The exposure athletes receive throughout their careers, particularly through the media, gives them a unique appeal to various sponsors across multiple sectors.

It is vital that you and your athletes understand sponsors’ motivations and what they can offer before engaging or agreeing a deal with them.

The Athlete365 Personal Brand Toolkit is a great resource that will complement the existing skillset of your athletes in their search for sponsorship.

1. Understand why companies sponsor

Sponsoring athletes is a great way for organisations to demonstrate the many positive characteristics associated with athletes at the highest level. Your athletes can help organisations to change or maintain their image with consumers. When it comes to sponsorship, though, organisations have many reasons to engage in the relationship – so it’s your job to make sure that your athletes aren’t underselling themselves.

Hear from former professional cricketer and sponsorship expert Chris Paget on what brands are looking for in athletes.

2. Prepare by building an audience

Unless they are a household name like Usain Bolt or Serena Williams, your athletes need to create a following beyond the people who may see them compete. Social media has proved an excellent platform in allowing athletes to positively showcase their story, personality, character, grit and dedication. Having thousands of followers online is a ready-made audience that will attract sponsors, so make sure that your athlete is actively engaging with fans online.

Your athletes should think of a sponsorship arrangement like a relationship. In any relationship, you need to understand the investment each has in the other, the cost and benefits, and essentially the objectives of both parties.

Your athletes should be looking at what an organisation values – what it stands for, what its mission is, what the vision of the corporation is.

3. Decide what kind of sponsorship your athletes want

Sponsorship deals range from getting a discount on products to receiving free products, race entries and travel expenses, all the way to getting paid. Your athletes should think of a sponsorship arrangement like a relationship. In any relationship, you need to understand the investment each has in the other, the cost and benefits, and essentially the objectives of both parties.

4. Find out who to contact

Your athletes should be looking at what an organisation values – what it stands for, what its mission is, what the vision of the corporation is. This will help them understand where the organisation may benefit from an association with an athlete and, just as importantly, will help them to decide if this sector or business is something they feel comfortable endorsing. Alongside your athlete, you should take a look at the organisation’s corporate website to determine how it is structured, and to obtain the email address and title of the best person to approach.

5. Make contact

Once your athletes have an audience, a goal, a company and their contact, they can begin formulating their actual proposal. This should be kept short, between 50 and 100 words, and to the point – stating who they are, the size and demographics of their audience, and what they are seeking. The people your athletes are contacting won’t want a biography – they will want to know what the athletes can do for them, and how much it is going to cost.

Learn even more about sponsors, social media, building your brand and more by checking out the Athlete365 Personal Brand Toolkit.