Question: What's your best advice for getting a big company to sponsor my event?
Invite Them to Attend First
"I throw my city's largest monthly events for young professionals and have had companies such as Audi, Paychex and large universities sponsor them. The key is to invite them to an event as your guest or show them the value before bridging the topic of sponsorship."
"Always nurture every relationship you come across. You never know when you may be able to help them, or they may be able to help you. When you genuinely care about people and become friends with them, your friends can help move mountains for you, especially if they're in big companies or know someone within a big company."
Provide All Event Information
"Paint a full picture of the event opportunity. Tell me the who, what, when, where and why my brand (or my client) would benefit from being associated with your event."
Make It Easy
"Do all the PR strategy work in advance, and ask for things the company actually specializes in. Create awesome social media content, press releases and pictures. Show the company what it's going to get for giving you something it already has a lot of. If you make it easy, you will get way more sponsors on board."
Get a Warm Introduction
"Get a credible connection to make a warm intro that highlights the strengths of your event. I cannot stress how much more likely you are to secure a big partner this way versus a cold outreach. Once you have the intro, avoid talking numbers for as long as possible. Talk the vision. Create a story around the company's brand that excites the person. Mention numbers last."
Present a Logical Buy-in
"When we partner up with large companies, we ensure they have a succinct, logical buy-in to the event. Either they’re presenting industry-leading trends at the event or providing a product at the event that gives them great exposure to relevant prospects or customers."
Portray Brand Loyalty
"Show the company how it will build brand loyalty. My company is targeted for tween and teen girls, so when I want a larger company to sponsor something, I illustrate how it will be gaining brand awareness for properties that are age appropriate now, but also a loyalty for its other products as the girls grow up and become women, wives, moms, etc."
Show Value First
"The most important thing to do to garner the sponsorship of a large company is to first show the value and the reason why the company should be involved. Develop a relationship with the company before asking. Invite the company to your event, and offer complimentary passes for its key decision makers so they can see firsthand the value and impact your event has."
Introduce Executives to 'Cool' Guests
"It doesn't matter how great of a hustler you are because to executives in large companies, you are still one data point. But, by inviting an executive to a mixer with other enthusiastic people who will be part of the audience for your event, the executive can feel a bit of the magic. The person can visualize an opportunity to be among other "cool," young hustlers like the people in front of him and will start to visualize the effect it could have on the larger brand. Most importantly, put yourself in this executive's shoes, and try to think through all of the obstacles, repercussions and bureaucratic roadblocks he may be sifting through in considering the opportunity. Think of solutions for these hangups in advance, and make sure they are practical and easy."