The Basics of Virtual Summit Sponsorships with Quiana Murray

guest expert making money Dec 10, 2019

In this episode we're chatting with Quiana Murray about all things sponsorships. We cover everything from how to decide if you should have sponsors to how to pitch them and how much to charge. This is an action-packed episode you won't want to miss!

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Transcript

Krista:
Hey, hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you’ll learn how to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I’m your host, Krista from Summit in a Box, and we’re in a break from our regular series format for an episode that has been requested by so many of you.

Today, in episode 36, we are finally going to be talking about landing sponsors for your online summit with a guest who’s a complete expert in all things sponsorships. So we are going to cover things like what to consider when you’re deciding if sponsors are even something you want for your summit, how to prepare for your sponsors, how to know what companies are a good fit, what goes into a good pitch email, what kinds of information they need, how to price your sponsorships, all kinds of good information. This is an action packed episode.

Krista:
To give you some background information on our guest, she’s an award winning sponsorship strategist and founder of the Sponsorship Fast Track Academy. With over 20 years in the sponsorship industry, she’s mentored sponsorship seekers in every step of the process. And you guys, she has so much incredible knowledge to share. Without further ado, let’s dive in and talk with Quiana Murray.

Krista:
Welcome Quiana. I am so excited to talk to you about sponsorships. This is the one thing that I get asked all the time, multiple times per week, and I can’t answer the questions. I am so thrilled to have found you and had been able to connect. And you guys, this collaboration and us knowing each other was just meant to be and you’re going to see that here. Before we dive in to all the sponsorship goodness, I would love to hear a little bit about how you came into the world of sponsorships and became the sponsorships person.

Quiana’s Background

Quiana Murray:
Sure, sure. First let me say I’m excited to be here too. I couldn’t wait to talk to you. And my foray into sponsorship actually started me based. I was in college. And one of the responsibilities for my job was that we had to do events for the student population. And of course, universities don’t want to have to pay for that kind of stuff. They want you to do great programs, but they don’t really want to put the money behind that. So I figured out that by just approaching the different businesses in the community and offering them ad space and opportunities to kind of get in front of the students, they would in turn give us money and stuff.

Quiana Murray:
So that’s really how it started. And then when I left, when I graduated, I was a trainer. And so again, here are all of these events that we have to have and all of these opportunities, but no budget. It just became something that, after a while, it was like, okay, this is like a discipline. This is something for real, you know? And so from there I would help my clients who would come to me for business coaching. And always everyone was like, “I can’t keep doing this one on one thing. It’s just driving me crazy. I want to host events but I don’t have the money.” So I was like, “Well you know there’s another way.”

Quiana Murray:
And so I’ll say, I think it was about 2016, my goodness, I stopped offering the other services and just went directly into the sponsorship. That was it. And so I’ve been really busy.

Krista:
Oh my gosh. Yeah. Because trust me, I’ve done a whole lot of searching on sponsorships and I don’t know, all of a sudden one day I searched the right thing or I don’t know, I’m sure it wasn’t anything fancy, and there was your name. Just boom, boom, boom, boom all down Google. And I don’t know if I haven’t necessarily looked for anyone else since then, but I haven’t come across anyone else. And all your stuff is gold. You guys, the first time I came across Quiana’s website, I emailed her and sent her a Instagram message that same day. It was very stalker-ish. But I had, I think it was nearly 20 tabs open with her different videos and blog posts and it’s just so much good stuff. You’re totally going to find yourself there as well when you make it to her website.

Krista:
Let’s dive in to talking about sponsors. And I want to start with before you even start thinking about outreach, what questions should someone consider when they’re deciding if they should even have sponsors for an online summit?

What to Consider When Thinking About Sponsors

Quiana Murray:
Two things. So first thing is always going to be time. You know, okay, if my summit is next week, yeah, it’s going to be really... Probably you’re just going to be your next summit. But generally speaking, if you give yourself between six to three months, you can totally nail sponsorship for a virtual summit. And then on the other side of that is your community. Because what you’re really selling to sponsors is the opportunity to laser market to your people. And so when you think about it that way, it becomes more of the, “Oh, okay, so you want to sell to busy moms do you? Okay, here’s what it’s going to take to get in front of them.”

