How To Get Sponsored For Parts
Let’s face it, building an offroad or overland vehicle is expensive, so why not get sponsored? You see all the top racers do it so why can’t you? Youtube and Instagram seems to be filled with sponsored influencers peddling one company or another’s parts on a daily basis. The first thing to understand that sponsorship is not about getting free parts. Sponsorships are a business contract between you and a company. Think of it as a job where you’re working for that manufacture and instead of getting paid you’re getting parts or a discount on parts. Sponsorship is a risk for the manufacture – they are risking their product or service on you and that you’ll do exactly what you say you’re going to do. To be honest, most people just want free auto accessories for posting to their 500 followers with no real skin in the game.
Can’t Afford It?
First and foremost, if you can’t afford to pay for that Suspension lift, bumper, rock sliders, roof rack or service at full retail, don’t ask. Just because you can’t afford it doesn’t mean the manufacture should sacrifice making money with another customer on that product for you. While I applaud the ambition, this is the best and fastest way to get rejected, or flat out ignored.
If you can’t afford the parts, then how do you plan on attending races or events? People will list out all the events they say they are going to attend but parking I your 4runner or Jeep in a parking lot at an event doesn’t constitute event attendance. If you can’t afford a $1,000 part, then how do you plan on affording to display your truck at the event.
Nothing Is Free
Don’t ever expect free product. Every company has budgets that they have to adhere to and giving away parts is part of the marketing budget. Every dollar has to be accounted for and even a discount still goes towards the budget. Most companies rarely offer a free product, if they offer anything, it’s usually a discount.
Remember that you’re working for the company. That means you are a representative of that company. You can bet that when you reach out for sponsorship, we are going to look up your social media accounts and see how you conduct yourself. You are absolutely entitled to have your personal opinion, but if you’re often brash and aggressive, that might not be somebody we want to represent the company. If you’re sponsored by any company, you’re a spokesman for them and will be expected to let people know about the company, how great the product is, and overall promote the company as an ambassador to the company. Being disrespectful, overly opinionated, or brash can and will disqualify you quickly.
Please, Please, Please check your proposal letters. I can’t tell you how many sponsorship requests I receive with another companies name. I would love to be a part of “your competitors company” because your “competitors products” are the best! Please check your letters before sending them out. Bad grammar or misspelling is an indication of how your social media posts will be, remember you are representing the company you are sponsored by. Each proposal letter should be tailored for the company you are trying to work with, not a generic copy and paste format. Don’t forget to include what you are offering and I would honestly leave out a list of what parts you want. Remember that the company you are working with will likely ask you what direction you are wanting to go with your off road build but the ultimate decision on what products the company wants promoted will be at the discretion of the sponsoring company.
Create a professional proposal. If you can’t, hire a graphic designer to create one. Include pictures of the build as it sits currently along with a rendering showing the manufacture how you want it to look completed. Help them see your vision for the build. List all the parts you plan on installing on the car so we can see what you are thinking, listing current sponsors, booth number, events etc. (don’t lie, we all talk in this industry and we will know). List all your social media accounts, YouTube channels, etc. List what shows you went to last year and which ones you’re going to this year. Add photos of previous builds and Sponsor references. Remember, this is like a job resume and we check references.
What Can You Do For Me?
One of the biggest keys for sponsorship for me is simply this: What can you do for me, that I can’t do myself? If the company has 100K followers on Facebook or Instagram, and your personal page only has 2,000 then I don’t want to sponsor you. The company already has significantly more reach than you. Now if you have 50,000 followers in a specific niche I’m interested in, then that catches my attention. If you have a national TV show and want to install my parts on it, then now I’m interested since I don’t have a national TV show. Maybe you have a YouTube channel with 100K followers; the company might not have that many followers and want to access those 100K followers by sponsoring you. Are you attending (Booth Space with booth number) events that the company is wanting to gain exposure at? Are you in a specific race series, what is the media reach on those events.
You need to be able to offer value to the company and one that they don’t have. If you can get a write up in a magazine they aren’t already in, that’s value. Try to look at it from a business perspective for the manufacture and not so much how it benefits your build.
The days of handing out sponsorships like candy is over. Remember that this is a proposal to create a professional working relationship with a company. Don’t take rejection personally as many factors play into a companies decision to work with you. Be patient, the number of sponsorship requests received is astonishing and it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack for the right ones. Be professional in all of your correspondences and please stop sending messages on FB and IG asking for a sponsorship, that’s almost always an instant rejection. If you think you have what it takes to partner with a company to promote their brand, by all means give it a shot and good luck. Hopefully this helps you on your way.