A few years back I was managing this athlete. She had quite a high profile, was well respected within her sport and we’d grown her profile to a level where everyone in her home state knew of her.
The next step was to generate some decent sponsorship.
Now when you look around for sponsorship for athletes, it’s always a good idea to benchmark against what other athletes of the same level receive and what they have to do to gain the various benefits. That way you’ll get a fair idea of what you need to do to achieve your goals.
One thing we identified would be a good fit for our athlete was a car. So I started benchmarking other athletes who were sponsored by a car firm. I soon found one.
Through mutual friends I ended up having a chat with a well-known Australian sportsperson.
The conversation went something like this
Me: “Tell me about your sponsorship deal with the car yard.”
Athlete: “Not much to tell. He provides me with the car and I drive it.”
Me: “Yeeeeees, but what benefits do you provide the car business? For example, do you appear in their ads, do you attend corporate days, do you give talks to their key stakeholders, do you actively promote the car business……”
Athlete: “Nope. I don’t have to do anything for this car. Just drive it. I think that’s enough for them.”
Well, that sounded easy to me. I thought if I could approach this same car business with a proposal to provide a whole range of benefits then they’d jump at the chance.
The owner said otherwise!
I arranged a meeting with the owner and this is that conversation (conversation changed to be briefer and make me appear smarter than I am):
Me: “…..and that concludes all the benefits you’ll receive if you provide a car to the athlete. Would you like to hand the keys over now??!”
Car business: “No. We won’t be providing any sponsorship. We provide a car to another athlete and that has been a disaster. Him and his manager promised us the earth to get a car. We gave them the car about 18 months ago and have never heard from them since. So we see no benefit in sponsorship.”
2 lessons I learnt from that
# 1: It’s not about you. It’s about the other guy. Make sure you conduct your business so everyone wins. It’s the key to long term business survival.
# 2: Take the initiative. If the client doesn’t contact you, contact him. Give him a free report, give him a free analysis, suggest some more ways you can help his business grow.
Don’t just assume that because you haven’t heard from the client it means he is thrilled with your level of service.