For a lot of you, today’s the day: You can finally call that fresh list of recruits and start to really recruit them.
Even if you’ve been talking to athletes for a while now because of what your division level allows you to do, you might be feeling some extra tension as some of your competition revs-up into full gear to compete with you for the athletes you really, really want for your program.
So, whether you are a coach that’s reading this just getting ready to hit the phones with your new prospects today, or you are a coach that has been talking to recruits for a while now, we wanted to give you some advice on what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. SFC Premium Members got some inside tips and special instruction yesterday, but we wanted to continue the conversation with everyone today.
And, the advice you are going to get is going to be straight from your former recruits. This is phone call and recruiting advice that we’ve gathered from this year’s tour of different programs that have brought Selling for Coaches to their school for our On-Campus Workshop. Part of preparing for a SFC On-Campus Workshop is interviewing groups of student-athletes on that campus, asking them what their coaches did well when it came to recruiting them, and what areas need improvement.
When it comes to recruiting over the phone, they have a lot of advice for you:
- Be direct and to the point. Don’t beat around the bush. Tell them why you are calling, what you think about them, and what you need them to do next. Be very specific with them. As a group, that’s something that they all seem to be in agreement on when it comes to having coaches call them.
- Keep it short unless they want to go long. Most of your calls should probably be about 10 minutes long. After that, you’ll probably sense that you are doing all the talking. If you get that feeling, assume your prospect has it as well and end the call. On the other hand, if they are driving the conversation, feel free to go as long as you’d like. Just make sure that they are doing most of the talking. Which leads me to this…
- Remember the 80/20 rule on your phone call. You should aim to do about 20% of the talking, and have your prospect do 80% of the talking. If that’s happening, it means you are probably asking a lot of great questions and getting them to do most of the talking, which is always a good thing. On the other hand, if you are doing 80% of the talking, you are probably busy selling your program to someone you have just met over the phone. That’s tough to do, my friend, and doesn’t usually work. The call needs to be all about them, not about you. The best way to do that is to ask great questions and get them to do most of the talking.
- Make your questions original. Make them think. That, in fact, should be the goal of the questions you come up with to ask: Make them pause and think. If you do, you’ll stand out from most of the other coaches who are calling them. Are your questions different? Are they going to make your prospect take a minute and think about their answer?
- Ask "negative questions". Here’s what I mean by that: Instead of asking a prospect, "What do you like most about the team you play on?", ask them, "What is one thing you would change about the team you play on?" Or, instead of asking them, "What kind of college do you think would like to go to?", ask them, "What are some things that would make you cross a school off your list?" Sometimes, this generation finds it easier to tell you what they don’t want more so than what they do want in a college. Try it the next time you call.
- If you get an opportunity to talk to the parents, do it. Our study on how prospects make their final decision offered a lot of surprising insights. One of them was how much parents are a part of the decision making process, and how much their opinion is counted upon by their sons and daughters faced with making a really difficult, life-altering decision. With that in mind, take the chance to connect with them if you happen to talk to them on the phone. A positive impression with mom and dad could go a long way towards cementing your relationship with the prospect you are starting to recruit.
Later this week, we’ll tell our Premium Members what to do in terms of follow-up after the phone call, and how to make sure they’ll remember you from the rest of the pack of coaches that are hoping on the phone to talk to the same prospect you want on your roster. If you aren’t a Member yet, click here. We’ll make sure you get the additional training this week.
Phone calls are the recruiting tool that means the most when it comes to really connecting with a prospect. Mail and e-mail provide some good background information on who you are, but your prospects put a lot of weight on what you say – and how you say it – over the telephone. Make sure you go a good job from the start when it comes to making the right impressions with your prospects.