First and foremost, there has to be an authentic fit. Does the athlete align with a brand’s mission and objectives? Are they a culture fit? Are they interested in each other’s growth?
Once you can get past the hurdle of identifying natural fits, you must be able to paint the picture. Sales is a transfer of conviction from one to the other. Do you believe in the athlete you are pitching? Do you think there is natural synergy? Are you willing to spend the time necessary to uncover a brand’s needs and wants?
Before trying to pitch some cookie cutter service or slapping a campaign onto an unidentified need, spend time uncovering what a brand is trying to achieve by partnering with an athlete. Think about when you go to the doctor. When you go to the doctor feeling sick, you may have an idea of what’s wrong but are most likely not qualified to self-diagnose. The doctor will come in and ask you questions around your symptoms and how you’re feeling. Through casual conversation, the doctor will spend time identifying your symptoms, potential exposures and what may be causing the problem. After spending time discovering, the doctor retreats to their office, brainstorming ways to solve the problem. Once the doctor has found a solution, they come back to the patient with a plan on how they can become better.
Have you ever questioned the fact that going to the doctor you are effectively sold pharmaceutical drugs?
The process of going to the doctor and selling brand deals go hand in hand. In order to effectively sell, approach potential brand partners in a collaborative manner. Your end goal should be to genuinely help them accomplish their goals.
Good businesses create value for their clients; Great businesses make their clients more valuable. When you shift your perspective from how can I sell something of value to how can I sell something that makes a client more valuable, sales become effortless. Think about ways you can increase overall brand equity. If a business owner or marketer is looking for ways to connect customers to their brand mission, find ways for athletes to become missionaries. If a business is struggling with employee turnover and camaraderie, maybe suggest including athletes in team bonding activities or sharing a personal story. If a business is looking to give their customers an unforgettable shopping experience, setting up an autograph signing or a fan engagement event is a great way to turn fan affinity into action.
At the end of the day, your job is to serve the brand partners you work with. Find ways to make them more valuable by asking questions that uncover their mission and goals. Once you understand their target, you can begin to brainstorm ways to help them get there.