OK, maybe they don’t do every one of these three things "really" well. But you can bet that they do at least one of them really well, and that may be enough to undercut your efforts in winning those recruits that you really want.
The strange thing about a list like this (which one of our SFC Premium Members, who is a D1 Athletic Director, wanted me to put together for this week’s newsletter) is that you might do more of these things than your competitor does! Every recruiter approaches their task differently, and its important to recognize the tactics being used against you when you’re going up against a competitive coach in a recruiting situation.
They tell REALLY good lies. Lies about you as a coach, lies about your program, and lies about your school. Some might not even be outright lies, just big exagerations of the truth. Your strategy: Just like we outline in our special recruiting guide, "Selling for Coaches", make sure you actively seek out lies that may have been told to your prospect. How? Specifically ask them, "Are there any new worries that have come to mind when you think about coming to play for us?" Another good question to ask if you think your competition has been planting some doubt in the mind of your prospect is, "Just curious, what did (name of coach or college) say about us when you talked to them last?" Direct? Yes. But you have to cut to the heart of the matter when you’re trying to uncover lies that a competitor may have been telling about you and your program.
They’ve got a better website. Does that really matter? Yes, coach, it does. In a recent survey of 15 to 21 year olds by America Online, 91% of the age group said they formed their first impression of companies and individuals by looking at their website. That’s a staggering number, but not at all surprising considering the day and age we live in. Is your website easy to navigate? Does it tell a good story that will help you sell your recruit on your program? Those are serious questions. Your strategy: Make sure your program’s website is simple to navigate, fun to look at, and funnels the visitor (your recruit) to a way to contact you by filling out a form or sending an e-mail. Your website must have a purpose! And that purpose should be to get your recruit closer to committing to your program.
They are more organized than you are. I did a SFC On-Campus Seminar a few weeks ago at a D2 college. I was really impressed with the way they tracked athletes and scheduled follow-up with them. Not from the compliance perspective, but from a purely sales perspective. They had consistent contact with all of their prospects, and communicated with them in a creative way. A few days afterwards, I met with a small D1 program. Following my two days with the D2 program, I was prepared to be equally impressed with this higher division program during my review of their recruiting process. But I wasn’t. They were disorganized. There was no real plan in place. The message and materials that the basketball program was sending out didn’t match the message or materials that their track and field coach was sending. It was a mess. Your strategy: Develop a consistent, coherent message that you’re sending your recruits. If you need help developing the best one possible, call us at SFC for expert advice and direction. They key to a good overall message is a compelling argument that systematically leads your prospect to the logical conclusion that your program is the best choice for them.
As I’ve talked with coaches, consulted with athletic departments, and trained recruiters, those three things I just listed come up over and over again when it comes to things that they feel are hurdles standing in their way. So, now the question for you is: What are you going to do about it? How are you going to get better? How are you going to make sure that you eliminate those things that your competitor is doing really well?