We have been fortunate to have a number of incredible companies come along to support us. No, this doesn’t pay our way across the finish line, but it certainly helps us in our quest to get there. A lot of people think that companies are just sitting around, sponsorship budget in hand waiting for someone to show up and grab it… Those people are wrong. So what does it take to get sponsored?
First of all, keep in mind that sponsorship is typically housed under the marketing budget. What that should mean to you is that the company is looking to gain outreach, followers, customers etc. So if the company wants to invest in you, it is because they believe that you hold some value in attracting those customers. So rolling up to a potential sponsor with a hand outstretched means nothing to anyone until you can provide proof that you are valuable to their marketing program.
Second, it doesn’t matter if you have won every race you have entered, if you are not going to represent sponsors well then you are not a valuable member of the marketing program. Look at Liam Doran who recently (and possibly finally) shamed his sponsors into dropping him.
Sponsorship is honestly a bad word choice for the agreement. I prefer to look at this as a partnership. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. If you are willing to provide a sponsor positive representation, honest feedback and positive publicity then you are able to provide value. If you just want someone to pay your bills so you can go race your car, well, that isn’t a good partnership.
Work for it… lots of companies will turn you down and you may have an inflated idea of what your team is worth, but if and when you do land a sponsor, work for it. It doesn’t matter if Joes Lock Shop gave you $20 and free keys for life, if you agreed to the deal, live up to your end of the bargin and exceed expectations. You never know what you might be able to agree to next season…
Sponsorship doesn’t come easy and in the lower tiers of racing you can’t expect it to cover all your costs, but the relationships that are built are worth the effort every time. We have been fortunate to have some amazing companies that sponsor us, some new and some have been long term partners. Our sponsorship agreements vary depending on the company and we can’t thank them enough for coming along on this crazy adventure!