I recently read a book from Scott Zagarino called “How to Get and Keep Sponsorship – Athletes Edition” and found many good points that I thought would be worth sharing with the athletes who are looking to gain new sponsors.Before getting started, you must find the answer to the following questions:
1) What do you want?
2) What can you do for the sponsor if they sign you?
3) What do the companies you’re contacting do?
Zagarino recommends that you go to your local paper, magazine collection, related website etc, and in two categories list them as General or Vertical.
The General list will have all the companies that are not athletic or sports products but do market to an athletic lifestyle. The Vertical Column lists the companies that cater to advertisers selling gear directly to athletes.
The next step is creating a Target List using a spread sheet or in a note book and make five columns:
1 Company name
5 Give a grade of A through to F on how you feel your assets match up to their business.
6 Next slowly go page by page in every magazine and list every company that could possibly and realistically provide you with a sponsorship.
Now it is time to become an investigator
With your target list, create a new page per target. You need to write as much information on the company that you hope to be sponsored by, as well as the people who are in charge of granting sponsorships. The more information you have the better.
You need to know about their business marketing goals, their strategies and other athletes they may currently sponsor.
This can be a very slow and painful process, but one that is critical to your success on gaining sponsorship, so that your time and really do your homework.
You should really consider creating a LinkedIn account. You also need a professional photo of yourself, as well as completing every box or line when you create your profile.
Not only will this help with marketing yourself, but it will help make your investigations to your Target List a lot easier as most CEO’s, CFO’s, directors, managers, sponsorship managers etc, will have a LinkedIn account.
Your cover letter should contain:
1 An introduction of yourself, informing them of what you do and what you require.
2 Tell them briefly what you know about their company and their industry.
3 Describe briefly what you believe will assist them in achieving their marketing goals by sponsoring you.
4 Close with your complete contact information.
1 Use a photo at the top
2 In the second third of the page, add your 28 words.
3 In the bottom third of the page, list your three best results in the past year/season. Outline two or three of your athletic career highlights and your goals for the next three years.
Your biography goes on this page.
The Third Page
In the top two-thirds of the page, explain what you believe you can do for the sponsor, not just what the sponsor can do for you.
Your full information should be outlined on the bottom third of the page.
Do not add a fourth page.
Other good ideas:
• Create a business card and when outlining your occupation, add the word “Athlete”, not Pro-Athlete.
• Create a professional website with sponsorship in mind, to emphasise your initiative.
• Send your proposal by Fedex or Registered Mail as this ensures it will be opened and shows a degree of confidence on your part.
If you are truly serious about gaining sponsorship, then I highly recommend buying this book. It will only cost around $5 on Kindle and is a quick read. The book offers a great deal more advice, with some useful tips, but in greater detail.