Quiana Murray:
Because something that a lot of people probably haven’t even thought about is that traditional marketing isn’t working for larger businesses anymore. They’re starting to spend the bulk of their marketing budgets on influencers, celebrities, small business owners, community organizations because we’re already on the front lines with those people that they want to buy their products and services.

Quiana Murray:
And so if you have a community, even if it’s a small community, if you’ve got a hundred people, there is a corporation out there that wants your a hundred people to spend that money. So just knowing your community in and out so that sponsorship doesn’t disrupt their process with you is gold. Because if you can find a way to get a sponsor in front of them without them feeling sold to or marketed to, you’re going to do well.

Krista:
I love that. I love that last piece you mentioned because I’ve never used sponsors, like I’ve said a thousand times. And for me it’s that trade off between having them focused on me versus the sponsors. So I really like that you brought that up, that that’s something you need to recognize and think about when you’re making the decision of if you should even have them. And that is something that I feel like a lot of people don’t think about. They think about, “Oh, I’m going to get paid by this company.” But they don’t think about what that means. I love it. You got to consider your community and the time that goes into it. And don’t think you’re going to do it in a two week timeframe. I love that reality check.

Quiana Murray:
Yes.

Krista:
So talk us through what goes into preparing for sponsors. I’m sure you could talk on this for hours, but I love your high level look at what goes into the preparation phase.

Preparing for Sponsors

Quiana Murray:
Sure. So when you’re looking at, or even thinking about, approaching sponsors, you want to make sure that one, you have something to get sponsored. Because a lot of times people just say, “Well, I just want them to sponsor me.” Well, no, there’s a portion of you in your business or in your influence that is going to speak to each individual companies. So you need to think about yourself and your brand and what that thing is. So your summit. Okay. So then once you know, okay, I want to get my summit sponsored, who’s attending this thing? Who is that community? What do they like? What don’t they like? What type of experiences are they wanting? What are they expecting to come away with? And those are things that your sponsors can absolutely help you deliver to them and pay you to deliver to them.

Quiana Murray:
And then in addition to your community, you also want to think about positioning. Because one of the things that’s very become kind of like a buzzword in the sponsorship industry, but it’s actually a very real thing, is category exclusivity. You don’t want to have... Just because 10 banks want to sponsor you, doesn’t mean that you need to have all 10 banks sponsor you. So you want to think about which of them aligns with your community. In your community, if you’re doing the a summit and it’s around teaching people how to start a business, which of these banks is really geared toward small business owners? Which of them already has an outreach and a program that you could then bring in front of your people? So, like I mentioned, you definitely want to be looking at what it is you’re getting sponsored, your community, their wants and needs.

Quiana Murray:
Also then those corporations that have something to offer your community that won’t disrupt. So again, that goes back to, okay, I’m working with these brand new business owners. BAnk of America already has a program and they’re already speaking to my people. So I can bring them in and speak to them one on one now or within the group or however. And then also you want to look at your time because you’re going to have to do what you told them you’re going to do. And if you already are having, oh my gosh, being pulled in a million different directions, like who isn’t, right? So you want to be thinking about whatever you offered to do for them, that you have the bandwidth to be able to perform.

Quiana Murray:
And so then from there it’s just communication. Making sure that you’ve thought about those things that they want. And by them I mean the corporation, but then also those things that your people want and how you can bring them together in an environment where both feel like they’re getting something out of this.

Krista:
Yes. Okay. The last two points are so good, but I want to highlight, I think it was the fifth point you made actually, which was your time. And again, I’ll go back to kind of what I said earlier, where people think about the sponsors and it’s like, “They’re going to pay me and it’s just going to be this magical easy thing.” But no, if you promise them a bumper at the beginning of all your summit presentations, you got to add that. It’s not going to be just this free thing. Maybe you slap a logo on your website and you’re done. If you get decent sponsors, there’s going to be some work that goes into it. Do not forget that and make it feel like it’s just boom, easy money.

Quiana Murray:
Absolutely. And you know the hardest part for people when they’re thinking about it is they think of sponsorship, like you said, as what they’re going to get out of it. But you really have to think about the fact that you’re selling sponsorship. Just like you’re selling your program, you’re selling your product, you are selling sponsorship. So if they pay that money, they are going to want that thing or those things you promise.

