Tips to gaining new sponsorships and partnerships.
A new year is approaching and we're starting to think about the upcoming rodeo season. Many companies throughout the industry have their sponsorship opportunities opened up for you to apply. The NFR is right around the corner and we can all visualize those patched up, well decorated cowboys and cowgirls riding into the Thomas & Mac!
A few things to consider as you apply or ask for sponsorships.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR DOWNTIME?
That patch your shirt on your button down competition shirt is only worn for a small portion of the day, and it's the most chaotic part of the day. If you happen to have it flashed on a screen, chances are, it's not going to be long enough for anybody to actually read it, especially if you have multiple. It's during the downtime that the patches on your shirt come to life. When you have time while you're waiting for the rodeo to start, traveling and chatting with friends and fans that you have an opportunity to talk about your sponsors and share about them.
HOW DO YOU INTERACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE?
Sure, you're #1 in the world standings in one of the many youth organizations that gives away "world" titles. We understand, your physical abilities are currently shining this season. But who are you as a person?
Are you an egotistical, arrogant, entitled young cowboy or cowgirl who doesn't think about anyone but themselves? Are you the kid who competes in and leaves? Are you the kid whose parent tells everyone how wonderful you are all the time, but you've never offered to open a gate, set a barrel or be on a board?
Or are you the kid that sticks around the entire rodeo and helps everyone, roughie or timey? Do the people in your organizations know who you are because you help set poles even though your a guy? Does the announcer say your name with a little extra pep because he or she just watched you help all the junior girls get their horses down the arena before you competed in the senior barrels?
WHO IS ASKING?
Is the competitor asking or is it mom or dad?
Are you a mom or dad creating fancy flyers and typing up letters that your child(ren) knows nothing about and is learning nothing from? Or did you sit down with them, explain why money is tight, talk about volunteering, talking to people, learning about the companies and help them write, in their own handwriting, a chicken scratch letter sharing their goals and ambitions and what they're willing to do for it?
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE COMPANY?
Everyone loves a patch, but when a stranger comes up and asks you about the patch, can you tell them all about the organization, the products and WHY you follow them? Do you really know their mission?
HOW WILL YOU EARN IT?
If you ask someone for money, it's important to remember that what they're giving you is their hard earned money. They've busted their butt and probably, along the way, given up parts of their dream to make that money. So when an organization sponsors you, its not FREE, there is something expected in return. They're TRUSTING you to step up to the plate. If you don't, you still have the money and they get nothing. Sure, that might be good for you in the short term, but when companies get burned too many time, that opportunity goes away for you and everyone else in the future.
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?
When you're writing up that letter or filling out that application, do you research and make a plan as to how you're going to help that organization. Don't start by telling them everything their money is going to do for you. Start by telling them:
WHY you want to represent their company.
WHAT you're willing to do for them (revisit what you do in your downtime)
HOW you're going to do those things
WHEN & WHERE - how often are you entering rodeos and where. how often will you post on social media, talk to strangers and fans, etc.
WHO you are as a person. Get non-family member references beforehand.
Once you've outlined all of that, then you can share the areas you'd apply the funds and ASK them which areas they'd like to help with.
BE DIFFERENT & ACT FIRST:
If you won't put the effort into calling the potential sponsor and making a real connection, how can a sponsor trust you to share their brand, message and products with the world? By calling, you show initiative that 99% of your peers WON'T do! That will make a HUGE difference to the potential sponsor, plus they'll know its not just mom and dad asking for you.
Don't just fill out the application, fill out the application, make the call and add in a write up as to why you are the right choice!
REMINDER: It's better to have a few big sponsors that you can really showcase than to have lots of sponsors you can't handle.
SHOW UP | SPEAK UP | STAND UP | STAND OUT
For more tips on attaining and maintaining sponsorships, visit the RodeoKids blog. There are multiple articles, starting with this one. https://www.rodeokids.com/.../sponsorships-advertisements...