After hours of conversation I've managed to compile a list of five traits that sponsors are looking for: Loyalty, Dependability, Motivation/Drive, Dedication and Results. It's funny that results was the least often mentioned, and usually only when I asked how does someone get your attention. The feeling I got was that results are secondary to the other traits.
Stay tuned for our five part miniseries on what sponsors are looking for.
We aren't necessarily talking brand loyalty, though much like on a job resume if you're sponsored by five shops in five seasons, there might be some questions floating around that you're going to need good answers to. The loyalty many sponsors are looking for is the kind that develops out of a working relationship, either with the team or with local dealers, over time.
"What I'm looking for more than anything," says Yamaha's Bryan Hugdins. "Is (dealer) loyalty. I look and see what the rider's past says. Does he have a good relationship with his dealer? Has her dealer been supporting her? If so then I might be willing to help him or her out." The examples he used were the Yamalube/Schrader's MX team in Saskatchewan and the Yamaha/Machine Racing team in Ontario.
"Both teams have long history with their riders, supporting them with their own money," Hudgins goes on to say. "I like seeing the relationship, and the bond, riders have with their dealers. Often times I know the Yamaha dealers better than I know the riders, I have working relationships with them, so I depend on them to let me know who is worth supporting and who might be a riskier investment."
"Never burn your bridges," says Guy Giroux, a veritable local legend in the FMSQ, though he has raced all kinds of two wheeled sports, including motocross and super moto. "It is so important to not burn your bridges because you never know what might be coming around the corner. People in this industry move around, a lot, but generally stay within the industry. Someone you bad mouthed as a former sponsor might be your boss later on."
Check back tomorrow when we talk about the second trait that sponsors are looking for in prospective riders.