The sales team for BMW are measured on one key metric.
Can you guess what it is?
It’d be understandable if you thought it might be the number of sales they make, but you’d be mistaken. They are actually measured on the number of test drives they secure. The idea is that the cars are so good, that once you are behind the wheel, they should sell themselves.
Often, our corporate partnership pitches are the same. You have an amazing prospect in front of you. You have an exciting idea, a strong shared purpose and you know that there is huge benefit for them in the partnership… if only they’d meet you.
An introduction to the right person
We’ve all heard the saying – “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.
Well, when it comes to corporate partnerships, it’s important to have both. Securing a warm introduction can make or break a partnership approach, then you have the room to give them a brilliant first meeting.
As such, we recommend contact mapping throughout your organisation. You can do this industry by industry to help identify top prospects – or if you already have prospects in mind, you can put the company logos on a slide and ask people to go through their LinkedIn. It’s important to remember that everyone in your charity has a network – not just the senior management team.
Once you’ve identified a shared connection, give them the tools they need to make the approach – a suggested first email and possibly a biscuit for good luck.
Tailor your approach
Once you know who the best person to speak to is, it’s important you send them the best message possible. It can be tempting to copy and paste previous approaches, but we know that with a focussed prospect list it’s important to take a quality approach to that first impression.
When the company receive your email, or answer your phone call, they will have some core questions in their mind. They will want to know what’s in it for them, why it’s relevant for them, and what you’re asking for.
As such, try to ensure your initial outreach answers these three points. Cover your shared purpose – what unites your two organisations together – and ask for a thirty minute meeting to share a partnership idea with them. The temptation of this idea should be enough to secure that conversation.
Seek the magical details
Before you make the first approach, do your research. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why this company?
- What is your shared purpose?
- Who’s problem at this company are you solving?
- Is there anything you can learn about this person – things other people may not know?
This is your opportunity to show how keen you are, as well as the value that you will bring as their eventual charity partner. For example, if they mention on LinkedIn that they are training for a marathon, could you put a running playlist in your initial email? Perhaps you post them a protein bar?
These magical details don’t need to be expensive or complicated – they just need to show that you care, and that this isn’t a standard sales approach.
We know it can be frustrating, and even demoralizing, when you aren’t getting a response.
But we’d encourage you not to give up. A silence or a non-reply often doesn’t mean a no, it just means they haven’t got to your email – and there are a hundred and one reasons why people don’t’ reply to as quickly as we would like them too.
In fact, recent research by Hubspot shows that the average prospect will only respond after five follow-ups. But only 6% of sales people follow up five times! So remember not to give up too early.
Do something unexpected
When being persistent, it’s important to try new things and ensure you don’t sound like a broken record. After all, we are all short of time – so if you keep trying the same thing, you won’t necessarily get different results.
It can really help to be creative. For example, when Rennie Grove Hospice were trying to secure a meeting with Amazon Logistics, they realized their email approach wasn’t working. As such, they decided to do something a bit different. They popped a little card with a teabag inside saying ‘we know you are super busy right now, so have a cup of tea on me and relax for 5 minutes, perhaps next time we can meet face to face and I will bring the biscuits’.
It worked! They got a response and a secured a meeting, and like a BMW test drive they went on to win the partnership.
This brings us to the question: what ‘something unexpected’ could you create for your prospects?
In summary, you have to do something different to get yourself noticed. You have to be willing to go the extra mile, to keep going in the face of no reply and eventually you will secure that meeting.
If you’d like to become a prospect magnet, we’d recommend checking out our upcoming Advanced Corporate Partnerships Masterclass – this course teaches you to increase inbound opportunities and become an expert closer.