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Recruiting Sports Agents

Making Yourself Available

As most of us know, being an agent is a 24/7 job. One obstacle that I encountered while attempting to conduct informational interviews with various agencies, was being able to actually talk to the agent instead of a secretary or leaving a voicemail . I made phone calls to over twenty-five different agencies in and around the state of Ohio. I only spoke with two agents within the two weeks that I had been making phone calls. I understand how busy these agents are, as I said, it is a 24/7 job. Think about this, though: What if I had been a potential client, searching for an agent? I certainly would move the two agencies that I reached closer to the top of my list. I want an agent who will give me personal attention and be available whenever needed. Remember, you work for the client; the client does not work for you.

I am sure that the current agents on this site would agree that at least one, if not more of their clients, actually sought them out as an agency. Word of mouth can be great marketing, so if you satisfy your current clients, when their friends/ teammates need an agent, your client can confidently recommend you. You never know what one connection can bring you in the end. Make yourself available, and be willing to speak with people, even if you do not recognize their name.

To go along with contacting agents/agencies, persistence can really pay off. Yes, it took numerous phone calls, and stressful moments just to get those two contacts. It was well worth it, though, and I gained a lot of insight into the business of athlete representation by simply making phone calls.

9 replies on “Making Yourself Available”

Doug,

The reason you only got to speak to two agents is because you were looking for work as an agent. Its a competitive industry. They’re not just going to take the time to talk to someone looking for a job in the industry because they are a dime a dozen. If you had been an athlete looking for an agent, believe me, more than two agents would have spoken to you on the phone.

Ryan,

Thank you for the comment. I would agree with you, if I had been an agent looking for work, but I am not. I am wrapping up my sophomore year of college at Ohio University. I was calling for informational interviews about their individual agency, as well as insights to being an agent.

I have to agree with Ryan. My secretary screens calls because I work long days. She knows that if the call sounds even remotely like it is a prospective money-making opportunity, I will take it. I enjoy helping out young job seekers or college students but I do not always have the time. Had you called me, I may have taken the call if I was having a slight lull that day or I may have not taken it if I was busy. For you to criticize agents for not taking your call does not bode well for your future. My guess is that the majority of those you called would love to sit down with you for hours and talk about their business, but that is impractical for many people. Once you get out of school you will find that time is money. In addition, you will find out that random phone solicitations can get frustrating for anyone running a business and one immediately develops a healthy wall of cynicism. If you cornered the agent at a symposium or seminar or event, you would be far more likely to have a conversation.

Jason,

Thanks for the advice and information. I do want to state again, that I was not calling for employment. Also, as I mentioned, I completely understand that being an agent can a beyond busy 24/7 job. With that said, I am not criticizing agents for not taking time out of their day to talk to talk. The intent of these calls was for information about the individual agencies, and insights to being an agent. Along with that, I shared what I learned from each conversation with the International Sports Agent Organization on campus. These conversations were added to a contact list, and are possible future guest speakers.

I did say in my introductory post (http://sportsagentblog.com/2010/05/03/the-new-kid-on-the-block/) if you missed it, that I am here to learn as well. I learned something from those calls, even the one’s that did not lead anywhere. In the end, I had one of the agents call me immediately after he missed my call, and I spoke with him for nearly an hour. It was a great learning experience, and that’s what I was after. I have five more years until I am eligible to be an NFL agent, and it’s never too early to start learning. Thanks again Jason.

doug –

piece of advice.. dont waste your time being an nfl agent.
very few kids drafted, very short careers and tough kids to deal with

a piece of advice for yourself, always return calls no matter how stupid it is.
when leaving a message – always leave your cell phone -so people know they can text you back and tell you when they are available.

most relationships start with somebody with power taking the time to call somebody back and end the end it is usually benefical for both parites.

Still, your argument proves my point. An agent will not want to give insights into someone who may compete with them one day. They want to make the industry less competitive. And like Jason said, time is money. Therefore, cold calling an agency for information about being an agent is probably going to garner less of a response from an agent than if you either asked about employment or asked them to speak at a specific event. I’m sure some wouldn’t mind talking to your organization especially to promote their agency. However, many do not have the time. I understand that you are not criticizing agents for taking time out of their day to talk to you, but the post speaks for itself. Agents who read this and see your name are not going to want to talk to you about anything.

Bobby,

Thanks for the advice, it is appreciated.

Ryan,

I understand what you are saying completely. I understand how competitive the industry is. As I said, I learned from those that did not call back, or take the calls. One of those lessons is exactly what you are saying, competition. Thanks again.

It’s basically impossible to get that sort of attention as someone wanting to break into the industry. I tried and tried to create opportunities, even with personal contacts who referred me to them, it was hard. It’s a weird line of business, where you basically have to make moves and add value from the start, even though under common sense you (1) should not be expected to immediately and (2) realistically have so many hurdles to surpass it’s ridiculous. Most agents in all respects can do everything they see as essential on their own, thus an apprentice or even an intern is useful to a small extent. Now, firms do differ and many will take on interns (of course), but very few work directly under an agent and learn the ‘real’ aspects of the industry.

I lucked out, but it came through persistence. So you’re on the right track, because persistence is what will keep you at it 24/7.

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