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Steve DeLay's picture

Your sales pitch may have dazzled but that hidden decision maker didn't hear it.

Whatever do you do?

You were on your "A+" game for the sponsorship sales call. You dazzled with stories, props and examples of how your team has helped other sponsors accomplish their business goals. Then you get stopped cold.

"This is great stuff," says your prospect, the VP of Marketing at major local company. "I want to walk our owner through it and explain it all to him and then I'll get back to you."

Like all good salespeople, you ask to be in the follow up meeting and to tell the same stories to the owner. After all, who can pitch your product better than you?

"He's in and out and hard to catch," says the VP. "I'll walk him through whatever you can leave with me."


Does your sponsorship leave behind tell the same story you just told in the sales call? Or, is it just printing off copies of Powerpoint slides with some bullet points on the elements that you've recommended as part of the deal? Is it a laundry list of elements or does it captivate that hidden decision maker and move them to action?

When I was Chief Marketing Officer for Mandalay Baseball Properties, I wrote all of the major sponsorship proposals for our teams. Some were more than 40 pages long. Now, they weren't written up like War & Peace novels. There were short paragraphs explaining why we were a good option for their marketing dollars. We explained what our operating philosophy was, how we were going to drive attendance and engagement from our fans. It also gave some examples of success stories we could showcase where we dramatically moved the needle for some of our sponsors and helped them accomplish their goals.

We also included big, fold-out color pictures of major signage components and if possible, a written explanation of what their traffic driving, community or B2B promotion was.

The proposal was spiral bound, with a four color, full bleed cover photo of fans cheering. It had dividers to break up the pages. The dividers were cool pictures of more fans cheering or great action shots.
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In short, the leave behind told basically the same story our sponsorship salespeople told on the sales call. Our prospect could hand our proposal to the company owner or President, explain a few things and it was as if the owner was in the initial sales call.


In some markets like New York, Dallas and Oklahoma City our minor league baseball teams competed head to head for sponsorship dollars with big league clubs in every sport. We'd regularly get compliments that our proposals were more professional and polished than NBA, MLB or NFL teams we were going up against.

Those teams of course did plenty in sponsorship revenue but we set records for naming rights deals, Signature partnerships and other six figure sponsorships. We had a proven track record of delivering but even in a new market, our leave behind was polished, professional and first class. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You also only get one chance to make a lasting impression.

Make your leave-behind count.

Steve DeLay is co-author with Jon Spoelstra of The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House He has spent more than 20 years helping teams and colleges increase revenue in tickets and sponsorships. This winter, Jon and Steve are taking all their sponsorship successes and writing "The Ultimate Toolkit to Maximize Sponsorship Profits." You can reach Steve at or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeLay2.

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