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WHO TO REACH OUT TO
WHO TO REACH OUT TO

By Cosmos Sports | September 16, 2020

Reading Time: 46 minutes

In a 10 part episode series, our experts discuss the different tools and tactics to acquiring sponsorship. Episode 3 takes a look at who to reach out to when seeking sponsorship.

Who To Reach Out To

Evan Colborne:

0:00 

“Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to episode three of our corporate sponsorship webinar series. I am Evan Colborne. This is Cary, who is president of Cosmo Sports and Entertainment. So as we usually get started a couple of housekeeping items. So first of all, very special thanks to Central Counties Tourism, and Sport Durham, again, for putting on this webinar series and allowing us to host it. This is episode three, we still we still got seven more to go after this and it’s so far so good. So we’re really glad we’ve been able to bring this to everybody. If you have any trouble seeing any of the slides that are on the screen. All the slides will be made available to anybody who’s registered for the webinar. So don’t worry if you can’t see something or if you’re trying to take a note and just can’t quite read it. All the slides will be made available. We’re going to wrap up the presentation today with some q&a at the end for the last 10 minutes or so. So the way to submit any questions is, if you’re on the YouTube page in the top right corner of your screen, there’s a live chat box. We did learn that on our last episode that you do have to be signed into your Google account in order to be able to submit a question. So if you’re not signed in and would like to submit a question all you have to do to sign into your Google account, you don’t have a Google account or if you’re not able to sign in where you are, you can email us any questions so you can find her emails on cosmossports.com, if you go to about us and our team page, all of our emails are there. So you can send one to Cary or myself or Rebecca and we’d be happy to answer any of the questions you might have. So with the live chat questions, so there is a slight delay on the on the broadcast. So submit questions throughout as they come come to mind for you because if you wait till the end, we may not be able to get your question on our end before the broadcast actually ends just because of the delay. So submit questions throughout and and hopefully we’ll get a chance to address those at the end. And likewise, you know, if the if there’s any questions that you find after the webinar, you can always email us again, emails are all on the team page. So.

So with that, so our third episode is all about who to reach out to, we’re going to talk about the sponsorship prospecting process. So Episode One, we really touched on what sponsors want, really tried to provide some insight into what they’re looking for, and what their objectives are episode two really focused on us as properties and what we have to offer, and then tried to offer some insight into what it’s worth, and how we can determine some fair market values for different assets. So with a good understanding of kind of both those sides now, and had you followed along through kinda episode two your kind of, you’ve got all your tools really that you need. So now it’s time to start reaching out and start building some relationships and start having some conversations with with potential sponsors. So the way we titled this, this webinar is really there’s two key words that we wanted to highlight here. So first is who. So we really didn’t title this around, you know what companies to reach out to, for sponsorship, it’s really about who to reach out to for sponsorship, and it’s kind of been a theme through our first two episodes is, it’s about people that the people that are making these decisions are just like you or I, and they’re just working in a different type of job. So it’s really about finding the right people to reach out to for sponsorship opportunities. And the second is the word reach out, it’s a proactive process. It’s not reactionary. It’s not about putting up a form on our websites, and, you know, requesting sponsorship, there or things like that. So we’re going to really focus on how this is a proactive process, and what we can all do to be proactive in sourcing out those opportunities for ourselves.

So a couple just key takeaways for today. So first, we would, you know, the hopeful takeaway is understanding of how to prospect for the right companies. So, how did it and we’re going to talk about how to define a bit of the why or the fit, why there’s that initial fit between a company and a property. Second, you know, finding the right person at the company to reach out to, so who’s the, the ultimate decision maker, and how can we, how can we get in front of that person. And then lastly, we’re going to very specifically in tactfully show what that outreach really looks like, both from email from phone, different methods. So we’ll share some some really specifics on how that looks.

Okay. So really, where we’re going to get started is how to first kind of define who are the right companies that we want to be reaching out to? And it really does start with that concept of why and why in the sense of a few different ways. So A. Why does our property exist? What’s our mission? And what’s our purpose? B. What’s the company’s mission and purpose? And is there any alignment there? Do we have a similar business objective? Do we share a similar audience? So forth? So there’s got to be some sort of initial fit between companies, because there’s really often there’s this kind of misconception that you look at a company, maybe it’s like a McDonald’s or something, you say, hey, they have a lot of money, why wouldn’t they want to sponsor us?”

Cary Kaplan:

5:25 

“So I think that first of all, it’s great, appreciate the introduction Evan. I mean, it’s a really important topic today. So and you know, just say, in general in the series, I mean, sometimes it can be hard. It’s a lot of Evan and I talking here with slides in the background, but I hope you could, it’s a lot of theory in some ways, but I think, you know, the appreciate it and I know, there’s a lot of people that are listening, I think the content’s unique, and as I said, you know, a few times common sense isn’t always common, or common sense is uncommon. I think it’s a famous quote. So that’s important. There’s a perception.

So one of the and I think today in particular, more even so than the first two episodes is some of the misconceptions about sponsorship, there’s, I think, two or three that we’re talking about today. So the first one and one of the most overwhelming ones, it’s exactly what you said. So I hope you guys listen closely to this point. A lot of you may think Tim Hortons has a lot of money. McDonald’s has a lot of money. Canadian Tire has a lot of money. Why aren’t they sponsor us? Terrible, terrible thought process. They don’t have a lot of money to spend on sponsorship, they’re successful because they manage their business well. So they’re not sitting with hundreds of thousands, or millions or 10s of millions of dollars looking to sponsor or work with things that don’t make sense. If you’re the director of marketing of a local McDonald’s or you’re the franchise manager of a local McDonald’s, you have a very small amount of money, you might have whatever that is, and it could be $5,000 or $10,000 or $100,000, but you want to strategically spend it the best way possible. So the mistake is for somebody to say, well, I’m an Olympic athlete or I want to be an Olympic athlete, or we have a great event here that, a great festival in town and this company, McDonald’s has a lot of money, so they should support it. Wrong answer. The concept is how do you link, it’s understanding them. It’s what’s the, who is the local franchisee at McDonald’s? What are their values? What events have they done in the past? What might interest them? What’s good for their business? How will they sell more hamburgers or more salads or more of whatever? And how can you be a facilitator to help that McDonald’s have more traffic. And that’s the same for the local law firm or insurance company and so again, if you start from a position of they owe me something, they owe us something, they’ve done well by this community they should spend with us, you’re going to be very unsuccessful. If you start from the premise of they’re successful because they spend their money well, in large part, let me care enough so I understand them better. That’s a much better place to start from. So just sort of get it out of your head, this company has a lot of money, or this company hasn’t returned my calls or emails. So it’s on them. It’s on you. It’s your obligation to best define that. And you’ve got to solve that dilemma. Not saying, well, I did my work by sending them three emails and they didn’t respond, it’s fine. But you’re going to be grumpy about that but it doesn’t mean they’re ever going to work with you. So the onus is on you.”

