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So you want to find a Sponsor?

You've really gotten into Jr. Dragster racing, you love the sport, and you'd love to move up a notch in competition. But everything is just so darned e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e!!! Mom and Dad groan when you mention the need for more speed, and your other sponsorship consists of your paper route.

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You see other junior racers at the track, cars sporting flashy paint jobs with their sponsors prominently featured on the side, and wonder, how do they get those sponsors to help them with their racing programs? Are they just lucky or what?

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Maybe luck plays a part for some racers, but the best bet is that they have done a lot of leg work and research to make sponsors want to come on board their team.

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Businesses won't sponsor your Jr. Dragster operations because you tell them "I need the money". Businesses are concerned with promoting their business's image and getting their name out in front of prospective customers. It's your job to convince the potential sponsor that a sponsorship relationship with you will benefit H-I-M. If you bring a potential sponsor a proposal that details how Y-O-U intend to help promote H-I-S business, he is much more likely to be interested in helping you with sponsorship dollars or with products you can use in your racing endeavors.

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Think of it as a sales job, because that is really what it is. You should be able to show your sponsor a nice looking, well-kept car, and a record of both your racing and promotional achievements. Be clean cut and present a professional image. Remember, when you are out in public representing your sponsor, you are a direction reflection on the sponsors business, and the way they view you when you make your proposal will be the image they will be showing the public. A sloppy or unkempt appearance will be a major turn off for sponsors, so look your best! And yes, Y-O-U the Jr. driver, as the central part of the race team, need to make the proposal yourself. It's okay to take Mom or Dad with you for moral support, but YOU should do the talking. After all, you'll be the one talking to the public when showing your car and promoting the sponsors business. Practice, practice, practice your selling points until you are comfortable. Take a deep breath, look the sponsor in the eye and S-M-I-L-E.

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In your proposal, offer to show your car at the sponsor's business. Offer to attend local car shows, visit schools, and show your car in community parades or events. Give your sponsors regular updates on the team's performance and accomplishments. Set goals for the coming racing season and keep your sponsors apprised of your progress. If you are mentioned in an article in the press, make copies for your sponsors. The more effort you put into promoting your sponsors, the more willing they will be to help you, and continue to do so. Make sure you make good on any agreements you make when entering into a sponsorship agreement. If you say you'll show your car in the Annual Community Parade, DO IT!!!

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Be creative in your thinking when planning your list of potential sponsors to approach. Automotive related businesses are often strong supporters of racing, but other local businesses such as restaurants and stores may also be interested. Businesses with products targeted at the youth market would be an excellent fit - all kids loved the McDonald's Top Fuel teams, why not a Chucky Cheese Jr. Dragster?

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Good luck with your sponsorship search. Remember, the harder you work at it, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. And never, ever, ever be afraid to ask: after all, the worst they can say is no.

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