Finding new sponsors is likely the hardest part of the path to sponsorship. Building relationships is always a long game, but your patience will only pay off if you can connect with the right people first. Sponsor networking might seem intimidating at first, but remember that before you’re talking to them brand-to-brand, you’re just talking to them person-to-person.
If you’re stuck in a rut of finding and landing new sponsors, here are 5 ideas to refresh your networking mojo:
Sponsor Networking at Trade Shows
The best place to make new sponsorship connections, hands-down, is at a trade show or conference. Your goal in those places is to meet new people. Grab tickets to the conferences and trade shows that you know that they will be out. Even the ones that are outside our regular racing, like PRI and SEMA are good options. Are they in the food and beverage industry? Then look at getting a ticket to the SIAL show. Determine where these companies would be spending their time…and then go there.
Make an In-Person Visit
If you’re local to a sponsor you’d love to have on your roster, making an in-house visit could be a powerful move for you. Ask for a tour to learn how the product is made. The effort of going into their space will be well-received and will help you stand out at your network.
Online Sponsor Networking with LinkedIn
Making meaningful, offline connections has never been easier thanks to LinkedIn. If you want to find the right person to connect with at a company to land a sponsorship, head to LinkedIn. Search for the company, and then select “Employees”. You now have a full list of people who work at the company, their job roles, and immediate access to message them! Reach out with a simple hello and short (short!) pitch on taking the next step with a phone meeting or other connection.
Relationship Networking on Social Media
You know how I’m always talking about nurturing your fans and followers? The same is true for potential sponsors. Make sure you’re following and engaging with your ideal sponsors’ content on social media. Leave thoughtful comments and likes, and reply to a Story as often as you can. Make it clear you’re interested in a relationship with them by making the first (online) move.
Apply if You Can
Finally, always check out a sponsor’s website to see if they have a form to fill out to become a brand ambassador! Make it more personal by following up with a custom email saying that you’ve completed the form, and use that space as a way to pitch your enthusiasm and brand success.
Want to hear it straight from the source? Listen to the marketing managers that will be guest speakers of the Drag Racing Sponsorship Summit on March 28th. They will explain the things you can do (and shouldn’t do) when approaching sponsors to get their attention.
Three execs who sponsored hundreds of teams in racing will explain how those teams got their attention, and why they decided to sponsor them.
If you want to learn how to meet and sign new sponsors, don’t miss this session!