Evan Colborne:

8:48 

“Onus, is on them and it really is that you know, that fit, there’s got to be that fit. Otherwise, just and there’s nothing wrong with that, then maybe there just isn’t a fit and that’s okay, too.”

Cary Kaplan:

8:58 

“There’s not always a fit and sometimes sometimes it’s good to go into these situations and say, I don’t know if there’s a fit for McDonald’s to work with Heart and Stroke Foundation, or this is a marathon we’re coming up, right? You may think, oh, McDonald’s, how can McDonald’s work at a marathon their business is hamburgers and fries and milkshakes and soft drinks. Well, McDonald’s wants to you know, big part of what they want to do if you talk to them as promote their yogurts and their salads and their oatmeal and maybe it’s a great fit, but maybe it’s not. So you have to part of it is understanding their business and maybe talking to them, you know, do you understand what the calorie content of their oatmeals are? How many they sell? Or are they successful or not successful? Or do they, what has McDonald’s done in the last 10 years to tie into healthy living? And by the way, it’s not just as I say McDonald’s it could be investors group, you know Purolator, I like Purolator’s example because they, hunger is a big cause for Purolator. Well, you’d never think that you think Purolator’s in the delivery business. Well, Purolator’s in the preventing hunger starvation issues, but that’s on you. Do your research. Figure out, understand Purolator before they call them. Don’t think you understand your event. Of course you do. But you’re not in a position to call Purolator and McDonald’s until you know something about them. And again, you know, yeah, it is, you can be creative, the good news about fits, there are more fits than you think. But you have to be, you have to look at the company to really understand where’s the fit. And if you can do some homework before you can help define a fit before you reach out to them you got a fighting chance.”

Evan Colborne:

10:47 

“The research component, really, really important. And now with just simple as Google, you can probably find a lot of what you’re looking for, just with, you know, a few minutes typing in a few searches.”

Cary Kaplan:

10:56 

“Yeah, absolutely. I think you we’ll talk about Google, I think we’ll talk a little bit later about LinkedIn, there’s no excuse anymore. So you know, maybe I’ll just mention how Google is a fit for just homepage of companies, websites, or Wikipedia, Wikipedia page can be great, because a little bit more objective, the whole page and Wikipedia that you’re covered and then the other side who are people, if you want to know who the community relations person is for Mr. Lube, within your area, just it’s on LinkedIn. So might take you five minutes, might take you ten minutes, so there’s no excuse anymore. So to be able to say, you know, we’re not looking through phone books anymore. So I think the technology is an amazing tool, but on the same end calling somebody and saying, without that research, you know, it’s embarrassing. So I’d say to everybody, if you’re making a call to a company, and you don’t know anything about the company, pretty shame on you guys, that’s pretty embarrassing. That’s pretty bad, that you would reach out to a local business without knowing more about them than that you’re a casual customer, you’ve been there once before.”

Evan Colborne:

12:09 

“So we’ve all heard this, this concept of kind of the low hanging fruit that’s this graphic here, we all have multiple jobs, we all have lots of tasks to do and we want to focus on those things that are going to be most effective that aren’t going to take up disproportionate amount of our time to be effective. So this concept of focusing a lot on the low hanging fruit so we can do all that research around fit and, you know, think we can define some companies that are really good fit for for our property, but there’s still that, you know, that lack of connection and they may, to continue the analogy that may still be really high up the tree so, really, I mean, how do we kind of narrow it down so, we start focusing on one.”

Cary Kaplan

12:55 

“Yeah, well, a good example, I mean, it’s a great graphic, it’s a really neat graphic because the guy’s on the wrong side of the tree and he doesn’t even see that, you know, if he walked around the tree he would see there’s apples right at the bottom. I think, you know, it’s funny, I use the example of McDonald’s but I think that’s often the problem. People say, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Scotiabank, McDonald’s, those aren’t, that’s often high hanging fruit. What about the local person that has two spas in Ajax, and you live in Ajax, or the one person that owns the one Arby’s in Durham Region and you happen to know that person but you’re calling the head office of Arby’s in Toronto. Why, like, that’s the apples right there and you think, Oh, yeah, Bob just owns the one Arby’s he doesn’t have any money. Bob’s an Arby’s, he’s an Arby’s franchisee that’s the person to talk to, as opposed to trying to find some head office connection, who’s maybe never been Ajax in their life. So again, it’s just, you almost have to take a step back and look around you and say, Look, who are who are my potential partners as opposed to so all these you know, and by the way, one of the things about our training at Cosmos here, it’s not consistent maybe with what you’ve heard or read before. So everybody obviously chooses to pick their own, pick which way to go. But we’re, you know, we’re pretty confident in our argument and there’s some people that say, look at fortune 500 companies. To me, it’s totally ridiculous look in your own backyard for organizations and people that are fits, I think we’re going to talk a little bit. Yeah…”

Evan Colborne:

14:41 

“So yeah, so really, that concept of, you know, not not trying to jump to the top of the tree and just going for those fortune 500 companies or thinking it’s someone downtown Toronto, it’s, really that person in your backyard, which is the first point here is albout personal network and kind of being surprised to just how many of you kind of sat down and thought about it for a minute, and your own personal network, how many companies you’re connected to locally and otherwise, through friends, family, you know, in your work life as well, it could be clients, could be customers, could be vendors. So, there’s this huge network of people that you’re connected to, that you may not even realize it.”

