Sponsorship Negotiations: The Power of Nice

Sponsorship Negotiations: The Power of Nice
by Lynda Carrier-Metz – July 2014

Last year a friend recommended a book titled “The Power of Nice,” suggesting it might help in my negotiations. I was surprised by the title, as most negotiation training involves “sticking to your guns” and overpowering the other side. Ron Shapiro, the author, is a very respected sports agent. His book shares how anyone who sits down to make a deal can get what they want by exercising the surprising “power of nice.”

If you read no further than this, one thing I have learned from reading this and other Shapiro books is this:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#FACC2E” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

ASK the other party what
THEY NEED
the outcome to be.[/dropshadowbox]

Understanding their needs up front has been amazing in moving an agreement along. I expect that having the CLIENT ask what the SELLER needs has caught a few off-guard. I don’t think that is normal in the standard negotiation practice, but I have actually found the process is enjoyable and everyone seems satisfied when the contract is finalized.

Prepare

Ron’s books show you how to prepare better, probe for what they want and why, and to propose–but not going first to avoid impasses or getting backed into a corner.

Preparation is power. Successful negotiators are prepared negotiators. It takes patience and persistence but it always pays off. This could be interpreted as manipulative, but that isn’t how I see it. I try to know how my brand can help their company, how we can truly be partners as an outcome of the negotiation process. If this isn’t done at the beginning, even if you say we are open to additional opportunities, those rarely occur after the deal is inked.

Probe

Probe so you know their (a) wish list, (b) motivations, and (c) must-have list.

Listening is power. If you ask the right questions and LISTEN the other side will give you the input you need to make the deal you want.

Sometimes clients don’t want to ask questions because they appear to be uninformed or stupid. And even if they ask, sometimes they aren’t listening. This is an area I continue to be challenged on, digging deeper vs. accepting a surface response. I once heard that the first answer to a question isn’t where you gain knowledge, but if you wait quietly for the second response, you will learn so much more. That’s when the person has a chance to really think about their response. Another barrier to probing is being afraid to ask the question. In your mind you may already think you know the answer, one you won’t like. But don’t make the decision for them without knowing: Ask.

Propose

The three rules of proposing are: (1) Try not to make the first offer, (2) Never (immediately) accept their first offer, and (3) set your aspirations high.

Patience is power. With a few tweaks, since reading Ron’s books, I have found the first offer isn’t that far off from what we had hoped to achieve. Like many industries, ours is highly competitive, the margins are low, and everyone is being held to a higher return than sometimes is reasonable. Understanding all the options available so that you can get the best payback on your investment is critical. If you propose first, you may miss an opportunity to know all the possibilities a company has to offer. Be patient. Have a good team to bounce off ideas. Be persistent.

Budgets and expectations are high. I found Ron’s approach lowered the stress level for everyone involved in negotiations and outcomes have been more successful for both parties.


 

Reference: “The Power of Nice” by Ronald M Shapiro and Mark A Jankowski

Cover photo courtesy of Jonny Goldstein.

5 Great Sponsorship Activation Ideas

5 Great Sponsorship Activation Ideas
by Lynda Carrier-Metz – November 2014

My experience with successful sponsorship activation has been lukewarm:  Like having one foot in a bucket of cold water and the other in boiling hot. Sometimes we hit it out of the park and other times, well, you get the idea.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to ask my friends on the All-Star Sponsorship panel and discussion at the Baylor Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) annual board meeting what has worked well for them. Thanks to Travis Dillon (The Marketing Arm) for moderating the panel!

Activation Insights

1. Integrate the sponsor into the field of play. Matt Brand, Vice President of Partnerships, Houston Astros, explained, “When a hit ball strikes the ‘fowl (foul) poles’ everyone in the stands gets a FREE Chick-fil-A sandwich. This drives traffic and fan excitement!” Another similar example are the foul poles at the Padres’ Petco Park that look like TaylorMade golf drivers. You might even want to hang a Kia automobile over the center of the court like the Texas Legends.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”125px” height=”125px” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ][slideshow_deploy id=’3336′][/dropshadowbox]2. Activate via single channels for impact. Greg Grissom, Vice President of Partnerships, Houston Texans: “We ran a promotion for Sonic through a single social media channel (e.g., Facebook) to drive traffic. Fans following the Texans’ Facebook were aware that if the Texans win on Sunday, Tuesday is “Free Slushy Day” at Sonic. The promotion drives secondary sales through increased traffic.”

I’ve found promotions tied to wins and high scores seems to help motivate the team to play better. So, maybe the teams should pay the sponsor for agreeing to do this!

3. Drive retail with the use of the team’s marks. George Killebrew, Vice President of Partnerships, Dallas Mavericks: “Connecting Dr Pepper, Budweiser or Gatorade to case sales in grocery stores to register to win tickets ties two brands together and drives purchases for both!” Using the team’s logo and likenesses always attracts attention in crowded retail spaces.

4. Leverage community support. Jeanne Garza, Director of Corporate Partnerships, San Antonio Spurs: “One of my favorite activation strategies is actually by Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut leveraged their media buys and the goal of giving back to the community. Each January when customers purchase a pizza a portion goes to support the Spurs Youth Basketball League. Both the team and Pizza Hut promote this and everyone wins!”

And we got one more good example from the floor from Steve Flynn.

5. Test-drive. Steve Flynn, Regional Marketing Manager, General Motors: “We integrate marketing and activation at the World Series, Texas State Fair, and other events to do one thing: Get people to take a seat in a Chevrolet and take a test-drive.” Having a singular activation focus that you know results in converting prospects into customers promises a good return on the investment.

Bonus Activation Idea

So, those five are pretty good. Here’s my favorite activation promotion we run at Pizza Hut.

Borrow and build fan passion. We create excitement and gain tremendous fan engagement with the Pizza Hut, “Delivery of the Game” for football and basketball. We deliver pizzas into the stands and the fans go crazy. It aligns with our delivery service and sampling our great pizza. The more that can be given to a variety of sections the better, not just students or the same section each game!

What other ideas do you have? Click the Twitter button below and let us know @BaylorS3, @PizzaHut, #activation.

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