I don’t think there is a simple answer about “How to get sponsors”.
First off you have to decide if you’re after a few free briskets or someone to pay your bills while you travel to cookoffs. It’s really two different things.
I thought about this a lot last week at the Lakeland cookoff. As many of you know I’ve been working hard for the last few years to get my name out there along with my books, Big Green Egg, Fiery Foods and The Barbecue Championship Series. Well I live here in Lakeland so I get my choice of spots and I choose the highest profile spot I can find. The egg that was to be the Grand Champions was right out front of my booth and so were my eggs. QBabe was cooking chicken legs to sell by the hundreds, not really for the money but just to attract attention to us and the eggs. This made for an insanely busy weekend with endless traffic needing to talk with me or learn about the eggs or take a picture or ????
Now I’m not complaining because this is what I asked for, but there are many other teams at this event who are trying their best to avoid the insanity. You want big sponsors? Guess which one you need to be? Sometimes it sucks but you gotta do it.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about later turn ins or Sunday turn ins. You want a big sponsor? You better start hoping for these things instead of trying to avoid them. Sunday turn ins would change the world for sponsors.
Now if you’re good with free briskets and a couple hundred bucks to host a party at the local cookoff, you should be able to ask around and find someone who’s willing to do that for a banner and free catering at their company picnic, but none of it comes for free. The bottom line is “what can you do for them?”. Don’t ever forget that. I’ve seen many deals blown because the team thought they were done once they got the check. For me the first check triggers the start of the work. I now know they’re serious and I want to make them so happy that they give me a bigger check next year. It’s a long process to become truly sponsored but it can be done.
The Honey Badger of BBQ. I just don't give a sh!t.