Choosing an Agent "Large Agency vs Small Agency"
"What do you want out of your professional golf career? Where do you want golf to take you?"
These are just some of the many detailed questions an agent should ask you in the initial stages of choosing someone to represent you, protect your interests and build your brand. If they are truly an "experienced" agent, the individual representing you (not just the company) should be able to provide a blueprint of success from work with past clients that include examples of quality, impactful ideas and brand partnerships that proves their ability to effectively manage players, as well as a track record for getting players to the next level (winning Web.com, PGA Tour and Major Championships).
All too often, potential clients are recruited by large firms and signed by agents who have little to no track record of experience or success. These ‘recruiters' attend numerous events to watch you play and because of this perceived attention, some prospects believe this single aspect qualifies someone to be their agent. As the CEO of your brand, players need to cut through the "clutter" of a company's name or stature and evaluate the relationship based on the resume' of the individual representing you. Does the agent have extensive experience in negotiating brand partnerships and designing quality contracts ? Is the agent "reactive" vs "proactive", meaning do they only produce a meaningful plan of action after you have achieved success? If the answers are ‘yes' and ‘no', you should expect more.
Larger organizations may possibly provide short term benefits to a player by offering sponsor invites that are leveraged by a star client on their roster, as well as the promise of corporate deals or "marketing guarantees" to sign on the dotted line. These so called "deals" may not even fit your brand, so don't be fooled. Players should think about the long term ramifications of initially accepting a less than ideal partnership so the company can earn back its marketing guarantee. Also, the initial time and attention a large firm gives to certain prospects is great until the reality sets in that getting to the PGA Tour is hard and that it may take a few years to obtain that goal. During these years, will your agent give you less and less attention while chasing the latest and greatest recruit? Unfortunately, that is the typical pattern at larger firms who are more concerned with producing revenue and commissions, than consistently providing quality representation.
History shows that this approach is rarely a successful formula for choosing an agent because it is much more important for a company to "earn your trust than buy your loyalty".
On the other side, smaller firms whereby the principals of the company have had proven success in working with athletes at the highest level, are able to spend more quality time developing individual relationships with players, veterans and rookies. In NSG's case, we are a small agency by design so that players are working with the experienced principals of the firm day in and day out. Additionally, we obtain input from our clients to consistently recruit individuals that fit the principles of mutual respect and who value the "advisory" aspect of a relationship. With over 80+ wins on every level of PGA Tour co-sponsored events, we have a proven formula and track record of success - and that is winning on and off the course!
Players should ask themselves if they want to be one of many or one of the few? Do you want less attention and experience versus more overall attention and experience? Because we have seen this business from every angle over the past 20+ years, we know which route we would take.
If you are serious about your career, take control and ask questions. Don't accept mediocrity and inexperience because they are friends or have just watched you play golf with many other fans at multiple events. Be the CEO of your career and develop a team of experienced people to develop your brand and help guide you through your career. Surround yourself with those who are invested in YOU, not 30 other clients. You are the expert on the course and you should expect the same off the course.
"The better the team behind you, the smaller the challenge before you. Champions don't win alone"