O Opinions & Commentary

Delivering the Goods

With the season gradually inching closer and the thought of that first trip to the track in the forefront of your mind, it’s also time to remember those potential sponsors you talked to a few months ago. If you haven’t followed up already, it’s not too late, just get out there and knock on those same doors again. The strength of a good follow up is taking the objections they may have had initially, or that you heard when visiting other businesses, and being prepared to counter those with reasons why your program makes sense for their business.

For those who pounded the pavement and were able to secure some sponsors for the upcoming season, it’s time to start delivering on the promises you made.

Paul Tracy (above at the 2010 Honda Indy Toronto) has signed a five-race deal with Dragon Racing for 2011. He will also compete in the Indianapolis 500 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.The first thing you need to do is put together a media release announcing your plans for the season and which businesses will be helping you make that a reality. This document should be about one page in length and carry not only your race teams logo at the top, but contact information for the team, as well as a paragraph about the team (this can be used with all future media releases), and the team website address/social media group. The more creative you are in including your sponsors in this document, rather than just listing them at the end, the better. For example, if you had a restaurant/bar as a sponsor you could say something such as; “The team looks forward to being highly competitive this season and celebrating several victories at Ma & Pa’s Restaurant in Thompson, Louisiana, a proud supporter of the ABC Racing Team.”

You’ll want to make sure this media release gets out to every racing related and local media outlet you can find contact information for. Local newspapers are pressed for local content these days and the Internet is a great spot that almost anyone can gain exposure, including social media. Don’t be discouraged if some of the media outlets you contact don’t give you the time of day, that’s just the nature of the beast, but be sure to thank those that do work with you.

Social media, with sites such as Facebook and Twitter, is a great tool to market your team and sponsors for free. Create a following of your friends and keep them up to date on the team’s schedule, results and appearances. A Facebook group is a great option for a small team to have their own “place” on the internet without having to absorb the costs of building and maintaining a website.

You’re going to want to sit down with your sponsors when planning your schedule so you can determine which events they want to be directly involved with by bringing employees and customers to the track, and to determine when you’ll be making appearances at their places of business. Working with your sponsor, as opposed to telling them when you can show up, will go a long way to keeping them on the side of your race car in the future.

In closing, you want to be sure that you consistently present the media, your fans and sponsors with pre and post event releases that outline your achievements. Staying positive, even though you may have had a less than stellar outing, and thanking your sponsors are important things to keep in mind at all times.

Be sure to deliver on every promise you made in a timely manner, and don’t be afraid to go above and beyond those promises when necessary, and you will ensure a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship with your sponsors for years to come. Oh, and a little thank you gesture at the end of the season in the form of an autographed and framed photo of the car, or an appreciation barbeque, wouldn’t hurt either.

Best of luck to everyone in 2011!

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