Aug 21, 2013 at 03:55 PM
written by Jackie Fast

What Newsagents & Hairdressers Have To Do With Sponsorship Sales

I love the Newsagent – the whole Slingshot Sponsorship office pops around to the one on Upper Street at least twice a day. Mr Ozza owns the shop, we love him – and I especially love that he sells my favourite Fizzy Blue Bottle sweets at the counter, a real delicacy around these parts.

However, whenever I pop in I tend to buy the same thing – water, Diet Coke, sweets. The orders rarely change and no matter how much value Mr Ozza provides us with his convenience, we will never increase our purchase. For this reason, Mr Ozza’s newsagent is a transactional sale. It is based on a ‘need’ (3pm sugar fix) and delivered very quickly and efficiently.

Now compare this type of sale to your hairdresser. You spend months, years even, finding the perfect hairdresser. Once you have found them, you indulge in the luxury (or if you are male, then perhaps you are just happy to find someone who doesn’t cut your hair where you end up looking like a 12 year old).

Either way, you are happy.

You then start building a relationship with your hairdresser and when they recommend a product the next time you come in – you buy it. When you discover that the product works you start to view your hairdresser as credible and someone who knows what you want/need. Years go by and you start to realise that not only have you purchased all your hair products from one salon based upon your hairdressers’ tips, you’ve started eating out and going to the new pubs they recommend. This is a relational sale. It is a sales process which increases with time, trust and ability to deliver.

Now there are places for transactional sales within sponsorship – tactical sales and deals that work for specific reasons that don’t need investment. However, many should aspire to create a more relational model with their sponsorship sales.

And similar to the hairdresser, here are my 5 tips for creating a relational sponsorship sale:

1. If it is a new platform, be expected to provide credibility elsewhere – proof that your event truly is what you claim it is.

2. Like a shampoo sample, brands will be unwilling to invest in your sponsorship platform for millions if they haven’t attended the event or even tried sponsorship on a smaller level.

3. Be likeable and professional – I hate a moody hairdresser and similarly I hate working with people that I don’t see eye to eye with. Most brands are in it for the long haul with sponsorship, if they don’t think you are capable or if they just plain don’t like you, it doesn’t encourage investing in you.

4. Know the up sell – be prepared for when the sponsorship does work – be sure to be clear on additional ways in which the brand is able to get involved and gain more benefits.

5. Know your client – if you don’t know what they want, how are you going to sell anything?

Jackie Fast is Managing Director at London-based sponsorship agency, Slingshot Sponsorship. Jackie offers running commentary on the Slingshot Sponsorship blog, and allows us to republish here when the subject fits.