Cary Kaplan:

15:22 

“Yeah, the best example for me is, so my brother works at Quaker Tropicana Pepsi. You know, I say, when I say Pepsi, he’s in nutrition, so it’s a Pepsi that’s odd, but it’s Quaker, Tropicana Pepsi he’s in nutrition. He has nothing to do with sponsorship or marketing or any of the things that Cosmos does. He’s always the person I’m going to call at Pepsi first. Now, it’s not going to be the person anyone else on that we’re talking to today’s gonna call, but my brother works at Pepsi. So I’m gonna ask him, Hey, what should we do on sponsorship? Or who should we talk to out of that meeting? And yeah, it’s three departments away, and it’s in another building, and it’s in another city. He’s still. he’s inside the building. Think of your own organization where you work, you know, you work for the, if you work for the city of Pickering and I, do you know, who does sponsorship? Yeah, you figure it out and it may not be the person that has that title, or maybe one person’s easier to deal with than another person, or you know, the intricacies or you know, how purchasing works, or you can find out. So, I think the mistake is to not use your own network, you know, think of all the people that you guys know, that work for different businesses, that’s the person you should talk to at those companies, not the person in the “right title”, start with the people you know, and then ask those questions. A simple question is, who’s the right person? Or can you point me in the right direction, or, you know, I know, you don’t have anything to do with this, but you’ve been my friend for 20 years. So who would be the person that or you know, so again, I think people are afraid to kind of go to their network to find out information.”

Evan Colborne:

17:09 

“So we talked about as well, the, you know, focusing on the, on the local businesses, as opposed to, you know, thinking it’s somewhere in Toronto or Calgary that you have to go to find the decision maker, that the local business person more chance to, you’re going to have to be connected to them, or know them, more chance, like you said that that person’s been to your event or aware of your event or property because they’re living in that community. So that focus on local…”

Cary Kaplan:

17:34 

“Right, even that Arby’s example. So if there’s one Arby’s in Oshawa, and the person doesn’t have a lot of money, and you don’t think they do very well, there’s still the one, it’s much easier for them to sell head office, or to convince head office than it would be for you. So they’re really excited about the Oshawa generals, and you want to get Arby’s on board. And you know, that they don’t have any money at the store level, you want an ally and your ally is, that’s, you know, your ally is the person that has those little connections that knows what the Oshawa generals are, and knows that that’s relevant. So don’t side step the person because you don’t think they have a big budget, or they’re not important, or they’re not in the right department. So again, looking up where the head office is doesn’t really mean a lot. It’s really starting with your, starting where possible with your local connections.”

Evan Colborne:

18:32

“The other way to kind of narrow down is is to look at sponsors of similar properties. So if you’re running a festival, you know, maybe looking at other festivals and seeing who are some of the companies that are associated there, but we were talking about it just before about looking at companies who are already do sponsorship just in general, because they’ve already got that.”

Cary Kaplan:

18:52 

“Right, there’s a line item, right? So do you have, a lot of companies have in their budget, and you know, people are, it’s dated. So there’s a lot of companies that still have TV, you guys may have, some of you guys listening may relate to this TV, newspaper, radio, outdoor, and then they put in something called online, everybody put in 10 years ago in their budget, or five years ago online. Well, it’s totally dated, first of all, so. But if they don’t have a line that says sponsorship, it’s harder because you’re creating something out of scratch that they’ve never done before. So an organization that has done things like this, that’s one of the factors it’s not the only one. But one of the factors to say, hey, we’ve seen like you said, they’ve sponsored festivals, it means they’ve done their research, they’ve got an activation team, they know how to give away samples, they’re set up, they may have already bought a booth, you know a booth could cost them $10,000. So if they bought it already, now, they can come to your event, and they don’t have to pay that $10,000 it’s sitting in their office somewhere. If they’ve never bought the booth and you want to be the first event now they have a big hard costs associated with it. So again, companies that have a propensity to do stuff like yours, it’s way easier.”

Evan Colborne:

20:07 

“So through all of that, I mean, you may still, you know, feel like all those channels are exhausted and you still feel, you know, there’s a company there, that would be a really good fit, and you just have that good feeling about it. But you don’t appear to have any connection. Is there any harm in reaching out and…”

Cary Kaplan:

20:25 

“Well, I think what I’d say, you know, the last line, there’s cold outreach, I think what I would say I hate the word cold in general, I think you have to warm it up. So you take something, it’s cold, and, you know, you can put in the microwave or put it in the oven. So now what I’m saying is, as opposed to saying, so if you get excited, and you say, okay, I really have a good feeling that Allstate would be a really good sponsor, I just have a feeling they’re in, they’re committed, whatever that feeling is, okay, do your research now. Start with the feeling and do your research. So again, research the company. What do they do? What have they done? Do they care about your community? Have they done stuff in other communities? Have they done things similar? Who are the right contacts, what’s the background of those contacts? If you go on LinkedIn, if you see somebody works for Allstate and they used to work for Manulife that might be part of the conversation, maybe. So I think the point is, warm it up. You could have that, you can have a gut feeling. But before you reach out to that, because your odds are so slim if it’s just cold, you know, warm up the lead and then make your outreach. But if your outreach is something you know more along lines of, I think you’re going to give an example related to Manulife, but I think the, the more of the example is specific and less generic, so that’s sort of the short.”

Evan Colborne:

21:54

“But probably safe to say, you know, if you go through those first kind of three steps, pretty hard to find zero connection, there’s going to be some connection way into to warm it up.”

Cary Kaplan:

22:03 

“That’s right. The other thing I would say just about that is it makes your conversation’s easy. So if you’re in this sales mode that we have a great event and do you want to sponsor it, it  tends to be a terrible conversation. If the conversation’s more about shared interests, or you can say, Hey, I know you guys got involved with the Heart and Stroke Foundation recently, can you tell me about that or i’d like to learn more about that it’s a, you know, it’s the point of icebreakers, it’s nice to have some real tangible things that you can discuss.”

