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Lessons From Selling Sponsorship for Cross-Atlantic ROW240 Expedition

4 minute read

Nick Southwood, a Land Prospector with Quintas Energy, who also has years of experience in business development, is a member of Row240: His team will be rowing the Atlantic Ocean from Lanzarote to Antigua in January 2025. It's 3,000 miles and will take approximately 50 days. Here we find out what lessons can be learned from selling to potential sponsors, and what sales can learn from his team’s exploits.  

We won’t make a profit and we won’t break even. If I were to try and raise funds for a business with those 2 points, I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t get too far but that is the position I’m in. I’m not starting a business. However, I am organising an expedition to row the Atlantic in January 2025 with our team, Row240. 

It’s an expensive occupation to even get to the start line, the rowing bit is fairly straightforward and hopefully the weather will be kind to us. Raising money via generous sponsors is much the same as business development only this time we are effectively selling advertising space on the outside of an ocean rowing boat. Seems quite simple.  

The importance of a sales narrative 

In sales you will have a narrative to attract your prospective client, you will have done your homework about the important aspects of their business, and you will want to address the challenges they have to demonstrate that the product or service you provide will enhance their enterprise. When Row240 approaches potential sponsors, they don’t need to be a nautical business at all, they will identify with the adventure and the marketing opportunities it brings to their brand. It’s a 2-way street/boat lane. 

Row240 is telling a story to attract new sponsors. We want the sponsors to believe that what we’re doing in some way aligns with their values; adventurous spirit, fortitude and fun thrown in with an element of danger and excitement. These are things which give life an edge and hopefully sponsors will feel that it will give their brand an edge too as they will most definitely see their logo in some very unusual places and situations! 

Make good, positive relationships 

The world of business development is not too tricky as long as you have a product or service you totally believe in so do not under any circumstances go in half-cocked if you don’t have faith in what you’re promoting as you will be found out sooner rather than later.  

Make good, positive relationships and never walk away when the sale has been done; maintain that relationship as it’s good for you, the business you represent and allows your client to feel that they have bought into something different and possibly refer you to new business contacts. Never assume you’re finished when the invoice is paid. 

Life-affirming adventure 

Twenty times more people have climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic, perhaps for very good reason, but it’s definitely a story that creates a narrative when speaking with potential sponsors. They may not be coming along for the ride, but they do need to feel that they’re onboard with the adventure and can use our boat, Trilogy, as a vehicle (quite literally) as a way to promote their brand whatever that brand might be. If they share some of the same spirit as Row240 then life-affirming adventure can only be a good thing for everyone concerned. 


By Nick Southwood, Land Prospector with Quintas Energy, experienced in business development, and a member of member of Row240. 


Finally, we are a team of 3 and wouldn’t mind a 4th person to join us. If that’s you then drop me a line if you would like a chat: 

If you are interested in being a sponsor, big or small or simply make a donation, please email me, and/or take a look at our website, 

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