The 2015 LRRS Race season just 70 day away so you can say it is in the crunch time zone for me to get things in order before my maiden season. I am both excited and anxious about this endeavor. It won’t be like the races I have been watching over the years on TV, which means no mechanics, no data guy; no one to talk s setup to, hell there won’t even be any umbrella girls on my grid space. These are the least of my worries if worries at all to be honest. The number one thing on my mind is how I can make this first race season also not become my last.
Attaining sponsorship is the best way to help with your race program. Not only can your partners provide you with the monetary funds, in some cases, to continue racing but this can open doors to other partnerships that will continue to help your program. So how do you attain sponsorship you ask? I asked the same question and went forth right away to search up some answers.
On my local forum a member posted up some great information in which I will bullet and elaborate further:
- Find out what the time frames for sponsorship submission are and make it happens within those time frames.
- Many riders are late.
- Contact the company in which you wish to ride for
- Verbal phone call
- Keep it short
- 1 page PDF is usually how long you want it to be
- Be honest in the letter
- State intentions for the year expert of novice
- Describe yourself & bike
- What are you campaigning the season with
- Include photos of you in action
- Pretty self explanatory
- If applying to one company don’t apply to competing
- It makes you look bad – stick to a company who you really want to ride for
- WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR THEM
- Most important as I shall discuss this in detail
- In return what do you want from them
- Discounts on parts
- Free parts (hard but it is doable)
- Tell them why you want to ride for them
- Thank them
- Send your appreciation
- Shoot a follow up email to check up on status
11 tips on how to write a sponsor me letter but none of them are more important than number 7: What can you do for them. This was made an important view when Eric Wood of Woodcraft came and talked to us at the GMD Computrack Boston racer’s meeting. Why is this and why was it coming from Eric’s mouth so important? Because he’s been racing for decades and took that and created a pretty successful company both on the national and international level so it carries weight. He knows what it is like on both sides of the fence if you will.
Anyone can write to a company with a tagline that says ‘me fast, send free shit’ but nowadays even if you are fast, championship winning racer how will you let the company know you’re worth the investment. If you can’t provide a metric for the company to measure the growth you bring in then what good is a fast championship challenging rider? Companies want a return on their investment; in this case it’s you the racer in which they are sponsoring. Running a sticker and winning races doesn’t necessarily drive traffic to their website, have people calling mentioning your name about a part you recommended they should purchase or increasing their sales. So what more can you do for them?
From the mouth of Eric Wood himself:
- Don’t have Levels 1-4 asking for $25,000-$250,000 in cash unless you have a current AMA #1 plate in your possession. However, making specific & realistic requests is a good way to get what you need. If you want 30% off – state that, and explain how you are going to give them a 3X return on that deal by doing A,B,C (other than stickers & sponsor listing – which is assumed).
- Make the proposal about what you can do for the sponsor. Industry companies get hundreds of requests each year. People don’t care that you got 3rd place in AM LWSS 6/14 at Gingerman Raceway….they want to know what you can do to help them sell more stuff. Riders who actively help companies get a good name are valued….because they are rare. Some of my best sponsored guys EVER have been 3rd-4th place guys who make genuine efforts to send us customers. The race results….I didn’t even really care. They had nice looking efforts, were good guys, and most importantly sent me 1-2 guys a month who mentioned the referring sponsored rider by name before making an order. You can’t ask for any more than that.
- Aim for long term relationships. If you have a company that makes stuff you like, send a resume and graciously take whatever they offer. Then – PROVE YOURSELF. If you send customers over, have them mention you when they call. If you send guys over to a company, list them off by name in the following year’s proposal. If you did a promotional write up on a forum that had 600 views – state that stuff & provide the link. If you see someone bashing your sponsor on a forum, call them and let them know. That stuff can go a long way and is within the power of everyone that races…not just top experts.
- Don’t send pictures to your sponsor showing a competing brand’s decal on it…..and none from the company you are sending it to. I got a photo the other day of a bike that had Amour Bodies and Sharkskinz decals on its SIDE BY SIDE. Really? This happens all the time. The main purpose of sponsorship is that you EXCLUSIVELY promote the brand that you are requesting support from. There are, of course, exceptions when companies produce a broad range of products….and everyone has things that are more important than others. For Woodcraft, its Rearsets and Covers as #1, Vortex – sprockets, Pit Bull – stands….even though we all make lots of other stuff.
- Be honest, and do everything you say you are going to do. If something comes up that change the course of your season….take a few minutes and give everyone a heads up. It’s rare that a company will punish someone who is being 100% up front.
What else can you do? Look above, which is what these companies are looking for in a sponsored rider. With thousands of races going on in the U.S. yearly you can see how many racers are trying to get sponsorship to help with their race program. Stick out among the crowd, do more than the guy in the next pit and most importantly prove yourself to the company. Building a long lasting relationship can go a long way in making your first season not your last.