Krista:
Yeah. Okay. And then nailing down the company. You’ve kind of touched on it a couple of times, companies that you know can deliver what they have to offer without disrupting, like you said, and you don’t want to be bringing in five of the same exact kind of company. How do you know what companies would be a good fit?

How to Tell if a Company Isn’t a Good Fit

Quiana Murray:
You know what? You start with what it is you need and the type of experience you want your people to have. So for example, if I were running a summit on sponsorship, I know that my people are going to need access to reliable software so that they can build those proposals and things like that. I know that my people are also going to need some type of analytics because, guess what, they need to be able to know their audience. So when you start breaking down the things that you’re going to be wanting your people to not only learn but to do and also the systems that they’re wanting to be using, then you look at which of those companies provide something within that industry.

Quiana Murray:
And it may not be a perfect fit, because there is, depending on the industry, there may not be a perfect fit, but most people fall into helping people generate money, helping people save time, helping people learn a new skill. So you just really look along those lines. Then when you’re thinking, you think about those businesses that you’ve seen at other events that you’ve attended. There are certain companies that you’re going to see at every... In your industry, they’re always there. Why? Because they want your industry’s money. And so you look at those and then you can go from there. A lot of times people put a lot more thought into the company than what it is they’re going to be doing or that company and how easy it’s going to be to work with that corporation.

Quiana Murray:
Because here’s the thing, there are some corporations that are going to be difficult to work with because they know that they are the one and only the industry. So you want to really think about things like that. So normally what I tell my... And this is like one of those quick cheats. Normally what I tell my clients to do is I tell them to make a list of all the things that you want your people to experience, those things that your people are interested in and those things that you know that they’re going to need to either purchase, use or consume to get where it is they need to get. And then you just write down companies that offer all those things and you pitch those. So starting there. And what happens is as you start pitching, you start thinking about other companies because a question comes up and you’re like, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t think about them.” And so then you go and you go and you go.

Quiana Murray:
And I know that sounds really complicated on the surface but really it’s not. Because once you start having conversations and even just asking your community, “Hey look, what are you guys into?” I see all the time when people put postings, they don’t really ask questions. Ask your community. They will tell you. Let me tell you, people will tell you what they want. And so then you just go find those companies that can offer those things or pay you to offer those things.

Krista:
I love that. I love that. And I’m thinking, so the summit I run is for brand and website designers who kind of need to simplify and streamline their business. I’ve been thinking, if I offer sponsors for my next summit, who would I go to? And exactly what you said, it was helping me sort out those ideas. I’d go to people like Adobe is one that I thought of because they have Photoshop and stuff, but then I’m like, they’re so big, they could be difficult. That’s just something I’ve had in mind. But there’s people or companies like ShowIt that make it so easy for designers to make websites and web flow. All of those things would actually serve my audience. They wouldn’t just pay me money. My audience would literally benefit from learning more about these companies. And I feel like that’s what we’re going for here. Okay, people have their companies identified, what is maybe a top piece or two that goes into a good pitch email? When you reach out to sponsors, do you pitch them packages right away?

When to Pitch Packages to Sponsors

Quiana Murray:
Never. I never do. I never, never do. If you don’t take anything else from this entire episode, always start with just a conversation where you ask them questions. They should be the ones doing most of the talking, not you. Okay? So for example, if you’re going to go to, let’s say you’re going to go to Show It. What you want to find out is what industries... Because you already know that they support designers. Okay. So within the design realm. They probably have... Every company has a mission and they have a vision and they have their overarching community or customer profile. But then they have that profile of that person who they might not have really gotten their hands on yet.

Quiana Murray:
And so ask them, what are your goals for the coming, if it’s going to be next quarter, what are your goals for next quarter? What products and services are you offering? Or are you thinking of debuting? All of these type of things. And then finding out from them and then it makes it easy because you find out all this information, you just pitch it back to them. And not only that, you know somebody. It doesn’t get caught out in the world of email who knows what.

Krista:
My style would have been to have all of this information ready, send them this big massive email. But I can already see, just from the minute or so you took to explain that, you can be so much more effective and hit on exactly what they need if you take the time to have a conversation first. I love that. When you do go ahead and pitch these sponsors, what kinds of information are you providing to them?

