Certain things need to be satisfied to have a successful racing career.
It used to be enough to have talent and time to develop critical skills to be the best in the world. Unfortunately, those days are way gone.
Too many times have I seen talent and skill hit the brick wall because of the lack of financial support and the inability to buy basic go-kart. It is a high hurdle that not to many people can jump over these days. They quickly give up on the dream of becoming the next Michael Schumacher.
So today, I am going to dedicate some time to help you find racing sponsors that are willing to give you the money to succeed.
But is it going to be easy?
You’re going to have to put in the work. You will have to make calls, make arrangements, and connect with prospective sponsors.
Unfortunately, I can’t find you a sponsor; I can only show you the right way to find one.
Let’s get into it.
Understand Race Drivers Sponsors
The first step always involves understanding the problem.
- Who are the people willing to invest in you?
- Why are they interested in sponsoring a race driver?
Sponsors are companies looking to increase their brand name among consumers. In other words, they see you as an object by which they are going to spread the word about their brand. If they give you the money, then you must agree to represent them in the best way possible.
Why Are Sponsors Important
Racing is not a cheap sport; it is one of the most expensive ones. So unless you are a wealthy person, you might struggle to pay to stay in the game.
Sponsors will pay some or all the costs you incur while driving if you represent their brand the right way.
You get the money you need while the companies get the representation they want. It’s a straightforward equation to understand.
But there is another benefit to you that you may have overlooked.
If you are good enough to be sponsored by big names, you will become known in your sport and more. You will become the one that companies are looking to sponsor and not the other way around.
If that happens, you know you have made it.
But let’s not jump too far into the future, and let’s instead look at how to find your racing sponsor.
How to Find Your First Racing Sponsor
Finding your first sponsor is not hard, but it will require an upfront setup and effort on your part.
So if you are ready to get your first sponsor, here are the steps you need to follow.
Create Portfolio of Your Achievements
It’s crucial to keep a record of all your achievements. Keep photos, articles, and stories in the paper about your career. Create a physical portfolio or digitally preserving them in some way.
Why does this matter?
You are creating a portfolio of your track record. Your portfolio gives sponsors an easy way to follow your track record and your progress.
Creating it online is even better, sponsors can access your file round the clock. It makes it easier to see, and sponsors around the world can view it.
These days a professional website is critical in any business. Remember that and your racing career is your business.
Keep your website professional and current. Having a site that is not current is worse than having none at all.
Also, internet advertising is enormous these days. You can advertise for your sponsor on your site.
Get Some Marketing Knowledge
No, you don’t need to go to college for this. But I do recommend taking some time to learn useful marketing techniques.
Having some basic knowledge is critical. “The Fundamentals of Marketing” is an excellent place to start.
I also recommend hitting up the amazon library for some marketing books. There are so many different marketing books that will discuss sales tips and ideas.
Learn the lingo marketers use in selling and marketing. It will give you that edge when speaking to sponsors. Speaking their language will provide you with a better shot at landing them as a sponsor.
Compile Your List
Once you have a foundation set, create a list of businesses and organizations, you find interesting.
Most brands want somebody who represents their image. Thus, figure out the brands you like-and figure out how you can serve them.
Make sure they fit the aspect of racing that you do. Whether you’re into karting, drifting, or something between, make sure they are a good fit.
See if they have the budget to do it. O’Reilly Auto Parts will have a much larger budget than your Moms and Pops gas station. Moms and Pops gas stations might be your best choice if you are starting out.
Know Where to Look
Check everywhere you go: online, newspapers, local and national magazines, billboards.
These are the folks that you will want to contact. Why?
They know the importance of advertising. They will value yours when presented professionally.
These organizations are where to send your cover letter and brochure.
Make sure when mailing, you send it to the right place.
At most of these organizations, there is a PR specialist who handles the mail. Be sure to call the business and ask where to mail these correspondences.
Don’t Leave Out Charities
Charities are a real winner to get involved with. Why is this?
Businesses that are successful get involved with them. It is a great cause and makes everybody feel good.
It makes the business look good, too.
It creates excellent opportunities for networking. It is a great thing when you make your race car available for charity gatherings.
For example, you could drive the car in a parade and toss candy to parade-goers. The treat could be printed with a business’s name on the wrapper.
What is the result? The business gets some great advertising and more revenue. You may end up with a sponsorship next year as a result.
Attend Local Events
You should support your local Chamber of Commerce. You can make your car available to city activities.
It is a great chance to get in touch with people in a position to help you get sponsorships.
Have your vehicle around for shows at the mall or car shows. Have brochures and business cards on hand to give away.
And make sure you collect each business card you get your hand on—Trade a business card of yours for one of theirs.
Make sure to shake hands and note their name. Once you get home, start making calls the next day for business meetings.
Create a Cover letter
Make individual cover letters for each prospective sponsor. Generic cover letters do not work. You have to tailor them for the organization you are trying to get in contact with.
Create a cover letter. Talk about critical points and reasons about why that company should sponsor you. In that letter, write down three selling points that make them want to see your brochure.
Don’t list a ton- that’s why the brochure is there.
Don’t Know What to Write?
If you’re not sure what to say, here are some ideas about why a company should sponsor you.
- Increases the potential for public relations exposure for the business.
- Great opportunity for merchandising, tie ins and cross-promotion.
- Opens the door for business to business opportunities and connections.
- Builds brand awareness.
- Boosts employee morale.
- Creates chances for supplier loyalty: e.g., hosting an employee day at the races. Or, a family night at the races.
And there is a lot more you will learn doing this that you can add to your list.
Make a Brochure
The best way to get sponsors for racing is to get prepared and have answers to all their questions. You can think of it as a job interview of sorts.
Your brochure should be professional and should contain the following:
- What you can offer the sponsor
- Information about your racing team
- Your info as a driver
- Your Schedule of Appearances
- Contact info
You can mail this to sponsors with a professionally edited cover letter, or you can hand it out at racing events. Include a business card with your contact info isn’t a bad idea.
Get the Phone Working
Once finished distributing your brochures, get ready to handle phone calls. Set up your mailbox and answer your phone in a friendly, professional tone. Do not allow others (like kids) to answer your phone.
Return all calls on the same business day.
Do Meetings the Right Way
You have to spend money to make money.
Be ready to make your person at a business meeting feel at home. At the least, you will buy coffee, lunch or breakfast.
You don’t have to do steak and lobster, but it shouldn’t be Burger King, either.
Start the meeting with a hearty handshake, and “Thank you for agreeing to meet me.”
Dress business casual and ask plenty of questions while pitching your success and what you can bring to the company.
Finding your sponsor is not hard, but it takes commitment and a lot of hard work. So, racing sponsorship is not hard. But if you are serious about your racing, you should do the work.
Go out there, tell the world who you are, and maybe you will catch a break and be the next start of the racing world. You will never know unless you try it.