Four rules to effectively serve NFL players

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If you are a service provider such as a financial advisor, insurance specialist, financial planner, attorney or CPA, you know that it can be sometimes difficult to do business with an NFL player or any pro athlete for that matter. Based on my 27 years as an agent and 10 as a financial advisor, here is how I breakdown the essential components of working with NFL players.

1) Communication: There is a certain way, an art if you will, to communicate with NFL players that is more instinctive than learned. Most coaches and trainers have it, as do a few financial advisors and agents. You either have it or you don’t.

Most players are hardwired in a way that if they don’t understand something; they feel vulnerable, inferior and maybe sometimes just downright insecure. Which then leads to feeling uncomfortable. When this happens they just shutdown, ignore your calls and avoid tough or even elementary subjects they should be dealing with as part of being a pro.

As a professional service provider to pro athletes, you have to be able to command their attention and get their respect. If you are long winded, like hearing yourself talk, insecure, and use lots of big words to impress, you will lose them. I noticed that people who are not used to being around NFL players either try too hard to impress them or simply become star struck.

So what’s the best way to talk to a Pro? For one, its always best to package your information in the form of three to five points, four categories and/or 3 stages. Trust me, players react well to packaged and organized information. Secondly, ask deep probing questions and listen. Thirdly, when possible, back up your points with something visual. The vast majority of NFL players are very visual learners.

2) Education: The easiest way to build trust with clients is by educating them. One day one of my more intelligent clients and I were talking about taxes and investments. I asked him if he understood what I was saying. He replied, “when it comes to finances and money you have to talk to me like I am a sixth grader”. One can never assume that players even know the basics of investing and banking. The large majority of these guys are at ground zero when it comes to financial knowledge.

In addition to being young and inexperienced, many young men from all different kinds of social-economical up-bringings can easily associate wealth with ownership of material things. Whether it's cars, furniture, houses, jewelry or pick-up trucks and land, players must be taught the difference between appreciating assets and depreciating assets. Even simple books like “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, can help teach some basic principles. Getting one on one face time is also important in gaining a client’s trust.


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