By Mike Folkestad
A sponsorship is a win-win situation. Both parties have to get something out of the deal. You will be dealing with businesses, which ultimately are in business to make money. It is very critical that you are able to give back to your sponsors helping them achieve their goals.
There are several contributing factors to obtaining endorsement sponsors. It isn't as easy as sending a letter or talking to someone on the phone. Ideally, it starts within you.
Appearance contributes to your marketability. You need to maintain a good appearance in the public's eye, such as no smoking, no drinking, no cussing, and be clean and neat. Choose wisely when, where, and how you act. Remember, people want to believe they know you well, from what they see. If someone perceives you as something different than you are, that is who you become to them, and that "perceived person" is the one that is representing the sponsors.
Are you marketable? What makes you unique? Large/small structure, old, young, female, race, hair color, voice, tattoos, and the list goes on! Everyone is unique in their own way. Looks are not the only thing to consider with marketability. You need to have people skills, and be able to control yourself in situations. Ask yourself these questions and find what makes you marketable. This is your selling point.
Now you are ready to tackle the industry.
I feel that there is so much opportunity with companies that aren’t related to fishing, and even more so since the economy is tough and companies are forced to stretch their advertising dollars more than ever. As far as sponsoring an angler it can make a lot of sense. More often than not companies haven’t been introduced to this type of advertising before.
Writing down on a piece of paper, the companies, that I believe in, I ask myself, what products do I use, what do I like, what am I familiar with, what do I need, and can the company benefit from sales in the areas I fish?
For each company write down what you can do for them to help them to increase sales. Ideas could include: TV coverage, radio, logos on your vehicle, articles you may write on the internet and in print, logo on jerseys, events, personal website, speaking engagements, public appearances, having a good and working relationship with media and outdoor writers, fishing tournaments that will give you good visibility when you do well, etc. Won Bass, US Open tournament, FLW, Bassmasters, to name a few.
A good place to start is with the reps of the products, most of them have a pro staff. That staff is generally just product; but this is a good place to start. As your sponsorship relationship grows, you may have to the opportunity to work with the marketing and promotions manager to obtain a sponsorship with monetary value. Most companies have a budget each year for marketing and promotions. Your odds go way down by sending out a resume to companies, they probably receive thousands. My suggestion for businesses in and out of the fishing industry, is to get to know the marketing and promotions managers.
This is all a starting point to getting on the pro staff. "How to retain and keep sponsors" will be coming up within the next 30 days. Check back soon, it will include research stats on mobile billboards and outdoor advertising.