Dan Tudor

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The 6-Step Cure to Boring Recruiting LettersMonday, January 28th, 2008

Ask most prospects what they think about the recruiting letters that they receive, and their response is less than enthusiastic. 

The problem is this: Many recruiting letters havene’t changed much over the years.  However, the way your prospects receive messages and what they respond to has changed drastically.

Here’s a solution that you might want to try the next time you’re looking to revamp your recruiting letters. It’s a technique called a "categorial imperative". 

Here’s how it works:  When your prospects start knowing where the copy in your recruiting letter is going… when they can predict the next step in your story… they tend to dismiss it – tune it out, just like we do sometimes when we jump ahead and assume an ending to a movie.  Your prospects might still be reading your mail or e-mails, but really, you’ve lost them.

You see, the mind tends to simplify its work by slipping incoming ideas into pre-existing slots ("categories") it has already created. You know, stuff we’ve read or seen or experienced before – like all those other recruiting letters they received, read and been bored by.  It does this so it can shift its attention to something else (anything else). And it will do this with your recruiting information as well as other experiences.

In order to circumvent this tendency of the mind, strong writing – and, in particular, good sales and recruiting messages - must avoid a straight-line, logical approach.

Instead, use "indirection." Approach the reader in a way, or from a place, he or she doesn’t expect. And then, keep changing things up. The overall effect is to keep the reader from anticipating where the promotion is going and keep their mind from wandering.

Here are six ways to do it:

1. Paint an image in your reader’s mind that shows him all the benefits he can enjoy.

Example: "You look out your dorm room window, past your two new teammates who you’re going to the rally with in two hours, who are heading over to talk to two cute girls they met in their Freshman orientation…"  A sentence like that is evoking certain thoughts and feelings in the reader in order to gain his attention. The fact that you’re getting him interested in your campus, and that you are selling him on your campus life at your college.

2. Ask your prospect a question or make a statement that challenges them on a subject related to your college, or what you are offering them.

Example: "This invitation isn’t for an athlete who wants it easy, or is looking for something less than the best when it comes to playing college sports." Here, the coach wants to align himself or herself with the emotions of their target audience before they let them know the coach is going to be pushing hard to get them to sign with the coach’s school.

3. Raise a threat or warning that begs for a solution (provided by your program and your offer).

Example: "Your education is in imminent danger." This gets the reader’s attention by evoking a whole range of fears. He can’t quite know from the headline what it is the coach is getting at. Something about their education, but what?  It prompts curiosity, which will get them to read more of your recruiting letter.

4. Make a surprising or alarming prediction that leads to your big promise.

Example: "A bank run like no other will hit every major bank on earth in 1999. A worldwide panic is now inevitable…" This prediction of catastrophe forces the prospect to read on to learn what the solution might be.  Is there a surprising or alarming prediction that you could make about your prospect’s sport, college scholarships in general, to get their attention and build a letter’s them around?

5. Share a new piece of information, which will benefit the reader.

Example: "This may be the most startling college recruiting news you have ever heard…" In order to know if it is the "most startling" (a pretty bold claim), the prospect has to read on.  The thing I like about this particular heading is that it clears a wide path for an interesting recruiting message.

6. Debunk a myth with evidence that demands the reader’s attention.

Example: "Conventional wisdom: You can’t get a big time college experience at a Division III school.  Wrong!  Here are four ways to do it." By contradicting what most people think is true, the coach forces the prospect to listen to the "proof."

Copywriting experts such say that when you use indirection, your copy will be infused with life. Your words will be fresh and thought-provoking. And your reader will keep turning the pages.

Remember, as a coach who is also asked to be a copywriter, you’ve always got to keep your reader from getting ahead of you. If he can anticipate what you’re going to say, he’ll assume he knows what’s coming – and you’ll lose him.

