At the second meeting you should have artwork that suggests just how their name/logo will fit on the race car, the hauler, the uniforms, and even the equipment. Remember all of it is subject to negotiations. The sponsor always gets a say in what is being created.

Something that is often forgotten by racers who are not experienced at sponsorship is the contract. There should always be a contract. They will want one and you should want one. It shows what you will be doing and what they will be responsible for. It will outline the payment arrangements. No one gives you all the money up front. Most likely, almost guaranteed, they will want their attorneys to review the contract and often when it is returned it will not look much like the one you gave them.

When it comes to the guts of the contract be realistic about the money you are requesting. A sponsor should not be asked to pay for building a new race car from scratch. Pricing the sponsorship should be based on the value of what you deliver.

Also often forgotten, especially if you are talking about a serious amount of money, is the attention that will be paid to your reputation and credit status. Many sponsorship deals are lost when a racer is found to have a questionable reputation or doesn't have a good credit standing.

Never promise to do something that you can't guarantee. You can't guarantee to win a race, a championship, or have the sponsor's name used by the announcer, and so on. You can offer to make the effort to make all those things happen but you can't guarantee it, so don't promise it. There are many things that you can guarantee and that should be more than enough to sell the sponsorship.

Almost forgotten, but a key point, is the attire you wear to the meetings. You can never overdress, but you can underdress. Wear a jacket and tie. Be clean shaven unless, of course, you have a well-trimmed beard. Look like a professional. You might just be amazed to know how important that is.

For the racer who is successful in signing the sponsorship the real work begins. You will have to start immediately protecting your sponsorship from others who will be making a serious effort to steal the sponsor away from you. Even the sanctioning organizations that you race with will be looking for an opportunity to attract your sponsor to one of their programs.

One of the best ways to protect your sponsorship is to make sure both sides understand what has to be done and who will be doing it. At a time when we have so many communication tools (telephone, email, fax, and so on) communication seems to have become a lost art. You have to keep the sponsor informed on a regular basis as to what you are doing and the sponsor has to be doing its best to activate the sponsorship.

What should be done could be the subject of another entire story. We hope that we have, with this article, got you started on your way to be successful in attracting that elusive sponsorship in this sluggish economy. Good luck to you.