you have to have a lot of things done to your car before you can even begin to approach sponsors. They want to know that you are going to be a benefit to them, and that they are going to get some kind of return on their investment of time or money.
It'd be cool to have sponsors. I would just hate knowing there is an obligation for me to put my car in a car show. It'd be a burdon knowing that any time. Even if I am busy already. They want the car in a show, you got to be there.
But yeah. Like DaBears said. You got to have alot of shit already done. They are not interested in sponsoring a stock factory car. They want to know that the stuff they hook you up with will be done tastefully on the car. and not riced to hell.
Then you have these company's that say if you pay them $150 they'll get you free crap and sponsors. Those are scams man. So don't fall for that. it's not that easy
You'll want to put together a nice proposal giving your background about yourself, what you have done to your car, what are your plans for your car, shows planned, magazine coverage planned,... Then you want a separate section dedicated to explaining how you and your car can benefit that company by providing you with discounted or free products.
When I started sending out proposals, i would send them to their general emails (doing this is very difficlut, because you never know if it will make it to the right person). I sent out dozens of emails and calls to companies and some committed to my project, but most of them initially did not. As DaBears2k said, once one company gives their support, then other companies will feel comfortable with backing you as well.
As for the committment, each sponsorship is different. Most I have do not require I attend this or that show, I place what plans I have and they are usually pleased with that (10+ shows, including larger shows such as SEMA IAS, Philly and NY Auto Shows,...).
Now, if you have the opportunity, going to either SEMA or SEMA IAS, you get the chance to speak to the marketing reps with hundreds of companies. At that point you let them hear your proposal (see it as well), and get their business card and follow up.
It isn't easy and you need to have things done to your car, unless you have already made strong contacts and they trust you with your vision of your new car. If you want any help, please feel free to PM me and I'll help the best I can [review your proposal and give ideas....I can't give my proposal out, because it wouldn't be fair...I've spent hours (a lot of them) making it better and just can't give it out, sorry.]
Yeah the easiest route is usually working for the company....My friend works for volco tires and sells motegi wheels, The motegi rep always comes in every month and they chat it up..... And within a year he got a set of free wheels for his car and his car was in the motegi wheel booth at the auto show! Just awsome!
i've had 9 different sponsorships at one point or another from xm to zapco. none of them for performance parts though they were all audio. pioneer, zapco, xm, atomic for a few but that's been a couple of years. sponsorships are a bitch to get and in all honesty, unless you have another car to drive around not worth it. if you have your sponsorship car out one night and happen to mess something up they paid for, you can get in big trouble.
I'll agree, you have to mod the hell out of your car for anyone to even look at it. Then you have to approach them about it in the right way, or you're going nowhere. It's an investment for them, that's what you have to sell, is that basically you're trying to help them out, so they help you out.
Not all sponsorships are composed of getting free stuff. Alot of them basically, you just get a discount. A nice one at that, or it should be anyways, mine have been.
It also helps if you know the people that are sponsoring you, like get to know the owners of the business, etc. That's what I did w/ this bodyshop that sponsored me back in Tx.
I would defiently write up a proposal like was described before. But stick to local comapnies at first. To get a feel for things. how to talk to the reps, and sell yourself, So on. Before you even try moveing on to the big companies and their reps.
Plus, If you get sponosred by said local paint shop. They hook ya up with a custom paitn job. you do some local shows with the local sponosrs. You will have sort of a background and history when going in to a larger, full on company like Motegi or Hiboost or who the hell else.
So when they see you how you've handled yourself with local sponsors. So on. Local shows. They will see that you have some experience and are already showing the car with some local love. They will then be more apt to hook you up as well. As opposed to just walking in with a stock 6 that has a CAI and saying SPONSOR ME HIBOOST, I WANT A FREE TURBO...
Plus if you have a 6. or any other car thats not modded to hell on the streets everywhere like honda's are. It might not be to hard to get some local shops to pitch in and throw a local sponsor your way. Just so they can have a unique car like a 6 that will stand out from the thousands of normal tricked out rides like Honda's and Mitsubishis and so on. If the car is unique and not the same cookie cutter model car more people will check it out becasue it's not the same HONDA or whatever. Which means more people will see the company logo's and there job they did with the paint and so on bringing them more business.
I say your first stop should be a local custom autobody/paint shop's and local Tuner stores if you have any or local tuner garages.
Learn to crawl before you try to run man. Start small and go from there. thats the best way to go.