There are two types of sales clients I have the pleasure of working with at The Moery Company: sponsorship and membership. When I first came on board, I didn’t think there was much of a difference between the two, but over the last 18 months, I’ve learned they are two very distinct client groups and I’ve developed ‘best practices’ tailored for each to ensure success.
When working on sponsorship and exhibit sales, it’s important to:
- Manage and navigate the client/vendor relationship in a way that lets the prospective sponsor know you are there to serve their business development needs.
- You may run into companies that do not like change. Stick to your guns in a respectable manner and explain your association’s value to them. You will quickly find out if the perceived value is there or not. Have an open dialogue to ensure success for both parties.
- Acknowledge longstanding relationships and work with those companies to make your program better.
- Have a well-thought-out prospectus, which clearly features the opportunities available at your show.
- Talk to past sponsors to see what has worked for them at previous trade shows to ensure you are putting together an extensive package.
- Be open to changing up your prospectus on an annual basis so your program does not stagnate.
- Market your show in advance to maximize your opportunities
- If you wait too long to promote your show, you will run into budget and timing issues with a lot of companies. Don’t assume everyone knows about your show and will sign up when they get a second.
- Give clear deadlines for all paperwork to be submitted so companies know when they need to be locked in.
When working on membership sales, it is important to:
- Work with your client on a weekly basis to learn about issues facing the industry and what the association is doing to help its members.
- Don’t assume the companies you speak with know everything about the industry they are in. More often then not, those companies need your help (they just don’t know it yet).
- Unlike sponsorship, membership does not have a deadline. Potential members can join at any point throughout the year. This makes it important to always have relevant content and to market it in a way that shows value to the prospective members.
- When you are speaking to prospective members on the phone (yes, you should be calling prospects – not just emailing them) ask them what issues they are facing and what would benefit their company the most.
- This feedback not only tells you what they are interested in, it gives you actionable information that you can bring back to your association.
These are a few useful pieces of information I have picked up and developed while working with our Moery clients. Try them out for yourself and see what kind of results you get.