Evan Colborne:

22:42 

“So we touched on a couple of these already, just in terms of how to how to actually find the right person to reach out to. So LinkedIn obviously, being the foremost new kind of technolog one, which is great, you know, it’s searchable, you can find people in it and it already offers you that connection, and says, you know, this is how you’re connected to this person, or you’re two degrees away from this person, and so forth. So, a really great tool to utilize to find who the right person to connect with is one that we, that we didn’t kind of touched on yet is your organizational context. So you may have vendors and companies that your property is spending money with, so maybe you need to buy insurance, or maybe or catering or something, those people you can look at as well.”

Cary Kaplan:

23:30 

“Yeah, absolutely. So, who do you do your banking with, everybody has a bank. So, if you’re banking with Scotiabank, you got, a lot of you guys are, you know, your suppliers are, major organizations are suppliers. Without and I know some people get nervous about this about is there a conflict or based on some of the municipal people that were talking to your about regulations. But they’re separate discussions. But the advantage of you having a supplier relationship with a bank or an insurance company or the person that does the wiring in the building or the forklift operators, those are great companies for you to reach out to and talk to them about a relationship. You don’t have to say anything about you talking to a forklift operator, the company that does operations in your building. You don’t have to say, by the way, you do, you’re the forklift operator building. But, they know that, they understand that, that they’ve been doing work for you, with you for many years and I think it’s natural and here’s one of the things I think people get confused. So they would think, well, if I call the forklift operator in our building, we’re already doing stuff with them. I feel uneasy about that. I should call another company. The problem is, what if they wanted to do something? And what if their competitor let’s say use John Deere equipment, and you think oh, well, we shouldn’t really mix the two, John Deere’s our supplier. They do a lot of work here that we have their machines. And so I’m going to call Caterpillar, Kubota, Kubota becomes a sponsor and then John Deere comes in and says why didn’t you give us a chance? We’ve worked with you, you guys have bought our John Deere machines for 20 years, you know, we would have liked to work together. So there’s this opposite feeling that you shouldn’t approach John Deere. Now, if you approach John Deere and they’re not interested. That’s different. But you should, the people you’re already working with are the ones they have relations with. Like, it’s seems sort of counter productive or counter intuitive not to talk to the people that you talk to every day, just maybe somebody down the hall in your office. But so anyways, yeah, absolutely. The answer is you should, the more you can use the companies that work with you, the better.”

Evan Colborne:

25:58 

“So this graph we took from the Canadian sponsorship landscape study, the most recent addition,

in our first two episodes, we’ve had a few other graphs from there. But so this one looks to highlight the title or the level of people who are sponsorship decision makers. So maybe a little bit tough to see on the screen here but this green bar here represents VP level and this pink bar here represents director so you can see 75% of the decision makers that were surveyed in this were at that level only 10% that were at the manager level and 15% at the president and CEO level. So pretty good bet that your decision maker at a company you’ve identified is going to be in that level. And it’s going to have one of those kind of titles. So if you’re doing some of that research on on LinkedIn, you may want to kind of look for those types of titles.”

Cary Kaplan:

26:52

“Right, and if you’re talking to somebody who, you know, good question is who makes the decisions on sponsorship? So let’s say you have a friend, you know, my brother is, you have a friend somewhere, as opposed to saying, who’s in sponsorship, or even who should I talk to? A better question is who makes the sponsorship decisions? Because we say, who should I talked to? They might maybe somebody more junior, but really you want, the sooner you can reach a decision maker, Yes or no, is better. If you if you’re dealing and you feel like well, I may get a quick no. Well, if the manager likes your idea, but you’re going to get a no from the director anyway, you want to get a no quickly what it’s a lot of time, why put time in if ultimately, it’s not going to be received. So you want to go to the person who so good word or good way to as you’re working through there is who makes your corporate partnership, corporate sponsorship decisions. And sometimes it’s a team of people, some sometimes someone will say to you, well, you have to start with our manager director, that’s okay. But the closer you can get to the decision maker, the better.”

Evan Colborne:

28:04

“So there is a, you know, a bit of a risk, I guess, of, if you do kind of start a little bit too low on the pecking order that, you know, maybe that person doesn’t have the clout or the authority really to push something through further. So they, I guess, if in doubt, would it be would it be better to aim high? And then…”

Cary Kaplan:

28:23 

“Yeah, I think if in doubt, I think your decision maker’s can typically be higher rather than lower. So the graph really shows that, you know, the manager is rarely, manager, a coordinator executive, is rarely making an ultimate decision. So, yeah, I think if you can, but again, the most important thing is that you’re starting with people you have relationships with. So if you know, the manager of sponsorship, you say, oh, she’s not a decision maker. That’s okay. That’s where you have to start, you know, where there’s a history, start with the manager of sponsorship, and then see where it goes.”

Evan Colborne:

28:58 

“Right, and then on the high end, I guess it’s probably most common that, you know, president ceo level, they’re relying on their team. So they’re deferring those decisions down to somebody who’s a little bit more specialized in that area.”

Cary Kaplan:

29:09 

“Yeah, well, we just did, we just did a pretty large sponsorship deal for three years for a company and some naming rights, and the director handled everything for most part, but the vice president signed off. Now vice president didn’t change a single word of the contract. And that happens a lot, because they are relying on the director of sponsorship, the Vice President could be it says VP, marketing sponsorship. But one thing I would say a lot of companies, the VP is just VP, it could be VP business operations, a lot of companies don’t have VP of every department. So it’s a vice president up here, and they have 12 different directors reporting to them, they’re going to sign off think in your own situation, you know, oftentimes where you’re working once your superior trusts you or if you trust your staff under you, you’re going to, less much less scrutiny of what they’re doing. So it’s the same on buying decisions. So that’s common. So a lot of times, even when it says VP decision maker, they’re oftentimes a check and balance. So if a VP is deciding the CEO, maybe signing off, if the director is doing it, the Vice President may be signing off, but the person who makes the essence of the decision is really key for you.”

