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How to negotiate sponsorship from a weak position

01 Jun, 2020 Sponsorship

Negotiation with potential major sponsors tends to be a one-sided process. The sponsor invariably holds the upper hand because they know there are dozens of other sponsorship opportunities being offered in the marketplace at any given time. Therefore some sponsor negotiators ruthlessly use their bargaining power to force a stronger position. You can follow these guidelines to help overcome a weak negotiating position:

  1. Don’t reveal the full extent of your weak position. It is a common, costly mistake in negotiations to let slip the fact that you are desperate to complete the deal. Don’t give them the impression you are desperate because you have called them three times to check if they have received the proposal! Try not to let the potential sponsor know the full truth of your situation. A weak position is not so dire if the other party doesn’t know your real position. Don’t get drawn into any discussion that allows the potential sponsor to infer that you are desperate. Instead, continue highlighting your strengths, even if they are few, or turning the focus to the advantages they will gain from a deal with you.

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About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from

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