"If you want to get noticed, don’t be so polished."
So says marketing expert and best-selling author, Seth Godin. He points to something he noticed the other day while driving around his home in New York: A brown UPS truck with something on the back of it that caught Godin’s eye. Godin picks up the story from there:
"This UPS truck has a haphazardly affixed SAFETY sign hanging from the back. Think that’s unintentional? UPS does it on purpose. You notice it because a human being did it.
Same with the seven-page-long menus at diners in New York City. With thousands of things to choose from on the laminated, typeset menu, it’s difficult for some people to make a choice. What to do? Well, there’s a stained 3×5 card paper clipped to the front page listing four special dishes. They’re not specials in the sense that they change every day, they’re just specials because they’re on the card. And yes, that’s what people order.
When in doubt, make it human."
So, what can this UPS truck teach college coaches about crafting a more effective recruiting message?
Here are a few ideas that I think will work for college coaches:
Look for ways to make everything you send to a prospect "more human." Something hand-written on the front of your envelope. Cross out a word or two in your hand-written note to a prospect. Or, even a better idea: Show your prospect a little bit of your personal side, like pictures of your family, your high school yearbook picture…anything that humanizes you.
The simpler the better. Don’t make it expensive, or fancy. Keep it simple. Take another look at the sign taped on the back of the UPS truck. That’s simple, and it gets noticed. In today’s world, simple gets noticed more than over-produced and commercialized.
Offer some simple solutions for your prospects. Just like the restaurants that suggest some specials as a way to direct their customers towards the dishes that they really want them to order, you can help direct your prospects towards actions that you need (and want) them to take. As we explain regularly during our SFC On-Campus Workshops, it’s smart to agree upon the next action item your prospect. They are searching for simple solutions and easy-to-understand directions. Be the coach that gives it to them.
Make your form letters and mass e-mails more conversational, less corporate. What I mean by "less corporate" is less well-written. Less formal. Less intimidating. If you really want to connect with your prospect, talk to them in the language that they understand. Keep it simple, very informal, and conversational. It’s proven that prospects respond to a clear, simple message. Letters and e-mails are a great way to let your recruits see who you are as a coach, but only if you communicate with them in a way that they relate to and understand.
Many coaches could benefit from simplifying their recruiting messages. Be more direct, be more human. Let your prospects see the real you behind the letters and e-mails.