Evan Colborne:

30:32 

“And in this graphic, might be a little bit more representative of some of those, you know, bigger than corporate sponsors, and things like that, but it’s probably could be applied to a small business, it’s probably pretty similar, that the owner or president of that business is going to defer to their team, and so forth. So that’s probably still pretty accurate.

Okay, so now we’ve got a pretty good understanding of, you know, how to identify the types of companies that are really good fit for our properties, we also have a good understanding of how to zero in on the right person, and who we should be talking to at those companies. So now we kind of get have to get into the, into the thick of it, which is, you know, the actual outreach and starting to trying to set up some of these conversations and start building some of these, building some of these relationships.

So the first example we kind of show here is in the introduction to the episode, we talked about how this, our approaches are really personalized one, and it’s a really proactive one. But you know a very common practice for in sponsorship is application forms. So, you’ll see it on a company’s website, you know, fill out this form for sponsorship or donation requests and you may also find it on a properties website, where they’ve got a page on their website, where people can apply to be a sponsor. What are our thoughts on on forms, and then how to navigate them, or what should…”

Cary Kaplan:

32:04 

“I think people don’t read them. So I think the thoughts on forms are, you know, some of you guys will say, I filled out a form, it’s generally you know, you always have to be careful when you’re generalizing, and there’ll be somebody out here, that’s said, oh, I filled out a form once and I got a sponsorship. But generally, companies are non responsive to forms. It’s not personalized, they get bulks of them, it doesn’t look, it’s not something that differentiates anybody, it doesn’t allow you usually the opportunity to put a lot of detail in there, you know, the Olympics are not sending a form to Canadian Tire, the Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment don’t fill out any forms. So why are you filling out a form and I think that immediately puts you in a pretty unlikely situation. So the reality is, it’s not, it’s not a very effective route.”

Evan Colborne:

33:00 

“We were talking before about how a good analogy for forms is kind of like applying for a job. And then you could apply for a job and you could submit your resume and, you might be the most qualified, and then the best candidate and your resume rises to the top. But probably, that’s a little bit more of a narrow opportunity than if you’re proactive, and reaching out and figuring out who that hiring manager is, building the relationship and it’s very, very similar in that sense that if you’re filling out the form, if you’re the absolute best sponsorship opportunity, maybe that form rises to the top, but it’s probably unlikely.”

Cary Kaplan:

33:33 

“Maybe, but I would say, and, you know, again, another key point, if you’re really good, that’s overrated. So I don’t know if everybody got that. If you’re really good, let’s say your event’s great, everybody should sponsor it. It’s part of it. But to think, I think there’s so many people that come from a position we’re great, therefore, somebody should sponsor us. The key is how it’s conveyed. There’s lots of good products and good services and people have great ideas and people that fill in forms and some of you guys are probably listening to this think our event is amazing and sponsors aren’t listening to us, well it’s on you. It may be true, but it’s not the sponsor’s fault that they haven’t responded to you or responded to your emails, it’s your fault, you haven’t figured out how to convey the message you know, I always use the example if you have better coffee than Tim Hortons who cares if you’re not selling any, and you don’t have the store and you make it, if you want to do that, and you make it at home and it’s for you and your significant other, great! But you shouldn’t be upset that you’re not selling a lot of them, unless you kind of go through the exercise of figuring out how to do that. So again, if you, people spend so much time on let’s have a great product and so little time on conveying that and sponsorship’s a part of that if you’re not conveying your message or why your product is a good fit for sponsors than you don’t deserve the sponsorship, you haven’t done a good, you haven’t convinced people that it is good. So just because you know, it doesn’t get you very far.”

Evan Colborne:

35:20

“Okay. So forms probably something we want to avoid. So probably one of the more common outreach tactics that are used by most people would be would be email. So we wanted to spend some time talking about that when we use the word template. So we don’t mean it in the sense of copying and pasting or, you know, mass emailing a generic message to people we’re really kind of talking about is that there’s a few key elements that you probably want to have consistent in just about any introductory email that you’re sending out, which we’ll kind of go through an example here.”

Cary Kaplan:

35:58 

“So just sorry just before you start in the items Evan, the one thing I want to say, cuz I don’t, is how small it is. So just before you get into the specifics, the one thing I want to say is, keep it short, the vast majority of emails and think if you’re listening, if you’re listening here today, think of the last five emails you sent to people that were sort of outreaches where they, if anything this is too long. So that’s a very common mistake is to send an email, that’s a page long, people aren’t going to read it. Directors, Vice President, CEOs, people that you’re targeting are not going to read the length of the email. So just before you get in the specifics, keeping it brief and concise is very important.”

Evan Colborne:

36:43 

“So I’ll read the example here, because it may be a little bit tough to see. So in this case,

Good afternoon John, I was referred to you by my colleague Rebecca, who indicated that you and her had worked together a few months back. I recently heard about Manulife’s new partnership with the ride for heart and I have to say that from my perspective, it seems like a fantastic partnership. If it’s not too much trouble, I would love to pick your brain about Manulife’s healthy living and wellness initiatives, hear about some of the other objectives the organization has for 2018. Would you have some time on Thursday or Friday of this week to chat for a few minutes? Thanks John. Hope to hear from you soon.”

Cary Kaplan:

37:15 

“So again, just while you’re looking at this, do you notice what’s not mentioned in here? Your event or who you are. It doesn’t, you know, you think, well, how could I set the bottom right, director business development Cosmos Sports and Entertainment, but it’s, you’re talking about Manulife and their initiatives and ride for heart and talking. So again, where’s the focus? If you’re going to keep an email this short and the email ends up being all about you, that’s not going to get people excited. They’re sitting in a Manulife desk with Manulife colors, and they get their paycheck from Manulife and Manulife is very important to them. So again, talk about things that are important to them.”

Evan Colborne:

37:57 

“So you can see from what we mentioned about a template, you know, this couldn’t really be a template because it’s Manulife specific, it’s personalized to the person. But there are a few key elements that would be consistent across just about any introductory email that we’d recommend sending out. So I’m going to go through those now. And this these may be a little bit easier to see.

