How To Be A Great Sports Agent–Signing Prospects Part 2 – Forbes
There are thousands of people who possess the skill set to help athletes in their careers, but without the ability to attract and sign athletes, actually practicing as a sports agent will simply stay an unfulfilled dream. The first step is to have a philosophy and principles which guide your business. My approach has been to understand an athlete’s deepest anxieties and fears and greatest hopes and dreams and bond at a deep level, and then to emphasize role modelling and second career development in addition to a successful sports career. This is possible by peeling back the layers of surface responses to truly get to know an athlete’s real motivations in life.
How does that athlete prioritize: 1)short-term economic gain 2)long-term economic security 3)family 4)geographical considerations 5)spiritual values 6)profile and recognition 7)helping others 8)being a starter 9)winning 10)quality of coaching 11)facilities, and many more. This will help you speak to that individuals true concerns. Create a profile of the type of athlete and family that you think will be attracted by your approach. In 1975 I represented the first pick in the NFL draft, QB Steve Bartkowski and negotiated the largest rookie contract ever. In 1976 I did not profile potential prospects and had a reasonable draft class, but no first round picks. I realized that if I had not figured out and researched the family and player first, my pitch would be falling on deaf ears, but with the right athlete and family I would have a high success rate. Sixty-one first round NFL Draft picks, eight of whom were the first overall pick has proved this concept correct.
Everyone thinks that the essential skill in recruiting is verbal persuasion, it is not. The critical skill is research and LISTENING. Picking up on the cues from the player and family as to what is crucial to them and speaking to those issues is the key. Also emphasize what distinguishes your practice from the mass.
You may have the opportunity to send materials prior to meeting with a family or player and the quality of the materials may determine whether you make the cut to an actual presentation to parents and the player himself. Create materials and make a presentation that highlight your background, past clients, and experience. If you are just breaking in, show background by analogy that is transferable. How can you compete against bigger firms? Remember, athletes covet personal attention, many do not want to be just another number in a large practice. The key is trust. When I began there was not even an established field of sports agency, teams could hang up the phone and say, “We don’t deal with agents.” In your materials and presentation create a timeline for a draftee that takes him or her from the moment of the meeting through the draft. Show how they will train for the testing process and demonstrate your keen familiarity with every aspect of the testing. Lay out your approach to marketing and branding. Emphasize what steps you will take to guide the player seamlessly towards their second career.
You need to make a decision whether you are going to handle financial planning in house or refer clients to a Union certified planner. If you do not have someone in your group with real experience in tax planning, budgeting, financial planning, willing to teach and empower. You will be asked about financial planning.
When you are asked to present to the player and screeners you may have no more than an hour to plead your case. Make sure that you have memorized every pertinent fact and date that possibly could be relevant to the athlete’s situation. It is not malpractice to need to look something up, but being able to give an answer without hesitation builds the concept of you as an expert.
Part 3 next week How To Close.
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