Dan Tudor

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Why YOU Should Become a SFC Premium MemberMonday, August 27th, 2007

Hi, Coach…Dan Tudor here.

A lot of you have asked me about what goes into a SFC Premium Membership…what does it include?  How is it different than the free stuff you get every Tuesday?  What’s it all about???

Here’s a few quick reasons I think every coach should be a SFC Premium Member:

  • More great training during the week!
  • More tips, techniques and strategies that you don’t get in our regular newsletter.
  • Free and discounted books and training not available to non-members.
  • One-on-one phone consultations to help you create a winning recruiting plan.
  • One-on-one phone consultations to design individual recruiting strategies for individual prospects that you’re going after.
  • Free teleseminars, audio and video training exclusively for Premium Members.
  • It’s cheap!  Only $29 per month for an individual coach, just $295 for an entire athletic department.  (Honestly now, coach…shouldn’t you invest more in your college coaching career than you do in those fancy coffee drinks every day?)

We’ve designed a training program for coaches and athletic departments that is affordable, Selling for Coachesconvenient and designed specifically for college recruiters.  Doesn’t it make sense to invest $1 or less per day to improve your ability to recruit great athletes?

To find out more information, or to become a Premium Member, click here.

Four Ways to Recruit the ParentsMonday, August 27th, 2007

Kevin is the recruiting coordinator at a D1 program in the Southeast, and he’s excited about this coming recruiting season.

He’s a SFC Premium Member, and he’s used us as a resource in helping him develop a real recruiting plan for the 2007-2008 season.  He’s focused on getting the right message to the right prospects in the right way.

But wait!  I had to stop Kevin in his tracks late last week on the phone when I realized that he was putting together his plan without any special focus on the parents of his athletes.  Why does he need a special plan for parents?  Glad you asked…

In a soon to be released special report, we surveyed 250 of the top college football prospects in the country for 2007-2008.  We asked them, in detail, about their recruiting experiences: What they like, what they read, and how they decide where to play ball.  It was a fascinating study, with loads of insightful findings for college coaches (SFC Premium Members will get it first at no charge, and it will be available to everyone else in a week or so…are you a Premium Member yet?).

One of the biggest surprises: How much weight football prospects place on the opinion of their parents.  91.3% of the prospects we surveyed said that the opinion of their parent(s) was either a "very important" or "important" outside factor that influenced their decision.  That’s 9 out of 10 of your prospects that are looking to their parents to help them make their final decision!

So, my question for you is this, coach: How much emphasis do you put on recruiting your prospect’sParents! parents?  According to our findings that we outlined above, its important that you create a separate and distinct plan to recruit the parents of your prospect at the same time you recruit your prospect.

Here are some ways that you can make sure you don’t overlook one of the most important people in the recruiting process…the parents of your prospect!

  • Create a separate recruiting plan that focuses solely on parents.  If you’re a Premium Member, you’ll get the framework for a plan for approaching your prospect’s parents.  Create separate communication with them, and make it regular.
  • Use e-mail to talk regularly with parents.  Studies show that parents now rely on e-mail more than kids.  They check it more frequently, and reply more quickly.  Make it a point to get the e-mail address of your prospect’s parents, and communicate regularly with them.
  • Put together an informative packet just for parents.  Include some of the things that don’t get read right now by your prospects.  Many parents will act as an advocate for you and your program once you show them that their opinion and value in the recruiting process is of the highest importance to you.
  • Make at least one phone call to them to make sure they are getting their questions answered.  Take some time to find out what concerns they have, what insights they can give you about their son or daughter, and how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible for them.  This is a huge way to set yourself apart from your competition who is focused completely on the athlete, and is largely ignoring the parents.

Rocket science?  No.  Important?  Absolutely.  But it takes discipline to change how you recruit so that you put a renewed emphasis on getting the parents on your side.

If you take the time to create a trusted relationship with the parents, you’ll win the athlete much of the time.  Parents have huge influences over their children (even the rebellious tenage sports-playing ones!) and you need to take advantage of their influence in the recruiting process. 

Two Recruiting Secrets Every Coach Should KnowMonday, August 20th, 2007

If you could spend a day in the offices of today’s most successful businesspeople, you’d find that they rely on a few surprisingly simple secrets to make more sales than their competition.

What you may not know is that you can use the same techniques yourself as a college coach recruiting athletes – not only to make your team better, but also to gain prestige, increased respect from your fellow coaches and peers, and lots more of the things you want out of your professional and personal life.

