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3 Skills You Didn’t Know You Need to Be a Sports Agent

Becoming a sports agent usually isn’t a career path people actively and proactively select; indeed, reading the bios of a number of the more famous, globally recognized sports agents, a number of these men and women almost fell backward into the gig. Usually trained as lawyers first, the most famous agents practiced some branch of law that exposed them to professional athletes (asset management, perhaps) were asked to negotiate their next deal, and suddenly they became the agent of that athlete, as well as, the agent of his friends on an ongoing basis. If you are a lawyer here in our great city blessed with two of every major sports team and you think you have the goods to make it representing the best talent in sports entertainment, take your shot and start networking in circles where you can gain exposure to professional athletes. Yes, the odds are slim, but you have nothing to lose by trying. Likely you also have a great “go to plan B.” I say nothing ventured, nothing gained. Clearly an agent needs strong negotiation, analytical and relationship management skills, but what else? Here are three skills that you might not immediately associate with what an agent does.

Jerry Maguire (Photo: TriStar Pictures)

Here are the skills you need to have in order to be the next Jerry Maguire (Photo: TriStar Pictures)

A heightened sense of empathy
Professional athletes have egos that are a lot more fragile than they let on; and a substantial part of an agent’s job is to instill confidence in his client no matter what. An athlete’s guard is a lot tougher to penetrate hence the need for an even stronger ability to notice that something’s wrong.

Outstanding math skills
How can an agent negotiate from a position of strength without being deeply rooted and aware of the numbers, as well as, the comparable worth of his client against his peers? An agent can certainly outsource this to a junior associate, but the best agents can also do it themselves.

Creative marketing means diverse endorsements
You wouldn’t think of a sports agent as a premier marketing genius, but many of the best can hang with the most creative minds on Madison Avenue. When it comes to finding alternative promotional opportunities for his most promising clients a great agent will quickly identify opportunities with crossover appeal.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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