Building Great Relationships with Clients

Meet Ellie, our Sponsor Relations Manager, and an avid dog lover 🐶. But aside from dogs, Ellie loves making new friends and connecting with sponsors one-on-one.

We sat down with Ellie to get the scoop on how she thrives in her role at Event Marketing Strategies.

1. In our industry, meaningful connections are everything…

We often make the first connection through email, but it doesn’t stop there. Since we work to form relationships with so many sponsors, we want to build trust, something that email alone can’t do.

For example, when we contact sponsors to discuss a recap of an event, we always aim to have a conversation over the phone or face-to-face.

If a sponsor is in town, we try to schedule a face-to-face meeting to get to know each other better. Meeting face-to-face helps us pick up on non-verbal cues and build trust on a deeper level.

We love staying in touch with clients even after an event is over and because of this, we have worked together with repeat clients again in sponsorships and also in an experiential marketing campaign.

2. Building relationships doesn’t have to be stiff

Meeting in a neutral location such a restaurant, for happy hour or a coffee shop can help you to connect in an informal way. I like to treat these meetings like networking events; I ask about their families, what they do after work, whether they have any hobbies. Start off casual and then lead into the main point of discussion.

The key is to be able to read the room; understand which clients/sponsors prefer to jump into business first and which ones prefer to ease into it. We’ve had great client meetings where we talked business for only 10% of the time.

“The key is to be able to read the room; understand which clients/sponsors prefer to jump into business first and which ones prefer to ease into it.” 

3. Handwritten notes are personal and meaningful

Writing a personalized card is a simple and meaningful way to say thank you or follow up after a meeting. Remember the time you received that nice card or note that you likely have sitting on your desk right now? Same idea here.

4. Look for opportunities where your goals align

At the end of the day, if the opportunity does not align with the client’s goals, then it does not provide value. If a client says that they are not interested, don’t push it. Be kind and respectful. Put yourself in that person’s shoes.

5. It’s who you know

Some of our new business opportunities started through small talk outside of work. That’s why we think networking events and volunteering with a local non-profit are great ways of meeting new people and getting involved in the community.

Or if you’re like Maggie, our VP, you share a love for making new friends on airplanes; some of these airplane conversations have turned into business opportunities!

Ellie Buerk — Sponsor Relations Manager

Ellie oversees the activation and implementation of corporate partners at the Ohio State Fair, Arnold Sports Festival, and Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest. When she’s not working, you can find her out walking dogs or trying out the latest workout class in Columbus.