We all know racing is a team sport and without the assistance of your crew, family, and sponsors you’d not be successful in racing. Generally at the end of the year you take your crew to the banquet or out to dinner, you take your family on a well-deserved vacation and you visit your sponsors with an appreciation award. These are all wonderful things to do for those you have established relationships with, but what do you do to assist in generating new relationship to assist you in increasing your success?
This question is asked over and over by racers usually in the form of how I get sponsors. It is the age old question that has no single answer. I know for us here in DDR Motorsports Development, the best recipe we have is interaction, this includes Interaction with the fans, interaction current sponsors, and interaction with potential sponsors. I cannot tell you the amount of support or recommendations we have gotten by just being a good guy.
Where is this going? Well, as many of you know I attended the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show last week in Indianapolis. If you’ve never heard of it, look it up. The PRI show is owned by SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and is the biggest racing focused trade show in the world. PRI, while there you have the opportunity to see the newest products for racing and talk with those who manufacture the products. Really a great opportunity.
I have been attending the PRI show for 5 years now and one of the things I always make sure I do is thank those who spend the time to speak with me at the show. You see, the show consists of thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of people, that’s a lot of people in lots of discussions. During our conversations we do the trade show shuffle where they may scan our badge, capture our email address or exchange business cards, but how do I make sure I stand out. I follow up with them after the show.
Following up after the show is easy, but it does take some effort on your part. For me, I spend the time going through the catalogs and business card I collected during the show and select the ones I’m interested in learning more about or would like to create a stronger relationship with. I then sit down and write each of them an email thanking them for spending the time with me, maybe a small excerpt about what I learned from them and how I look forward to working with their company in the future. I personally just completed my list of 50 companies last night and have already heard back from four companies acknowledging my appreciation for their time. This is a small thing, but in times when thousands of people are knocking on your door looking for stuff, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd.
So the take away from this is say hi to everyone to show them you’re interesting, and use good old fashion etiquette as a closer to make them remember you.