The Pros of being Professional
Posted on September 28 2015
As many of you have seen, we are currently in our “Call for Athletes” process and the response has been fantastic. In the first week, we received over 800 applications. We’re going to sit down after Ironman Hawaii and review every application and do our absolute best to select a team that will be the embodiment of our values. We mentioned this in our last blog, but the intent of forming the Ambassador team is to create a community of women who will serve as role models and who will draw others into a lifestyle of health and fitness. It’s not really about directly marketing Coeur even though we wager that if more people get into endurance sports, we’ll get our fair share of customers.
We’ve talked at length about our thinking behind the team, so we won’t go on and on, but the punch line is that we want you all to be ambassadors for endurance sports.
Calling all women with Heart and Courage
As we reviewed the incoming applications, we have noticed several from professional triathletes. That’s why we want to share a bit of detail on how we select our pros and what we look for in the process.
First, the pro program and selection process is separate and different from the Ambassador program and process. One of the biggest differences is that as a professional, we’re going to pay you money.
Now, our ambassadors do get free gear (as do our pros), but ambassadors don’t get guaranteed dough (or “lettuce” as someone in our office calls it). While several new pros have indicated that they will do “gear only” deals, we feel that it is important that they get cash. After all, they are professionals and as a general rule, professionals do something because it is their “profession”. And not to get cute, but a “profession” is generally defined as “a paid occupation.” So, it stands to reason, that if we want professionals and want them to be professional, we should be willing to pay money. As you might suspect, we've never had a pro turn down cash, but we have run into situations where we have exhausted our budget and have to say no to a pro who would do a "gear only" deal.
You can debate our approach and argue both sides, but we've drawn our line in the sand and have picked our path. We know it's not our place to say what other companies should or shouldn't do, but we can't help but think that if every sponsor guaranteed cash, we might end up with a situation where pros with five or six sponsors could actually make something of a living. Obviously, the absolute number of pros would probably decline, but we'd hope that the ones left would be able to race and train full time and the quality of the racing would get even higher.
Katie Zaferes is a Professional in every sense of the word
The second difference, is that we do think of our Pros in Marketing/Return On Investment terms and we do ask them to more directly promote Coeur. One point that we’d like to clarify is that it’s not all about getting on the podium. Now, clearly, getting on the podium is fantastic and we celebrate top finishes, but we understand that injuries and life happens. The good news (in our opinion) is that even when things don’t go as planned, a pro can still create quite a bit of value. Our customers certainly understand that injuries seem to come with the territory and will most assuredly read a blog or listen in to a video related to the recovery process.
They also want to get to know the pro as a person and we will get more as a sponsor out of a socially prolific and likeable pro who finishes 5th than one who wins and disappears for three months until the next race.
Not only is Kim a true "Pro", she also has amazing finish line pictures
The final difference is that we don’t have a "set in stone" calendar for signing pros. It’s nice to announce our pro signings around the same time that we announce our ambassadors, but we’re always open to having conversations. Sometimes we reach out and sometimes we get contacted, but we’re always open to the conversation.
So, if you have elected to go down the path of being a professional triathlete, we salute you. We’d also love to hear from you. In our opinion, pros can do a lot to grow not only the sport, but also our company.
Your friends at Coeur