Have you ever worried about making a fool of yourself while trying to secure a sponsor in the motorsports industry? Well…join the club. Lucky for you, a lot of people have done this before and have shared their experiences so that YOU don’t have to repeat their mistakes.
1. First impressions ARE important
If you want a sponsor, please do not start the conversation with “I want you to sponsor me.” If you want to start that way, you might as well start with “please do not sponsor me.” Instead, start with something about the company that you genuinely admire. That means you NEED to research the company prior to reaching out for a sponsorship proposal. By searching their social media, website, and reviews, you can formulate a statement like “I love your minimalist yet aggressive style, and I have heard great things about the reliability of your [PRODUCT].”
The best-case scenario is that you are already using their product, and you can share your positive experience with them. Your goal initially is sparking a conversation and forming a relationship. You will build to a proposal over time.
2.Not good grammer kinda bad?
Although spelling, punctuation, and complete sentences may be lacking on some social media platforms (yeah you Twitter), it is very important for written sponsorship proposals. When communicating with sponsors, check your grammar and ensure you are sending a CLEAR message. This will send the signal that you are professional, mature, and thorough.
I recommend using Grammarly to assist with this, as it will check your grammar in the background on web applications and make recommendations. Another option is to write your proposal in a word processor, check for spelling, then copy/paste into the appropriate platform.
Oh, and PLEASE spell “sponsor” correctly. "Sponor", "sponcer", and "sponser" do not work. Trust me.
3. Use the CORRECT sponsor information
Please use copy/paste wisely. If you are putting together a ton of sponsor proposals at the same time, it can be efficient to copy/paste your text. That is fine, just make sure you change the name! To avoid this, begin with a template and use the term [SPONSOR] highlighted in each section where you mention the company’s name.
Also, make sure you update the specific characteristics of the company that you admire (as discussed earlier). It would be very embarrassing to tell GoPro that how much you love the durability of their gloves that you have been wearing for years.
4. Competing sponsors
Avoid pursuing sponsors that compete against each other. Sometimes this is extremely obvious, and other times it is much more difficult. For example, if you are sponsored by Redbull, you are probably NOT going to pursue a sponsorship with Monster as they are obvious competitors. However, if you are sponsored by a part supplier like SuperATV.com, you should not pursue Gorilla Axles, because SuperATV.com sells Rhino Brand axles, which compete against Gorilla Axles. This competition is not as obvious and requires some research. By doing the work up front though, you can avoid a very uncomfortable conversation with your sponsor or even a sponsorship termination.
5. Don’t be an idiot on social media
I know that video of your buddy doing a keg stand is pretty gnarly, but your followers, and especially your sponsors, do not want to see that crap. Keep your posts MATURE and RELEVANT to your audience. If you want to share that type of information, do so on a personal social media platform that your followers and sponsors cannot see.
6. DO NOT QUIT
These things take time. If you are successful and gain a 10% discount sponsorship in your first year of racing or riding, please use that opportunity as a stepping stone for building a relationship. Over time (typically measured in years) you will build trust with that sponsor, and it could lead to HUGE discounts and even cash deals.
Have fun and ride safe,
Founder of Impact Fuel LLC
Host of the Sponsored Rider Club Podcast