We’ll teach you more great secrets to communicating and building a great recruiting message at our new series of workshops around the country.  Come to an intense, information-packed session in Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston or San Francisco in the coming weeks.  Click here for all the information or e-mail Dan directly with the subject line "Workshop registration info" at dan@sellingforcoaches.com.

Getting the “Yes” from Your ProspectMonday, January 21st, 2008

All of the time, all of the effort, all of the mail, e-mail and phone calls…all of it is a means to an end: Your recruit saying "yes".

But getting to "yes" is the hard part.  That’s the thing you stress over, get frustrated with, and generally wish you didn’t have to deal with week in and week out as a college recruiter.  For the coaches I work with on an ongoing basis, I understand that stress and frustration - and I try my best to help coaches change their approach with recruits so that it’s more effective.

So you can imagine my excitement this week when I got an e-mail from a D2 soccer coach who attended our last "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop, where one of the topics we focus upon is how to turn all of your hard work into positive results.  Here’s what she said:

Dan, I got my first 2009 recruit to commit!!!! 

In the past I never would have asked her to commit this early.  But I asked, and she SFC Workshopcommitted!!!!  It never would have happened if I hadn’t been to your seminar.  I have taken everything that you taught us there and am in the works of applying it all.  I really have to say that it is working out really really well.  Thanks so much.

Now she gives credit to Selling for Coaches and the workshop she attended, but I have to give the credit to her

She was the one that took the risk, applied the techniques, and sealed the deal.  She deserves the credit for changing her methods – just a little – to get the results, and the early "yes" from a ’09 prospect.

If you are a coach that’s struggling with getting a "yes" from a prospect you are recruiting, I want to give you some simple truths when it comes to knowing when, and how, to get a recruit to say "yes" to what you’re offering:

    1. You can’t start selling too soon.  Most coaches struggle with this.  The temptation is to start throwing all of the positives about your program at your prospect from the word go.  The problem is, they aren’t ready to hear it.  They have to get to know you first before they are ready to hear why they should "buy" your product.
    2. You can’t make it all about you.  Why?  Because they don’t care about you yet.  All they are concerned with is themselves, and their goals and dreams.  Not your goals and dreams.  Take a look at your first few recruiting letters or e-mails you send out: How much of what you’re talking about is focused on you, and how much is centered around your prospect?
    3. Ask questions.  Lots of them.  Want to get to "yes" before the other coach?  Make sure you’re asking open-ended questions that let the prospect talk about themselves and what’s on their mind.  Asking the right questions can also tell you everything you need to know about how to recruit them, and how they will choose a school.
    4. You have to overcome all of their objections.  ALL of them, Coach.  Think back to the last recruit you didn’t sign, but really wanted to.  Know why they didn’t choose you?  There was an objection to your program in their mind that was left unanswered.  It could have been minor, or it could have been a big one that you would have never overcome.  But you need to make sure you’re asking a LOT of questions throughout the recruiting process, and seeing if you can uncover any new or existing objections that they have about you, your program, or your school.  If you don’t, you probably won’t sign them.
    5. Ask them to commit early and often.  As soon as you know that they are a recruit that you want in uniform at your school, you have the green light to ask them for their commitment.  One thing our survey of this year’s top high school prospects found was what today’s teen responds to, and what they don’t respond to, in terms of a recruiting message from a coach.  One of the hot trends we identify with today’s prospects?  They want to make an early commitment if possible.  The only way you can do that is to make sure you’re asking them to come and play for you.  Do it early in the process, and plan on doing it often.

I’m going to give some follow-up instruction to our Premium Members later this week on the topic of asking early, and how to do it.  If you’d like that additional training – and more – considering signing-up for that extra instruction throughout the week, every week.

By the way, one good way to gauge whether your prospect may be ready to be asked for their commitment is to ask "trial close" questions.  It’a a really effective way of finding out what they might be thinking without putting any pressure on them or seeming "pushy".  If you want a quick review on the topic of "trial close" questions, click here

Getting to "yes" isn’t always guaranteed, no matter how well equipped you are heading into the recruitment of a prospect.  However, there is a step-by-step process that you can follow that will increase your odds of seeing that athlete compete for you and not your competitor.  The key is being willing to make some slight changes in your approach, and then asking for the "yes".

