THE BASICS OF SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMS (PART 2) [DARRELL SITARZ, E-KMI.COM]

POSTED ON: August 11, 2009

By Darrell Sitarz, Editor e-KMI.com

# Getting in, by phone, to a decision maker

# Using the Publicity Dept of a target company to get to a decision maker

# Using an Email “Overture” PDF to get the conversation started.

There are many ways to get on the phone to a decision maker. Here we will rely on one proven method, using the Publicity Department. One of the big problems in trying to contact any executive is that they are protected by a boundary of administrators, secretaries and assistants all of whom are very protective of “the boss”. So how do you get their attention?

If you recall the earlier installments of this series we spent a lot of time using press release sites like PR Newswire to find target companies. We will now use those same sources, along with the target company websites to begin the process of contacting the decision maker.

The first step is to find a Press Release from the target company. (Refer to accompanying Slide Show.) You can find a representative release from PR Newswire by using that website’s search tool to bring up releases from your company. Another way to find a release from your target firm is to go to the “Press Release” of “News” section of your company’s website. Not all companies have this feature which is why we use PR Newswire as well.

Either way, the idea is to open up an official release from the company. The topic of the press release is not that important but try to find one that is about a new product or new expansion and not a ‘financial or quarterly results’ release.

Once you open up the release, it is a good idea to read through the copy as it will obviously have information which you can use in a future sponsorship program. The most important element, however, is at the bottom of the last page of the release. Here you will find the “CONTACT” information for the Press/Communications Officer of the company, the person who actually sent the release and who is also responsible for handing all media requests for more information.

This “contact” portion of the release will have name, phone number and, most important, the Email address of the Press Officer. This is the person whom you will first contact and here is why.

# The press officer knows all of the executives in the company and can direct you to them,

# The press officer knows that you are not calling him to actually “sell him your program” and so will be easy to talk to because he is not threatened by you,

# The press officer’s responsibility is to maintain contact with the outside world on behalf of the company so he will be a big help and lastly,

# most press officers are friendly types who will enjoy talking briefly about such an unrelated, but exciting, topic such as racing. Believe us & this works 90% of the time.

So… now you have the contact information for the press officer. Remember…we are going to use Telephone AND Email to get the ball rolling.

Here are your next steps:

# Call the press officer. If you have to leave a message do it! He will call back & that is his job,

# Once you have him or her on the phone simply say:
” I am _____________ from such and such Racing Team and I have an exciting promotion concept that I would like to send to the right executive but I don’t know who that is and you, as the Press Officer, know everything that happens at your company. (This usually gets a laugh and loosens things up a bit)

Now you are ready to make your “Overture” to your newly-found decision maker. What’s an OVERTURE? An Overture is a 3 to 4 slide Powerpoint Slide Show which tells just a small bit about what you want to talk about. You will Email it both the Press Officer AND the decision maker.

The simple overture contains:

# pictures of you and your team

# small amount of data on race series and

# teases a bit about your sponsorship idea

# asks for a face-to-face meeting or a phone meeting and includes your contact info.

That’s it! This is NOT a full-bore proposal but a short, easy-to-read (exciting) introduction. Most executives will not look at a long Slide Show right off the bat, but if you can make this small Overture interesting enough… you may get your invitation to “tell them more”. And THAT…is the eventual objective in this effort. To get in front of the decision maker.

OK. Back to the Press Officer and Decision Maker. Our suggestion is to send your Overture to the Press Officer as a nice gesture and to let him know that you are for real. You will, of course, also send the Overture to the decision maker but by sending it to the Press Officer you may accomplish more than you think.

Many times the Press Officer will act as your ‘in-company’ representative and pass your Overture onto more than once person within your target company. If he volunteers to do this be sure to get the contact info of who he is sending it to. This is great because now your Overture is being passed around the company from someone who works for the firm and that takes your initial sponsorship introduction into places where you might never get if you simply got on the phone and tried to ‘get-in’ through the front desk!

Be prepared to take phone calls from executives or managers within the company whom you didn’t identify in your research. All good.

Certainly it is beneficial to send your Overture to the Press Officer but here is the process for directly contacting the decision maker, using your short slide show:


# Send your Overture via Email

# Use the ’subject line’ of “VIP Concept For (Exec’s Name)”

# Include short Email body copy as such:

TO: (Exec’s Name & TITLE)

CC: (Press Officer’s Name)

FR: (Your Name & Team Name)

Dear ____________,

(Press Officer’s name) suggested that I send this very short introduction of our race team. We have a promotion concept which we feel you will be interested in learning about. It only takes 2 minutes to view. I will call you tomorrow to discuss.

Or something like that. Be sure to CC the Press Officer as this will insure that the decision maker opens the Email.

The last step, obviously, is to actually call the decision maker. Give him a day or so but not much more than that. You may be surprised to find that he or she will send you a return Email which is great. Let’s just hope that it is positive. If it is a rejection… remember Item 2 (above) and change the names of the company and send similar e-mails to their competitors!

Well, that’s it. We have tried to compress what can be a confusing strategy into a short three part series but if you put these simple tips into action you will refine the process to fit your own needs. But remember one thing. You need to set aside at least two days a week to do this. Make it a habit. If you do this you eventually have more formal presentations than you can handle.

If you are planning on racing on someone else’s money next year now is the time to start because ad budgets for 2009 are now being discussed and planned up and down the hallways of every major corporation in the country so don’t wait to get started. Good Luck and Good Selling.

Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at http://e-kmi.com/index.cfm.


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