How do I turn a non-supporter into a sponsor – or at least neutralize those saying negative things about me?
First, ask if the person is actually enough of an influencer that it matters to you or your communities what they say. My ex-hubby is always going to be a fan of my art and a non-fan of me as a partner and I’m good with that. J
If it does matter, then avoid the “they say/ I say” where you give differing stories to the same listeners. Instead, consider sitting down with the other person and asking the following:
“What would it take for you to either believe in me /that I can do X?”
While you might not ever get them to be a fan, you can at least ask how you can correct any negative impressions they might hold. Be careful not to ask for their opinion and then explain to them why they are wrong… Perhaps listen and ask again “What can I do to help shift your perception?”
Sometimes that simple gesture is all it takes. It’s a scary step but often well received.
We talk with mentors regularly. How often should we talk with sponsors?
Often, you have a relationship with the person outside of their sponsorship. Let that relationship be the guide vs. having to remind them that you count on them as a sponsor as well.
For those in a professional context with whom you only have occasional contact because sponsoring you upon request is your only reason to interact, then include them on your updates (monthly, quarterly, etc.) of keeping in touch/ articles / ‘thought you’d like to know’ that you share with your network in general. Be sure to note any of your sponsors’ changes in jobs or accomplishments along the way and send a note /give a call in support. (sponsors love sponsorship too)
How do I let folks know I’d be willing to be their sponsor?
When you praise or thank someone, let them know that if there are places where they promote that particular project, skill or attribute, that you’d be willing to be a reference. Be clear if your sponsorship is active or passive (see previous post). Most folks will not turn you down.