Welcome to Shop Talk with Shop Guy* #2. We can't show you Shop Guy's face because he's a shop guy. Today, Shop Guy teaches us how to get sponsored.
Recently we got an email from a young racer looking for sponsorship. The email was two sentences long and was essentially: ‘would you guys sponsor me. I have got a couple of podium places at local races’ (edited to protect the semi-literate and guilty). That was it. I know, I am as stunned as you that someone thought this might actually work. So listen up kids, here’s Shop Guy’s sure-fire guide to getting sponsored by your local bike shop.
BRING IN BUSINESS!
That’s it. Not too complicated I hope. A bike store will be much more interested in sponsoring someone who brings more people and sales to their business. You can finish 41st out of 41 riders in the novice class but if you’re bringing new customers through the door each week then a shop will be interested in listening to your sponsorship enquiry. Just send random emails or proposals and you will get an equal return on your efforts – sod all. Winning races is nice but at the local level very few people will change which shop they go to based on which store the local hotshot rides for.
One of the most effective marketing tools locally is word of mouth, and this is where you come in. Get new customers in to the store (friends, family, random people you meet at races) and you are worth money to the store owner. Only then is it time to slip them your sponsorship request. And a two line email won’t get it done either. Start with a chat to the owner or manager about what you propose. Let them know what you have done and can do for them. Only then do you tell them what YOU would like. And kids, be realistic. Most stores can’t afford to just give you a new race bike and unlimited supplies. Look for things that are easier for the store to do but still help you out. Things like free labour on your race bike, a long payment plan for your bike and/or equipment or help with tech support on race day. Be reasonable and you won’t look like just another greedy punk out for free stuff and the store owner might even think you’re worth a shot.
Well done if you’re now sponsored by a bike store. No thanks necessary. Now the hard work of keeping that sponsorship starts, but that’s a topic for another day. I’ve got to go and walk another punk down the path of despair about his sponsorship aspirations. See ya.
*Shop Guy is not to be taken lightly. His years of experience in bike shops have made him bitter, jaded and lacking in any compassion. It has also given him a lot of knowledge that you’d do well to remember.
If you're interested, and you should be, check out Shop Talk with Shop Guy #1.