One of your fellow coaches did just that a few days ago.  You can too.

Want to be a part of the next "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop in your area?  Click here for the details.

Getting Your Recruiting Organized in 2008Monday, January 21st, 2008

The first month of the new year is almost history.  So, Coach…how are those New Year’s resolutions doing?

That’s what I thought.

You know, a lot of you told me that "getting more organized" was a big goal for you in 2008.  That was one for me, as well.  One of the ways I’m doing that is by using Front Rush as a primary communication source this year. 

So, I asked the President of Front Rush, Leidy Smith, to give some ideas to coaches (and me) on organizing recruiting and communications this year.  Here were some of his tips:

  • Make sure your data is organized all in one place.  "Multiple ways of storing information is a time waster, and is really unproductive", says Smith.  "One of the things about a web-based system like ours is that you aren’t keying in information into multiple documents or records.  It’s all in one place."
  • Keep your notes on phone calls and e-mails with prospects.  "That doesn’t mean more Post-It notes and manilla folders," jokes Smith.  He says you need to create a centralized electronic file  – like the one used by Front Rush – so that everything is tied together and in one place that can be accessed by all the coaches on staff.  Not doing so partitions off coaches from important information, says Smith, and slows down productivity.
  • Have a centralized recruiting calendar that ALL your coaches share.  "That’s one of the Front Rush recruitingbiggest enhancements we’ve made to the Front Rush system", says Smith.  "The ability to instantly share notes and information between coaches, whether they’re on the road recruiting or in the office after practice, is a huge time saver."  If you aren’t using Front Rush, see if you can develop your own online information sharing website that has the ability to track notes and share information.  Or, talk to your college’s IT staff about creating a system for you.

Most organizational challenges that coaches face involve tracking information, so the sooner you get a handle on how your information is "handled" by you and your fellow coaches, the more time you’ll have to coach and recruit – and even see your family once in a while!

How Can Colleges Strengthen Their “Brand”?Monday, January 21st, 2008

Why should college Athletic Directors and coaches be concerned with their "brand" in the minds of fans, alumni and recruits?

Simple, says Rodger Motiska of Winning Recruits, a nationally recognized college sports design firm.

"Recruiting is about marketing and selling, plain and simple", says Motiska. 

"Marketing paves the way for the selling effort, which includes getting alumni and fans to donate to your program or getting a top recruit to play for your team.  The essence of marketing is brand differentiation…being preferred as unique and desirable."

And that’s where the problem comes in, says Motiska.  His firm has been the driving force in the image development of top college programs like North Carolina State football, and helps A.D.’s and coaches develop the right message to "sell" their program architecturally.

"When it comes to the marketing side of the equation  the biggest mistakes most coaches make Winning Recruitshave to do with a failure to ‘brand’ their athletic program", says Motiska.  "What we mean by ‘brand’ is a series of key messages that define the team’s program and articulating what sets them apart from their competitors.  By not defining their brand coaches make a number of mistakes in developing their recruiting tools that they use to ‘market’ their program to prosepective athletes."

Letters that get thrown awayThe biggest mistakes in branding that Motiska sees regularly in college athletic departments?

Ineffective Letters and Printed Materials
"Their letters not only sound like everyone else’s, they look alike too," says Tim Gilland, one of the partners of DJS Design and Winning Recruits.  "We’ve even seen letters where the coach’s signature was rubber-stamped!  I’m sure that gives recruits a warm and fuzzy feeling."

Cookie Cutter Websites
"The vast majority of athletic websites are being produced by a handful of internet providers.  The sites all pretty much have the same format, the same types of content and the colors are changed to match the school’s colors", says Gilland.

