You met, it seemed like alignment was there, but when you followed up for a meeting, nothing. Did you put in a proposal and not hear back? Or maybe you had a discovery meeting, and you both had next-steps, and then crickets?
Are you being ghosted by your corporate prospect???
I get it. It has happened to me. So many times! And because of that, I have some tried and true tactics for getting things back on track.
So, if you are asking yourself, “do I keep following up”?
The short answer is YES!
The longer answer is, well … more involved.
When a corporate prospect is not responding, my response varies but always begins by asking a few key questions.
- Is the alignment between my nonprofit and the company strong?
- Do I really believe this sponsorship makes sense for both of us?
- Is my estimate of the value of this partnership worth continued investment?
- Have they said no? Verbally or in writing?
If the answer to the first three questions is yes, then the answer to the final question only adjusts my strategy, it doesn’t change the fact that I am going to continue to pursue the opportunity.
My next step is then to develop a company-specific strategy. These are customized and AWESOMELY SUCCESSFUL! If you want to work with me on this, call, email, send smoke signals. Together, we will crack through the most awkward of situations.
If you’re up for it on your own, here are a few of the key components so you can build a plan.
1. Revisit your hook
What did your email look like? Was it longer than a couple of sentences? Was it VERY clear what you wanted the person to do? Did it have an attachment?
Answer these questions, and then write a two-sentence (yep 2!) email that defines a clear connection between your charity and the company with no attachment and a clear and easy next step. Try and get a small yes. Send it! Ideally on a Friday morning. I promise this is the right next step in almost all of the situations.
2. Start a social media warm-up
Regardless of all the other strategies you employ, one of the easiest is to do a social-media warm up. I share examples of what this looks like each month in my newsletter <sign up here>. It includes liking and replying to their posts in social (that can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin) and showing them lots of props for what they are up to in supporting communities and causes.
3. Meet them in real life
Be where they are. Most company representatives leave their offices. They leave for business development. They leave for social events. They leave for professional development. They leave for award banquets. Do some sleuthing and go to the events where the company representatives are participating. How do you figure this out? Well, go to other events they are sponsoring, they will be there!
4. Find another entry point
Who else do you know at the organization? Who does your Board know? If you have not already tackled these approaches, now is the time. Is there another person you can talk to, reach out to, or connect with? And it doesn’t have to be for the proposal. Reach out in a more general way. Perhaps let them know that you submitted something. People talk internally!
5. Offer something different
Maybe your first hook or offer just wasn’t the right one. Could your next 2-3 line email be with a different offer or idea? Do you have a volunteer opportunity you could engage them with? Could you ask them for feedback on an idea you have? Think of a different, perhaps easier, ask. At this stage, it is about regaining momentum, so easy is good.
I’m betting it won’t take you all five to restart the conversation. Sometimes it only takes one of these, and sometimes, it takes the whole list. If you are committed and believe it is a partnership that has the potential to be worth it, these are the steps it might take to get the prospect moving towards an awesome corporate partnership.
Let me know how it goes. I particularly love the stories of Twitter “likes” that turn into partnerships – and it has happened!