Putting on a corporate event can be a costly undertaking. Between the costs of venue, travel, lodging, event production expenses, meals, and all the other material and support necessary, it adds up quickly.

Not all of us have the luxury of full company funding for our events, so many of us turn to related-industry sponsors, exhibitors, or promotions to help fund our endeavors. 

For example:

  • You invite an industry vendor to cover the cost of a dinner, and give them a microphone and 15 minutes during dinner to speak to your crowd.
  • You create an exhibit hall where vendors and suppliers can tout their wares to your audience during breaks.
  • Perhaps you provide sponsorship opportunities and co-branding of your event.

These revenue streams can make a big impact on your budget, and even affect the viability of continuing your programs in the future.

Finding the right contacts, and convincing them to be part of your corporate event sponsorship program, however, can sometimes be a challenge.  And once we identify these potential sponsors, getting them to “yes” can be even tougher.

Anyone who has ever tried to sell anything hates to hear the word, “no.”  It can become discouraging and even demoralizing.  Many event organizers make the mistake of taking a short-term view when they receive an initial “no,” because they are looking at each event in isolation. 

This is a mistake.

If a potential sponsor says no, you shouldn’t just forget about them until you’re planning your next event, and then start the whole process again.

If you plan on running your event again in the future, it’s worth keeping all of your potential sponsors engaged, even if they said no to you this time.

Here is our recommendation:

1. Add your No’s to an email list and create an email nurture campaign:  Stay in touch with them regularly, even if it’s just once a month.  Show them the successes from your event (be sure to share pictures or video) and what they missed out on.  Don’t do it in a gloating way, but rather an informative way…showing your competence, ability, and authority. 

2. Encourage them to attend your upcoming event anyway:  Invite them to be a special guest at the event this time, then wow them with what a great job you’ve done. There’s no better proof that you can deliver on your promises (and that they’re missing out) than by having them there to witness it.  Perhaps you could even offer them a free registration, including VIP treatment!

Do these two things and next year, you’ll find more sponsors saying “Yes!”  Imagine that!

Here’s to your next “Yes!”