Now you have a CRM system full of interesting and relevant potential partners to call and with whom you can schedule meetings. I have spent over 20 years in sales and business development, allow me to share some of my best experiences with you so you can be as successful as possible at selling partnerships.
Before you do anything, you should feel happy. If cold calling and sales does not make you happy, find someone else to do it. Put on some great music, stand up, shadow box. Do what you can to build energy in order to feel strong, energetic and powerful.
Open the CRM system and start to work from a-z. Look up the first lead, read about it, what did the pre-salesperson put in. Write down your own notes when talking to anyone at the partner company, make sure you write down names, roles and details, of the people with whom you speak to keep the CRM properly updated. Make sure to include some “next steps” on how to proceed with this partner; what are we doing next and who is responsible for doing that? Make sure to contact everyone on your list and do not let any partner feel left out.
Before calling anyone, make sure you look up their website, research the decision maker, connect with decision maker on LinkedIn, and read the notes from the CRM system. Please, please, make sure you are 100% clear about: Why are you calling this particular partner and not anyone else? What is your goal with the call? How can you see the partner work with your esports organization? How can you bring business or results to this particular partner?
I know you have done all of the work I have inspired you to do in this book, so I know that you know your self and your management team well. You know your esports organization, who you are, what you do, where you want to go, how to get there and why you are unique. You can feel safe, confident and proud because you have a strong case and you bring value to this partner. All you need is the partner to pick up the phone and talk to you, right? Be confident. Feel proud.
Have a clear goal
I have always made a clear goal with my call. I am calling to ask for a meeting, I would like to spend 20 minutes with you so I can understand what you do and why you are doing so well. I always ask for a meeting so that we have dedicated time to dive in deeper in the conversation. Book that meeting. Face to face or skype will do.
Be relevant, when you contact people. Never, as in never, use copy pasted content. Always contact people or businesses because you have an individual and specific plan and idea with that specific contact or message. I have spent years talking to brands and partners in sports and esports, and each day they get so many generic, standard messages: “Do you want to sponsor my blah blah”. Do not do that, do not waste anyone’s time with irrelevancy. Be sharp, intelligent, relevant and be 100% clear about why you have chosen to contact this specific person or business. This will help you stand out from the rest and you show respect to the other person and you will get more responses.
Use your tools
In sales, you can use email, social media, Skype, phone calls, face to face meetings and more. My advice will always be – you need to meet people. If not in person, then on a video call. Your persona, body language and tone of voice is so important for the relation with the other person, which is the foundation for the partnership in general. And in my humble opinion, if a person is not willing to talk to you or meet you then you might not want to do a partnership anyway. Use every tool you can to set up that meeting, and this is where you bring your a-game!
Be open and curious
No matter where you are, and what you do, make sure you enter conversations with people. Ask questions such as: who are you, what do you do, for how long have you been doing that, what are you trying to accomplish, what is working great for you, what is a struggle right now? Ask open questions to get to know people at parties, networking events, birthdays, etc. Developing your network and nourishing your relationships, will bring you many sales during the years to come.
I always loved cold calling. Find the right person, call and wait for the person to answer and deliver the pitch. I want to understand who the person is and if he/she is the right decision maker or if I need to talk to someone else. With whom can I sign a partnership deal? Let´s book that meeting.
Cold calling script example
I know, I know, there are so many different ways to do sales, but something like this has worked for me for 20 years, use it or design your own. Let´s go!
1) Get their attention by using their name. Start off my saying “Hi, ____,” in a warm and welcoming tone, then proceed directly to Step 2. Notice I didn’t say, “Hi, ____, how are you today?” because it gives your prospect a chance to jump in and disrupt your flow. Cold calls are all about taking control in the beginning.
2) Identify yourself. “My name is John with Starlight Esports” This is pretty straightforward — you need to tell them who you are.