"If there is a page for recruits, it generally is pretty uninformative.  The pages generally tend to be either a regurgiation of the NCAA’s recruiting policies or a form for recruits to fill out expressing their interest in being recruited for a particular sport."

Athletic Facilities Decorated to Look Like Everybody Else
"Decorating athletic facilities to make a favorable impression on recruits when they visit has been a major trend for over 10 years", says Gilland.  "Guess what? Because everyone is doing the same thing the only difference between schools is how new the enhancements are."

"And, to make matters worse, the ‘decorating’ usually stops at the front door!  Recruits enter the athletic facilities through a spectacular lobby only to then tour facilities that look like everyone else’s."

Motiska and Gilland say their job is to help a college athletic department, and their coaches, wrap up their message into one simple-to-understand, compelling message that gets through to their audience.  The results so far have been impressive, and the firm continues to get inquiries from athletic directors and coaches who are looking for ways to spice up their "brand".

For more information on the Winning Recruits process, and how they can help your school increase the positive brand experience for your fans, alumni and recruits, contact them at 704.376.0803 or visit their website at www.WinningRecruits.com.

What You Don’t Understand About Your Athletic FacilityMonday, January 14th, 2008

When it comes to creating a winning recruiting environment at your campus athletic facility, the design team at Winning Recruits see more coaches and athletic directors getting it wrong compared to those that get it right.  

"The major obstacle we find is a lack of understanding by coaches and Athletic Directors in the differences between "decorating" instead of creating an environment that facilitates the recruiting process," says Tim Gilland of Winning Recruits, a division of the nationally known sports design firm, DJS Design. 

"Coaches and Athletic Directors usually are only looking to create a space that makes a good impression, not reinforcing their program’s brand, something that sells their program at every turn."

What baffles the team at Winning Recruits is the trend of one facility looking just like their Winning Recruitscompetitor’s facility.  Bland paint colors and "safe" designs that don’t differentiate their school from others that a recruit may be considering.  "The key to ‘marketing’ a program to athletic recruits is in communicating what is different about their program and why it is a better choice than their competitors," adds Gilland.

According to Gilland, there are three big mistakes that coaches and Athletic Directors make as they consider how to use their facilities to make a good impression:

1. Their facility enhancements generally stop at the “front door.” They make a great impression on recruits in the lobby, only to then tour them through facilities that look like anyone else’s.
2. They fail to incorporate recruiting messages that help them “sell” the uniqueness of their program, their program’s “brand."  The brochures and media guide might look great, but does it match the story that your arena or stadium or offices tell a visitor?
3. There is a lack of training of assistant coaches and student-athletes, serving as hosts for recruiting visits, on how to use the facility enhancements for recruiting purposes.  There is a reason car dealers have showrooms and that Apple built their own stores to sell i-Pods and i-Phones!  It provides them with a “selling environment.”

Virginia Tech’s head football coach Frank Beamer knows how to brand a program and environment.  His team is built of blue collar kids, kids who know the value of the “harder I work, the luckier I get.” 

Frank Beamer lunch pailCoach Beamer created a brand with nothing more than a dented, rusted old lunch pail.  That beat up old lunch pail is given each week to the player who best demonstrates the value of “hard work” in practice or a game; he has the honor of carrying the lunch pail to practice and to the next game.  It has become a symbol of this program; if you’re part of this program your hard work will pay off.  And a huge 10 foot replica of the lunch pail adorns the team’s football facility.

"It isn’t ‘decorating’, it’s paying tribute to a value that has built one of the finest football programs in the country!", explains Gilland.

Is your facility due for a facelift?  Do you want it to tell a better story to your alumni, donors and recruits?  Visit www.WinningRecruits.com and see if one of their informative assessments of your "story" makes sense.

3 Lessons for Recruiters From “American Idol”Monday, January 14th, 2008

Anticipation is building for the new season of ‘American Idol’, the national talent search program that dominates the TV ratings world and generates water-cooler buzz from offices to locker rooms around the country.

