Guest Post: Nothing Happens Until Something Gets Sold

Bob Burris book front coverToday’s post is a excerpt from “Hot to Sell Sponsorships, Tickets and Popcorn” written by former sports executive and current non-profit consultant, Bob Burris.

Nothing Happens Until Something Gets Sold!  We are ALL in the Sales Business!

You may not want to think of yourself as a salesperson because sometimes the label of being a “salesperson” might not be one that is flattering to you. But truthfully, you have been selling your entire life.

Whether it was to your parents to buy your first bike or to stay out later than your curfew; getting your first date or your first kiss; or your proposal to marry your spouse, we are always selling and have been since the beginning of time. In fact, the Bible tells us in the book of Genesis that the first recorded sale in history was the Serpent selling Eve the “Forbidden Fruit.” In fact, he did such a magnificent job that he got a referral – Adam!

But before we sell our event to anyone, we must know what we have to sell and know our audience. Who do we attract? It is very important to take the time to do this exercise because any potential sponsor will be very interested in the type of people your organization draws. Consider such factors as:

  • Household Incomes
  • Education Levels
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Number of children
  • How many automobiles they own
  • Travel – how often
  • How often do they frequent restaurants

The first sale you make is NOT the product you are selling. The first sale you make is selling YOURSELF to the buyer. I’m a firm believer that people buy people first and then the product they are selling. This is called “Relationship Selling,” and is particularly true in the Corporate Sponsorship sales world.

The First Steps

So, when we have an event of any kind, who do we target? Based on the type of event, the first place to start is by knowing the “Hot Buttons” for corporate sponsors and then identifying categories of sponsorship that fit for your particular event.

Hot Buttons for Sponsors

When looking to make a sports or entertainment marketing purchase, corporate sponsors, are motivated by several factors.  Can the sponsorship deliver the following:

  • Increase Brand Loyalty
  • Increase Visibility
  • Enhance Image
  • Drive Retailer Traffic
  • Stimulate Sales
  • Experiential Opportunity
  • Client Entertainment

The next set of criteria is aimed at specific benefits the sponsorship contains. The following is a list of benefits that are perceived to be attractive to corporate sponsors:

  • Demographics of Audience — Does this sponsorship hit our target audience?
  • Category Exclusivity
  • Hospitality Opportunities
  • Exposure
  • Media Value, Charity or Cause
  • Product Sampling
  • On-Site Product Sales

The Second Step: Identify Your “Circle of Influence.”

Each person in a company or organization has his or her own circle of influence. Who from your Board of Directors and your donors knows the decision-maker or anyone from the companies in the categories you’ve targeted? These people are on your board and are donors because they care and believe in the organization. They will help, if they are asked. But only ask with the provision that you are NOT asking them to sell for you!

All you want is an endorsement to the decision maker with the ultimate goal of getting a face-to-face appointment. I believe we are ALL more effective in person than we are on the phone. And if your “circle of influence” can get you an appointment or approval to call the decision maker directly, you are more than half way there. When this happens, your call now is a “warm” call as opposed to a “cold” call.

For more information on “How to Sell Sponsorships, Tickets and Popcorn,” visit

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Nothing Happens Until Something Gets Sold

  • August 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Dear Bob:

    It’s a pleasure to see that you are sharing with working professionals and private individuals alike, your lifelong lessons in selling ethically, “buying” wisely, and delivering successfully! Congratulations to everyone who takes your advice and works hard at it.

  • August 21, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Way to Go Bob! Share your knowledge- you are the man! I am so glad you did this , congratulations to you.

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