DRIVER TIPS – How do you find sponsor prospects?
You will have greater success if you target your sponsorship appropriately. It is so much easier to sell an idea about racing to a person who already has an interest in motorsport. This will make your job so much easier and it will mean the person you are selling yourself already has some understanding of the benefits of motorsport and what you can offer.
You need to do your legwork and network, network, network. It’s vital to seek these people out, as they will rarely come to you. Everyone you meet is a potential opportunity and if you meet them at the track then chances are they are already a motorsport fan. If you meet them outside of a racetrack then you need to find out if they are a fan.
The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know applies. You might meet someone who is married to someone who is the brand manager of a company whose CEO has just been to the Bathurst 12 Hour and they are looking to launch a new product. This is a hot lead! This is someone you should get in front of and it is up to you to follow up and follow up and follow up until someone supplies you with an introduction that allows you to make contact.
Everyone you meet is or knows a potential sponsor, so develop the ability to start small talk and ask questions to get to know a person and the people they know and work with. Are any family members business owners and motorsport fans? And then don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction to that person.
Don’t give up on your contacts, follow up, follow up and follow up again. You may have a hot lead but it’s just the wrong timing. The marketing budget may be set yearly and it’s already been earmarked for something else this year. A change in management mean a new opportunity or the business owner is concerned about a huge project and can’t think of anything else until it’s done.
Develop a list of contacts and do exactly that, stay in contact. Research shows people are more inclined to spend money on things and people they know well, so let them get to know you. Send an email to your contact list every few months telling them your latest achievements and what has you excited. Keep them updated on your career. This is a great way to plant seeds for the future because a year or two down the track this person has been watching your journey and suddenly sees an opportunity that fits in with their particular goals.
So put the work into networking for contacts and then keeping those contacts informed. As your career grows you will have more people interested and they will enjoy your updates and following your progress. And one day, when the time is right, they will be able to help you.