3) Tell them why you’re calling. “The reason I’m calling is to get some time on your calendar.” Diving right in demonstrates that you’re a professional. Save the small talk for your follow-up calls after you’ve already built the relationship.
4) Build a bridge. This statement connects the reason you’re calling with why they should care. “I just noticed on your site that you’re sponsoring Blue Nights Basketball team. Several companies sponsoring basketball teams are already working with Starlight Esports to reach new audiences and tap into digital marketing in a simple an easy way. They are also able to cut marketing spend and gain new business network.”
5) Ask for what you want and shut up. “I thought the best place to start is to schedule a meeting to learn about your marketing strategies, sponsorships and goals. Do you have time Wednesday or Thursday afternoon around 10 a.m.?” Ultimately, our goal is to set meetings with prospects.
You have to:
- Understand why the company is sponsoring the traditional sports club?
- What does the company gain from that?
- What is this company trying to achieve?
- Is there a business opportunity between your esports organization and the prospect?
- Can your esports organization help the company to achieve that?
- Go for the meeting. Do not accept “Sending some info via email”.
Keep in mind that marketing managers, owners and investors are busy and it is possible that your proposal, even if interesting, is not be a priority. Agree on a better time to follow-up with those who seem interested but also, remind yourself that every “no” is also good news. You don’t need to waste time on companies that are not interested.
Don´t fall for it
Loads of sales calls ends with, “Send me your presentation and I will have a look”. This is a common trick, don´t fall for it. Be honest, “Look, I know we can work together, I have a few ideas on how we can build a truly meaningful partnership that will pull in results for both of us. I really want to share these ideas with you, and that is why I’m asking for 20 minutes of your time. Sounds fair enough?”. By being direct, you will project honesty and authenticity.
At the meeting
You have booked the meeting and you are ready to close the partnership. You have to be prepared, relevant and sharp at this meeting. Make sure that your presentation is ready, and tailor made to this meeting and to this potential partner. Make sure you understand the potential partners compelling event: why are they talking to you? What can you and your esports organization help them achieve? How can you be successful together?
I have always seen a sales meeting as a dance, first it can be awkward, and you dance in front of each other. At one point you get in sync and follow the same rhythm getting closer and closer. If you try to get to close to fast, the other part will move away like, “Hey there partner, that´s a bit to fast for me”… and you just start over. You can mess it up, but you can always just ask, “Right, remind me, what is it you like about our esports organization?”. The question might seem crazy, but it is not. It will make the potential partner explain why they like you and why you are at this meeting, and not anyone else.
You list the needs the partner told you about: they want to reach X audience, they want to be visible to gamers in the local community, they want to support a talent oriented esports organization or what ever the compelling reason is, remind them of what they told you,
“You´ve told me that you need to do X, and that it is important to you so you can reach your goals for this year, is that correct?” … “yes”… odds are, you will get acceptance.
You can continue on from there, “Based on all the info you gave me at this meeting, and that you want to achieve X, I would suggest we do x y z together, or I would suggest you pick this package. It will secure you a nice reach in the audience you need, and it will give you engagement from the audience and you will become part of the network program where you will meet other industry leaders in esports.”
I suggest our gold package costing 15.000 EUR per year, we agree on one year and if you are pleased with the performance, re-negotiate after 10 months, sound fair enough?”
And then you leave the silence to the partner and the room. At one point he or she will say yes or no. The “no” is not a no. It is just a, “Hey there partner, you are a bit to fast for me”. Then you just go back again asking, “Right, remind me, what is it you like about our esports organization? Why are we sitting here?”.
Get it? It´s a dance and as long as you are polite, relevant, persistent and respectful, you will get the sales you need.
Always have one dedicated person working with partnership sales. Focus on volume and quality. If you contact 10 potential partners per day, you might close one sale per month. If you contact 100 potential partners per day, you might close 10 sales per month. Continue working with presales and sales in order to build a huge pipeline and a lot of sales activities to secure the revenue you need.