Motorsports requires some of the largest sums of money for an athlete to progress. The expense of training and competition naturally increases as drivers develop into faster equipment. Unfortunately, the earnings from race winnings are rarely going to cover a fraction of the costs. The reality is that successful drivers and teams need racing sponsorship to survive for the long term.
Especially in this economic market, creating a successful sponsorship program isn’t easy. It requires a driver to approach the marketplace with the same discipline as they approach the race track. As a business professional, racers need to be engaged and disciplined on creating a competitively attractive package for all engaged.
Unfortunately, there is no golden bullet to finding sponsors. However, a key piece of being successful in developing a relationship with a sponsor is having the proper communication. 95% of racers that are looking for sponsorship forget to provide the core piece of the initial conversation that ends their search, before it really even begins. Generally, most racers struggle to move past the first round, because they are too consumed in communicating their own desires.
Before understanding what the sponsor needs, they start thinking about themselves first. How the sponsor can help their racing, how much money they will need in order to finish a season, or what they could do if they could only get to the next level. The misguided racer focuses on what other people can do for them. In order to start being successful with racing sponsorship, they need to start approaching conversations in the opposite way.
Racers need to always present something of value to the sponsor first. Leaving conversations with friends and family aside, at its core, a sponsorship conversation is a business conversation. The objective is not about discussing about what you want from the sponsor. It’s about expressing to a potential customer what the value is for them by investing their efforts in you.
￼Think of speaking with a new sponsor much like preparing for a job interview. An employer is interested in what value an interviewee brings to the company. A potential sponsor will look at a proposing racer in the same way. The primary question they will want you to answer is – “What is the value that this racer brings to me?”
Surprisingly, most racers overlook the other skills that they can potentially bring to a sponsor, outside of how fast they can drive. Being candid, there are plenty of racers who are chasing after the same dollars and only talking about their race ability. By only promoting yourself just on your racing merits alone, you become just as generic as thousands of other racers looking for the same support.
Your objective is to promote any unique skills that potential sponsors can leverage to improve their business. Perhaps you have some professional skills that your sponsor can help leverage. Perhaps you have a large social media following that the sponsor can tap into for new customers. Use every one of your talents and skills that you have to bring a strong value proposition to potential sponsors, in exchange for support. This is a crucial time to let your creativity come to the surface.
To get what you want, it’s not about you.
Starting a conversation with a potential sponsor, and completing a deal are two totally different challenges. However, you must start somewhere, if you want to want to reach your goal. The first step is to clearly be able to communicate to anyone that you want to approach, what value you bring to the table. Once you start to begin presenting yourself as a worthwhile opportunity, you’ll be able to learn more from sponsors in what they find to be attractive. Then, you can tweak yourself or your program to potentially suit their needs, in exchange for support.
In racing, your partners successes equates to your own. Understand that by providing sponsors what they want, you in turn will get what you want. Support for your racing.
Remember, to get what you want, it’s not about you.