Today, I’m going to show you how with the help of Katie Yeakle, a respected expert in sales copywriting.  Many of these ideas are rules that she lives by when she’s advising business clients around the country.  We also use some of the same philosophies when we work with colleges on an ongoing basis to help them create and manage their recruiting campaigns, and it’s what we’ll be talkng about at our 2008 Summer Conference in August.

When we teach techniques that help coaches become better college recruiters, most of you probably don’t think about using them outside the realm of "work" as a coach and recruiter.  But consider this…

When you want to talk a fellow coach into eating at your favorite restaurant, your spouse into seeing the movie you want to see, or even a neighbor into pitching in on trimming the trees on your property line, you want that person to see things your way. Right? It’s a lot like the challenge a salesperson faces when trying to convince you to buy whatever it is that he’s selling, don’t you think? Well, just like a salesperson, when you use proven marketing techniques to persuade people to accept your ideas, you’ll hear that wonderful word "yes" far more frequently.  Even from the prospects you are recruiting.

For example, a local high school girl’s basketball coach had the chance to take his team to a Girls basketball teamtournament in Hawaii. As you can imagine, the kids, parents, and coaches were excited. After all, they were the only team in the whole state that got an invitation. But there was one big problem. Sending the team would cost about $20,000 – and the school wasn’t about to foot the whole bill. Neither were most of the parents. It looked like the trip might not happen… until Kevin, the coach, stepped in.

He knew that local corporations often sponsor community events and have a budget just for that purpose. So he decided he was going to get some of those funds for the team. While he could have just asked several companies for the money – and probably would have received some donations -he used two powerful marketing secrets and was far more successful.

Secret #1: Talk to the Heart, Not the Head

Every great marketer knows that people buy things for emotional rather than logical reasons. Most of the decisions people make are emotional too – including whether or not they will buy into someone else’s ideas. When you can appeal to their heart by figuring out how doing what you want them to do will make them feel good, they’ll follow you just about anywhere… and oftentimes give you exactly what you want.

In the letter Kevin wrote to solicit money for the trip, he didn’t say much about the trip to Hawaii. Instead, he talked about the kids on the team. He wrote about their hard work. All the long hours they’d spent practicing just to win that coveted invitation. He also reminded the companies of the great publicity they’d get just for helping.

And thousands of dollars in corporate sponsorships came pouring in!  It’s a true story.

While Kevin won accolades from the team members, their parents, and staffers at the school, the companies that contributed money for the trip were just as thrilled with their decision to help out. They not only felt like heroes, they also enjoyed plenty of free publicity.

That’s another bonus of using this secret when you’re trying to convince someone to do something. Considering their point of view not only helps you get the "yes" you’re looking for – they get something out of giving you that "yes." Which means that everyone involved is happy.

Give this technique a try, and you’ll see how effective it is. Our SFC Premium Members know the importance of this, as we constantly stress that your recruits make decisions with their heart and then justify them with facts in their head.  Whether you’re talking to the other person or writing a letter, just remember to first speak to the heart, not the head. Simply ask yourself three questions to get started:

1. What emotions is this person feeling about this topic? (Excitement, nervousness, stress, hope?)

2. What are this person’s emotional wants and needs? (Money, playing time, glory, security?)

3. How can I satisfy them?  (Chance to start, financial security, earning a degree?)

Secret #2: Create a Picture

You probably already know that one of the most important aspects of recruiting is to show your recruit the benefits of your school. And the best way to do that is to paint a dynamic picture for him with words. That’s what today’s leading marketers do all the time. Well, you can also use this technique to convince your athletic prospect to "see" the benefit of coming to your school and playing for you.

Let’s say you want to convince your spouse to head to Europe for the summer. To paint your picture, you might describe what it would be like to spend an afternoon sprawled out on a chaise next to the ocean in Cannes… or dining on freshly baked bread and homemade pasta at a candlelit dinner in a vineyard in Tuscany. Just like an artist, you would add layer after layer of colorful details.

Kevin did something similar in his letter. For example, instead of just saying, "Hey, you’ll get some super publicity if you sponsor the team’s basketball trip to Hawaii," he showed the companies all the publicity they’d get. He described how, while the team played in this prestigious tournament in front of thousands of fans, they would be displaying a banner with the company’s name on it… for everyone to see. And how, when the local newspaper reported the story, they would mention that it was the company’s generous sponsorship that made the experience possible for the players from the community.

Getting the "picture", Coach?

Dan TudorWhether you’re writing a letter to a prospect or talking to a friend, neighbor, or relative, use the secret of creating a picture to show them – literally – what’s in it for them if they do what you want them to do. Start by asking yourself two questions:

1. What’s the benefit (or benefits) to this person of giving me what I’m asking for?

2. How can I best illustrate this in a verbal picture?

When you use both secrets together – talking to the heart and creating a picture – you’ll see how easy it is to motivate people to take the actions you want them to take… to accept your ideas… and, like Kevin, to make things happen for your team (especially when it comes to landing great recruits).