But ‘Idol’ has a challenge ahead…and this is where it relates to three valuable lessons for college coaches and recruiters.

Last season, ‘American Idol’ saw a decline it’s viewership.  They still did great overall, but their audience didn’t respond to the direction that the show’s producers took the show last season.  The show’s judge that everyone loves to hate, Simon Cowell, pinpoints the reason for the struggles in this recent issue of Variety (my main points for you, as coaches, are in bold):

"The show has got to look better. It’s got to be more fun as a show," says Cowell. "It American Idolabsolutely comes down to the content of what we provide the viewers."

Exec producer Nigel Lythgoe concedes that mistakes were made last year. For starters, Lythgoe says the show spent too much time on big-name guest mentors and performers, at the expense of investing viewers in who’s who (particularly early in the show’s competish).

"We need to put our hand up and take the blame," he says. "We missed out on telling the best stories. If (contestants) were uninteresting, it’s because we made them uninteresting."

As a result, "Idol" is looking to shake things up this year by spending more time on those contestant backstories.

"I want to give up that time and focus on the kids," Lythgoe says. "It’s the emotional hooks that sell us, and get us watching every week. I don’t think last year we were necessarily an appointment to view. There wasn’t a ‘I want to watch Bo Bice win’ or ‘I want to see Justin Guarini get kicked off’ feeling to the show."

Already, the marketing of "Idol" has reflected that change, Liguori says.

"We’ve had our promos talk a little bit more about ‘I’m from Nebraska, I’m a cotton candy maker,’ and ‘I’m from Oklahoma, I’m a cowboy,’ " he says. "We’re basically trying to set it up that this is a show about people with stories. … It’s about people who think they’re good (singers) and (are) not, and people who think they’re good and are great."

If you have already registered for "Building a Winning Recruiting Message", a workshop we’re offering for coaches around the country, this is an important theme we’ll teach you how to use.  Developing and building your message, and how your prospects will respond to it.

TV producers have the same job as you do as a coach and recruiter: To attract people to their message, and drawing them in to the point that they buy-in to their story.  As a coach, that should be your goal for the athletes that you’ve decided you want in your program.  Here’s what this story about ‘American Idol’ can teach you about doing that: 

  • Telling the best stories will result in signing the best recruits.  When I talk about "telling stories", I’m not talking about lying or making things up.  At the workshop we held in December (and the workshops we’re getting ready for in the coming weeks) I tell the story of Lucas the Boy Scout popcorn salesman.  It’s a great example of story telling that drives my point home: You have to give your listener (your prospect) a story to buy into.  Your story as a coach, your story as a program, and how that story involves them.  The best recruiters in the country take the time to create a story that their prospects can visualize and understand.  ’American Idol’ got away from doing that last season…and it cost them.  Is it costing you and your program, as well?
  • It’s all about the kids.  Your offer, and the opportunity to play for you as a coach, is all about your prospect.  It’s not about you.  So your message has to be centered around them, and their priorities.  The best way to do that?  Asking great questions.  If you want to connect with your prospect, get them talking, and get them excited about what you have to offer, spending the first two or three conversations you have with them doing nothing but asking effective questions (not selling your program) is the best way to achieve those results.  Take a look at your recruiting letters and brochures, or think back on the last conversation you had with a recruit: How much of your message involved asking them questions compared with the amount of the conversation that revolved around you spouting all of the great things about your program?
  • It’s all about how your prospects feel.  If you haven’t read our survey and study of this year’s top prep prospects, and how they really choose their college, you need to.  We also talk about the importance of feelings in our two recruiting training guides for coaches.  If you have read any of them, you know the extent to which your prospect’s final choice comes down to the way they "feel" about a program, and what determines that feeling.  I’ve often said that your prospect will make their choice based on how they feel, and then justify it with the facts and data that they learn from you.  So, the important question for you is, "What kind of strategies do you employ to give your prospects the feeling you want them to have about your program?"  The execs at ’American Idol’ didn’t ask that question last season, and it cost them dearly.  Is it also costing you, Coach?