What Information to Include in Your Pitch

Quiana Murray:
Okay. So once you’ve had a conversation and you’re ready to now pitch, what you’re going to provide is, above all else, if nothing else, I always say this, details about your community. So you want to get really good on community. And not just your community. Oh they’re married, they have three kids, they live in the suburbs. No you want to talk about, they tend to buy ads on YouTube as opposed to ads on Facebook. They tend to base their purchasing decisions around what’s going to be the most convenient product rather than what’s the cheapest cost. These are the kinds of things that big companies just don’t know because they’re not having those conversations. So you want to put all of that information and so that’s your community data.

Quiana Murray:
But then in addition to that, you want to make sure that you are putting benefits for them. And these need to be customized benefits. So these are not benefits like, “Hey, choose this tier.” No. This is, “Here’s what I think you can... We’ll get you what you’re looking for.” And so you include those things. So include the benefits. You include information about your community. Of course, you’re going to include information about your summit. And when I say information about your summit, because you’re talking virtual, you want to talk about what platform it’s going to be on. You want to talk about if there’s a group that’s accompanying it, or is there an email list or something like that. Because again the person sitting in a cubicle at this company, they’re probably not really familiar. Because virtual summits is one of those things that within the entrepreneurial space, we’re already here. Corporations are starting to get here.

Quiana Murray:
So being able to provide that type of information because now you’re educating them and they’re going to love you for that. Keeping them front and center with what’s going on, current trends, that’s huge. But then also in addition to that, you want to include great contact information. And your email address needs to be at your company or your summit name or whatever. Not at Gmail. I know people hate to do that, but it’s not going to work. But then also, it doesn’t hurt to include a little bit about testimonials, things that people say. If you’ve had a summit before, what they enjoyed about it. If you’re having a brand new summit, just how they’ve engaged with you before and what they found was great.

Quiana Murray:
Also, you want to include information about the ways that you plan to grow. Is your summit going to be a one time thing? Is it going to be something that’s going to happen year after year? And how you’re going to grow your summit. So you want to include all of these juicy things about your summit that you’re going to be giving your community to get them to want to attend your summit. You’re including that same information for your sponsors with just the addition of more community insights and of course the benefits that they’re going to get out of it.

Quiana Murray:
But then also, and I know people get scared by this, put how much it’s going to cost. Put a number in there. Okay? Remember this is a corporation. They’re not trying to be surprised. They want to know upfront how much is this going to cost me and what do I get for this? And that’s those benefits. So put putting that in then allows you the opportunity to negotiate. Because if they come to the table and they don’t have an amount and they love your proposal but they don’t know, you’re going to get underbid, like way bad. Because they’re going to try to get as much as they can for as little as possible.

Quiana Murray:
And don’t be afraid to price high. A lot of times what happens is people price low thinking, “Okay, well if I only ask for $1,000...” That is not going to cut it. These Fortune 500 corporations, it’s going to cost more than that just for them to get a bunch of people in the room and vote yay or nay. So go five figures. Don’t be afraid of it. If you’re having a huge summit with thousands of people, go six figures. It doesn’t hurt. I mean it doesn’t matter if it’s in person, if it’s virtual, if people are coming away with something, those sponsors and corporations are going to want to get in front of those people.

Krista:
Yeah, I see so many people for summits, I totally stalk sponsorship pages for summits and I see so many people pricing their sponsorship packages at $1,000 or $2,000. And number one I’m like that is not worth it. It is not worth it for you to feature this other company instead of yourself for $1,000. You’d get more sales of your all access pass if you just focused on yourself. And I think people do this because they think of their sponsors and how they spend money, how they spend their money. Us as small business owners, we’re kind of careful. If someone throws a $10,000 price point at us we’re like, “See ya.”

Quiana Murray:
Right. Exactly.

Krista:
They’re willing to invest in this product that’s successful. They know their numbers and how long it would take it to pay off. I love that you said go big because it’s totally worth it. And if they don’t like it, like you said, they can come back with a counter offer.

Quiana Murray:
Yes, yes. And they will. They absolutely will. I’ve had so many people say, “Okay wait, I sent something and they like it. Oh no, now what?” And I’m like, “Okay, now is when you get to really step into your power and say, okay, this is what...” But they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t think they’d do...” And I’m like, “Well this is where the success comes in.” You go in there and you negotiate the same way you would negotiate for whatever else you do in your business, you go for it. You know? So yeah.