 

BOOK EXCERPT: Two Tips for Changing-Up Your Recruiting PlanMonday, August 13th, 2007

We’ve been talking about changing things up when it comes to your mailings to your prospects.  Small changes can yield big results when it comes to getting a better response from the athletes you’re trying to contact.

One way to effectively change up the way you approach recruiting – mailings, phone calls, whatever – is to apply a seven step process we lay out in our new book for recruiters, "What They Didn’t Teach You About Recruiting".  It’s a way to look at your old methods for recruiting in a whole new light, and turn roadblocks into new opportunities.

Here’s an excerpt from the book.  It’s two of the seven steps that any coach can use to be a better recruiter by making small, strategic changes to elements of their recruiting game plan:

Adapt – Can your message be better adapted to fit some new media outlets that are out there? Is there a way to reach new prospects through Instant Message or e-mail or other electronic communication? Through a custom produced DVD?  How about posting videos of your team and your program on YouTube.com?  How about having a MySpace.com page for your program?  One of the things I helped one of our SFC Premium Members develop was a series of “home movies” that were shot by the athletes on a road trip and then edited onto a DVD.  It was a hit, and they’ve made it a big part of their recruiting campaign for their school.  Could you put your message to new prospects on a Blog? (Do you have a Blog? Do you know what a Blog is?). Be creative…adapt your traditional message to new media that will get the response from today’s teen.

Modify, Maximize or Minimize - What can you enlarge, shrink or alter about your mailing? What if you made your business card post card sized? What if it were extra small? What if your brochure resembled a CD cover and booklet? What if your entire new prospect mailing came in a CD or DVD case with a disk and everything – right down to the annoying shrink-wrapping that’s impossible to get in to? Be creative…think of ways to modify, maximize or minimize your mailings.

Most coaches are 80% there when it comes to an effective recruiting strategy.  But that other 20% can kill you sometimes, and it’s usually the part of the equation that needs constant re-tooling.  If you don’t, your message gets stale, and your recruiting lags behind the competition.  Take a good look at your current recruiting and see if there are any changes that you can make to the way you go after the prospects you really want.

How to Get “Physical” With Your Recruiting LettersMonday, August 13th, 2007

The assistant coach writing me the e-mail I opened late last week was excited.  Really excited.

Why?  After she and the rest of her D1 women’s basketball staff had gone through one of our SFC On-Campus Workshops about a month ago, she was applying one of the principles that had talked about in our two-day session at her college.  The results are what she was excited about: She received her best response ever to her initial mailing that they did to their group of prospects.  The secret to her success?  Well, I can’t reveal everything that we talked about with her staff, but it involved having her prospect reply to her with a physical action.  And it worked great.

Another one of our SFC Premium Members tried the same kind of principle late last Spring, this time with e-mails.  He had never had that great of a response with his e-mail campaigns to his prospects.  However, asking them to do something specific as a reply yielded a great response.  His best ever, in fact, for an e-mail campaign.

What is the secret to their success?  They asked their prospects to do something physical.  They required their recruit to react to their mailing or e-mail with a physical action. 

To many mailings that I see coaches putting together are passive, rather dull, and not requiring any kind of reaction of the receipient.  And some coaches wonder why they don’t get good responses to their mailings?  It’s because you’re not giving your prospect anything to react to.  No required physical reaction, no reply most of the time.  It’s just that simple.

Professional sales organizations known for years that when it comes to their marketing campaigns, it’s a good idea to encourage your prospects to take some sort of physical action.

For instance, a mail-order marketer of pipes (the kind you burn tobacco in) told his buyers: "If you are not 100 percent satisfied with the pipe, snap the stem off and mail it back to me in an envelope for a full refund."

One reason this worked is that it was dramatic and unexpected: The marketer actually told the customer to destroy his product if dissatisfied. But it also made the guarantee more tangible by linking it to a physical action: The copy creates a mental image of breaking the pipe in two with your bare hands.

One of my all time favorite "take action" marketing campaigns was a magazine ad for a fireproofing compound. The headline of the ad boldly stated: "TRY BURNING THIS COUPON." The copy tells the reader: "Hold a match to this ad. It will start to burn. Now take the match away. It will stop burning, because it is treated with our special fireproofing chemical." (The ad was an insert sheet coated with the chemical, not a regular page of the magazine.)

