The Case Situation
You’ve just joined Sportstars, Inc., a company that represents athletes who want to increase their incomes by doing commercials, making speeches and personal appearances, and endorsing products. Sportstars persuades the sponsor to hire the athlete and helps negotiate the contract. In addition, a considerable amount of hand- holding is necessary to see the client through rough times. For these services, Sportstars receives 20% of the fees paid to the athlete.
As part of your orientation, your boss points out what you know already: A well-known athlete can command much higher fees than someone who’s less well known: normally, people who win championships net much higher fees than someone who is consistentlygood but who has not caught the public eye. “The big problem,” your boss says, “is what to do about young athletes. We can’t afford to represent the also-rans. We’d go broke spending time on them. But some rookies will eventually make it big, and we want to represent them when they get to the top. We’ve evolved a foolproof way to do this. When an unknown comes to us and asks to hire us as his or her personal representative, we decline but suggest a competing firm that we know does a terrible job representing its clients. Then, when the winner emerges from the pack, we approach that person to offer to represent him or her. We know we’ll do a better job – and we can prove it. We’ve signed everyone we’ve approached this way.”
Today you have a letter from Lee Ann Bezazian, a figure skater who won a bronze medal in the US championships last year. She’s decided to join a professional skating touring show and wants a representative to negotiate endorsements for her. A bit of research shows that while she’s a very good skater, she isn’t yet a star – and may never be. Under Sportstar’s policy, you can’t grant her request.
Write a letter and a memo:
- Write a rejection letter to Lee Ann. Consider how you can do this in
a kind way that opens up the opportunity to do business with her in the future.
- Write a memo to your boss at Sportstars suggesting that the company policy be modified. In your memo, be sure to (a) identify and describe the policy that the memo is about; (b) identify and describe the problem in a tactful, convincing way, and (c) present