I'm also of the opinion that these days you need to be "insta-ready", ie young, photogenic and a prolific social media user.
Most of our sponsored archers have separate accounts for their archery business - so-n-so archer - and work them daily. Sponsorship is about exposure, best value for the company for the least spend.
I know what you mean but over the years I’ve had quite a lot of free stuff (never what I’d call a full sponsorship) because I’ve had a relationship (no, not that kind of relationship!) with a company rep. Mostly they just want to know what I think about the product. I don’t splatter it on social media. I’m not photogenic. Mind you I never went into the friendship with any expectations (and at least one wasn’t even a manufacturer when I first got to know them).
Quite often I have not used the free stuff long term. Sometimes I do because I like it.
The ”relationship” be it in person, virtual; be it dealer or company; will help you if you ever have problems with something.
But be realistic, if you are up and coming - say County level aiming at international level - your opportunity lies with “some support” from a dealer to whom you have loyalty. Not loyal? Don’t expect any help. Once you are international your options open up (but still probably not what you think until you are on the podium at international events).
I agree with Stretch above, whilst I did strike gold with one of my students I have a very good relationship with another supplier of archery gear, who doesn't supply what she needed. I never ask for a discount, but there have been more than a few times I've been given stuff at a very good price, as have some of the people I've recommended to this supplier.
Again I never ask or promise a discount, but sometimes it's offered.