But so the first and foremost is that it’s a personalized greeting. So it’s good afternoon John. It’s not to whom it may concern. It’s not even, you know, to Mr. or Mrs. so and so. It’s personalized to John and again, it’s using their first name in the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It talks about how everyone’s favorite word in the entire English language is their first name. Something that if you hear it, you can’t help but turn your head, you see it written, you can’t help but kind of read a little bit. So personalizing it right off the top can help a lot just to get started.

Second, so there’s a strong point of reference. So, mentions that it was referred by a colleague, Rebecca hopefully they he, John in this case remembers who Rebecca is and there’s that connection that’s the reason, that’s how I found this person’s contact information. That’s why I’m reaching out. But there’s that point of reference so it indicates to the recipient, this isn’t spam. This is somebody who typed an email out to me.

So, third, you know, framing it and why did why did I see a fit to reach out, so, it’s talking all about them. And talking about Manulife, talking about a recent initiative of theirs, that I saw that made me think of them, and so it’s all about them, and I think that paragraph there we’ll get back here for a second. But this paragraph here, where it’s all about Manulife, that’s where we would see really commonly start to kind of try to squeeze in as much information about meetings.”

Cary Kaplan:

40:00 

“You digress, it’s a digress. The other thing that’s not on here, too, is the subject line. The subject line has to have Manulife or something about Manulife. The subject line should have the words ride for heart or Manulife or something in there. Maybe you’re in there in a slash or as part of it, but it’s, the focus is again, yeah, and people tend to people tend to want to have another paragraph or two that there may be a sentence about the nature of what you’re calling about, or the inquiry or, but it’s really limited. You know, I wanted to talk to you about our, to see if there’s any fit with Manulife and our peach festival in Ajax. That’s okay. But it’s to see if there’s a fit with Manulife see even better Manulife’s initiatives or Manulife’s  vision or if you know, that our event could be similar to ride for heart. So I think it you know, if you’re going to put yourself in there, put it in the context of them or things they’re already doing.”

Evan Colborne:

41:06 

“So another one is there’s a call to action and it’s very specific, and we’re not asking for too much of a time commitment. So in this case, you know, one of pick their brain about their recent initiative, hoping they have a few minutes on a Thursday or Friday. So not asking for like a one and a half hour formal sit down meeting where we’ll go through our my sponsorship property and everything, I’m asking for a small commitment from them. So, the call to action, and then a personalized closing. So, you know, thanks, John, and hope to hear from you soon. So, again, another opportunity to insert that person’s first name into to the email, kind of bookends it nicely in the sense that you started with that, and then you’re ending with it all being about them specifically and…”

Cary Kaplan:

41:54 

“What I would even say, I don’t mind that the thanks John’s great, I would say even stronger than that would be something like, thanks John, do you have, would you have a few minutes to discuss this later in the week. Something where there’s a call to action, it’s suggests that it’s a short period of time, it suggests something’s coming, this isn’t the end of the communication, you don’t want them to think that they can delete it, and they won’t hear from you again.”

Evan Colborne:

42:22 

“So I mean, this is one template. This is one example. By no means does this suggest that this is kind of the be all and end all of email templates, if you spend some time on Google, you’ll find kind of no end to effective email templates for different things. But part of the reason we kind of we, again, we use that word template in the five key elements is that it’s something that you can kind of measure a little bit and see, if I make this paragraph a little bit shorter, do I feel like I’m getting more responses? If I’m personalizing it, if I have a really strong opening. So it’s a template in the sense that you can kind of tweak a few things here and there and see what’s working.”

Cary Kaplan:

42:59 

“The only thing I would say to that Evan though, you got to be careful, as we go online, there’s lots of email templates, some of them are very bad. So I would say that the general premise without getting too specific, here’s the general premise is you’re in good shape if it’s customer centric. So if your focus, if it’s an email template, and its really focused on the people you’re talking to, and it’ll probably be the biggest theme in our 10 sessions here is make it about them and not you so I think when you’re looking for those templates, yeah, again, you’re right. This isn’t, there’s lots of varieties, but just make sure you’re keeping it within the context of less about you more about them and looking for fits, right.”

Evan Colborne:

43:43 

“So I mean, even if you did kind of manage to find the perfect email template, probably still more than likely that you’re not going to get a response. It’s probably the most likely scenario. So what do you do?”

Cary Kaplan:

43:55 

“Well, it’s a good first of all, you don’t get angry. So I think one of the things that it’s so common for people to say, I sent them and I spent, so just think how many watch how many eyes are in this, I spent three hours researching their company. I spent two days coming up with an email. I took a course from Cosmos Sports and Entertainment. I wrote an email. I sent, I did attachments, I sent an email to them, and they didn’t even have the decency to respond. Do you respond to all your phone calls you get from duct cleaners at home? No, not all of them, you don’t return every one of them? Do you respond to every cell phone inquiry or everybody that wants to sell you a photocopier? So the worst thing you could do is get angry about that, you’re not a priority for a company. Why would for that Arby’s who’s trying to sell roast beef sandwiches, how are you a priority about maybe sponsoring an upcoming marathon, like it’s not a priority. So you’ve got to kind of have a level of humility, first of all, and realize that your email you said just because you put a lot of time into it, is not a high priority for the person receiving. So that’s first. So I think it’s just, it’s just don’t take it, you’re gonna have to be persistent in order to get any results. So yeah, you should take it, it’s what you said at the beginning. Or you should assume that they’re not going to respond and that’s normal, and has no reflection on if it’s a good or bad person. When you start, it’s pretty judgmental to say he’s a jerk, she’s an idiot, because I sent her three emails, and she didn’t respond. So I think I think you got to, you got to take all that emotion out of it and I think that’s first…”

Evan Colborne:

45:53 

“And then so one of the key words I think you mentioned there is, is persistence. So it can be a bit of a scary word sometimes. So how do I know if I’m being too persistent?”

