Developing sponsorships: Part 3

About the author

Chris Lane

Chris Lane

Chris Lane is a four-time winner on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion.

This time we’ll talk a little about my relationship with Bob Hembree Chevrolet here in Guntersville. It’s a different story about sponsorships with a different lesson.

Back when I first moved to Guntersville, Ala., things weren’t too good in our country from an economic point of view. The auto industry was being hit especially hard. Many dealerships didn’t know if they would be able to keep their franchises and car sales were in the tank. Heck, we didn’t even know if the auto industry itself would survive.

Despite all that I went to Bob Hembree Chevrolet here in town, introduced myself and let him know that I was available for a sponsorship. I made it a point to tell them that the deal I was hoping for would be a two-way street. I wasn’t looking for a handout. Nothing happened at first. Regardless, I stopped by the dealership every few months just to make sure they didn’t forget about me or what I could offer them.

Sure enough, over time things started to improve and recently I was able to work out a deal with them. I have a super nice truck and they have a hard working spokesman.

It’s important for everyone to understand how I view my relationship with them. My job is not to sell high-end tow vehicles. Sure, it’s nice if I can help them in that regard but let’s face the facts. There are only so many of those type vehicles that will ever be sold, even in Guntersville. My job is to promote the dealership in all respects, to help them be successful.

Anyway, that’s enough about my sponsorships for now. I hope the lessons I’ve learned over the years are of value to some of you. Now, let’s talk Many, Louisiana, food and good times.

Last week was fantastic. The people of Many are about as good as you can get, and the food is the best I’ve ever had in my life. Let’s talk about the fans first. There were thousands of them. Other than at a Classic I can hardly remember crowds like that. At the weigh-ins they cheered for everyone and showed respect for what we do. On the water they watched but never interfered. The whole thing was just about perfect.

And the food! First a big thanks to Tony Chachere and his cooking staff. I’ve eaten some good food in my life but never like this. They fixed all sorts of fish, crayfish and steaks. Everything was done just right. Now I know where the phrase “pig-out” comes from.

I want to make sure I say thanks to several of the guys I met down there, too — Lane, Dave and “Doobie.” (He was nicknamed after the Doobie Brothers music group.) They treated us like gold. Actually, everybody treated us like gold. The hospitality was wonderful. No matter where we went or what we did it was always the same. I really hope we get invited back. It was that good.

Also read parts 1 and 2.

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