The Power Of The Right Question!

I want you to have success with sponsors, and the sooner you get your approach ‘down pat’, the sooner you will be progressing from email, to phone call, to meeting, to a signed contract!

Best practice sponsorship means approaching a brand and building a relationship BEFORE sending them a proposal or asking them for money.  Tick!  We all know that. Right?

The best way to build a relationship is to ask smart questions that explore whether there’s an alignment, beyond the initial research you’ve done.

Smart questions can save you valuable time that could have been wasted sending out generic proposals to dead ends, and they save your sponsor time, which they will THANK you for!

There are three types of questions – Closed, Open and High Gain. But not all of them will help you build rapport quickly and easily with sponsors, so make sure you use the right kind in the right situation!

The Power Of The Right Question!


These questions give a person two options when they answer.  Yes or No.  

For example:

  • ‘Have you heard of our organisation before?’  Yes or no.
  • ‘Are you interested in sponsoring our event this year?’  Yes or no.
  • ‘Did you want me to send you a proposal?’  Yes or no.

As you can see, closed questions are not really very useful when you’re trying to build a relationship with a brand, as they don’t allow room to expand, get to know each other and explore an opportunity.

NB:  They are, however, great questions for getting straight to the point, and can be handy in sponsorship negotiations!  Try these resources if you’re looking for help seeking and securing a partnership.


Asking a potential sponsor a series of open questions will help you understand what their outcomes are, gauge their interest and potential concerns, and show them that you know what you’re doing.

Open questions begin with the words ‘What’, ‘Why’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Who’, and ‘How’.

For example:

  • ‘What elements of the marketing mix do you find works best to connect with your target market?”
  • ‘When do you set your marketing budget each year?”
  • ‘How do you measure ROI for your brand?’
  • ‘What are the most attractive elements of a sponsorship package for your company?’


Then we come to my favourite questions of all.  High Gain questions!

Have you ever heard of them?

High Gain questions are the best way to get potential partners tapping into their ideal sponsorship scenarios and the ultimate outcomes they DREAM about at night!

The High Gain question starts with the word ‘IF’.

For example:

  • ‘If you could describe the most successful partnership for your brand, what would that look like?’
  • ‘If there were no limits about what a partnership with our organisation could entail, what elements would it have?’
  • ‘If you were given free creative license to create the kind of event, activation, or partnership that you’ve been searching for, what would that look like?’
  • ‘If you could wave a magic wand and make your ideal charity partnership instantly appear, what are the things that would make it so perfect for your brand?’

Can you see the difference with High Gain questions?

These are real relationship builders and fantastic to ask even if you’ve been speaking with a potential sponsor for quite a while.

It’s never too late to throw some High Gain questions into the mix because they really get a marketing or brand manager tapping into the coolest types of activations they want to be part of, the deepest connections they are seeking, and the way they really want their brand to be seen by the world.

EVERY type of question has its place in the sponsorship journey, but asking high gain questions will really help you see the world through the eyes of your potential sponsor if you ask them!

They will also help glean information that they would not normally share about any challenges they are experiencing.

That is gold!

Now go forth and continue to build those relationships!  It’s never too late to ask great questions. 🙂

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Let's Go!
Let's Go!