Dan Tudor

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Stealing Recruiting Ideas from “Seinfeld” and J. PetermanTuesday, October 28th, 2008

Some coaches who are reading this today who have spent some time with me at an On-CampusDan Tudor is a big Seinfeld fan! 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 French Sailing Shirtblindsides 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 Velvet pantshe 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 dan@sellingforcoaches.com and ask him to email a complete overview of SFC’s Total Recruiting Solution plan.

SFC Premium Membership Free 30 Day TrialMonday, October 27th, 2008

Free trial membershipWant to see what the SFC Premium Membership is all about?

We’ll let you try it for free for 30 days.

No credit card to register.  Nothing sneaky.  Here’s what you need to do:

Email us.  Send an email to myfreetrial@sellingforcoaches.com.  In the subject line, type "My free trial".  In the body of the email, give us your name and contact information.

One of our Premium Member support staff will call or email you to say hello, find out how we can help you during your trial, and set you up to start receiving all of our great additional training and services for the next 30 days.

As you get close to the end of your free trial, we’ll send you an email reminder that your SFC Premium Membership trial is about to expire.  It will include a link to become a member for just $95 a year. 

If you choose not to become a permanent Premium Member, just reply to the email and let us know that you do not want to continue with the Membership.  You’ll still receive the free Tuesday Training newsletter, and can become a Member again in the future if you change your mind.

Go ahead…give it a try, Coach!

Your Relationship with Your Players: “Surviving” or “Thriving”?Monday, October 27th, 2008

Mandy Greenby Mandy Green, Selling for Coaches

When you bring a recruit to campus, are they going to see a program that is hanging on by a thread in terms of the team’s relationship with the coaching staff?  Or, is it a healthy, thriving team that has great team/staff chemistry? 

If the answer is anything other than "thriving", you need to begin building team/staff relationships and doing some important things internally that can drastically improve the atmosphere.  Otherwise, you will need to be prepared to see it have a negative impact on your recruiting.
When trying to build relationships with your athletes, there are six important concepts to convey to each and every athlete on your team:
Show that you care and are concerned for the player as a person. 
Take the initiative to invest the time to connect with them as people. Go out early to practices and work with players, to talk about the day’s events, and show you are interested. Check in on their families, how their classes are going, how they feel about the team’s confidence, commitment, or even how they feel about their role on the team, chemistry, etc.

Communicate in an effort to build understanding
Increase communication, decrease anxiety. Decrease communication, increase anxiety.  It is very important to give players a very clear sense of why they are going to be doing what they are doing.  By communicating early and often to each of them about their roles, your vision, goals, and your expectations, you will reduce the risk of miscommunication and ineffectiveness.
Be willing to listen
The student-athletes in your program deserve your full and immediate attention when they come to see you.  When a player comes to talk to you, stop what you are doing and focus on nothing else but what they are saying.  Make eye contact, nod your head when you understand what they are saying, and don’t interrupt until they are done talking.  When players feel like you are listening to and care about what they have to say, you will have their trust and respect.  Active listening is also an important part of recruiting and overcoming objections, which we’ll be dealing with at a special coaches conference in Atlanta in November (you should be there!

Share ‘ownership’ of the process
A coaching style based on command and control may not work as well as it has in the past.  Entrust your players with some responsibility and then make sure you support them as they put their decisions into action.  Get feedback from them about drills they like, practice gear, the locker room, travel routines, and about recruits that they hosted.  Being included in the journey throughout the year empowers players to have greater control of their collegiate experience and ensures player motivation and cooperation.
Create adult-adult relationship
Traditionally, coaches used fear and intimidation to motivate athletes. Successful coaches now are focusing on developing strong relationships with athletes based on trust and respect.  There is no way in this day and age that you can expect to control everything that goes on with your program.  Clearly define what your expectations, goals, roles, and vision are and then let your team run with it.  You will get more from each and every player you have when and if they feel like they are trusted, respected, and allowed to have the freedom to utilize their talents to reach their potential.  Plus, our studies show that’s what they are looking for in a coach when they are being recruited.   

Be willing to laugh and cry togetherCoach and player
Collegiate sports is so much more than the game.  For many players and coaches, the team is their second family.  The relationships built can last a lifetime.  Coach, stop being serious all of the time and enjoy the people who you are surrounded by.  If you are going to have a successful program, your players need to look forward to coming to practice, be surrounded by people who are fun to be around, and in an atmosphere where they can learn and develop and people and players.       

Better relationships with your players will lead to a more motivated and psychologically strong team.  Focus on developing strong relationships with athletes based on trust and respect.   When players feel like they are cared for, being listened to, know what is expected of them, and have a role in accomplishing the team goals, they will "go to war" for you and for the team. 

For SFC Premium Members this week, you will be getting a special "Player/Coach Relationship Checklist" and also a list of the 10 Questions You MUST Be Able to Answer About Each of Your Athletes. 

Not a Premium Member?  Try it free for 30 days! 

