These are all important details but they are not enough anymore. To win in this arena you will need to bring more to the table. What is separating your sponsorship package from the rest of racers looking for the same deal?

At times racers have a problem with sponsorship because they have yet to get their mind wrapped around the fact that not everybody is as passionate about racing as they are. Difficulties arise when racers approach a potential sponsor and the communication breaks down because they are not talking the same language. Words travel back and forth between the racer and the business person but communication is not taking place, often because racers are talking racing and business people are talking business. Even if the business person is a race fan they are still thinking about the business reasons that are, or should be, compelling them to enter into a business relationship with a race team.

At the core, what the racer is really proposing, whether they know it or not, is a business relationship with the sponsor. You, the racer, are proposing an advertising relationship with the potential sponsor. For "X" amount of money, you, the racer, will place the sponsor's name and/or logo on the "Y" component-the car, the driver, the trailer, and so on-and that placement is the value provided by the racer.

This arrangement may include a number of personal appearances with the car and team at a sponsor's place of business or even developing some additional advertising using the car, the driver, and possibly the team. The problem with this arrangement is that the racer often sees a clear value in this operation while the potential sponsor needs to be educated about the value. From a simplistic perspective that is the core value package you are presenting to the business. You will be representing that sponsor's company at the track and potentially beyond. It can be just that simple. But more often than not it is a bit more complex. The first question that a potential sponsor will ask is, "Why should I do that?" For the same or possibly less money they can buy some advertising on the local cable TV station and possibly reach more people. The real issue, the racer should point out, is not just the number of people you reach, but that you are reaching the right people, the ones who are potential customers.

As a racer you have to discover the linkages between your racing and the sponsor's customers or potential customers. That is the most common missing link, as the racer often misses this critical linkage between the business, racing, and the customer base of the sponsor's business. That customer base could be new or existing customers, and it is a critical linkage that is in the best interest of the racer to help determine. This should be determined prior to the first meeting with a potential sponsor.

How is this accomplished? The racer does this through research, hard work, and planning prior to even approaching the sponsor with a proposal. First and foremost, you should develop knowledge about any business you approach for sponsorship. This is a key point. Write this down and make sure you have knowledge of the potential sponsor's business before you ever contact the sponsor for a meeting. If they make widgets you should be able to talk about widgets with some level of knowledge. This will show that you are a knowledgeable, interested, and enthusiastic partner.

The problem is that the racer usually has not provided the missing component of data that the sponsor will need. How will sponsoring your racecar put money in the pocket of the sponsor? That is the question you need to answer before the sponsor has the opportunity to ask the question. You as the racer need to try and develop that metric. How will sponsoring your race team put more customers into your sponsor's place of business or have customers asking for the sponsors goods or services? This is the value that a racer will help to provide. Another key point, and write this one down, too: Be able to explain how sponsoring your race team will improve the sponsor's bottom line.