First impressions matter. And when it comes to sponsors, the wrong first impression could leave you empty handed — or worse, blacklisted. Sponsors talk and won’t hesitate to tell others to put you on the “do not answer” list.

So, what first impression are you making?

In the spirit of making your partner swoon, here are 10 questions to ask your sponsors to make them fall in love with you.

“Getting to know the business” questions

Once you’ve reached out and secured a meeting with potential sponsors, you have a window of opportunity to ask sponsors targeted questions. The following questions will help you dig deep and show sponsors that you’re there to build a true partnership.

  1. What are your key objectives?

While you’ll come prepared with details on how you think you can help your sponsor’s goals, the only way to know for sure is to ask. Asking your sponsors what they want to achieve shows that you’re invested in helping them achieve their specific goals.

  1. What do you need to be successful?

Every sponsor has different goals, so not every sponsor relationship will look the same. Digging deeper into their ideal situation helps you come up with ways your event can meet their needs — and make them feel confident you’ve got their back.

  1. What would you like to get from our attendees?

The value of events for brands are your attendees. Asking your sponsor what they want (email addresses for newsletters, social media followers, etc.) shows that you’re willing to truly partner in a way that best supports their goals.

Communication questions

While you’ll refine your understanding of your sponsor’s preferences as you go, the following questions will help you establish a successful baseline of expectations to start from, so you can communicate effectively with your partners.

  1. Do you have people who work specifically on sponsorships, or will I be working with someone in your marketing department?

Depending on the size of your sponsor, they may or may not have a specific person or team dedicated to sponsorships. Clarify who your sponsor’s contact is from the beginning, and make sure they feel like they can count on you every step of the way.

  1. How often do you like to be updated? And what’s the best way to reach you?

Do they prefer communicating via email or phone calls? How often do they want to receive updates? Setting up expectations from the beginning will help you meet them consistently. Ask them this question to make your sponsor feel like this partnership is truly personalized.

  1. Who should be included on our updates?

The easy way to keep your sponsors updated is to send a mass email update to anyone you’ve connected with. Clarifying who should be included on communications lets your sponsors know that you’re being thoughtful of their time — and ensuring the right people are always in the loop.

Value and management questions

The secret to getting sponsors to renew every year is proving that you delivered — or, hopefully, over-delivered — on the goals you agreed upon when you first secured your sponsors. These questions will help you get clear on what your sponsors expect you to report on after your event.

  1. What key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are most important to you?

Understanding what your sponsor’s goals are is one thing, knowing how to report that you delivered on them is another — which is why establishing key metrics is critical to your success. Asking about metrics shows your sponsors that you’re willing to dig deeper into the actual indicators that matter to them.

  1. How would you like to measure ROI?

When you deliver your fulfillment report after your event, you want to make it easy for your sponsors to understand the return on their investment from your event. Let your sponsors know you’re on the same page from the very beginning.

Out of the box questions

Sometimes it’s useful to ask questions about ideal situations, which can help you get a better idea of what your sponsors would love to get out of an event. The following prompts can help you explore “what ifs” and maybe even reveal a new way to improve your partnerships.

  1. What would be an unexpected, but delightful result of sponsoring our event?

Sometimes a sponsor may have a pain point or need that isn’t obvious your event might be able to help them out with. A question like this can tease out possibilities otherwise unthought of — and set you apart from the competition.

  1. What would your ideal partnership look like?

Your sponsors want to know that you are 100% dedicated to helping them achieve success. Ask them what a partnership means to them to find out the best way to satisfy all their needs.

Get into the heads of your sponsors

Once you find and win over sponsors, the next challenge is to retain them. Learn more about developing relationships that are long lasting and mutually beneficial in our guide, How to Win Sponsors for Your Event (and Bring Them Back Every Year).

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