You have multiple chances to solidify all three of these important concepts in the way you communicate to your prospects.  Making your letters look and sound different than they do now…creating good interactions via e-mail…focusing on asking the right questions when you’re talking to your prospects on the phone. 

The great thing about making these kinds of changes is that they can happen quickly and easily, and don’t cost anything.  It’s really just about changing the way you approach your message, and how to make that message "stick" with the prospects you really want.

If you’re interested in learning how to do what I’m talking about, I suggest you join us at one of our upcoming workshops that are close to you.  Click here for more information on those workshops. 

Coaches Talk About the SFC WorkshopMonday, January 7th, 2008

Some of the coaches who attended the December 2008 "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshop talked about their experience, what they learned, and what it has meant for their recruiting skills: 

 

“It gave me a lot of great new ideas to help with recruiting.  It’s going to help me come up with a more efficient and consistent recruiting plan.”
- Mandy Brettingen, Minnesota State University

 

“With the rapidly changing world of recruiting, Dan’s workshop allowed me to focus on finding Selling for Coaches workshopsolutions to recruiting issues.  I’ll be able to apply these right when I get home!”
- Rich Manning, University of Utah

 

“Great ideas that are fresh.  I really enjoyed sharing ideas with others and developing new strategies.”
- Josh Payne, Hanover College

 

“This workshop really invigorated my desire to recruit.  It’ll make me far more efficient and effective.”
- Name withheld by coach who said: “I’m not sure I want my competitors to know about it!”

 

“Dan’s right on track with the information he is delivering in this workshop.”
- Robin Jones, Principia College

 

“The workshop has shown me ways to have more confidence and actually enjoy the recruiting process.”
- Lindsay Autio, West Valley College

 

“Great workshop, great ideas and easy to understand!”
- Fabianna Abreu, CSU Bakersfield

 

“It gave me information that was practical and extremely useful.  I already have become a better recruiter.”
- Jim Homan, College of St. Mary

 

“It sparked some terrific ideas that I will use right away.”
- Bryant Howard, Cascade College

 

“It’s a great workshop.  My recruiting batteries have been re-charged, armed with useful tools and resources.”
- Gary Ehnes, University of Great Falls

 

Be a part of the upcoming "Building a Winning Recruiting Message" workshops!  Click here for the details.

“Building a Winning Recruiting Message”Monday, January 7th, 2008

Selling for Coaches has developed a special two day in-depth workshop especially designed for college coaches, "Building a Winning Recruiting Message".  We’ll help you develop a personalized recruiting theme and overhaul your current recruiting letters and e-mails.

Plus, we’ll teach you how to tie-in everything together for one logical stream of information for your prospects.  That includes your website message, the phone calls you make to recruits, and more.

The cost for this two day hands-on workshop lead by author and recruiting expert, Dan Tudor, is only $249.

We’re keeping this workshop small so that we’re able to give you more one-on-one attention and make this a valuable, productive weekend workshop experience (and if you’ve been a part of one of our On-Campus Workshops before, you know it will be time well spent!). 

In an exciting, in-depth, information-packed weekend, you will learn:

• How to write interesting recruiting letters that get a response.
• The five things you NEVER want in your recruiting letter. 
• Why some recruiting e-mails get responses, and other don’t.
• How to get prospects talking when you talk to them on the phone.
• Developing a winning recruiting strategy for your program.
• Crafting the right message to send out to your prospects.

What do coaches think about what we taught them at the workshop?  Click here to read their comments. 

If you’re interested in being a part of it, and want to totally overhaul and revitalize your recruiting campaign from start to finish, then join us.  Here are the details:

SF/Bay Area, CA  -  March 29th  Hurry!  Registration ends soon!

