When they want to talk.
When your sponsor respond, respond back in a timely manner. If you don’t have answers to their questions, let them know you need (x) time to get the answer, then commit to that time and follow through. Don’t hide and ignore your sponsor if you didn’t get the answer as expected, just ask for more time and listen to their answer.
When they are speaking.
So you’re on the phone or in a meeting with your sponsor and you’re doing all of the speaking, STOP. It’s natural to be passionate or nervous when sharing details about your event. Letting your sponsor know you’re going to have an elephant jump through a decked out logo-hoop as part of the sponsorship activation to bring awareness to their product sounds exciting. However, it is much more exciting to give your sponsor the opportunity to share their thoughts with you. When you listen, you are likely going to find out when they approve sponsorships, what’s the maximum budget they can approve, what specific benefit or activation they desire, a concern they might have that’s taking place internally, and more which allows you to tweak your sponsorship proposal to fit a specific need, if at all possible.
When they are silent.
Your sponsor stopped responding to your email and phone calls. This is not a good place to be, the feeling is horrible. In reality, it’s one professional (person) blatantly ignoring another professional (person) without any explanation. Silence treatment can mean one of many things including – your sponsor is just not into you (I agree, if that is the case then they should just tell you), is on (emergency) leave or no longer works for the brand, is afraid or embarrass to tell you they are not interested or don’t have the budget, or is lethargic or think less of you. Observe the silence, don’t pretend that it’s not happening, then choose if you’re continue to follow-up or take that sponsor off your list.
Roberta Vigilance is the author of several event sponsorship books, teaches an event sponsorship course by phone, online, and in-person, and provides solutions to clients with sponsorship problems.