Motocross sponsorship is tricky business - there are lots of do’s and dont’s, but there are seven rules we should be following to give ourselves the best chance of landing support.
WE’RE NOT ENTITLED TO SPONSORSHIP
One of the first rules to sponsorship is that we’re not entitled to it - we need to earn it. This something I see in a lot of riders, and it’s a fairly common mistake a lot of us make.
When I say a lot of us, that includes me as well. In my early days of seeking sponsorship, I thought it was owed to me because of what I was doing, and when I didn’t get sponsorships, I would blame the industry.
How wrong was I!
Once I changed from a losing mentality to a winning mentality, and also realised it was up to me to put in the work and earn sponsors, things started to turn around for me.
PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION IS OUR FOOT IN THE DOOR
I’ve said this so many times - professional presentation is our foot in the door with potential sponsors.
If we're not presenting ourself professionally in our approach to brands and businesses, their first impression is that it’s not even worth their time responding to us.
If we put in the effort with a professional proposal and social media channels to match, and show that we really care about what we're doing, you’ll earn enough respect from that sponsor to get a response, regardless of the outcome.
Don’t waste your chance with a sponsor because of a half-arsed proposal made in Word - level up your professionalism and give yourself the best opportunity to get sponsored.
If there’s one tip I can give you in sponsorship, it’s to follow up after you’ve sent a proposal.
Sponsors are busy and we're not their main priority, so sometimes your proposal can slip under the radar.
Always follow up within a week of sending your proposal or reaching out to a brand, you’ll be surprised at just how many will respond to a secondary email.
There have been so many times where I’ve followed up on sending my proposal, only to secure their support! It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t do it - who responds to emails a week later? No one.
SPONSORSHIP DOESN’T COME TO US
The hardest part of sponsorship is actually getting started. Remember, sponsorship doesn’t come to us, we need to go out and get it.
It’s the number one reason riders don’t get sponsored - racers hope someone will just randomly contact them with a sponsorship deal.
Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. Companies aren’t out and about looking for riders to sponsors, so we have to go to them and put our best foot forward.
WE NEED TO PROVIDE VALUE
Value is the biggest factor when it comes to sponsorship in motocross. If we can provide value to a company, we’ll secure that sponsor.
Value is subjective - what one business sees as valuable is different to the next, and it’s up to us to determine how we deliver value that actually meets their needs.
Value isn’t a logo on our bike or a mention on the podium and in the program, but it can be many things, including social media posts, brand activations, or simply providing customer referrals.
RESULT DON’T MATTER
Good results help the level of support we get, but they don’t determine if we get support.
It comes down how we add value to a company and ultimately benefit them. If we can get more customers in their doors, a sponsor won’t look twice at our results.
YOU NEED TO DELIVER ON PROMISES
The last rule to sponsorship is that we need to deliver on promises. It’s easy to promise the world when we’re approaching brands, but we actually need to be able to come through on those promises.
The simple way to avoid this is to under-promise and over-deliver - if we can offer less than what we’re capable of offering - yet still enough to be valuable to the sponsor - but actually deliver our full potential of value, then we will have that sponsor for as long as we keep doing so.
Failing to meet promises will result in that sponsor deciding to not continue its support, and it also has the potential to damage your reputation.