Hole #6 Selling Sponsorships

By Phil Immordino

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work with The Tradition, a Senior PGA event, held in Scottsdale, Arizona. My objective was to sell sponsors. I identified the companies in Arizona that were national in scope and that had consumer products to sell.

One of the first companies that I went to see was the Dial Corporation. They manufactured soap as well as many other products. I was told to go to the decision-makers of any company to get an answer. I went directly to the top and was very lucky to get a meeting with the Chairman of the Board, John Teets. I took my whole bag of tricks and everything that I had to offer a potential sponsor. As I sat in front of Mr. Teets, I went down my list of how I could benefit his company, media coverage, tickets, signage, etc. He did not get excited until I mentioned that I could give him a membership to Desert Mountain Country Club, the course that the Tradition was being played. He perked up and he said, “we’ll do it”, a 1 million-dollar deal over 5 years. I could not believe it. It was the biggest deal that I had ever sold. All because I got him excited about a country club membership.

That was the beginning of my success in selling sponsorships finding a hot button and then using it.

Selling sponsors is the key to a profitable event. The sponsor dollars will be the tournament profit. Sponsors do not usually get a tremendous amount of exposure, so the real benefit to them is building relationships and participating in a worthy cause. The list below shows reasons why businesses sponsor events:

• They Believe in Your Cause – Business must agree with what your organization is doing and support it.
• They are Part of Your Industry – If a company does business in your field, they will want to see the industry do well.
• To Entertain Clients – If they can use it as a tool to bring out clients and entertain.
• To Reach New Clients – If they believe that their potential clients are playing in your event.
• Specific Exposure – If they can reach people in their industry.
• Public Relations – If they believe that it will get their company name in the paper or the news.

How to Sell Sponsors

1. Develop a Sponsor Committee – Businesses will sponsor if asked by someone they know and or respect. Develop a committee with relationships.
2. Develop Sponsor Package and Benefits – Provide as many benefits as possible.
3. Create a List of Potential Sponsors – Get the committee together and brainstorm on businesses that will benefit by being involved.
4. Send out a Letter with Benefits to Potential Prospects – Have the letter come from the person who has the contact at that business or use a well-known name, like the Honorary Chairman.
5. Follow up with Phone Calls in a timely manner – Phones are the most important part of the process. They will not respond to mail only.
6. Find his or her Hot Button – Every person has a hot button. Exposure, money, community. Find out what it is and use it.
7. Mutual Relationship – It is hard to high-level decision-makers, if you do not have a common relationship, find one.
8. Explain Benefits – Do not assume that they know the benefits, take the time to discuss the benefits.
9. Sell larger sponsors face to face – Don’t try to sell a large package over the phone. Get a meeting and allow them to get to know you.

Samples of Sponsor Benefit Packages:

1. Title Sponsor Package
• Company Name in Title of Event for example, “Company Charity Challenge”.
• Company Logo in all Promotional Material.
• Company Information to all Participants.
• Company Banner at the Event.
• 2 Foursomes in Tournament.
• Company Sign on all Golf Holes.
• Company Sign on all Golf Carts.
• Company Executive as MC of Awards Presentation.
• Company Name in Newsletter.
• Display Table at the Event.
• First Right of Refusal for Next Year’s Event.
• Investment $10,000.

2. Presenting Sponsor Package
• Company Name in Title of the Event.
“Charity Golf Tournament, Presented by Company”
• Company Name in all Promotional Material.
• Company Information to all Participants.
• Company Banner at the Event.
• 1 Foursome in the Tournament.
• Company Name in Newsletter.
• Company Mention during Awards Ceremony.
• Display Table at the Event.
• Investment $5000.

3. Contest/Hole Sponsor Package
• Company Sign on Contest Hole.
• Company Hand Out on Contest Hole.
• Company Mention during Awards Ceremony.
• Investment $1000.

When developing your sponsor packages, list all of the benefits you can offer them and divide them up into value. Give them more value than the cost. Exposure leads to happy sponsors. Company’s love to see their name in lights. Make sure that every sponsor package you send has a letter that explains what you are doing.

When creating your sponsor packages, make sure to include a Tournament Fact Sheet. This will give a potential sponsor all of the important information about the event and the organization. The fact sheet should be included with all sponsor package proposals.