Congratulations! Welcome to the team! What now?
Start by reading, signing, and returning the contract.
For perspective, most of our employees here at Fasst Company are graduates of our rider support program. They know the product and believe in it, it’s the perfect hiring pool. You don’t build relationships by asking for free stuff, you build relationships by working together. Even if it takes a few years to build a relationship, it’s more possible than most people realize and there’s a lot of value in doing so.
Rider support is surprisingly straightforward once you understand what’s important to the brands and why. Some of the metrics used to quantify the value of rider support are sales, market share, and growth. They’re obviously closely connected but analyzed separately. If you provide a measurable return in this area, your partnership is more valuable. The more value you offer, the more leverage you have with the brand. Think of yourself as an employee with an opportunity to help the brand grow. The more you give, the more you get. This is an overlooked opportunity with smaller or more personal brands.
To give you a tangible idea how sales, market share, and growth come into play:
Sales - Have you sold anything for your sponsors this year? For 2021, make it a goal to persuade 3-5 friends to purchase directly from your sponsors and mention your name while doing so. Follow up with your rep afterwards to let them know you facilitated those sales so you get credit for it.
Market Share - How many people in your riding group, town, or racing class run these products? If there are 8 people in your riding group and you’re the only one running this product, that’s barely 10% market share. Work to increase the market share for your sponsors in your inner circles. That’s a realistic way for you to move the needle.
Growth - Are more people running this product in your city, state, or region than there were last year, or the year prior? For most brands regional growth is encouraging and what we consider a “hot spot.” If you refer a few friends every year, you can start a regional hotspot all on your own. We’ve seen it happen and we’ve hired people because of it.
A big part of building the relationship is knowing how you can realistically help the company move forward. On an individual level, it’s usually best accomplished through social media, race results, and word of mouth.
Social media - Social media is one of the best tools to spread the message for your sponsors, use it to your advantage. Highlight your sponsors with product specific posts to create brand awareness with your followers. Avoid generic action shots with a short caption and a long list of sponsors. Try adding product specific posts to give each sponsor your undivided attention. Post a photo of the product and a detailed caption why you run it. If you do it well, the brand will likely share that to their pages which will help build your following. Obviously it’s still necessary to include sponsors at the end of your other race related posts, but most people scroll right past that list so you can’t rely on that to spread awareness. Product specific posts get relevant engagement from your followers who have an interest in those products. A good example is the Purvines Racing Team, every few posts they have a product specific post that highlights a certain product on their bikes and why they choose and trust this product on their bikes.
Results - In the world of social media, race results do still matter. Results are less crucial if you’re able to move the needle for sponsors through social media, but the fact is results do matter. If you’re getting your support for being a racer, getting 10th every weekend isn’t ideal, especially if you have a poor attitude about it. When you have good results it lends credibility to the products you run. Inversely, when results are poor, most riders tend to blame the bike which reflects negatively on the products you run. Be aware that your attitude reflects back on your sponsors, for better or worse. If your results are suffering, instead of blaming the bike (and consequently the products on it), take accountability and work on areas you could improve to be a better, more technical racer.
World of mouth - Make sure people in your circle know your genuine feedback on the products you run and why, it may persuade them to purchase that product. Think of your riding buddies that are most likely to benefit from this product and let them know why. A good ambassador makes it a goal to turn their closest riding buddies into fans of the brand. If at least a few of them don’t start running these products within a year or two, you may need to speak a little louder about the benefits. If you have people interested in the product, reach out to your rep to facilitate that relationship so everyone benefits and you get credit for it.
To summarize, some of the tangible things you can help the brand with to make the most out of rider support are sales, market share and growth. This is best done through social media, results, and word of mouth.
But what if you didn’t get accepted to the rider support program?
Don’t be offended and don’t get discouraged, this could actually work in your favor. Companies have a budget that only allows a certain number of rider support positions. If you get denied but believe in the product so much that you’re going to run it even if you have to pay retail price, it says a lot about how much you value this product. That brand loyalty is something we want all of our athletes to embody. If you get denied but still have plans to purchase, let the rep know. You never know, they may have a change of heart.
Building relationships can take time. Once the relationships are built, it takes a little maintenance to manage them year after year. Our next and final installment in the rider support series will discuss how to keep those relationships warm and what you can do to grow with the brand in the future.
If you have any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you. We encourage questions so don’t hesitate to reach out!
-The Fasst Family
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