Meeting with potential sponsors for the first time is up there with first dates and the first day of high school: exciting, scary, and full of possibilities. You want to make the right impression and get a read on if they’re a good fit for you. (See, just like a first date!)
I’ve had my fair share of first meetings—good, bad, and ugly. Here are my best tips for handling your first meeting with a potential sponsor.
Be Prepared to Listen, Not Talk
Don’t bring anything except a list of questions and a notepad. I’ve heard horror stories of racers who started the first meeting with their sponsorship deck and a funding pitch—without ever getting to know the person they are meeting with or the company in general.
This is the wrong way to approach a company if you want to build a relationship. (You do, of course). Instead, let them do the majority of the talking during your first meeting. Ask questions about:
- The history of their company.
- Their marketing goals are for the next year.
- How sponsoring a race team went in the past.
- Who their target market is.
Pay Close Attention to Sponsors
Take as much information as you can. So, at your second meeting, you’re able to understand their needs and if you’re the right fit for them. After meeting with potential sponsors, you might agree that you’re not a great match, and that’s okay. It’s still a good idea to maintain contact with them throughout the year via email or social media in case things change down the road or you can recommend another racer to them.
A Special Note About Marketing Decks
If you’ve had some discussions about the possibility of sponsorships before the first meeting, then you can bring your marketing deck. Don’t pitch it unless they specifically ask for more information about your team and what you can offer. Need some help on making your marketing deck? Here are my best tips and tricks.
Meeting with a potential sponsor doesn’t have to be so scary after all. With a few preparations, extra research, and some confidence, your first meeting can lead to a career-changing sponsorship!
If you’re ready for more sponsors, more confidence, and the racing career you’ve always dreamed of, my coaching program Fueled and Funded is for you! The doors open only once a year for the first 50 people who sign up, and right now is your chance to get in before they fill up fast!
Learn more and sign up for the waitlist for Fueled and Funded here, and save 10% off when doors open up on September 22nd.