The Sniper TechniqueThis technique is utilized when you are looking at one, and only one, company for endorsement as a sponsored rider. In this case, you need to have as much groundwork laid as possible before you even consider contacting them. A very methodical and logistically inclined personality is highly tuned towards this method. Have a very strong sponsorship package ready and, before you even send it to them, start sending them e-mail updates about how the riding is going, what you think of their products, etc… Link to them from your social networking sites and act as a (non-sanctioned) resource when people ask about their boards on forum communities.
If you get sick photos and video, send them links, keep them informed and involved in what you are doing and show just as much interest in what the company is doing. When you get someone to pick up one of their boards, let the companies know you hooked it up. Ask about board development, new gear that they will be releasing and learn all about their technologies. If they sponsor events in your area, attend! Get well informed about who works for the company and who you need to contact to really promote yourself with them. Make a list of contacts and who does what. Always keep in touch with them about what is going on, if you feel like it’s too much back off a little bit.
When you feel ready, when you’re as close as you can get to the company, pull the trigger. Send them a formal letter along with your sponsorship package. In your bio, make the content very concentric to the company you are contacting. Let them know what you have done in the past and let them know what you would do for them in the future. Include as many concepts you can think of that would allow you to help promote the company. Present yourself as an asset to their business and as a full bore skater who would do anything for a sponsorship opportunity.
The Shotgun TechniqueThis technique is more aimed at a semi-accomplished person, someone with a lot of presence and either is somewhat well known or is heavily involved in a local, national or international scene. If you are generally good with people and can present yourself well, then this is the method for you.
Again, a strong sponsorship package is a good start, as is knowing who you want to contact and at which companies. This technique is for when you are possibly looking at a number of different companies for sponsorship, so your sponsor package should be more geared towards overall skating experience and knowledge. Make note of all events attended and experiences where you interfaced with the public as a representative of skating. A multi disciplinarian will have an easier time putting together the amount of information into a bio that this method requires. If applicable, add any involvement you’ve had with product design and testing on any level. Let them know you’re an informed rider already prepared to provide services they can’t get from any other rider.
More ammo for use in regard to this technique: any association with online event promotion, a video submission site, community site or a very active social networking page. There is no way to quantify the value of these aspects of your sponsorship package but with the changing nature of the way advertising is done, a grassroots rider with a healthy following online is an amazing asset to a company. Many companies will see the value.
Get it all together and send it out to as many companies as you can think of. See what comes back to you! The big benefit of this method of sponsorship is that if one companies denies you, you just move on. The down-side is that you have less of a personal relationship established.
The Brute Force TechniqueThis technique is dangerous, very dangerous. It should only be attempted by one and only one personality type. Here are a few questions for you to ask yourself: have you ever been told you are annoying? Have you ever been punched in the face and not known why? Do you change circles of friends often? If you answered yes to any of these three questions, please skip the next three paragraphs as this technique is not for you; you simply don’t have what it takes to pull off this technique. If you’re still reading, here are some enforcing personality traits you will need: charged, friendly, energetic, animated, easily entertained, very forgiving, persistent, magnetic and funny. Funny helps a great deal.
Throw away the sponsor package; don’t worry about qualifying yourself or writing a bio or any of that nonsense. Just pick a company and... (read the second page)