Sports Agents

Chasing the Client

Here are my three key steps for gaining business. Follow them if you wish, or totally ignore them….

Before you get all excited, there are many more steps to the process. I can’t give away all of the trade secrets, but these three steps are the three most pivotal steps in the recruiting process.

1 – Establish contact early

2 – Develop your pitch

3 – Be honest

Here is a description of each step and how you can make sure that you dominate at each level. Just remember that your competition is trying to do the exact same thing you are.

1 – Establish contact early

I’ll admit that I have a major advantage in Canada. Athletes playing in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) have no limits as to when they can sign with an agent. Essentially I can sign a player at any time. So, when I want to establish contact early, I can. I can speak to a player and sign a player at any point. I do sign many Canadian football players who are playing D-1 football, so I know about the stringent rules in place. We all know that the role of the “family advisor” is growing in most college sports as well. Agents aren’t dealing with players directly, but they are providing families with advice. So, there is a way to go about speaking to and signing players at a young age – but, the key is establishing contact early.

How can you establish contact early? The easiest way to access a potential client is via the Universities website. About 60% of them have an easily accessible directory that offers up an e-mail address and phone number for all of their students. Use this method and you’ll have contact information for several top prospects within minutes!

2 – Develop your pitch

This is the key step. You’ve established contact early, now the potential client is starting to ask questions about you and your company. What are you going to tell him? You need to work on your pitch before you do anything else. I had to tell you but “I just graduated from law school and always wanted to be an agent” is not going to work (yes, I’m having fun taking shots at the law school enthusiasts).

What might work is “My firm currently represents 5 select clients and is looking to add another. Through our selection process we determined that you would be a great fit with our organization and we also feel that our strengths would allow for us to sell you at the next level. You will not find a more dedicated firm out there today. The fact is that nobody knows the inner workings of the league like we do and it has paid off for our firm and helped us gain the respect of several influential General Managers. In fact, I was speaking with a GM a few weeks ago and he brought up your name and insisted that I should make contact with you.”

I must start by pointing out that I’ve never used that intro, but I wanted to give you an idea of what a good one might sound like when you’re trying to establish yourself in the business. The toughest aspect to establish is credibility, especially when you’re a rookie looking to break into the market. You’ve got to convey confidence and your knowledge must shine through.

3 – Be honest

Here is the part that bothers me most. Dishonest agents. And, when I speak about dishonesty I’m not even going to get into some of the major ones. I want to hit on one that worries me the most – creating false expectations. After you make your pitch a player is going to ask you “so, where do you think I’ll end up” (or some form of that..) and you the agent needs to give him an answer. You wouldn’t believe what some players are being told. In Canada, agents run around telling college football players that they are headed to the NFL and that they (the super agent) can get them that opportunity. You must understand that a Canadian college player jumping to the NFL happens one out of every five years (Steve Morley, Israel Idonije).

When players ask you what their potential of playing at the next level might be – be honest. It sounds simple right. Why lie about something like this? Because it becomes part of the negotiation process with the player. I’m going through it right now with a potential client! He’s telling me that other agents are telling him that he can play X, and I tell him that he can play Y. Guess what, he’ll likely sign with the other guy and be disappointed when he signs with Y. I can do the same thing, but it’s not a good business practice.

– Darren Gill

3 replies on “Chasing the Client”

That’s strong advice – great insight. I’ve enjoyed your posts!

One problem with “being honest” is that as an agent I really can’t give my client an honest opinion of where he stands. So, i’ve got to educate myself as much as possible to see where he might fit in. I’m not trying to lie. Perhaps I need to find a better way to take the guesswork out of this process.

Another way to access a potential client may be through one of the popular social networking sites. As I have posted in the past, players put up a lot of their information for anybody to see on sites like and


“I had to tell you but “I just graduated from law school and always wanted to be an agent” is not going to work (yes, I’m having fun taking shots at the law school enthusiasts).”

Not sure if this was a jibe at me, but anyone that uses that as their pitch obviously won’t score any clients. Doesn’t take a member of mensa to work that one out. This isn’t really a shot, I don’t believe any “law school enthusiasts” would be so naive to believe that their JD would bag them clients alone.

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