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 tournament 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?
Whether 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).