01 Nov 3 Secrets To Becoming A Sponsored Athlete
Before you read this…… we just want you to know that you do not need to be an elite athlete to get sponsored! More and more ‘everyday athletes’ are getting sponsored….because they are able to be real and authentic, and sponsors LOVE this!
Now….onto the 3 Secrets to Becoming a Sponsored Athlete….
Like anything that is worthwhile doing (because the results might just be life-changing!) sponsorship requires just a little bit of time and effort on your part….to make sure you connect with the right sponsors…..in the right way!
JUST SO YOU KNOW…….WE ARE THE WORLDS LEADING EXPERTS IN ATHLETE SPONSORSHIP
(If you’re in Australia you can actually come and work with us directly next month as part of our Athlete Brand and Sponsorship Workshops).
We’ve been working with athletes (of all levels and in all sports), sports organisations (like the USA Olympic Committee, Sport England) and brands (from local to global and in all industries) and want to share with 3 Secrets of how to create success for yourself when seeking sponsorship! Keep an eye out for our SUPERSECRETS too…there are 3 in this article!
Melina Yung, a retired Muay Thai competitor and current business owner has engaged a great range of personal sponsors.
SECRET # 1 – IDENTIFY YOUR SPONSORSHIP AMBITIONS
WHAT DO YOU WANT (AND NEED) FROM SPONSORSHIP?
Sponsorship offers so much more than just financial benefits…. though of course, that is important! You may be looking to get other benefits from the relationships you create with your sponsors and the activities you do as part of being a sponsored athlete!
Sponsorship isn’t just for sporting equipment of services, it can be for anything that you spend money on (or would like to!) in your life…from skincare, fashion clothing, music and technology right through to paints and photography equipment! So, don’t be like every other athlete going for the same sports sponsors……go completely left field and follow your passion, your interests and your uniqueness when identifying potential sponsors!
LOOKING BEYOND FINANCE, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Taking the same holistic approach, we now look at what else sponsorship can offer you! How can it support your other life ambitions, interests and passions? How can it support your professional or educational goals?
By thinking outside the square, you will identify other area’s that can benefit from the types of sponsorship you choose….and the kind of value that is exchanged!
Perhaps you want to improve your public speaking skills and they will be able to give you opportunities to practise….or even provide training for you!
Maybe social media is an area you would like to pursue a career in, well, being a sponsored athlete is a great platform to hone your skills….especially if the company that sponsors you is willing to let you be actively involved in their social media activities!
SUPERSECRET #1- They might even give you some work experience…..hey, it could even lead to a career with them! We have seen this happen many times. But importantly, you’ll get to become part of the company and people will get to know you (and hopefully like you! Of course they will! ) and this really helps develop and improve the chances of a longer term, valuable relationship with this sponsor.
SECRET #2 – IDENTIFY WHAT AWESOME VALUE YOU CAN OFFER TO SPONSORS
The most important aspect of sponsorship is creating a mutually beneficial relationship, which means that you need to give sponsors commercial benefits that drive customers in their direction…….and to be blunt, increase their profits! Being great at your sport just isn’t enough….and what you will begin to see is that your results on the sporting field actually don’t play that big a part in your role as a sponsored athlete
SPONSORS ARE INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU CAN OFFER IN RETURN FOR THEIR INVESTMENT IN YOU….GET CREATIVE!
Things like an increased audience through media, a target market reach through your social media channels, and direct promotion of products through your participation in events are all BENEFICIAL to your sponsors…..there is in fact no limit on the benefits you can offer!
SUPERSECRET #2– THE BEST WAY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN OFFER TO SPONSORS? RESEARCH THEM, SEE WHAT THEY ARE DOING (AND TRYING TO ACHIEVE) AND FIGURE OUT WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THAT! HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS!
Here’s how to approach this very important part of seeking sponsorship: Identify your professional skills: public speaking, entertaining, coaching, in-house training/workshops Identify personal skills: Are you good at communicating, have you overcome adversity, do you have skills that have helped you achieve your goals?
Identify your network /audience opportunities: Who is your audience, What do they like, How do they spend their money, what do they value, what influence can/do you have on them
Think about what content you can provide for your sponsors’ marketing and communication activities: Can you write great blogs, take great pictures, create fun or inspiring videos? The most important thing…….look beyond sport………it’s about BUSINESS
Oska Baynes from New Zealand got his first sponsor at 15….and through them, engaged several other valuable sponsorship deals!
SECRET #3 – TAKE TIME RESEARCHING AND REALLY UNDERSTANDING YOUR POTENTIAL SPONSORS
THE MORE YOU RESEARCH THE MORE SUCCESS YOU WILL HAVE
This allows us to understand more about their values, previous or current sponsorships they are engaged in, their social responsibility activities, and importantly to know what they want out of a sponsorship relationship and how we can be of benefit to them. The first part of this process involves conducting your own research via the internet and through contacts you already have who know about the company (but NOT the person you will be approaching for sponsorship).
MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT WHO YOU APPROACH FOR SPONSORSHIP BASED ON KNOWLEDGE NOT JUST A WANT!
Find out about their business activities both internal (with their staff) and external (marketing, events, other sponsorships etc.)
SUPERSECRET TIP #3 – Then, it’s time to make initial contact (or follow up contact if you already know them) and ask the potential sponsor what they might be looking for out of sponsorship…and whether they are open to receiving a proposal! This is NOT the pitch…this is JUST asking questions!
You MAY find they are not right for you at this stage….and that is absolutely fine! This part of the process can save you sending proposals to the wrong companies!
If you are reading this and wanting to get more active in your sponsorship journey then join our free group on Facebook and if you’re in Australia, I’d really encourage you to come to our workshop weekend in Brisbane where we will work directly with you on your brand and sponsorship engagement).
YOUR NEXT STEPS……….FIRST STEPS!
If you already have sponsorship (or you’re just beginning your journey) you will love the free and super low cost resources we have created for athletes just like you…..and the one that is going to be most helpful for you right now is The Ultimate Athlete Sponsorship Proposal Template…TAKE A LOOK HERE!
And don’t forget to join our free Athlete Sponsorship group on Facebook here!