Securing sponsorships, part 2

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Kurt Mazurek (left) sharing time with Shimano pro staff members Jonathan Van Dam and David Walker.

Last time, I gave you the basics for building a good résumé and cover letter. I hope that you got started on the résumé and are now thinking about the cover letter.

Editor's note: Read part 1.

To better prepare you for that and what lies ahead, let’s hear what a few key pro staff managers have to say on securing sponsorships. 

All are with powerhouse companies whose brands are leaders within their respective categories, and they deal with new applicants on almost a daily basis … so listen close. 

A foot in the door

Representing the largest lure manufacturer in the world, Rapala pro staff manager Dan Quinn says he gets upwards of 1,000 applications each year. To sort through them all, he looks for key qualities in every applicant.

“We’re looking for people who can relate to the public, media and our dealer network. Sure, it helps if they’re really good at catching fish, but that’s hardly the most important factor,” he points out. “It’s a combination of qualities that’s likely to get them a second look.”

Rapala, like a number of other companies, has created an entry-level program to help determine who the best grass roots candidates may be. It’s largely performance based and, for Quinn, it separates true prospects from mere wannabes.

“We offer a VIP program through our website, which entitles applicants to purchase product at a discount,” states Quinn. “By signing up for the program, it enters their name into the system where they can later be evaluated, based on their performance. So, if a VIP member demonstrates an ability to generate exposure or help increase sales through key dealers in a specific area or market, we’ll see it.