Cary Kaplan:

46:05

“Yeah, so there’s a simple thing, yes or no? Right? So, you know, pretty strong things that never give up, well, until you get it, you know, the caveat at that bottom would be until you get a no. When a company has said to you look no we’re not, we’re unequivocally not interested, or there’s no budget or call us next year. Okay. But never give up if you don’t have an answer, because oftentimes, it’s a company that’s just very busy, and you’re not a priority, but they might still be really interested and this assumption that somebody’s not interested because they haven’t respond. By the way, most of you are thinking, I called them 10 times and they didn’t respond, therefore, they’re not interested. You’re totally wrong. There’s at virtually non existent correlation for interest level and, you know you’re not saying to somebody you want a car. If you want a car, and it’s legitimate. Hi, this is Toyota. You want a car. Okay, call back. I’m not saying when anything, we’re not going to call you back quickly. You’re not a priority. They didn’t win a car by calling you back. So yeah, it’s going to take time and that’s normal and don’t take it out on them for not responding to you. They haven’t said, they’re still the same probability to a yes the first time you called them. So again, it’s a really strong point, because so many people get that wrong and yeah, persistent and polite. We use a term here that if you’re persistent and rude then you’re going to be perceived as rude. But there’s this common thing that I’m driving them nuts, you’re not driving anybody nuts if you’re persistent and polite, they’re just busy and eventually, they’re going to respond to get back to you. They may have an interest, but you have to be again, and you have to take no, when there’s a no that’s different, everything changes then if somebody persistent and there’s a no, but again, I know there’s different avenues you can go here.”

Evan Colborne:

48:21 

“So yeah, I mean, really, you know, best case scenario, you get a really positive response from that email, and you schedule your meeting and great and then you don’t get a response and it’s all that persistence that we just talked about, persistent and polite, but continuing until you get some sort of indication then yes or no. So what, I guess in a scenario where someone does get back to you and says, you know, it’s just not a good time.”

Cary Kaplan:

48:44 

“Yeah, I think if somebody So first of all, you have to be ready with and, you know, we’re not big on scripts, per se, but I think you have to be ready with how to handle common objections. So common objections are you caught me at a bad time, I’m not interested, we don’t have a budget. So if somebody says, you’ve caught me at a bad time, you can start with sorry, that’s a really good way to start. So first of all, disagreeing and arguing is not going to get you anywhere. So if they say, sorry, you called me at a bad time and you say oh I’ve tried calling you at every time a day, you’re done, you might as well hang up, you’re not going to work with this person. So arguing you’re going to lose if even saying something another line that’s really bad is oh, you’re so hard to reach I can’t believe I reached you, terrible. That’s, that’s an affront to them that they’re hard to reach, which is a negative and that you should be a priority. So to your question, if somebody says, it’s a really bad time you say, really sorry, when would be a good time for you and what I throw in sometimes I’m available anytime. So this is an important lesson for everybody here you need to be available 24 hours a day now, seven days a week. Sounds crazy, right? So I haven’t had in 20 years anybody told me can you call me at two o’clock has not been yet maybe one day, it’ll happen once but by me saying I’m available anytime. Usually, it’s a normal once in a while, there’s a Saturday morning at 10 o’clock call. And I make sure that my personal schedule allows that and I juggle out and I take a call from 10 to 10:15 on a Saturday and that’s important. If you want to be doing this, you have to be open to understanding that 90% of and where it really gets so that seems about where it gets tricky is if you say when’s a good time and they say Friday and you say oh that’s my holiday. I’m off that day. It’s a really bad answer. So there can be an answer saying, an answer could be this Friday is really tricky for me. How’s next Friday? The point is, find a solution. It’s about their schedule, not yours and people tend to have this nine to five mentality. So again, I’m saying two points. I’m saying say when’s a good time but be flexible, don’t be rigid based on how their answer, what their answers going to be.”

Evan Colborne:

51:27

“I guess the the fourth scenario that we have here is just, you know, they just say no, they’re just not interested. So how do you deal with that?”

Cary Kaplan:

51:33 

“Yeah, I think there’s two ways I think there’s at some point usually it’s probably too no’s to me. I mean, I think if somebody says a couple no’s and then it’s thank you very much as you can see there. I think if somebody says, No, I’m not really interested. A good comment would be no problem or sure do you mind if I asked why? Get all kinds of answers. So one answer might be we just don’t, we have no money. We don’t do anything like this. It might be I’m leaving my job in a month. It might be our budget’s spent. Can you call me in January? It might be actually it’s a really bad week. So on the first no, we’re no we’re not interested a really good response is do you mind if I ask why? Like do you mind if I ask I we use terms for the cushions like cushions the blow, do you mind if I ask why is a lot just think of the difference right no we’re not interested, why? Because we’re not goodbye. Like it’s harsh Do you mind if I ask why is asking their permission to ask them do you mind if I ask you. A lot less time you will get we’re just not interested, you will get that sometimes but and then I think it’s on that second no that it’s a thank you but very often I wouldn’t say 50% of the first no’s aren’t long term no’s. There’s gonna be a reason, they’re saying no for a reason why, what’s the reason? I called about something what’s the reason? We don’t do that, I’m not in sponsorship ,and then take those why’s and you can turn them in different directions and that’s where more so than a script what I recommend is that people have like flash cards on the wall in their office knowing how to answer questions so if somebody says not interested and you have a couple words that say do you mind, like not interested in you have do you mind if I ask why that’s a great thing on your wall, no problem do you mind if I ask why because then you’ll go to that after you do it after you’re doing it for two weeks or a month you’ll take it off you wall because it’ll be you put something else on there that is a little more confusing but that’s a lot better than a script just some prompts to keep you on target and then when you get another big objection somebody is like I don’t want to sponsor because I don’t like hockey. How do you answer that? Oh I understand that do you mind if I ask why and then or what don’t you like about hockey, do you mind if I asked what you don’t like about hockey? I don’t like I just not my sport or I’m not into sports. Well, no problem just wondering is there anybody that you work with that might be into hockey so there’s a path that can get you back there and just you know, I think you gotta, experience is important on this one.”

