Sales and Marketing Manager
Mikasa Sports USA/Canada
I have been asked to talk about building partnerships or sponsorships from our perspective as a manufacturer.
Mikasa would love to support every organization that comes to us for sponsorship but the reality is we can not. We would be out of business in less than a year.
In North America alone, Mikasa gets well over 700 sponsorship/donation requests a year. Approximately 2 per day.
How can your organization stand out and separate itself from others?
First understand what a successful partnership is.
A partnership is successful when both parties involved benefit in the desired way.
Secondly, know what the ultimate goal of your partner is.
Here is a hint: “For Profit” companies (as opposed to non-profit companies) all have the same goal. If you are a bank you want more customers, if you are a beer company you want people to drink more of your beer, and if you are a ball company you want to sell more balls. It is all about sales!
Here are some common mistakes people make when asking for a partnership.
All the organization talks about is the “exposure” the partner will get.
Exposure by itself does not sell balls.
Example: You approach Mikasa with a sponsorship and say Mikasa will be seen by 10,000 people at your event.
Being seen by this many people is a good thing but if Mikasa has no way of selling the balls in the city where the event is being held the exposure is no benefit to Mikasa. In fact might create frustration to the consumer. You might be thinking that is not my problem but Mikasa’s problem. The best partners recognize the issue and work to solve them. In this case the issue is no distribution channels. Can you help find a sporting goods store to sell the product? Can your organization sell the product? Can the Mikasa distributor sell the product at the event?
Asking too much from the partner in hopes for a counter offer.
Example: Your organization needs 30 balls for a volleyball tournament you are hosting. You ask for 300 balls in hopes of getting more than the minimum needed.
This can scare the sponsor away. Partnerships are based on trust and if this is the first introduction a partner gets to your organization you will be unlikely to get the partner.
Honestly evaluate your organizations value and ask accordingly.
Over promising when presenting your organization.
Example: You promise the sponsor that they will have their logo on every web page of the organization.
After further discussions it comes out that the web page is not created and are unable to give a specific date for the live website.
This puts doubt into the sponsors mind about how much of what you have said is in place and can be implemented.
Talk about the facts not about the possibilities.
How does an organization get a sponsorship from Mikasa?
Know our goal!
“Mikasa’s goal is to sell more balls!”
The questions to be answered are:
How can your organization help Mikasa sell more balls?
How many balls can Mikasa sell through the affiliation with your organization?
What distribution channels will be needed to sell these balls? In other words how will people get the Mikasa balls?
Think of the sponsor’s money as your own. How much would you spend in cash or product to be a sponsor of your organization? Sponsors look at organizations as investments. If we invest with you we want our investment to grow.
Lastly, once you get a sponsor, protect your sponsor. Show them how much you love them and are committed to them.
Consider it your responsibility to show the sponsor all that you are doing for them. At Mikasa we like to say “seeing is believing.” Send pictures, emails, newspaper articles, TV clips or anything that promotes your sponsors brand. This kind of follow up shows your appreciation for the sponsor and helps build trust.
Best of luck to you all in obtaining new Partners and thank you.