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Author: Blake Thompson

My Journey of Becoming A Sponsored Bass Angler

I have been fortunate in all my adventures to have some form of sponsorship. Not all of my sponsor are the same and each one helps me in different ways. I get asked all the time what's the best way to go about getting sponsors, or even the it must be nice. I work very hard for each one and each company deserves it. I will try to put my thoughts into words here to help you out in the future. I am going to go over what I have learned and I know from talking with my sponsors or potential sponsors, from very large to very small. Here are some do’s and don’t in no particular order but my concern is that young anglers don’t have anyone teaching them the in’s and out’s of sponsorship and to put it in simple terms, it’s not a free ride, it’s a business partnership. One where you have to do the very best for the business you are representing and in return they help you with whatever you and the company work out but it’s not a free ride for either.

Here are some Examples...

  1. • It has nothing to do with how well you fish or what trails you fish. Your ability to fish doesn't really help a lot of businesses in this industry. Your ability to sell does. 
  2. • Know and own the products of the company you are approaching.
  3. • Have a business plan on how you are going to increase sales for the business. Not a “I will wear it/fish it and show my friends.” Have a true business plan that has goals for you and the business. 
  4. • This isn't about you. It’s about you and the company and it has to be a true partnership. 
  5. • Don’t get complacent once you get on board. 
  6. • Don’t ever dog a competitor or competitor business to the company you’re approaching. 
  7. • Check in on a regular basis to see if there is anything that you can do to help. Volunteer time to help with the company if you are close. 
  8. • Once you get on with a company, don’t hop around just looking for the best deal. It’s not always about the best deal but rather a relationship. 
  9. • Be very mindful of what you say and post on social media. Private or bass fishing page. As a business owner I hate to see lots of negative social media. 
  10. • Don’t send a 34 page resume talking about everything from club wins to every tournament placement. Talk about yourself, job, family, future and once again… plan. 
  11. • Don’t act like you are doing the business a favor by asking them for assistance. Humbleness will go a long way. 
  12. • No need for boat and tow vehicle pics….it means nothing.
  13. • I had rather have a guy that places dead last but can sell my product in the parking lot before and after the tournament by talking to other anglers. 
  14. • Schedule weekly or bi-weekly emails or phone calls with sponsors to just let them know you are still holding up your end. 
  15. • Realize that any business that either gives you product or gives you a discount is cutting their bottom line financially by having you be a part. Regardless of how little the discount is or how much product it is it equals $ to them. 
  16. • You have to be a part of the team and feel like a part of the team. Get in work hard and see what happens. If you feel like you aren't getting what you were promised then speak up. Don’t just go off ranting and raving about the business not holding up their end. Make contact and remind them as they may be swamped with business and family life just like the rest of the world. 
  17. • Don’t drown your social media with sponsorship stuff. It’s like mayonnaise. Too much and people gag and not enough and you can’t taste it. 
  18. • Spellcheck and grammar check anything that you send a company. Have someone help if you’re not sure. 
  19. • Listen to criticism if they respond back. If you send a crappy request and resume don’t expect a response. Companies are bombarded with request so SET YOURSELF APART. I am sure there are more but we want everyone to be successful in this industry and we want to point people in the right direction. Take time if you’re going to ask for sponsorship. Don’t send a 3 line e-mail asking for free stuff. Make yourself a part of the company you are going after and if you do what your are suppose to you’ll be surprised how many companies may come to you. Hopefully this helps someone in the future as we all need a little guidance. 
Tight lines, Blake


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