What makes a property good to work with? What are they doing that others are not?

IEG SR posed that question to Dennis Bash, U.S. Bank’s regional marketing manager for the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to managing sponsorships in Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Wyoming, the sponsorship vet provides advice to colleagues on other ties across the bank’s 25-state footprint.

Below, Bash shares four tips on selling sponsorship and working with partners:   

Know the value of your offering. When discussing a partnership, properties need to have a clear understanding of the value of their assets.

“I see proposals all the time, and I ask people how they come up with pricing. You’d be surprised by how many people value their assets based on what a similar type of property is charging.” 

To be sure, it’s in the seller’s interest to have a clear understanding of the value of their assets when negotiating a deal, he said.

“The last thing they want to happen is to sit across the table from someone who has a better idea of the value of the sponsorship than they do.”

Properties have several options on valuing their offers. That includes hiring a third-party research firm, working with a local college or university or, for nonprofits, leveraging their boards of directors for agency contacts and pro bono work.

“There are a number of ways the work can be done, but the point is that it needs to get done. It may not be perfect, but you can refine it and build on it over the years.”

Take the position of a consultant. Once a partnership is secured, properties need to go beyond terms of the contract by looking out for the sponsor’s best interest.

“Far too often we have a situation where partners define customer service as ensuring that all of the items in the contract are checked off. Banners are hung, media is trafficked and tickets delivered, and it ends there.”

Instead of focusing on the fulfillment of deliverables, properties should position themselves as marketing partners by proactively suggesting activation programs that support a partner’s evolving needs.

“We want them to keep their eyes and ears open and provide us with opportunities we might not have thought of.”

Bash points to the Oregon School Activities Assn. as an example. The organization approached the decision-maker about using the partnership to support the bank’s new S.T.A.R.T. savings program.

“They said ‘why don’t we talk about an activation program to introduce the product.’ It’s a dream situation when your partners are in-tune with what you’re doing.”

Host sponsor summits. Properties should host state of the union and other networking events to keep partners up-to-date on the relationship and facilitate cross-promotions and other business-building opportunities.

For example, Oregon State University recently hosted a networking event for its corporate partners. The event—which featured presentations by outside speakers—was organized by Learfield Sports, OSU’s multimedia rights holder. 

“It gave sponsors an opportunity to connect with each other and see if there is an opportunity to work together on cross-promotional activity.”

While sponsor summits are commonplace in the sports world, other types of properties typically do not host them, he said.

“Once you leave pro sports, they happen very infrequently.”

Keep an open line of communication. Sometimes a thank you note and other forms of communication can go a long way in building a relationship.  

For example, Bash works with several nonprofits that send a thank you letter after receiving a rights payment. The nonprofits also include an update on the relationship.

“It sounds silly, but it’s a real easy thing for a partner to do to demonstrate the fact that they not only received payment—which is a good thing for everyone to know—while providing a status report without picking up the phone.”