(This is a guest article by Dan Westervelt)
There are many reasons why golf fund raising events fail, but without this one element being present, the chances of survival are almost nil. It is the reason why sponsors decide to support, golfers decide to play and volunteers decide they want to serve your cause. In a word, it is relationships.
The three main components of the human side of a tournament are golfers, sponsors and volunteers. All three are readily available to you if you have a relationship and it is strong enough to justify their participation. Obviously a close friendship is the best but a consistent trade association between a client and vendor are of about the same weight.
As with any relationship, it must be respected, so approach this solicitation as though you were asking permission to do something beneficial for a family member. While you need to be sure to have all the reasons ‘why’ addressed, spend even more time getting ready for the ‘why not’s?’.
Listen carefully to all the objections you hear. These are really just road maps to where you’d like the conversation to end, that is a “yes, I’ll do it”. These are the hesitations, stalls and questions you must address successfully to get them there. In my view, they are the most important part of the sales conversation as they determine both the tone and content of your reply as well as the overall result.