Sponsorship isn’t everything. After all riding is and should be about having a good time on your bike, but if you are looking to take it further, here are just a few things that may help you attract a sponsor.
Go to races, enjoy yourself and aim to do as well as you can. Even if you don’t get podium there are always things you can take away from racing, a better time, conquering a fear, doing something you’ve never done before – and you always get to meet new people!
Be a good sportsman
It may be cold, you may not have got the result you wanted and all you want to do is go home, but go and watch podiums, congratulate those who win – they obviously deserve it. Don’t be the kind of person who is bitter because they didn’t win, it just wasn’t your time. Supporting each other can only help to make the sport stronger. No one likes a sore loser, but it works both ways, if you win, well that’s awesome, just don’t be too big-headed about it.
Get to know a product
Sponsors are going to look to you to talk about how good their product is, if you know nothing about it then what good is that? Try and test different things. Once you have a good knowledge people will come to you for advice, this can only be a good thing for you and potential sponsors.
Support a product/shop
If you apply for sponsorship from a shop for example, they are not going to be very likely to sponsor you if they haven’t met you before. Even if you’ve got brilliant results, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be a good spokesperson. Shops like to know that you will support them when they sponsor you, this means talking about their shop and wearing the team jersey to races. Same goes with product, if you have never used a product before, and there is no evidence of this on social media, and in your riding pictures sponsors will see this. They aren’t going to sponsor someone who is wearing another brand in all their images.
This can be a good or bad thing, sponsors may well look at your profiles to see what kind of person you are. If you’ve got a lot of followers and are constantly engaging with them talking about the industry and what products you like, then this can only be a good thing. On the other hand if you are tweeting or posting pictures of you getting drunk, this may not go down too well. Whatever you put out there will reflect on them too.
Get to know the big guns, but don’t come across as over eager. There are so many people out there asking for sponsorship, build up a rapport and maintain a good relationship before diving straight in. It could make you look like you’re only interested in what they can give you if you go in straight away. Sponsorship works both ways, let them know what you can offer them too.
Get some footage of you and a few friends riding, this is a good way to show your skills. After all so many things can happen in races that may harm your performance, not everyone was built to race, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be a good advocate for a product.
You can’t just expect to pick up a sponsorship, these things take time. Be dedicated and don’t give up, if you want to secure a sponsorship don’t be disheartened when someone says no, just try other things, and apply again in the future.
Go to dig days, visit local events, race, meet people. After all if people get to know you, and know you are a nice person that gets involved this will reflect well on you.
What makes you different? Do you have something that stands out. This isn’t an essential thing but if you are doing something that makes you stand out from the crowd then you are going to get noticed, just make sure you are getting noticed for the right reasons, and not for the bad ones. Just make sure you stand out, don’t get the same kit as everyone else, customize your bike etc, anything that will make people remember you.
A race CV isn’t the most essential thing, but putting together a decent CV (similar to what you may do for a job) with results, a picture, and a summary of who you are and what you want to achieve will show you have a professional attitude. Most importantly check it over for spelling, and get someone to check it for you just to be sure!
Most importantly have fun, if you lose that spark then mountain biking will become a chore. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but remember there is a lot of competition. Sponsorship is just as much about what you can offer a sponsor, as what they can give you. Be grateful for the opportunities you are given, and support those who help you out, this can mean the difference in getting sponsored again, or no one wanting to help you out. Most of all, enjoy the ride!
Anything missing? Let me know in the comments section!