Sponsorship is the lifeblood of motorsport. Without them, you as a driver would be without anything to drive.
While driving may be your passion, when you become a professional, you have turned your passion into a business. You need to approach your interactions with your current sponsors and potential sponsors as the business meetings that they are.
Just to repeat, you got into motorsports because you had a love of the sport. However, once you gain sponsors, you need to treat them with respect. When you are hanging out with your buddies taking shop, you can run late and be casual.
But when it comes to interacting with sponsors, simple things such as being on time, dressing appropriately, and acting respectfully go a long way. You are asking them to invest in your business. Don’t give them an easy reason to say no.
Know what they want
Sponsors may share your enthusiasm for motorsports but they also need to get a return on investment (ROI) from the money they provide for sponsorship.
Sponsorship is a shared activity. You get to go racing. What does your sponsor want? You can’t give it to them until you know what it is.
Spend time finding out how you can help their business. Sure, you are giving their brand exposure but are there other ways that you can help? By understanding their wants, there may be additional ways that you can offer to benefit both to them and their business.
Nurture the connection
Communication is key to every relationship. Sponsors are expecting to get some sort of ROI but probably wouldn’t have agreed to a motorsports sponsorship if they didn’t have some interest in racing.
Keep them up to date with your results and achievements, whether that be with a media release or a personalised message via private Facebook chat. Reach out with messages, especially on special occasions.
You can also create a special promotional item available only to your sponsors. Getting the sponsorship is only the beginning of the process. Maintain the relationship throughout the course of the sponsorship. It is easier to keep a sponsor you already have than to find a new one.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to be a part of the motorsports community. Your sponsor is the reason that you are lucky enough that you can be. While related to maintaining the relationship, being grateful extends beyond.
People can sense when others are being false. You will not be able to maintain a relationship that you don’t value. Appreciating the privilege of racing helps you keep your perspective when something breaks or a sponsor is being demanding.
The best sponsor relationships benefit both partners. You get to race. The sponsor gets brand recognition and maybe a few other perks.
Like all relationships, your relationship with your sponsor requires care and time. Maintaining the relationship requires work but takes less time than finding a new sponsor.