Eight mistakes you’re making when contacting sponsors December 14, 2015

Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Make sure you’re not guilty of these eight mistakes drivers so often make when contacting sponsors.

Being too casual

An initial contact email full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes is going to impress no one. Similarly if you use chat speak (does anyone still do that?) or come across too familiar, you’re going to put a business off from pursuing a professional relationship with you.

Being too formal

Unfortunately, you can go too far the other way. Dry, formal language is never going to make you stand out, even if what you’re offering is something spectacular. Try and find a balance between professional and friendly. When writing your email imagine you were talking directly to a new contact and keep it conversational.

Not selling the benefits

Saying that a sponsor could get a logo on the car, a track day and some Facebook posts is all good and well but that are the benefits of these things? (Answers: TV exposure, a chance to build client relationships and more reach on social media.)

Downplaying your achievements

While you shouldn’t brag, don’t be afraid to shout about what you’ve achieved. If you’re a three-time champion, say it. Sponsors want to back winners because it means more exposure for them.

Using too little media

In the first instance, you shouldn’t clog a potential sponsor’s inbox with large attachments but somewhere down the line you should make use of images, video content and detailed sponsor packs.

Not giving enough details

As well as a brief bio and details of what you race, give sponsors an insight into who you are and ways in which you could work together. These details should give a potential sponsor an idea of why they should work with you over any other racing driver.

Not contacting the decision maker

An introductory email starting ‘Dear sirs,’ is probably going to get ignored. Take the time to find out who the decision maker is and contact them directly. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get hold of a CEO of a big company if you’re polite to the gatekeeper (secretary, receptionist, assistant etc.).

Not following up

Don’t send an email and just hope that it’ll get seen. Busy people miss things so it’s in everyone’se best interests for you to give a little nudge if you haven’t heard back. Wait a week or two then send another email. If you still haven’t heard, send another but be final. Something along the lines of ‘…if you’re not interested, that’s fine, but please let me know and I will stop bothering you.’

Always be polite and be aware that these people are busy so a direct approach will often work best.

What do you think is the hardest part of approaching a sponsor?

Jess Shanahan

Jess enjoys track walks, hot hatches, V8s and chunky boots.
Currently driving: Abarth 500.

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