The first article in this series was about the wrong ways of getting a sponsorship from a company. But it wouldn’t be fair to just point out the wrong without pointing out the right. With that said, this is not a be all end all list of obtaining sponsorships correctly. What it is, is proven methods that others have used and have been successful with.
We first mentioned the random contacting of sponsors bragging about how good you are and that it should be honor for them to work with you. While that method will likely fail every single time, tweaking it, makes it work. What’s the tweak?
First you need to be humble in your communications to the company. You cannot brag or boast. No one likes someone who flaunts things in others faces, even if it is justifiably so.
Taking the example of the “best non-signed UFC fighter” let’s say you are an 8-0 fighter as a pro. A communication line would be to point out how you have remained undefeated while facing tougher and tougher competition. Explain why your competition increased in difficulty and at the same time explain why your work ethic has helped you in victory. It is ok to be honest about how good you are, but not to brag about it.
Continuing on with this same example, instead of just telling them where to mail a check to, ask who you should talk to about possibly entertaining the idea of becoming a local sponsor for them. Once you set up the meeting, again, be humble and honest. Here you need to lay the ground work for what they will get in return for sponsoring you. A two-inch patch on your shorts isn’t going to do squat for them. And once you say you are going to do something, do it.
Make sure that you go above and beyond for the company. If you show that you are interested in their product, they will in turn show interest in you. They are sponsoring you so that you can do your job better and at the same time they are sponsoring you to help them do their job better.
Another example is don’t be afraid to negotiate for product or service only in return. My favorite example of this was a fighter that went to a chiropractor after having a rough day in the gym. The chiropractor adjusted him for a modest fee and sent the fighter home not knowing who he was. The next day, the fighter called him up and was amazed at how well he felt. He then talked to the chiropractor and worked out getting adjusted at no cost as part of his sponsorship package. The fighter then referred other fighters to the chiropractor and everyone was happy.
We mentioned in the last article, and it is worth repeating. Be aware of your presence on social media. Personally, I like the rule of, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, or to your parents, you shouldn’t say it. You could have a fantastic relationship with a sponsor, but then go off on a rant about something and they drop you.
Finally, get a good manager. There are thousands of managers out there and more will spring up by the time you have read this article. Make sure that the management company you hire to represent you falls in line with your same values and has your best interests at heart. Include an out clause for you to get out in case you don’t like something that happened so you can get out quickly. But a good manager, even if it is just for procuring sponsorships can mean the difference from getting $100 a fight to earning $1,000 a month.