Today, we continue our discussion on how to achieve success as a first-year agent by considering the value of recruiting.

About a week ago, on May 25, we discussed the fact that about half of all agents certified last summer didn’t have a client in the 2015 draft. I don’t mean they didn’t have a player drafted, and I don’t mean they didn’t have a player signed to a UDFA deal. They didn’t even sign a player eligible for the 2015 NFL draft. Think about that. I doubt that was there goal when they spent about $5,000 to pass a test and get certified. There are three reasons this happens to agents.

1. They don’t know how to reach players. Many come into the business thinking the NFLPA, or colleges, or someone is going to provide them with this XL spreadsheet of cell phones, emails and the like for draftable players local to them. Nope.

2. They’re intimidated by the process. If they reach out to their local college and try to make nice, normally the school makes them promise not to talk to any of the players until they walk off the field for the last time. That’s a no-doubt recipe for failure. If they do get hold of players, what do they say? “Hi. How’s it going? Um, I don’t have any NFL clients, and I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’d like you to place your dreams of playing in the NFL in my hands.” That can be scary.

3. It’s so much easier to sign players that call you. Once a contract advisor gets certified, his phone and email are listed on the NFLPA site. Then, come December, every player who’s not getting recruited starts down the NFLPA list. Many of them have compelling stories about why they aren’t showing up as top-ten prospects on the various draft sites, and it’s easy to get seduced by this. However, if you’re not careful, you’ve spent $10,000 training and preparing a player you never should have signed. These players are the ‘junk mail’ of the business. If a player’s recruiting you, how badly do you think you’re going to have to ‘recruit’ the NFL to sign him?

If you’re considering getting into this business, understand that you can’t stand on the wall and hope the pretty girl asks you to dance. You also have to understand that rejection is going to be part of the business; after all, when you get right down to it, this job is commission sales. Identify a player you feel has a shot, figure out a way to contact him, and get after it. You have to. You don’t want to waste Year 1 of your budding agent career.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a story illustrating this, and we’ll continue our discussion.

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