To sell sponsorship for you and your team, there is one
thing you must get really good at: Communication.
Communicating today is largely done via e-mail and
voice mail.Being good at voice mail is, as with most things worth
pursuing, largely a matter of practice, practice,
practice - and ultimately, learning primarily by DOING
it. Practice with friends' answering machines, a tape
machine. Make calls to prospects you doubt would be
interested in your program, just for the sake of
practice where you have nothing "at stake" other than
I've created some informal statistics on our own
sponsor search voice mail communication results, which
you may find interesting:
1. Out of every ten first calls to corporate marketers,
we end up on voice mail about 80% of the time.
Conclusion: Like it or not, you need to learn how to
deal with it, since 80% of your prospects USE it!
2. Out of those messages, about 25% return my message
after one call. An additional 25% respond after a
second or third message. And about half do not respond.
Conclusion: Voice mail is THE accepted and preferred
method of communicating for the Fortune 1000, as well
as most small businesses (including ours, I might add.)
And, if you will learn it, and practice to get good at
it, you can produce perfectly acceptable results - by
which I mean you will get to speak to about half the
people you want to reach.
The caveat is, of course, you do need to get good at
it. Yes, it is work. But how badly do you want to get a
sponsor? Remember too that it is all-important to
create a message the listener on the other end cares
enough about to respond to. In essence, if you leave a
message saying, "I have a neat race car, I'll bet you'd
love to sponsor it" will get you about 1 response per
What about e-mail?
E-mail generally is used to affirm or reinforce actual
live conversations. Rarely is a deal DONE with e-mail
... but it can be a useful tool and most people have it
and use it as an additional tool for communicating.
Mind you, e-mail can never replace a voice on the
phone, just as a voice on the phone can never replace a
face to face meeting. But it can LEAD to the voice on
the voice mail, then to the voice in real time, then to
the face to face.
Just remember that you are always addressing THEIR
needs and concerns. How can you help them sell their
product or service? Always be answering that question
when you write or call!
How do I reach the decision-maker on the telephone?
The answer is partially contained in #2, dealing with
voice mail. But before you can be effective in getting
your message heard you DO need to know tom whom to
direct it. How do you find out?
This is one of the most complex questions in the game,
because the right person will vary widely, in terms of
their title or job description, from firm to firm. The
easiest way to at least get a LIKELY "Right Gal or Guy"
is to call the company reception desk and ask, "Who in
your company is responsible for sports or event
marketing, or promotions like that?" Then you will
probably get steered to the correct person, but not
always. It takes some skill and experience to delve
more deeply into the company's structure by phone, and
it can certainly be done, but I don't have the room
here to detail the kinds of sophisticated tools we are
talking about. I CAN offer you one more tip on the
subject, though: Ask the person at some point in the
conversation if there is anyone else "you would need me
to speak with about this project, or is the decision
yours alone?" Listen carefully to the answer, and
design your future actions accordingly!
Marketing Motorsports truly is a science and requires
self-discipline, training and practice. But that said,
if I have one "Mega-Tip" it is this: Go for it. Just
get after it anyway. Don't try to have all the answers
before giving it a shot. You will find that the more
you do it the better you get, provided you have good
guidance from people who know how the game works: I
can't say this often enough:
NEVER stop learning. Take seminars, get the books, do
the coaching programs, get the right materials.
Importantly, try to work with ONE strategy and don't
"mix and match." Do what works!
Some of this material can also be found in the book
"Get Sponsored" by Charlie Hayes