Some coaches who are reading this today who have spent some time with me at an On-Campus Workshop know that I’m a bit of a Seinfeld fan.
Today, I’ve actually found a way to pass along a piece of valuable recruiting advice to you using a character from the show…who actually runs a real business, and has to recruit new customers in the same way you have to recruit great athletes.
Those of you familiar with this popular sitcom probably remember the eccentric "J. Peterman", Elaine’s boss who ran a catalog of exotic products, described in great detail through some very imaginative writing. What many of you might not know is that there is a real catalog, real exotic products and a real J. Peterman.
It’s the way his catalog is written that is my focus today, because there are some really good lessons in the way it’s written. There are several concepts you should steal and use in your recruiting letters. Here are a few examples:
- Recruiting letters and emails should create pictures in your prospect’s mind. For example, listen to J. Peterman’s opening lines in describing a French Sailing Shirt:
Sixty-knot winds are raking the deck of his sloop… At 4 p.m., a rogue wave blindsides him and knocks the boat flat…The mast is crushed. The wheel is gone. The woman is swept overboard when her safety harness snaps. He unclips his own harness to leap in after her, spots her from the crest of a swell… Iron will kicks in; somehow he gets them both back to the wreck…Nighttime currents drive them onto a beach.
Wow! That’s quite a story for selling a shirt! But that’s the Peterman style…he draws you in and makes you interested by assigning a story to something that’s rather ordinary (a shirt). The story is what people are "buying" because its so descriptive. When talking about your recruiting topics with a prospect, try to create interest in your program by telling a story and taking the reader inside your school through this type of writing and storytelling.
- Always feature what’s unique about your school. For Peterman, that’s his one-of-a-kind section of his catalog and website (finally…a place to buy a European Grape Press!) We’ve added another two college programs to our Total Recruiting Solution program this past week, and one of the first things we work with coaches on determining as we start this service for them is what unique things about their school, team and program can be highlighted in the recruiting plans we help them create and manage. Do you have something unique? Highlight it in a creative way in your letters and emails. Make it something that attracts the prospect to your campus and peaks their interest in your program.
- Try starting your letter or email halfway through the story. Like Peterman does in the way he starts off his story about the Velvet Party Pants:
One of those houses at the end of a long driveway in Beverly Hills, a high density of exotics parked outside. You can hear the festivities from the street. Inside, white room and white rugs, a jungle of potted plants, Mexican ceramics…isn’t that Harry Connick, Jr. over there, shouting his compliments to the hostess?
See how that technique draws you in right from the start? No set-up, no introduction. Just straight to the middle of the conversation. Try to find a way to use this technique in your next recruiting letter or email, especially if you think you’re losing prospects with the way you’re trying to communicate with them.
Those are three quick ways to use creativity to get better results from your recruiting communication. For J. Peterman, his catalog had to stand out from the hundreds of others catalogs that clog our mailboxes. His style stood out so well, it became a fixture on the most popular sitcom of all time.
I can’t promise you national fame by following Peterman’s lead, but I will promise you better responses from your prospects through letters and emails that sound different than everyone else.
Need help with creating a winning recruiting plan? Want a team of experts to help you produce your letters and emails so that you could double your prospect responses, and save a lot of your time in the process? Email Dan Tudor at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to email a complete overview of SFC’s Total Recruiting Solution plan.