If you dread working on sponsorship, you may need to change your job title. (Texas Ranger, anyone?)

For many of us, it’s sponsorship crunch time – where you really have to step your game up and get some deals done for the season. And if you look practically anywhere on the interwebs, you’ll see plenty of people complaining about how difficult it is to go after sponsorship for their race team. Many people have even given up on it.

And it’s true – it’s not easy.

But the truth is, if you want to succeed in racing, you have to get the money to pay the bills somewhere and sponsors are generally where it’s at.

If you dread working on sponsorship, avoid it at all costs (darn you, cute kitten videos­ every racing video ever uploaded to YouTube), there are a few things you can do to stop procrastinating on it and start moving forward.

Stop thinking of yourself as a salesperson.

Even worse? Stop thinking of yourself as someone looking for a handout.

Sponsorship is not free money, people. (What’s paid money? I don’t know all this knowledge.)

In other words, sponsorship is not something for nothing. It’s generally not money in exchange for slapping a logo on a racecar and calling it a day anymore, either.

Sponsorship should be creating value in exchange for value. It is, essentially, solving a problem for your marketing partner.

So, start thinking of yourself as a problem solver instead of a salesperson.

Almost everyone cringes at the idea of sales. It sounds sleazy, even if it’s not. It makes me think of sales calls, slamming doors, and every other awkward situation you can imagine. It sounds embarrassing, tiring and desperate.

But problem solvers? They sound awesome.

Problem solving takes strategy. And skill. And creativity.

Problem solvers sound like mother-freaking geniuses. 

And since that’s what you’re doing when you’re doing sponsorship right, you can safely put on your new fancy-pants title and start tackling your work like a problem-solver.

Now let’s talk the problems you might be solving. (<-Since you brought it up.)

The general goal with racing sponsorship, or motorsports marketing as I prefer to think of it, is that your marketing partner should be making more money after they start working with you than before.

There are a variety of ways that this might happen:

  • They reach new customers -> they sell more
  • They reach better, more-qualified customers -> they sell more higher-priced offerings
  • They reach existing customers and deepen their relationship -> they sell more, maybe moving them into higher-priced products or services
  • They tell new and existing customers about a new product or service -> they sell more
  • They reach other businesses they want to partner with -> they sell more, or pay less for a vendor relationship

All of these examples are ways that you and your race team can solve a problem for a business.

Knowing the problem that business wants to solve the first step in the problem-solving equation we call sponsorship. Step two is coming up with a solution (that naturally and reasonably involves you, because duh.) Step three is showing the potential sponsor how you can solve their problem and the value that’s associated with doing so. It’s How to Get Sponsored 101.

Because when you’re providing value, offering a solution to their problem, you’re helping them. Not the other way around.

So you can stop feeling like you’re being choked by a necktie and start feeling like a problem-solving Texas Ranger. (Don’t fight it.)

With love,

Kristin

P.S. If anyone comes up with a clever Chuck Norris sponsorship joke, I will be your friend FOREVER.

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.