Last night I approached a potential sponsor for Echo Conference. A big sponsor. I mean…a really big sponsor. And having them on board could save our attendees money in a big way.
I had the epiphany while jogging. I needed to contact them. They were an obvious choice. But…they were a huge company that probably wouldn’t say yes.
That’s when I began convincing myself it wasn’t worth trying. I knew they’d say no, so why should I even waste their’s and my time? I quickly murdered those thoughts. That was the wrong way to think.
So I got home from my run, collected myself, and asked. I searched through their site to find the appropriate contact information and I sent an email. No word back yet. And they’ll probably say no…but it was well worth the ask. And I feel confident about the way I approached them.
Here are a few keys I’ve found to making a bold ask like this.
- Never be apologetic. If you’re apologizing for wasting their time, you obviously don’t believe strongly enough in your own vision for them to buy in.
- Respect the project, but respect their time. I laid out the fundamentals of Echo Conference and why they should be involved. But I didn’t oversell it or write more than a paragraph or two.
- Share your heart. When you’re making a bold ask, you probably can’t sell them. That’s what makes the request bold. But you can sell your heart. Share the heart behind your project. Show how it aligns with theirs.
- Be obvious about what you’re asking. I had two proposals. I wanted them to sponsor the conference. And I wanted them to offer my attendees a discount on their services. I didn’t make them ask what I wanted from them.
- Open the path for more dialogue. Make it easy for them to ask questions and approach their own ideas.
I’ll let you know what comes of this.