Would you buy from me…..or Michael Jordan?


I know the answer and I’m neither surprised or disappointed…..it’s just a reality. Fame is intoxicating and appealing to the human being, we want to be around a winner and if possible BE A WINNER. When asking the question “Would you buy from me or Michael Jordan”? it raises a bigger question and that is “Does having a famous athlete selling your product work”? Personally, I haven’t seen the statistics on market share growth once an athlete pitches “Preparation H” I’m just going to assume the strategy works since companies shell out tons of cash to these hall of famers every year. There are qualities that athletes have that are favored in the business world (i.e. competitiveness, focus, drive, never say die attitude etc), however, are these attributes highly differentiated from somebody who isn’t an ex-athlete…but has the same qualities? I’m not hating….just asking the question….

Every company I’ve worked for has had a spokesperson sometimes called “Talent” to help support the push of a new product, in the healthcare space you see it constantly for the new diabetes drug or high blood pressure pill where the fresh off the podium superbowl winner  touts his problems with high blood pressure that has been miraculously controlled with a featured product, or the superbowl MVP saying right before leaving the field “I’m going to Disney Land. I would love to see the long term R.O.I. on utilizing a popular sports figure and notice I said “Long Term R.O.I.” maybe after 1 or 2 years run the numbers, I think we can all agree “Short Term” there’s probably a pop in revenue because again…everyone wants to be affiliated with a winner. In all my years selling medical devices or pharmaceutical sales I’ve never been approached by a healthcare provider interested in my product because “Terry Bradshaw” pitched it, however, it would be disingenuous to say that Mr. Bradshaw’s presence didn’t help gather exposure for the product. I’m a strategy guy and therefore it’s my job to help companies I consult place their resources in spaces that will realize a nice return and I have been in many discussions on whether the use of personalities will garner expected returns, I have to tell you when I’ve looked at long term growth models….it doesn’t work. Now, with that said there are companies that are extremely diligent in terms of how they strategically use a sports athletes, for example, I recently worked with a company who was launching a new product and locked up an endorsement deal with one of the players from this past year’s superbowl but the contract wasn’t long term. As a matter of fact the terms was only for 1 year, the timing was perfect for when the product was to be launched….a very nice strategic move (Thank You! haha). While it took a great deal of haggling with the player’s agent the company with some of my help had a successful launch plan in place with very little risk of paying huge sums of money on a deal with minimal return. So, there are strategic locations where I think endorsements from popular athletes or personalities do warrant a quick pop return, I just truly feel that the long term use of them could be futile or RISKY.

Yep……RISKY. I’m sure many of you haven’t forgotten super hero, super inspiratory, super bicyclist Mr. Lance Armstrong. What a narrative, and not necessarily a “Rise and Fall” story….a story of how WE deify some human beings only to learn later that they are “HUMAN BEINGS”. Mr. Armstrong was endorsed to the hilt by many companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon and at the time the “Risk” was minimal because he was perceived as a winner and as I’ve said repeatedly EVERYONE wants to associate with a winner. However, as “Life” kicks in and reality rears it’s truth, Mr. Armstrong was nothing more than a cheat/con man who took advantage of all of our superficial/self absorbed vices and stole our money. I bet at the time YOU ALL would have bought from Lance Armstrong”…..instead of me. HOW and WHY we buy as customers continue to be studied and we may never find out the answer because there may not be one. I still hold to the truth that people “Buy” on what that  “PERSONAL VALUE” means to them and that “VALUE” springs from a variety of “emotional behaviors”.  Sales/Marketing Strategists such as myself are paid on our ability to predict why people buy a particular product and most of that is based on demographics, culture, and yes the “SUPERFICIAL”….it comes down to which bucket you want to place your bet in.

The question, “Would you buy from me….or Michael Jordan? is a figurative question and is meant for you to at least pause and self reflect. While the answer may be an abrupt “HELL YES” given the fact that you don’t know me well ask yourself this……did you know “Lance Armstrong”? 


Would you buy from me…..or Michael Jordan?


Had a podcast a couple of years ago on this very same subject, take a listen:

“Do Former Athletes Make Good Salespeople” by The Sales Professional Network |  http://bit.ly/s9r7yW 



Andre’ Harrell

AH2 & Beyond Consulting


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