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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a problem we've been battling for a few years now. We are a club only PGT team and doing all right competitively, but can't seem to get anyone to sponsor us in any substantial way. Sure, we've gotten a free exhaust system from one place, vinyl graphics from another and a windshield once, but that doesn't go very far in this sport.
The problem as I see it is the larger businesses that have the ability to be a meaningful sponsor don't want to spend money when their name will NOT be seen on T.V. (we are only Club, after all) and will only be seen by a few hundred (I remember when it was only thiry or so) people willing to stand out in the forest for a day or two every other month.
The small business owner is also not willing when you tell them that the event you have entered is 150 miles away. Face it, they are not going to get any business from there.
I work for an auto dealer who gave us $500 one year, but they told me they never expected to see any customers from it, it was charity.
I know some people will say go Pro to get more exposure, but that's not an option financialy or timewise.
So,I guess what I'm asking is: what strategies are you using and how do you approach a prospect, What kind of money do you ask for and how much advertising space are you willing to allocate for it?
Thanks, Steve
GSX Rally team 223

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118 Posts
Let's face it. As a business owner myself, I can tell you that the best way to go about this is to offer your car as a "billboard". Just like you said, running "club" does not offer any advantages to a local business unless the exposure (which is what sponsorship is all about for a business)is done on a LOCAL basis. Hopefully you have prepared your car in a way that is an "attention-getter". This helps a lot! Offer your potential sponsor to show your car at local events and park it every once in a while in front of his place of business. Sponsorship is just another word for advertising, and quite honestly, the car sitting in your garage will not serve any purpose to an advertiser. It will be charity if the sponsor does not fell he is getting his money's worth.

And after that comes the bad part: Keeping the sponsorship going! You have to work hard to promote your sponsors. I have always been successfull at sponsorship programs because I approach it from three basic premises:

1) Have an "attention-getter" car! Businesses want to see their names associated (in a good way) with things and events that attract attention. It is all about the right exposure!

2) Always approach the potential sponsor from the premise that "this is a business partnership where if one party benefits, the other one does too!" When selling your car as to a potential sponsor, tell him what you are planning to do to help "expose" him to him customer base. Never start a sentence with "I want or I need"

#) Conduct your sponsorship "professionally". Dont, and I say "DONT" drive your car fast on the streets with your sponsors name all over it. Remember: "positive image". Always present your sponsor with a proposal that states what you are planning to do for him. And more important: KEPP YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN!

I could go on-and-on , but I would have to charge for it! :7
Hopefully this helps. It is not easy, but it is do-able. I know because I do it!;)

Carlos Lopez
E.T. Racing
Car # 151

Sponsored by: Brandon Mitsubishi
Brandon Paint and Body
F.E.T. Catz Lighting
Hahn Racecraft
ETR Group, Inc.

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459 Posts
>So,I guess what I'm asking is: what strategies are you using and how do you approach a prospect, What kind of money do you ask for and how much advertising space are you willing to allocate for it?<

You have to have a product to sell... plain and simple.

How are you going to advertise for these businesses?

What benefit is it to them to sponsor you?

How many people will really take notice of you/your car/their name associated with you/your car....???

these are the types of things you must be prepared to discuss when applying for sponsorship....

i have a few things which assist me in my quest for sponsors.
1 - i have a web site...
2 - i have a daily driver that i am willing to sticker up as well (which is not for everyone, i know... but it works for me...)
3 - i'm a girl... yes i know. but that does get attention... no denying this...

have a professional proposal
sell yourself and your team
tell the sponsor WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM....
and be persistant... chase after it....
nobody parts with their money willingly, you have to follow up!

best of luck to you,
i know this is not an easy thing to do!!!!


Sponsored by:
Dave Clark Motorsports
Carter Subaru
Turtle Wax
Smart Service
Mongo Motorsports
Performance Graffix.com
New Look Auto Body

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2,120 Posts
Carlos has good advice...the "moving billboard" idea is one a lot of people forget. You need to emphasize that your car will be on display ALL THE TIME...at the store, on the street, on the trailer. I'd like to add one more thing:

When you're beating the bushes for sponsorship, look for companies with REGIONAL exposure, rather than national or local. A local guy will get exposure only while you're in town...a national company wants national exposure. OTOH, someone with a business that covers just a few states or one part of the country will be more interested in your "moving billboard" that travels that area.


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128 Posts
You also need to work on making the sponsors feel like they are part of the race scene.

Keep them updated on how the prep work is going. Keep them updated on how the race went. Keep them updated on your future stuff. Keep them updated on the "scuttle butt" goings on in the rally scene. Keep them updated on what the really fast pro guys are up too.

Some(not all) of your sponsors will keep giving you "charity" if they feel like they are having "fun" with their money and can maybe justify it in some buisness way...even if they really don't get much out of it in a buisness sense.

get them a event t-shirt...get them in car video...get them an 8x10 shot of the car...etc.

it isn't easy to get and keep sponsors.


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265 Posts
Sponsorship = Advertising

Too many aspiring racers/rallyists think of sponsorship as "you give me money, I put your name on the car."

That's not quite how it works. The first question a potential sponsor wants answered is "What's in it for me?" In other words, how can I make more money by giving some of my hard earned money to you?

Sponsorship is advertising. The more people who see the ads, the more potential customers for the advertiser. Forget about getting seen on TV, odds for even the best of ProRally independents is slim. Likewise magazine photos.

It takes a lot of work to make sure your sponsor's message(s) get in front of the public. Make sure your "billboard" is seen at car shows, or other automotive events. Take it to motocrosses, drag races, snowmobile races, community celebrations, get it into a local parade, anywhere that people might see it. Doesn't matter if it NEVER makes it to a rally, as long as the ad is seen by potential customers and you can prove to the advertiser that it is being seen (known in the ad business as "proof of performance").

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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
RE: Sponsorship = Advertising

A lot of good ideas here, but we have tried most of them.
We gave away the T-shirts, Videos, Sponsorship Plaques, entered car shows and local parades.
I like the idea of targeting regional businesses, and we have'nt tried parking our car at their place of business.
Maybe we just need to be seen more in the community, although driving a car with big numbers on the door does not always get you the kind of attention you want.
Thanks for your input.
Steve GSX Rally team 223
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