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How to Suck at Asking for a Sponsorship

For some reason, I’ve been getting a lot of emails this week from artists asking me to sponsor them directly. I’m guessing it’s a combination of me writing about the subject and laziness where they don’t realize that I don’t provide those services directly, I simply provide tools for artists to aid them in that area.

Well, it’s given me a chance to see many solicitation emails/query letters. I’m starting to notice a pattern and it sounds like people aren’t thinking about this from the point of view of someone receiving the note. Many people are also diving straight in without establishing a relationship

Imagine you were running a business and you received an email from someone you didn’t know that looked like this:

“Hi, I do a lot of great stuff. Can you give me $10,000 or introduce me to any of your friends who might be able to?”

How would you feel? What would you think? Could you imagine a high profile artist such as Lady Gaga, Coldplay, or Adele sending something out like this? Yet, variations of this kind of message are being sent by artists every day. You can change out the dollar amount or even trade the sponsorship money for a service like booking a tour and the tone ends up being the same each time. In other words, it sucks. It doesn’t work.

Put yourself back in the seat of a business owner or marketer director.

Now, imagine you received a message from a trusted colleague of yours who said:

“Hey! I just came across this amazing artist who doing some great work and would be a great fit for what you’re doing. Do you have a few minutes to go over this and see if it makes sense to work with them?”

Having a mutual contact or direct personal relationship makes a huge difference. It changes the dynamics of the email from a solicitation to a proposal for a partnership. In fact, this is so important that I dedicate an entire chapter in my book to building partnerships and finding others who can make the introduction for you.

Remember, one of the top reasons why your sponsorship request will be rejected is because they don’t know who you are. So, take the time to develop those relationships. You wouldn’t propose to someone before at least asking for a first date, just as you usually wouldn’t ask someone to risk investing time and money into your career without talking to them first.

Learn how to pitch your band to entice them. Give them a reason to want more, to hear your story. After that, you can begin talking about a partnership.

Want more sponsorship tips? Check out my book, How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, available for now. The eBook is only $4 and the paperback is $10.


Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

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