Boston, MA  -  April 11th & 12th

You can attend the workshop at any of these locations.  Pick the city and date that work best for you, and join your fellow coaches for a great training experience.  For more information and details, as well as registration forms, e-mail me at dan@sellingforcoaches.com with the subject line "Send me more workshop info!"

We really hope you can make it to one of these great workshops.

5 Ways to Make Sure You’re PreparedMonday, January 7th, 2008

If they were Boy Scouts, they would miss out on some pretty important merit badges.  Why?  Because many coaches aren’t prepared for every single prospect.

Here’s a real life example of what I’m talking about…

This story starts out with a recruiting situation involving a really good football prospect, and two D1 college recruiters.  I happen to know the prospect in the story, and his interaction with these two coaches has fascinated me over the past few months.

The first coach has his act together: He knows about the prospect, his family, what his interests were, and how to associate the prospect’s needs and wants with what they’re program had to offer.
He talks regularly with the parents, and has made contact with his high school coach.  The prospect has also told me that the coach spends most of his time asking questions rather than talking himself or his program.

And then there’s the other guy. 

The second coach, also from a respected D1 program, has apparently never been as prepared: He got the prospect’s father’s name wrong when the family visited the campus, didn’t have any idea how many other colleges were interested in him, and hasn’t been ready to seriously talk about his school and why it might be the right choice for the prospect.  When the athlete started hearing from the two schools, the athlete was actually more interested in the second school.  But that’s not the case any longer.  In fact, the prospect rarely returns phone messages or pays attention to letters and e-mails he gets (sporadically) gets from the coach.

The morale of the story: Treat EVERY prospect like they’re the best last hope for your program to reach the heights that you envision.

There are several things that go into “being prepared” to really, seriously recruit your prospect:

Run a Google search on your athlete.  What kind of press and attention are they getting?  What kind of articles have been written about them that might give you insight into their work ethic, their background, or their interests?

See what they’re saying on their MySpace or Facebook page.  Social networking websites like these are THE communication method of today’s teens.  What to look for?  See if there are any references to their favorite college or if they’re talking about playing at a certain school next year. (The prospect I mentioned earlier in the article?  He has the first college’s logo as one of his main images, and has talked about the coach really positively.  Hmmm…wonder where he’s going?)

You need to talk to their high school coaches.  What makes the athlete tick?  What kind of an off-season athlete are they?  Are they coachable?  What about their leadership skills?  What are their athletic (and personal) strengths and weaknesses?  And, most importantly, what questions does that coach have for you?

You need to talk to their parents.  Yes, their parents.  Not enough coaches interact with their prospect’s parents when it comes to helping to sway the athlete to your program.  Recommended question topics: What kind of school do you envision your son/daughter attending?  How will they be making their decision?  What is their biggest fear about college?  Is this a place where you can see your son/daughter coming to next year?

You need to know who else they are talking to.  I’m talking about your competition.  The easiest way to find out?  Ask your prospect: “What other programs have you talked to so far?”  They’ll usually be very honest with you.  Another question that’s good: “What programs are you hoping to talk to in the future?”

Back up for a moment to one thing I said you should ask a parent…it’s actually a great question to ask your prospect, and it will do more than almost anything else to get you inside the head of your prospect.  Ask them, “How are you going to be making your final decision about where you’re going to play sports and attend college?”  They’ll give you a short (and probably) incomplete answer.  So you would then ask, “And then what?”  They’ll tell you a little bit more.  And ask them again, “And then what?”  Every time you ask that three word question, you’ll get more and more information than you had before.

 

Be prepared for every prospect, in every way, every time

Want to get live, one-on-one training on how to prepare your recruiting message for the prospects you really, really want?  Then you need to come to one of our 2008 Unfair Advantage Tour stops, where we are featuring our workshop, “Building a Winning Recruiting Message”

To find the workshop nearest you, dates and details – including comments from coaches who have attended the workshop – click here.

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