Quiana Murray:
And when you’re thinking about pricing... Because I get this question a lot, so I just thought about this. When you’re thinking about pricing, also include the price it’s going to cost you to perform that sponsorship benefit because that’s time you’re not spending generating revenue with your clients. So be sure to think about that. So if you’ve got to spend five hours a week, but believe me, it’s not going to be five hours, I promise you that. But if it were five hours a week, what would five hours a week cost for a month for me with my clients? This is what that is. And so when you think about that, think about including that amount in that pricing because you’re not getting it over here with your clients, so make sure you get it over there with your sponsors.

Krista:
Yeah, this all makes so much sense and it’s bringing so much clarity to me and I’m sure to our listeners as well. I’m getting such a better idea of what goes into this. And I feel like there’s more to it than I thought, but also these pieces that you are bringing up that I hadn’t thought of makes it all so much more worthwhile and so much more effective and so much worth the time and effort. So I’m just so grateful for everything you shared. What to you is the biggest takeaway you would like listeners to get from what we talked about today?

Your Takeaway

Quiana Murray:
The biggest takeaway is to know your community and not just know them like, okay, where they like to shop and all of that. But know them in a way that empowers you to be able to charge for someone to get that knowledge from you. So I guess I probably said about a couple things, but basically the bottom line is have faith that your community is profitable. That’s really the bottom line.

Krista:
That’s a big mindset one. But no, that’s totally, totally so powerful. And I’m so glad that you chose that piece to highlight. So important. Again, thank you so much for everything you’ve shared. Where can people go to learn more about you? And I’d love to hear a little bit about what you offer as well.

Quiana Murray:
Sure. So I am at quianamurray.com. I have a free community and that is my Facebook group, and there I do weekly trainings. I do what’s called Sponsorship Fast Track minis. So basically what that is is just I do like a half an hour training on a specific topic. And generally it’s literally someone says, “Hey look, I need help with this.” And I’m like, “Okay, let’s do it.” You know? So that’s where you find, you’ll find me spending a lot of my time.

Krista:
Yes. That sounds like such a great, great place to be. You also have a training or course?

Quiana Murray:
Yes, yes. And so my Sponsorship Fast Track Program is my... That’s like my entire system. That’s like me doing a complete step-by-step data dump so that you can go and take the sponsorship world by storm. And I tell people this all the time because sponsorship is a $62 billion, with a B, industry every single year. And every year it grows by 2 billion. So let me tell you something, the more people I can help get sponsorship, the better we are at keeping small businesses, at keeping people in place. Because we are those people who are serving the everyday, you know? And so, yeah, absolutely get your piece of that big old billion dollar pot. 

Krista:
I love it. Thank you again so much for being on today. This was great and such a fun conversation and I can’t wait for everybody to listen in.

Krista:
How incredible was that episode with Quiana? I hope you’re as excited as I am after recording that because, like I said at the beginning of this episode, this is a question you guys ask me about all the time. And I’ve never worked with sponsors before so I can give you my opinions, but they’re not based on experience. And Quiana is obviously a wealth of knowledge and I really hope you will go check out all of the information and resources she has. Her free resources are incredible and I’m sure her paid are even better, which is hard to believe. And you’ll see what I mean once you dive into that. But I would love for you to put some of what we talked about here into place.

Krista:
Get to know your community. Do the research you need to do to feel confident that your community is worth your sponsors paying you a decent amount for. And maybe do some initial brainstorming on what kinds of sponsors you’d like to include in your summit, even if it’s not something you are starting to plan right this very second.

Krista:
But thank you so much for tuning in to this episode.

In the next episode, we’re starting a brand new series all about promotion. We’ll be starting with the three pieces that go into promoting an online summit. So be sure to tune in for that. But for now, go out and take action to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit.

About Quiana

Quiana Murray is an award-winning Sponsorship Strategist and founder of the Sponsorship Fast Track Academy. With over 20+ years in the sponsorship industry, Quiana has personally mentored sponsorship seekers through the full sponsorship life cycle. Additionally she has successfully partnered with international corporations and State and Federal agencies to successfully purchase sponsorship.

 

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