Coach, how can you add physical action to your mailings and e-mails?  What are some things that you could ask your prospects to do (besides filling out those tedious player questionnaire forms that you send along with your letters) that requires a physical response?  Look at your current letters.  I’ll bet there is a lot you could change that would require your prospects to get more involved in a response to the letter they just received from you.

If you’re a SFC Premium Member, you’ll be getting a series of e-mails this week that will give you some proven ideas on how to bump-up the response rates in the letters and e-mails that you’re sending out as you start the new recruiting year.  If you’re not a Premium Member, sign-up so that you can receive these ideas we’re going to be revealing throughout the week.

 

4 Types of Questions YOU Need to AskMonday, August 6th, 2007

It’s the core of every good recruiting effort…the single thing that can determine whether you get the prospect, or lose them to a competitor.

Questions.

Asking the right ones, the right way, at the right time.  When you get right down to it, questions drive successful recruiting efforts.  Everything else - all those exciting brochures, all those tantilizing one page letters - don’t measure up to really effective questions.  Like the ones we talk about in our two recruiting guides for college coaches.

To help you kick off a successful year of recruiting, I wanted to give you a few of the right kinds of questions you can ask your prospects right away.  See if you can incorporate these into your recruiting conversations: 

1. The Who Question
Never, ever assume that the prospect you are speaking with is the real decision-maker. It sounds strange, but it is true: Your prospect may be only one of a number of individuals who will figure into his or her final decision. Parents, coaches and others may have real influence over your prospect.  Know all the players in the game so you can prepare strategies and tactics to deal with them and how they may individually effect your prospect’s decision. Your challenge is to find out if there are other participants in the decision without putting your recruit on the spot. If you’re too blunt, the prospect might mislead you. Here is a simple question that you can’t live without. Use it every time:

"Amanda, apart from yourself, who is involved in your decision?"

Here’s a variation: "Kevin, when a player like you has to make a big decision like this, there are usually several people involved. Apart from yourself, who else will help you make your decision?"

2. The When Question
I am amazed at how many coaches and recruiters ignore this powerful and insightful question:

"Kathy, when do you see the final decision being made?" Or, "Chad, if our offer was a go in your mind, when do you see it happening?"

The "when" question helps you to assess your prospect’s urgency. A decision that will be made within a week has more urgency than a decision that will be made in three months. Knowing when the recruiting might conclude helps you set priorities, determines the time and effort you devote and dictates your follow up strategy with the prospect you’re recruiting.

3. The Scenario Question
Discovering a prospect’s needs can be challenging in the early stages of recruiting. When prospects don’t know you, they tend to be much more reserved in the information they share. Many are not comfortable telling you about their "warts and blemishes" (i.e., their needs, challenges, weaknesses and concerns) until you’ve established some rapport. You’ve probably noticed that by now, right coach?  To get around this hesitancy, coaches should use a scenario question. As the name implies, the scenario question paints a scenario that addresses a problem or concern without putting the prospect on the spot. Here are a couple of examples:

"Eric, a lot of the prospects we’re recruiting this year have said they’re interested in committing as early as possible. Let me ask you, is that something you’re thinking about also?"

"Jennifer, we are getting more and more feedback from our prospects that are part of our 2008 recruiting class about who they’ll rely on to help them make their final decision.  Let me ask you, how would you answer that question?"

The scenario question is based on the premise that "misery loves company". You want the prospect to think, "Gee, if others are experiencing the same thing then it’s okay for me to open up." Master the scenario question and you’ll get to their needs and inner motivations more quickly, reduce your recruiting cycle and get more recruits committed in less time.

4. The Net Impact Question
Even if you use a scenario question and the recruit opens up to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the their need for what you’re offering at your college is strong enough for him to take positive action. One of the best questions you can ask to determine the depth and breadth of a need your athletic prospect has is the "net impact" question. Here are two versions:

"So what’s the net impact of our offer to cover half of your total tuition costs?" Or, "What’s the possible net impact of waiting until late March to give us your final decision?"

The net impact forces your prospect to think about the rippling effect of a problem. It gets your prospect to do some analysis. In effect, you want him to say, "Gee, I never thought of it like that." Suddenly, seemingly minor problems become more significant. Or, you learn the net impact is minor in the mind of your teenage prospect. If so, avoid wasting your time. Move on. Because the question is opened-end it gets your client to expand and elaborate. You get information and information is power.

Those four questions alone will generate a lot of insights into the mind of your prospect.

If you’re a SFC Premium Member (or sign-up by Thursday) we’ll give you another four types of questions, with examples, that you can use to get your prospects to open up and reveal how they need to be recruited. 

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