The Art Of The Sponsorship Proposal

During my stint in the world of motorsport (speedway), I came across many and varied sponsorship proposals. Some better than others. Some detailed. Some brief. A few polished. While others felt slapped together.

Saw them all.

Yet basic or comprehensive, generally there was one reoccurring theme: the lack of focus on the proposed sponsor. 

Here’s what I mean.

Yes, a driver wants to win. A driver wants to be a champion. A driver wants to compete.

A business wants exposure. It wants an audience. It wants potential new customers’ eyes on the brand. It wants ROI.

Now here’s how many of the proposals were structured (again, not all, but many to varying degrees):

I’m a driver. I want to win. My goal is to win more than the others. I want to be champion. I want you to have your logo on my car. Here’s what I want from you.

As a potential sponsor, I’m thinking to myself “Great, but what’s in it for my brand?”.

You see, the focus is upside down. 

Yes, a driver wants to achieve this and needs cash to do so, but a sponsorship proposal isn’t the medium to be overly-spruiking racing domination. Note, I said ‘overly’. Of course you need to show a sense of passion and drive, but like setting up a car, it’s all about balance.

What a brand wants to see first and foremost is how you will help them. 

A proposal needs to focus on the most important person in the relationship. And it ain’t the driver - it’s the sponsor.

So here’s that proposal structure flipped:

I’m a driver. I’ve an opportunity to help your brand. As part of the team, your brand will be promoted in this way… We are a great fit for your brand because… Other ways to leverage your investment with us are… Let’s create a partnership to grow us both… Yada, yada, yada.

We’re not reinventing the wheel, here. It’s simply redirecting the focus onto who you’re trying to impress. It’s a little change that can make a big difference.

Think about anyone you’ve ever met who spends the first 10 minutes talking constantly about themselves and how good they are. Annoying, right? Get away from me, right?

Any figures and stats you can dig up around how many eyes will be watching, who will be watching and how frequently they will be watching will also help.

Let's also not forget those all-important corporate opportunities. Sponsorship isn’t simply about a logo on a vehicle. It’s about creating an experience. Giving your sponsor a means to impress their clients and customers - anything from a drive day to a driver heading into the crowd to say G’Day to their clients. Make them feel special, go that extra mile outside the car (or whatever you’re racing), and they’ll stick with you.

And if you can, if at all humanly possible, get them to a track so they can feel it, hear it, smell it. Let the atmosphere and majesty of it all do some of the heavy selling for you.

Certainly, in a proposal you need to explain who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. But if you make a potential sponsor feel as if their brand will be cared for from the very beginning - that you're giving them bang for their bucks - they’re more likely to open their wallets to a winning partnership.