We all need an athlete to look up to and Benoit Huot has been that athlete for Paralympic athletes in Canada. Not only has he brought Canada 9 Paralympic Games gold medals, he has also created the Benoit Huot foundation that among many things, seeks to help Paralympic student athletes. His athletic and non-athletic activities helped him land sponsors such as Visa, CIBC and Canadian Tire. To learn more about how he was able to achieve such success, I had a chance to ask him some questions. Below are some of his answers.
Question: Who are some sponsors that have helped you in your athletic career?
Benoit: I have been very lucky over the years to receive sponsors from unique and special organizations. A sponsor can make a big difference in an athlete’s life and career. I always tried to do my best to give a win/win position for both the organization and myself. When I am lucky enough to be part of an organization, I do my best to get to know them and feel part of their family and values.
Question: How did you secure these sponsorship?
Benoit: It's never easy but you have to do your best to create a good relation with potential partners. You have to show interest about other things than your sport. I think one of the best way to start, would be to engage yourself with your community and try to always give back to a cause that is important for you. If you give back to kids by helping them realize their dreams, this could help you on the long run. It's all about making yourself available to people around you.
Question: Is it hard to get financial sponsors?
Benoit: It's never going to be easy. You need to make it a priority if it's important for you. Always have an open mind and think outside of the box.
Question: What are some recommendations that you would give to athletes who are looking for sponsors
Benoit: For athletes who are looking to take sponsorship seriously, I would recommend them to:
- Have an open mind
- Think outside of the box
- Bring something to the table - think about how you can help the organization
- Make yourself available - engage in constant communication
- Always network and build a community of supporters, business and organizations
- Try to be unique and stand out
- Be active on social media
- Be a positive role model for your community, kids and youth
Question: What do you do on Social media and how does that play a role in sponsorship?
Social media is very important. You can to maximize your presence and have positive messages coming from them. People want to get to know you better and feel that they are close to your daily routine.