How Drew Rosenhaus Uses Intense Workouts to Lure Clients

Drew Rosenhaus, exercise, lure clients

Written By: Jon Finkel

“What’s more productive, running gassers with my clients and bonding out here, or taking them to a crowded bar somewhere?” Drew Rosenhaus asks as he stops at the goal line on a high school football field between sprints. “When we’re pushing through a workout together, they see that when I say I work hard, I mean it.”

The man has a point. Let’s call it the “fat chef theory”. Despite the gluten-free, macros-focused, trans-fatless cooking trend, when we want a five-star burger or memorable piece of pie, all things being equal, we’d rather have a heavyset chef in the kitchen than some scrawny sous-whatever who can’t fill out his apron.

It’s why Jon Favreau didn’t exactly break out the Rocky Marciano workout for his phenomenal starring role in Chef.

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Think about it: You don’t want a dentist with jacked up teeth or a lifeguard who wheezes getting off the stand.

It’s not body shaming. It’s the world.

When you’re building business relationships, be it Rosenhaus with incoming NFL clients or whatever it is you do, you project an image, and that image better be in line with or exceed what you’re trying to sell. You have to visually walk the walk to lure clients on your own.

And don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that someone couldn’t be an exceptional personal trainer if they were 100 pounds overweight, not at all. What I’m saying is they will have a much harder time attracting clients and convincing them that they know their stuff.

So when it comes to signing NFL players, you better believe it matters to incoming clients that they see Rosenhaus and his team battling through the workouts that the players themselves have to do. The very idea that Rosenhaus used this method of training instead of schmoozing to sign guys to his agency is why Muscle & Fitness sent me to interview Drew for the piece this post is based on.

That morning I pretty much ran around the field with Drew, interviewing him as he put himself through his own personal war, dropping down for sets of push-ups and sit-ups between sprints, doing what he calls his Superman workout. When he’d catch his wind, he’d drop little nuggets about about his motivation.

“When you’re in shape, you can work harder, you stay healthy and you don’t get sick,” he says. “Clients don’t want to hear on draft day that their agent isn’t feeling well.”

With the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NFL draft signing for life-altering money and the last pick in the first round for guaranteed millions, there’s too much at stake to let the sniffles sabotage a contract. As coaches demand performance from their athletes, athletes demand performance from their agents.

“I work out wherever I go,” Rosenhaus says. “I’ll run in nice neighborhoods, I’ll run in poor neighborhoods. I’ll run wherever I am. I was just at the Pro Bowl and I swam in the ocean, I swam laps in the pool, I hit the gym, I ran on the beach, I did some cliff diving. When athletes see me getting after an activity, they know I’ll have that kind of energy when I’m working for them.”

And that’s the point of this post. Rarely are people looking to hire someone who projects the image of an out-of-shape, energy-lacking employee, unless you’re Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen in any Seth Rogen movie not named The Green Hornet.

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Sharing a workout, watching someone push themselves, offering motivation…they all build trust better than any round of golf ever could.

In fact, many of Rosenhaus’s biggest-name clients had worked out with him on that very field.

“I’ve been through some brutal workouts with my clients,” he said upon returning from one of his dashes across the field. “Terrell Owens. Jeremy Shockey. They were hard on me. But the toughest workout I ever did with a client was with Sean Taylor. He was a tremendous athlete and person. We did a set of 24 110-yard sprints on this field and I was throwing up afterward. It was the toughest workout I’ve ever been through.”

Drew rested with his hands on his hips as if the mere memory of that workout sapped his strength. It’s a quiet moment, and you can see he’s thinking about his late friend Taylor, the Washington Redskins safety who was murdered when his home was invaded in 2007. It’s at this point when what Rosenhaus had been talking about all morning seemed most poignant. You can wine and dine a client all you like, but if you’re willing to run side by side with him in 100-degree heat until you both puke, you form a connection that can’t be had over a bottle of Cristal and a filet mignon. For an agent, that connection is priceless. Because while he can’t bond with a client in uniform, he can certainly bond with him by training in unison.

Next time you want to take someone you do business with (or you’d like to do business with) for drinks or lunch, remember what Rosenhaus does and offer to shoot hoops or play tennis or hit up a boxing gym instead. You might find it’s the best decision you’ve ever made – for both you and your business.

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