Here's how to woo a client to the Winner's Circle

Today, I spoke with Gary Smith, president and CEO of custom trailer manufacturer, Kentucky Trailer. His company sponsored the seventh race at Churchill Downs today.

Smith told me the sponsorship makes sense for the business because Kentucky Trailer is a Louisville-based firm, and it gives the business a chance to participate in a big hometown event. Aside from that, he said, the sponsorship provides the company with an opportunity to court customers and friends.

When I visited the company's box in the Jockey Club Suites at Churchill Downs Friday afternoon, the seats were mostly full. Conversations about odds and horses hummed. And from a private balcony, guests were able to watch the horses on the track.

Guests are "mostly customers and/or people we would like to do business with," Smith said.

They get to come to the suite and relax, of course. But through the sponsorship, they also get the opportunity to go to the Winner's Circle following the race Kentucky Trailer sponsors.

That really makes for a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" for the client, he said.