Evan Colborne:

54:35 

“So got a couple minutes left here. So do want to get to some q&a. We talked a lot about emails and forms. Phone might be another method that a lot of people like to use, same kind of premise, same kind of formula you want to you want to try to use you’re trying to call someone directly. So not calling the company and asking who’s in charge of sponsorship calling, and asking for John or Susie, or whoever it is that’s in charge that you already knows in charge because you’ve done your research or you refer to that person. So calling someone directly, if you are calling in lieu of that introductory email that the goal of that phone call is to set up a meeting or a phone call where there’s an agenda. So most people don’t necessarily like to be caught off guard with an incoming call. So you want to give them kind of the, you know, the politeness of offering to, you know, schedule another time when you’re both kind of ready with an agenda and then voicemails, again, the goal is not to pitch on the on the voicemail, the goal is to get a call back. So you want to keep it short and simple and just try to, you know, encourage a call back as opposed to kind of pitching the whole thing on a voicemail.

So last thing before we just get to q&a. So just one kind of hack that we can we can offer. So we mentioned LinkedIn and we mentioned Google as you know, tools you can use to prospect and research and everything HubSpot is a great one that’s can is a plugin for Gmail can help you let you know if people have opened your email on a personal email. So not like a constant contact from a MailChimp email service provider that where you can kind of mass email, but this is really on a one to one basis. So, great tool, great thing that you know, hasn’t always been around. So you can see, you know, I’ve sent this person five emails, they haven’t opened them or what’s even better, you know, sent this person five emails, they have opened them, but I haven’t got back, I haven’t heard back from them, maybe I got to change things up and try a phone call or something too, because there seems to be a little bit of interest there. So, I recommend people check that out.

So that wraps up the the content for today. So key takeaways, you know, but finding the fit for a company, making sure that you’ve got some idea of that there is some initial fit as a reason for why you’re reaching out, find the right people leveraging your network, pretty unlikely that you’re unable to find any connection to a company you’ve identified as a potential fit. So if it looks like there isn’t a connection, keep going. There’s someone, there’s some connection somewhere and keep in mind that the goal of this outreach, all this outreach we talked about today, the emails, the phone calls, all that it’s all about trying to get that meeting trying to it’s not about getting, you know, it’s not about pitching in the email. It’s about pitching on the phone. It’s about trying to get a face to face appointment and that’s really what our next episode is going to talk about is that first face to face appointment where again, it’s still all about them and learning about their business but now in in a face to face context and that’s what our next episode’s going to be about. So with that, we’ll turn over the last couple minutes here to q&a.”

Rebecca:

57:48 

“Yes, so our first question comes from Katie and she asked, what are some ways you can convince a prospect to meet with you after they told you to fill out a form?”

Cary Kaplan:

57:58 

“Okay, so first of all, I know we’re three o’clock so I’ll try and do some quick bullet answers to a few questions anybody, people can stay on for a few minutes, that’s great. Um, I would say, if someone tells you to fill out the form, you have to assume that they’re not going to read it. So that’s a first step in the process you can call or email and say, Hey, I filled out the form and you can have a with you and say, fill out the form did you get a chance to look at it. But I think you still go back to your original concept of wanting to set up a meeting and you should want a meeting. So if you’re afraid of a meeting in person, you’re in trouble, you’re not going to sell much sponsorship over the phone or via email. So a lot of people hide by filling out emails or forms. So I would say the forms aren’t doing much so it’s a smokescreen. It’s more or less like you telling somebody that you’re not interested in something, send me an email. So I think you got to kind of continue to go forward.”

Rebecca:

58:56

“And the second question is, if a lead dies, essentially, what is the process for reaching back up to them in the future?”

Cary Kaplan:

59:04 

“Okay, um, I think you know, your CRM system’s important. So have a database system where you, not a spreadsheet, so everybody should have, there’s a lot of free versions. Now, you can have a database system, which is more efficient than a spreadsheet for you to have that keeps those names and it’s not easy to do. And people you know, I think, but putting it in a calendar to say, look, I should reach back out in six months to a year, they’re very few situations where a company even though they say no to sponsorship, that you can’t reach both back in a year, things change, a lot of companies change their objectives or the direction so it just sort of putting it in a in a calendar to reach back.”

Rebecca:

59:48 

“And then our last one from SMS net, what ultimately is your recommendation as a workaround for again, companies who want you to complete a form they mentioned with the oddest understanding that emails and calls are frequently ignored.”

Cary Kaplan:

1:00:02 

“Yeah, so sorry, are they saying that the calls and emails are frequently ignored? Okay, so good, they’re gonna be ignored. So I think you have to still be persistent. So I think you can again, it doesn’t hurt to fill out the form. So if you know, I still coming kind of say the forums are, in essence, pretty useless, but as a service, so if they ask you, did you fill out the form rather than saying no, doesn’t hurt to say, Yeah, we did fill out the form, but I haven’t heard back and I’m wondering if you had a chance to read it or we, and I think it’s still going back to the same concept, we’ve talked about your ride for heart, or we’ve talked about, you know, talk about some of the things they do. So I think, again, don’t get stuck in that place. It’s a very easy out for them to say, you have to get past that. The good thing is probably six out of 10, people will just fill out the form and walk away. So I think it’s on you to say like, I’m not going to be satisfied with filling in the form. I did it. I did, I filled out the form and questions have you had a chance to look at it? And most of the time, you’ll get a no. So if you’re persistent and polite, eventually, there’s more likelihood you’re going to get the time of day.”

Evan Colborne:

1:01:16 

“Alright, well, thanks very much everybody for participating in our episode three today. Next episode is in two weeks, same time and same place. So Special thanks again to Central Counties Tourism and Sport Durham for putting on this webinar and allowing us to host it and again any questions that we didn’t get a chance to answer or if any questions come to mind after we wrap up today, please feel free to email those to us. You can find our emails on cosmossports.com.

Thank you very much, everybody.”

Cary Kaplan:

1:01:49 

“Thank you.”

1:01:54