Brian C. Ferry
- Member, SMPS-NY
- Director, Sponsorship Committee
For some people, the thought of placing cold calls leaves that throw up aftertaste in their mouths. Visions of sleazy used-car salesmen. Family dinners being interrupted by landlines ringing with offers of mortgage refinancing opportunities. Trips to the mailbox to find junk mail instead of Grandma’s birthday card with the check in it.
You want ME to do that for the chapter?!
Calm down. Take a deep breath. We’re not asking you to do that.
When I was asked to join the Sponsorship Committee in 2014 – long before I had any thought of being its Director – my first thought was, “I’m a terrible liar. I can’t sell things to people.” If that describes you, then you’re perfect for this committee. Sponsorship isn’t about the hard sell; it’s about drinking the Kool-Aid.
For many AEC professional service providers, advertising and promotion are low on the priority list. Sometimes that’s because budgets are tight. Other times it’s because firms can get stuck in a cycle of reactive marketing responses instead of proactive lead development. This is precisely why those firms should be sponsors.
The SMPS New York Chapter targets growth in three areas: for the individual, for the department, and for the company. When all three of those things happen, it benefits the entire industry. Being a sponsor helps individual firms start that journey. It can help position them as thought leaders, allow them to gain the inside track on clients and opportunities, and – by showing they value marketing and business development – position them as an attractive place to work. Joining the sponsorship committee helps individual members begin that journey for themselves.
Seasoned business developers find it’s helpful to have another reason to reach out to their contacts. They use our sponsor drives to establish new inroads with potential clients or as an opportunity to check in with ones they already do business with. Younger marketing professionals learn to craft a pitch – a version of their elevator speech – that is compelling to the companies they’re targeting. Through the sponsorship committee’s account managerial approach, you don’t just sell the business a package and walk away. You develop a relationship with that contact and firm throughout the year, helping them get the most of their benefits and participation and ensuring they see the value of renewing their commitment to the chapter in years ahead.
You may even find your next employer this way. (Don’t tell your manager I said that.)
At the end of the day, you also get to take pride in the fact that you’ve helped the chapter secure the funding it needs to host all of these important programs. We’re one of the largest chapters in the country and – therefore – have a considerable operating budget. Every dollar you help bring in allows all of us to succeed in our careers. A rising tide lifts all boats.
So, let’s talk about joining the sponsorship committee. I’m happy to meet for coffee or have a phone conversation to answer your questions – feel free to reach out! Remember, you don’t have to be pushy and it’s okay to have a little anxiety before you pick up the phone the first time. You just need to tell people how beneficial the chapter is (you already know this) and why they should support us so we can promote them.