“So you want to be sponsored?”
In the hobby industry racers / competitors make up roughly 15% of its existence. That relates to 85% of the hobby as “enthusiasts”. How does a company in this industry speak the quality, durability and power of its products to the 85% and those in the 15% who have yet to try the products? Through racing and advertising. Print ads can show you what a product looks like or how it fits. Video ads can show you how it looks when it runs or flies. Race results give the potential customer a justification of how it performs and how so in a competitive situation. The final key to all of this is the personalities behind the products. The sponsored drivers and pilots. Let me surmise this in short. A company can spend a multitude of money on print and video ads to convey their product on how it looks and performs on track with “Competitor X” at the wheel or stick. To have the interaction with Competitor X seals the deal. A customer may have never seen or heard of a product but to have interaction with it and its representative can make for an instant sale especially at the track or flying field.
So how do you become Competitor X?
First of all you have to put in the time at your track or flying field. Do you have a good relation with your peers and the local shop owner(s)? If you said yes to both you are headed in the right direction. Have you won a few competitions or placed well consistently? Then you are almost there. Do you spend part of your time at the field or track helping someone newer to the hobby than you even if it’s just to say “Hi, my name is Comp X, if you need anything I’m right over there?” If you have said yes to all of the above you are just about ready to become an outside sales representative. Say what? I want to be sponsored, not a sales rep. They are one in the same. Again you have to know a bit about what you are “selling” in order to become sponsored. Have you used this brand before? Why are you using that particular brand? Why is it better than the others? Can you be honest? Do you truly believe in the company that has just sent you $500 worth of products to show, demonstrate and perform with? You need to have also said yes to all of those questions too.
Now you are ready. You have time into the competition side of the hobby. You have a good reputation with your peers and shop owners. You have tried several brands and like them for a reason and know why. You are of the personality type that you can talk to and relate to others and help them at events. You now need to put together a resume’ and send it to the companies that you have used and believe in their products.
Your resumes were accepted and are now Competitor X the sponsored guy! Congratulations!
Now you get out there to the track or flying field and talk up the product. Hand out stickers or other swag that the sponsor has given you to hand out. Keep doing what you have been doing before you were sponsored and more. Let others try the products that you are sponsored with. Show them how they are better. Tell them where your local shop is to get those products. Now make sure your equipment is 100% clean and presentable. Make sure your pit space is professional and organized. Have your sponsors logos prominently displayed on your competition vehicle(s). Go as far as to have some of their products out on your table for others to see what the skilled guy is using or to have at the ready to use in a discussion about that product.
After your event whether good or bad get back to your sponsors and give a small report of how the day/weekend went. Include details on how you promoted their products (pictures always help) and keep in touch often even if you don’t have an event for a few weeks or so. Communication goes a long way both at the events and with your sponsors. Again you are a Sales Representative for those companies that are “paying” you in discount or products so take it seriously yet have fun with what you are doing. After all it’s still your hobby.