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This IS how to get sponsored


New Member
It has been many moons since I last set a race boot shod foot on the desert except those times in combat boots. Now that I’ve got the opportunity to return to the sport, I have had to do a few of the top do not do’s, first being cold calls. Because I’m not close by where the majority of the industry is located, I have no choice. Here’s the deal, if you have no alternative, go for it, the only thing that beats a try is a no. But as was stated, have a good understand of marketing. 70-75% of sponsorships isn’t about winning races, it is marketing brand(s). Be humble but confident. Be prepared to pay up front and believe in the brands you are marketing for, and know the products for that brand(s). Don’t shop yourself to “Nike” having never worn or intend to ever wear “Nike”. NASCAR, IRL, NHRA all have top sponsors and are generally performance based sponsorships, meaning, win, place or show well is the requisite performance those sponsors are looking for. In desert racing, small teams as well as top name teams race out of their pockets, to a greater or lesser degree. When you have to make the cold calls, be polite, professional, honest and realistic. The idea of “if I allow you to put your brand on my car or truck, you gotta give me XY&Z” will have the maximum effective range of a popcorn fart in a whirlwind. Check your ego at the door... you need a sponsor more then they need to sponsor you. I have been successful this year, lining up sponsorships with some major companies, while I’m building my new class 8100 truck. I need them, I want their parts on my truck, I’m willing to do what it takes to earn a sponsors respect on a cold call, and I believe that to be honestly and integrity. I’m feel privileged when I earn a spot with a sponsor, even if it is only racer pricing, 15% discounts, and have gotten as high as 50% discounts from sponsors by doing cold calls. I will work hard for all my sponsors, they won’t have to come looking for me to post something on social media... I keep in contact with the marketing folks and will hunt them down, letting them know what I’m doing. I have a firm but flexible plan while I’m building this new truck, I let the sponsors know upfront this is where we are at and at what phases of the build will their products start being introduced into the build. By doing this I believe I have earned a modicum of respect from those companies who have taken a huge risk, by providing support to my program, to an old “new” racer. Once the build is complete, if I’m not racing, I’m going to events showcasing, not my truck, but the products of my sponsors that are on that truck. Letting potential consumers touch the parts, maybe hand out some contingency stuff for the sponsors. As a former business owner, I was a tire sponsor for two IMCA cars, I was also the crew chief for the team. But every cap, t-shirt, or service I gave away at the track and the cost of buying tires so my company name was on those cars was an advertisement expense that I received as a tax deduction from. These were circle dirt track cars, and as a crew chief, I wanted to win, but as a business owner, I already won from advertising, even if one of the cars DNF. There was one thing that wasn’t brought up, in the don’t category, it should go without saying but it needs to be said, DON’T EVER have two competing sponsorship brands on your car or truck. E.G. you have sponsorships from both King and Fox shocks... that never turns out well when one or both figure out you are playing both ends against the middle. There is one exception, say Toyo Tires is sponsoring you, but BFGOODRICH is sponsoring a BITD event and the rules say you have to display an event sponsor on the car/truck or you will incur a time penalty. The other part of that is of course contingency money for having an event sponsor name on your car/truck and you manage to podium in that race. Have the event sponsor name on the car/truck, but not next to your sponsors name... again, things can go ugly early. Anyway, the info that was put out by D4D was excellent, but there are times when not all rules are hard and fast, your individual situation will dictate your plan of attack. Me I’m stuck like Chuck in SE Oklahoma, so cold calls are what I have to do. But I always call first, before I will send a cold impersonal email. Psychologically, talking on the phone is a great ice breaker and it puts a voice to a name, then the name on the email is recalled by hearing that person speak as your email is being read. Cheers, good luck and hope to see y’all in the desert in 2020. D-Dub