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Selling Sponsorship is Hard. Here’s the (Secret) Reason Why.

Published By Kristin DirtyMouth Communications     March 1, 2016    


Raise your hand if you:

  • Hate thinking about sponsorship
  • Love thinking about sponsorship but never actually do anything about it
  • Worry your proposal looks amateurish
  • Have no idea what to charge (too much? or too little?)
  • Don’t follow up because you feel like a nuisance
  • Feel like you have to promise the world, or aggressively ‘spin’ your driving resume like your competition, to even get in the door
  • Are tired of hearing: “We don’t get involved in motorsports”, “It’s not in the budget” or “I’ll get back to you”
  • Resent the fact that running your own race team or track makes you feel like you have to be someone else to be successful.
Yep, selling marketing partnerships is hard. But for most of us, there’s a reason why that’s the case – why many of us stop before we even start – beyond the obvious.

It’s confidence.

And, no, I’m not going to tell you to recite some affirmations while you brush your teeth every morning or when you breathe out in yoga class.

Let’s get practical.

Many racers and tracks aren’t selling (enough) sponsorship because they’re not confident about what they’re selling, or how to value it.

You and I both know that you can’t sell wins. You can’t make promises about on-the-track performance.

But what we can sell? Some of us are secretly afraid that we can’t deliver those offerings. Or that the people sitting across the table don’t care about those offerings, at best. Or that we’re hitting all the right notes, and completely off-key on the price.

It’s all about confidence, baby.

When you’re confident about what you’re providing, your mindset will shift from ‘selling’ to ‘offering an opportunity’. Because you know that what you offer will benefit them.

I found this out first-hand, speaking at the RPM Promoter’s Workshops in Las Vegas. For weeks, probably months if I’m honest, I’ve been secretly terrified of getting up on stage and speaking about social media in front of 200 track and series promoters. Subconsciously, I felt like I needed to ‘sell’ the audience on using social media to promote their businesses.

But when my trusty partner in crime reminded me that I knew exactly how to use social media to make businesses (lots of) money and was merely showing them the opportunity they had if they used what I taught them, everything shifted. I was no longer worried about whether they’d care about my material. I was just concerned about giving them information in a way that they could be successful.

My offering helped them. And that’s what yours should do, too.

Smart marketing partners look forward to spending money with teams, tracks and businesses because they make them more money. When you know what you’re selling and how it will help someone, you’re no longer afraid to hand over your proposal. You don’t forget to follow-up. You no longer sweat over the in-person pitch.
You’re excited to give them the opportunity to achieve their goals with you.

Learning what to offer, when to offer that and how to value it, is one of the most important things you can do for your marketing program.

When you’re confident about what you’re selling and why, you’ll always be able to prove your worth, whether that’s to your boss, your wife, or the no-longer-elusive marketing partner.

Imagine those possibilities.


About the author
Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.

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