Relationships change. You have to be able to change and adjust with them.
In speaking with Damien Moore, this is the main thread and theme from our conversation on December 14, 2016. The Duke University alum (from his studies as an undergraduate and from the university’s law school), along with being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is a fast-rising and highly credible presence in the field of sports management.
One of the main things he notices regarding “relationship changes” is that of how it has coincided with a change in the political climate. He observes, “You can tell a definite change from the Obama era of someone who in general is humble, composed, and focused to the current president elect who is quite the opposite. We’ve moved towards what I call the post-truth world, where people are less concerned with facts than how they are made to feel".
With a change in climate, Mr. Moore notes that prospective clients (i.e. student-athletes and their families, as well as current professional athletes), are making some key adjustments, including being more engaged in the process instead of the process being imposed on them. “There’s a growing trend of student and professional athletes and their families thinking beyond the previous client-agent model. Many more are realizing the leverage they have, ranging from the use of their social media platforms to constantly engage a growing fan base, to doing more research in determining their long-term financial potential. They are more proactive in demanding more positive spaces, places, and people and are no longer accepting the old status-quo”, he notices.
With the modern information age and a growing trend of professional athletes being more engaged and involved on issues ranging from community, political engagement, and establishing long-term security once their playing days are over (among other key issues), they are asking more questions and seeing things on a much broader scale. And this includes who they are choosing to represent them.
“There’s a stronger demand for clients to have people who reflect their demographic and socioeconomic background. There’s an increasing demand by athletes of color to be represented by like representation . There’s more of a demand of people seeking (us) out positive and people making an impact who are going to listen to them, understand them and work with them to help them achieve their short and long-term goals", he adds.
Ranging from improved research and questions regarding insurance, investments, business deals, and community endeavors, athletes of all levels and their families aren’t just settling for what they are told. They are more informed and more savvy in understanding that just as much as they are investing in a representative, a representative clearly must do the same for them, and do so in a sincere and strategic manner. The veil of the old and traditional ways of doing business are clearly undertaking a major shift.
Ultimately, success in the sports representation business comes down to establishing a real and meaningful relationship with your client and his or her family. Even in the advent of new means of researching and leverage, it still comes down to one’s people skills. Moore notes, “It is similar to any cost-benefit analysis; are you showing your true colors or hiding behind a facade or veil? Are you truly invested in helping empower people to where they want to go? Are you providing them with sound, sensible, and sincere insight for them to consider some factors they may not have accounted for that can truly help them? In today’s interconnected world, athletes are one click away from getting immediate answers to these questions. Always being in position to answer those questions is what it is really all about”.
In an ever-changing world and way of doing business, people do have to keep up with the changes. Regardless, the one constant is making sure to forge sound and solid relationships to keep up with the ever-changing demands and times, along with making the adjustments necessary to maintain and enhance such relationships so it truly is a win-win for all involved.