Sponsorship deals shouldn’t just last one year. Ideally, when pitching to a sponsor, you should be angling for a multi-year deal. Keep that in mind as you start to structure new deals to present to a potential new sponsor.

It’s now coming to that time of year when you need to start having conversations with your sponsors about next year’s racing. You might be pitching to new businesses but it’s likely you’ll have existing sponsors you’ll need to chat with about your long-term plans.

The pitch process for a renewal is so much more than just asking if the sponsor would like to give you money again. So don’t assume things are that simple.

If you’re moving up the ranks, you need to have the conversation about more money, because you’re probably going to be offering more. It’s key that you communicate this as soon as possible.

Even with a sponsor you have an existing relationship with, you can’t just swoop in with your hand out. You need to provide proof that what you’re offering is valuable. Even for the most dedicated of supporters who are willing to hand over money just to see you do well, a tailored proposal will help you get more money to help you reach your goals.

So many racing drivers lose a sponsor after the first year because they haven’t thought about it as a long term partnership. It’s the drivers that do think about longer-term deals that have the most success climbing the motorsport ladder.

That’s a blog post for another day. 

Today I want to take you through the nine things you need to do to successfully renew a sponsorship deal.

Research

Even if you know the sponsor inside-out, it’s still important to do your research to make sure you’re armed with all the information. Understanding the goals of the business is key.

What are they trying to achieve?

Understand your value

Think about the value you can bring to that sponsor. How can you help it reach its goals? This will make up the main portion of what you present to your sponsor. 

You also need to understand the value that you’ve brought over the year that you’ve been working together. Have you helped the business make more sales? Have you made introductions? Have you helped to increase social followings?

This is all really important because you’ll need this information to show exactly what you’ve brought to your sponsor. It makes the case for why they should sponsor you again. 

If you’re asking for more money, it’s really important that you’re providing extra value.

Look back at what you’ve done and the value you’ve provided. Now how can you add more? Perhaps you’re going to a series with greater coverage and more people in the paddock, and could use that to help your case.

Maybe you’ve bought your own race car and could use it more easily for events and corporate days.

Maybe, you just have a better sense of the business and how you can help it make sales.

Really spend some time thinking about this because it’s key to your success.

And, as I bang on about in Get Paid to Race (which is now available as an ebook by the way!), don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Prepare your case

Once you understand your value, it’s time to put it into writing so you’ve got something to present to your sponsor. 

Distil your value down into bullet points and how they’ll impact the business. These are your benefits. For example, your list might look like this:

  • The chance to network with relevant businesses at a special networking event designed to help you grow your business and make new connections. 
  • Increase brand awareness with an increased reach for 2020 that goes into the millions thanks to dedicated live TV coverage.
  • Easy social content for your channels in the form of video and photos to help you increase posting consistency, which leads to increased engagement and followers. 
  • The chance to reward your VIP customers (increasing average customer value) and exceptional staff (increasing employee loyalty) with a dedicated track day. 
  • Increased branding across a brand new race car, which will look fantastic in on your website and social channels and will make a wonderful conversation starter at trade shows to help increase leads.

Not only will this help you get everything straight in your mind but it’ll also give you the main talking points for your meeting. 

It’s important that at various points during your meeting you can repeat the benefits (especially when you start talking about money). The benefits alone from that list above are:

  • The chance to make new business connections
  • Increased sales through brand awareness
  • Increased engagement and followers on social
  • Increased average customer value
  • Increased customer loyalty 
  • Increased trade show leads

It’s important you know these by heart because they’ll need to come up a lot as you try and make your case. Remember, they should align with your sponsor’s goals.

You may also need to prepare a presentation. It’s worth including a visual of how the car might look with updated livery/branding. While this might not provide direct benefit to the business, it will help them visualise their brand as part of your racing career.

For some businesses owners, it might be an exercise in vanity – it’s cool to see your logo on a race car! For others, it’ll help them start to see how they could use that car for events, internal communications, and social media.

Arrange the meeting

Get a meeting with your sponsor. In part to review the year but also to talk about next year too. 

In-person is the best way to do this because it gives you the chance to handle their objections and really make your case for increased value.

Plus you can repeat all those lovely benefits!

Nail the meeting

With the right prep, you’ll go into the meeting confident that you can provide extra value to your sponsor.

At the very least, the sponsor will be impressed that you’ve gone to so much effort. This means that if you brought them value last year, you should, at least, get the same amount.

Remember, if a business truly thinks you’ll bring more value, they’ll find the money for you.

Follow up with other info

After the meeting, your sponsor may want more info. They might want your slide deck or all the information putting into an email so they can discuss with board members.

Make sure to send this over quickly so the impact of your meeting isn’t lost. The same or following day would be ideal but if you have to do a little more work to pull some stats, a couple of days is fine. 

Once they have this info, give them a week or so to go over it before you follow up again. Use the standard Racing Mentor guidance on following up. Don’t nag or seem pushy but go in gently, perhaps with an update of your own. 

Aim for a secondary meeting, or a phone call to discuss as they may have questions or want to negotiate.

Ask them to sign on the dotted line

When you think they’re ready to say yes (this might be in your meeting) ask for the sale. Don’t just wait for them to come to you with this yes. If they’re excited and making all the right noises, ask them if you have a deal to move the process along. 

If they say no, find out why and restate your benefits. 

Celebrate

Once the deal is done, take some time to celebrate. You just signed a sponsor for another year! That’s not an easy thing to do. 

Start offering that value

Start providing that extra value right away. It’s important to under-promise and over-deliver so do what you can to provide a positive impact from day one.

Good luck to all of you looking to renew as we near 2020! Please share your successes with the Racing Mentor community over on Facebook!

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