I have received several PM's about sponsorships and given some partial (half-assed) replies.
Figured I would just pull my thoughts together and put them out here.
Now, we have not "signed on the dotted line yet" and the projects we have going can "head South" in a heartbeat
We are at Step Six with our major proposal and expect to move forward or abandon the project next week.
This is just my thoughts and opinions and I am sure the guys who have been through this process will correct my statements
LONG, But a real major part of getting a team up and running--I think!
We are Advertising for sponsors- nothing more or less.
We must accept that to start with and build on it!
Advertising and marketing are routine expenses to most businesses, the dollar amounts and ratios vary by industry.
But, advertising budgets are HUGE!
Sponsors must see a potential return on their investment or they will not "play".
Step one- Identify the people you "touch". In our BBQ case--blue collar working class-mostly families. Almost all racial and ethnic groups love BBQ, so a large audience base. BBQ is more "active" in some geographical areas, but exists everywhere to the best of my knowledge. So, good or great market almost everywhere in US.
Step two- Identify sponsors who need this type of customer. The only businesses I can think of that would probably not be interested are the "high-end" or snobbish I doubt that SAKS or Neiman Marcus would be good candidates. But, that would not stop me from asking! You never know.
Step three- Create a "hopefully new and interesting" plan to bring the sponsor and public together. Tailor it to your potiential sponsor. With our current proposal, we are offering some personal appearances and maybe some "cook on site" options. They are very intersested in this concept.
Step four- Do your research on the sponsor and put it in writing as a "concept". A page or two is adequate.
Avoid details and commitments at this stage. Focus on the mutual benefits to both parties! Give them options and ranges to work with!
Consider "personal appearances at Sponsor's events", Web site tie-in, logo and banners on equipment, and whatever makes sense for the sponsors needs.
Careful here--Evaluate your time and expense requirements against the needs of the sponsor! If you are offering a lot of time to them, they should be compensating you for your time! Do not commit to 200 hours of time for a $1000 sponsorship. That is a whole $5 per hour!
Look at the cost of a single !/8 page ad in the local "Yellow Pages" to see the money invested in "advertising"--HUGE!
This affects your pricing in your market area. And we BBQ teams are advertising--nothing more or less! Can't stress that too much!
Step five- Present it to the sponsor in person (starts to build relationship), with a paper version to "kick up the line" to Corp HQ if needed. Show your past results (good bad and indifferent), experience, and (most importantly) your plan to improve. Be honest and realistic or it will come back to bite you! Emphasise the potiental benefits to the sponsor, but don't exagerate and make promises you can not keep.
Step six- wait patiently!
Step seven- Receive offer from sponsor. Study it. Look for "ups and downs" for both sides. Look for liabilities and "bail out" clauses for both sides Sit down and reach an agreement that is beneficial and productive for both sides. This is a partnership, no matter what it is callled. Both sides must benefit.
Step eight--Sign or modify the agreement and move on! It must be in writing! Legal document with tax implications! Another story there!
Step nine--go cook something!
In our case, I suggested two levels with little details or promises, just concepts--maybe $10-20K or $50-75K per year. Dude did not blink! Wants a "lesson in BBQ in Dec 11th and then???. Who knows from there!
Other potential Sponsors???
Any business or person that wants to influence our "market" in your region.
Hell, my "bug guy" came by this morning. Fed him some Que I had re-heating. Visited (actually whined) about the huge $ needs for competeting and the need for sponsorships.
He said, "Company is pushing 'Food Safe Bug Control' and he would talk to bosses about a sponsorship" So--go figure!!!!!
Might be Real Estate, Financial, Transportation, Food Service (I would be careful here), Plumbing, Hardware sales, or "whatever".
I doubt that the "heavyweights" in BBQ will sponsor you. They are in the business of selling to teams, not building new business.
One team that competes regionally here has $75K in cash sponsorships from 3 major National Transportion Companies!--Go figure.
None of the sponsors even have a big banner on his trailer! None of them seem to be related to our "audience" in any way I can see.
That is called 'super- salesmanship" I guess!
But, it has been done.
Positive Marketing Attitude!