Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

photo by: FlyingJ054100

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

By Milt Gedo (c) - www.sponsorship-101.com

What are your goals and plans for this new year and new racing season? Besides the obvious goal of winning more races, what are your goals regarding sponsorship for 2008? Are you seeking a primary sponsor, or looking to add an associate sponsor to your team? Will you improve existing programs and relationships?

Whatever your goals are for 2008, it’s important to have a plan and to work your plan. As in all areas of life, first you set your sights then you chart a course to reach them…racing and sponsorship are no different. If your goals for this season are to become a sponsored racer or to increase your sponsorship income, I’ve outlined a basic plan below:

Step 1: List your team assets. The first step in finding sponsorship is to discover what your race team has to offer a potential sponsor. To clarify, assets in this case doesn’t mean race car, trailer, etc., rather what types of actions your team can offer a company to help them achieve their marketing goals. Your actions should be classified as “at-track”, “off-track”, and “media”. This first step requires a lot of thought, and it’s best to brain-storm with another person (spouse, car owner, crew chief, etc) while developing your list. Remember to think outside the box and think big!

Step 2: Create a list of potential sponsors. After you have a good list of team assets, the next step is to create a list of companies you think might be a good fit for motorsports sponsorship. As in step one, it’s very important to think outside the box while creating this list. Think of new companies/industries that are currently not involved in racing, but that might target the demographics you can reach. This is NOT the time to analyze each potential sponsor… you’ll do that in the next step. What’s important here is to build a list of good, quality prospects… the more the better.

Step 3: Know your prospects. Once your list of potential sponsors is complete, it’s time to trim the list down to several solid prospects. This step could possibly be the most time consuming, but cannot be skipped. There are many questions you must answer about each prospect to determine if they are eligible for motorsports sponsorship, and more importantly if they would be a good sponsor for YOUR team. Some of the questions you must answer include: Who are their customers? How do they reach them now? What is their annual marketing budget? What is their marketing strategy? As you research each company on your prospect list, you’ll eliminate companies that don’t “fit” the required profile. Don’t be surprised if you cross-off 80-85% of companies off your list. But the remaining 15-20% will be very good potential sponsors, and these are the companies you should expend all your efforts to pursue.

Step 4: Contact your prospects. At this point, you should have 10-20 companies that are very good prospects for sponsorship of your race team. Now you need to contact each prospect, via mail, phone, or in person (if possible). Your goal here is to engage in a conversation, explain how your actions fit into their marketing strategies, and how your race team can help them with their marketing. Your second goal is to have your prospect ask to see “something in writing”, i.e. a proposal. If you get one of your prospects to ask for a proposal, you are very, very close to reaching a sponsorship agreement. Also, you can be confident your proposal will be read and studied, as opposed to most UNSOLICITED proposals that usually end up in the garbage, unread.

Step 5: Send a custom proposal. You are now ready to send a proposal to a prospect that has expressed interest in your racing program. Be sure you do NOT send a generic, one-size-fits-all proposal. You should send proposals that are customized for each individual prospect, including action pages and demographic pages. I wrote a detailed book about proposals, “How-To Write a Winning Proposal”, which is available through RacingSecrets.com. I recommend anybody who is SERIOUS about sponsorship purchase this valuable book. Remember, you get one chance to make a good impression, and your proposal is usually that one chance… don’t blow it!

Step 6: Follow up and close the deal. After sending your proposal, give your prospect adequate time to review it (about 1 week is normal), then make a follow-up phone call or visit (if possible). Answer any questions or concerns, review the actions you’ve offered, and then ask them what the next step should be. At some point you’ll negotiate a budget, but if you’ve done your research properly, your budget and their budget should be fairly close. Remember not to undervalue or overvalue your program, and be prepared to adjust your actions to fit their budget. Lastly, after you close the deal, remember to ALWAYS fulfill your commitments, give your sponsor more than they paid for, and stay in contact! If you do these things, you’ll enjoy a long relationship with your sponsor.

Now you have your goals, you have your plan… go work it! Good luck in 2008 both on the track and off, and thank you for your loyal readership!

Milt Gedo has been involved in motorsports marketing for over 12 years and helps sportsman racers acquire sponsorship through seminars and personal coaching. As an NHRA racer, Milt has a unique perspective on the struggle most Sportsman racers face in their quest for sponsorship. Milt is a full-time racer with sponsors such as KD Kanopy, American Racing Wheels, Goodyear and others. You can reach Milt at www.sponsorship-101.com. For his ebook, go to www.RacingSecrets.com