I am going to attempt to take you through this process, but before I begin I am going to lay a few rules down. If you are only interested in free product and nothing more, you might as well just sit yourself down on a street corner and start begging, because unfortunately that is not how it's going to work. If you are truly dedicated and believe you have a car that has what it takes ('cause let me tell you the competition is fierce), then read on my friends.
Okay, first thing's first: do you truly have a worthy car? Don't forget you are competing against thousands of cars from all over the U.S. (and maybe even beyond), so what makes your car so unique that a company will really stand up and take notice? Sorry guys and gals, but if all you have is a wing and Altezza's - you're going to be told to put another $5K+ into your car and then give them a call back (all the while as they laugh in your face - trust me, this has happened! So to avoid any heartbreak and embarrassment I suggest you wait until you really have a looker on your hands.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn't all about the car. YOU are a key factor in whether or not you get picked as one of "the chosen few." True, a hot car will get their attention, but if the company doesn't feel that you can properly represent them, well you can forget it. When a company decides to sponsor you, they aren't just giving you product; they are in effect hiring you. What does all of this mean you ask? Sell not only your car in your proposal, but yourself as well. Tell them about your life (not your life history mind you) but maybe how you came to be into cars or about other passions and hobbies you have. Let them see why you would be a successful addition to their company and I don't just mean by how 'professional' you can be but how personable as well - in a nutshell, let your personality really come out.
For those of you who think an e-mail to the company is all it takes you are in for a surprise. Actually as many of you have probably discovered, this will get you nowhere, not even a kind response 99% of the time. The proper way to go about inquiring about sponsorships is first the companies website (for example, check out www.teammeguiars.com
, they have all of the rules and requirements right there at the click of a button). If there is no such information on the web and you decide to try calling do not expect to get into a conversation; call only to ask if they even have a sponsorship program, and if so who the contact would be to send the proposal to.
Ahh the dreaded proposal…this is where it all happens. After you have sold yourself and your car to the best of your ability, you will need to back it up with all of the "goods." Make sure you include a list of all of the modifications that are currently done or being done to your car (and any future plans if you feel necessary). Oh, AND the pictures to back it up. And I'm not talking about fuzzy-so-zoomed-out-you-can't-even-see-what-kind-of-car-it-is kind of pictures. I'm talking about full sized (or at least pretty close), COLOR pictures, detailed, inside and out, and from different angles. We all know cars never look as good in pictures as in person, so you have to try your best to really show it off. You will also want to include a list of all the shows you have attended, plan on attending, and all awards won. Another very important piece of information that a company looks for is media coverage. After all no one is willing to give out free product to a car that is just going to be sitting in a garage or never taken to shows (it is a nice thought though). Do you have any media coverage lined up? Have you had any in the past? Be sure to list this and if you can include a letter of intent from that source. A great show record is very important but to really make things worth their while they want to know that your car with their product and sticker(s) will be seen by thousands. Speaking of stickers, for those of you out there (and we know who you are) who believe that putting stickers on your ride is a disgraceful way to 'ruin' your car or make it "ricey," then sponsorships are not for you. Sorry but there is just no way to get around this; oh, and if you get caught without those little stickers, you face the possible consequence of losing your sponsorship that you worked so hard for - sorry guys but it's just a fact of life.
Okay so there you have it. A nice little sales presentation to send off to the company and hope that you have what it takes. After sending it off I recommend calling the company a week or so later to follow up and make sure they received it. These guys receive thousands a week, if you just send it in and 'hope for the best' you are leaving a lot of hard work and time to chance. With stacks and stacks of proposals sitting on a desk, by calling you are gently "reminding" them of your car, this will get them to pull yours out of the stack and look at it, and also show how much this really means to you. I wish you guys all the luck and remind you not to be discouraged too easily; there are many companies out there and not all will be right for you. It is possible to find a small business in your area that may be looking to get a start, or an older company that is merely looking to make their big break into the booming (but new to them) import tuner market, take advantage of this! ref by Erin Thorpe @ speedoptions.com