversation or the sponsor saying, “It’s not a fit, but thank you!”
Practising out loud builds confidence, allows you to feel grounded, and lends to professionalism with these discovery questions. And... your brain will retain them!
You never know whom you might meet at a conference, in the grocery store line, or while visiting your bank. Often our future sponsors are closer than we think.