Sponsorship 101

by Jay Striker

I often get asked the question about sponsorships and how to go about obtaining them. Well this is not a one size fit all solution nor is it a topic that has a neat little formula that leads to the optimum outcome. Before I get into this topic, I must state this is my opinion and not necessarily the opinions of others. With that the disclosure is out of the way, let’s talk about sponsorship. This topic is so big I would like to narrow it down to a few important basics that I feel are a must to being successful at gaining sponsorship for fishing. Those are; understanding relationships, knowing how to add value to a company and it’s a job.

Building Relationships: Building good relationships is key to the any long term success in the industry. If you focus on building the relationship and not on what you can get out of one, you will fare much better. With many companies that I partner with there was always a rule that I have and that is I will treat them the best I can, and do all I can when can. I can tell you right now if you do not value your relationships in the fishing industry, and you tear down relationships instead of building them up, you will be found out. The industry players are such a small group, and they do talk to each other. I would say that this is the most important part of sponsorship because this is what builds trust, and trust is the glue that holds the relationship over time. In a nutshell “don’t take matches on a bridge” and cherish your relationships.

Knowing how to add value to a company: What I like to do before I reach out to any company is to research to see if anything is changing within the company. To do this I go to the websites and most large companies will have a social responsibility page and the things they support. They will also have a media page. Going to these two pages tells me a lot about the companies and their direction. I want to be sure I can actually add value to the company I’m interesting in, and this is one piece of information that will help. When I find out I can add value then I need to put my plan together to talk with the ownership for a meeting. Just because you have value to add does not mean you get the sponsorship. Why? Because a lot of companies are going to tell you NO! Take them and learn from them.

Its’ a JOB: Any business is in business to make a profit. When I got my first sponsor, I was very and thankful and more importantly, humble to the fact that this is not just a sponsorship, it is the start of a relationship. I treated it just like a job. Communication was done weekly, follow-up done timely and customers come first. I try to show that I’m able to take on responsibility doing anything they may need done. Be ready to roll up your sleeves up and know that it will pay off in the long run. Spend enough time with them and build on your relationships. Trust it is key.

Till next time, I hope that you look at sponsorship in a different way and focus on building relations, know how to add value and treat each opportunity like a job.