Race Car Sponsorship - Following Up (Part 4 of 4)
Following up is an extremely important part of creating lasting relationships with sponsors. Whether or not the meeting resulted in a sponsorship, this step in the process is completely necessary. Some pitch meetings might end in a deal. On the other hand, some companies may need some time to mull it over. If they need time to consider a partnership, McKenna recommends following up after 1 – 2 weeks of waiting for a response.
Some companies will decide to partner with you right then and there. If this is the case, McKenna suggests drawing up a contract. In this contract, list everything they will receive from you throughout the season. This way, you will be held accountable for delivering on your promises and your partner will know exactly what they are paying for. It will help you and your sponsor stay on the same page. Another important part of following up is to send an invoice. Once you’ve decided on an amount, it’s okay to ask the company if you can send them an invoice. Usually, it’s to be paid within 30 days. There are many professional invoice templates online that are available to use.
McKenna has mentioned how important it is to treat your race team as a business. When it comes to dealing with checks, setting up a Limited Liability Company can be very beneficial. This way, the checks can be made out to the company, instead of you personally. Another way to keep deals as professional as possible is to open a post office box. Checks and mail related to your race team will be sent to this box instead of your personal residence.
Once the contract is signed and the deal is finalized, it’s tremendously important to follow through on your promises. According to McKenna, the fastest way to lose a sponsor is to take the money and run. Try your best to fulfill all of the obligations you discussed or stated in the contract. Although you want to avoid being taken advantage of, it is ok to overdeliver. If you’re working with a sponsor and really want to wow them, feel free to go above and beyond.
Remember, communication is key. It can be really easy to only talk to the sponsors when you make the deal and at the end of the year when you’re thanking them. Try to avoid this by keeping them in the loop with everything your race team is up to. Update them on wins, ask if they need anything from you, consistently thank them, and find other ways to reach out.
When the end of the year comes around, it’s appropriate to send your partners a thank you gift. Affirm them and express your gratitude. Separately, you can ask them what the next year will look like and if they want to continue working together. When you fully invest in the relationships with your sponsors, amazing things can happen. Sponsors become friends! McKenna’s favorite part of working with her sponsors is the relationships and friendships that she’s built throughout her career. She and her sponsors share and accomplish goals alongside each other. Her partners celebrate with her through the good and support her through the bad. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks for following along with us. We hope this series was helpful and educational. Now, go out and get those sponsorships!