Baseball Coaches Turning to Technology to Improve PlayersMonday, October 27th, 2008

by Carrie Bigbie, Selling for Coaches

With college baseball beginning their Winter workouts, coaches might be thinking about how to help improve their athletes this year.  For those that are hoping to make big strides by working smarter, and not just harder, there are some new technologies out there that can make a huge difference.

One way college coaches may start helping players with their skills is by breaking down their motions College baseball coach and mechanics using video.  Some coaches are still doing it manually with charts they have created, which is less accurate and more time consuming. 

No matter what your techniques are, coach, you probably want something that is easy to use and not as time consuming.  Dartfish and Inside Edge have created a fascinating solution that can help college coaches review their players in practice as well as in actual contests.  “We have produced a tool for coaches to really develop their players,” says Chuck Wilmot, Regional Sales Director for Dartfish USA. 

Besides creating a solution that is quick and easy to use, here are two more ways it can help college baseball programs:

1. Ease the job of charting pitches with the Inside Edge device.  You can sit behind home plate and video while in a game or at practice.  The information (speed, location, etc) is then stored electronically instead of someone having to put it on paper. Coaches would then import the information from the device to Dartfish via their computer.  From there, you can instantly search for pitches you want to see and create charted information.Dartfish

2. Review video without having to worry about logistically being in the same room.  Once coaches have video on their hitters or pitchers, they will need to review it with their athletes and their fellow coaches.  Imagine having the ability to remove all of the logistical issues of scheduling a time to get together to complete that task.  With Dartfish TV, coaches can take the highlights, upload them to their team’s Dartfish TV channel on the Internet, and review with their players in the same room, over the phone, or on the road.  College baseball coaches can also have the other coaches review the clips and include statistical reports.

 “The real value is being able to see and develop each individual player”, says Wilmot. 

College baseball coaches can get a free online demonstration by emailing Chuck Wilmot at chuck.wilmot@dartfish.com or calling him directly at 817.329.9285.  

Next week: We’ll talk about how this new technology tool can help college baseball coaches in their recruiting.

5 Ways to Help Your Staff Reach Their PotentialMonday, October 20th, 2008

by Mandy Brettigen, Selling for Coaches 

Hiring and managing your coaching staff may be the single most consequential aspect of coaching. 

Filling positions on a staff is like recruiting for your team: You recruit those who will embrace and thrive within your philosophy and who meet the needs of your team.  Managing people effectively means motivating and engaging them so they feel valued and important.

Once your staff is in place, there are some things you should do to make sure you are putting your staff in a position to be successful.   

Get to know them individuallycollege coaches
Why is it important to understand your staff as individuals? Because it is important to them. Find out about their background, where they’re from, families, pets hobbies, sports and their views on the world. Find out their philosophies and faiths, as well as how they think and how they feel.

Now I’m not suggesting you sit around all day “gazing into each others eyes”, or spend half the night on the phone telling each other your deepest secrets. I’m suggesting you do this slowly but surely over time.  Build up your understanding of this person and member of your coaching staff.  When those that you are working with know that you care about them and accept them, your working relationship will be much more productive.

Ask more questions than telling
The best way to really engage your staff is to ask them for their input to problems that need to be solved or with decisions that need to be made. You can pat them on the back for a job well done, and give them clear directions but if you never ask them for their advice or suggestions they will never feel fully engaged. Think strategically about which decisions you need to make and which you can recruit the help of your staff.

Manage expectations by making roles clear
An essential part of developing a powerful working staff is assessing each of their potential contributions to the team. Outline the expectations of each position on your staff in terms of job duties, professionalism, and personal conduct, so that everybody is aware of each other’s responsibilities.  Once they understand their specific roles and responsibilities, give them the freedom to do their job and trust that they will get their job done professionally. 

Whether this is accomplished through face-to-face meetings, emails, or phone calls, the channels of communication must be clear and effective.  Communication eliminates mistakes.  It needs to be ongoing, as well as honest and open. 

Challenge them!
Delegate real developmental challenges, not just the stuff you don’t want to do.  Challenge them to make something you are already doing better, or encourage them to come up with a new idea and let them run with it.  By challenging them with projects you will not only help to develop them into better coaches, you will engage them and foster broader ownership for the program.

To manage your staff effectively, you need to get inside their heads to understand what is important to them, what motivates them and what they like doing. Just like with recruiting, if you don’t adjust your approach to each and every staff member on your team you will not be as successful as you want (and need) to be.

Allow your staff to do what they do best.  Make them feel like they are trusted, respected, and expected to utilize their talents for the betterment of the team.  Instilling trust and confidence in your staff gives them a sense of ownership, which then feeds their investment in the program, feelings of belonging and contributing, and a sense of urgency when needed.  In turn, your staff will rise to their potential and understand that their actions enhance the performance of the team and the program.        

For SFC Premium Members, you will be getting the next step in making all of this work: The seven actions you’ll want to take to create a positive, empowering, motivational working and coaching environment for people on your college coaching staff.

What’s the Best Way to Uncover a Prospect’s Objections?Monday, October 20th, 2008

Overcoming a prospect’s objections is tough enough if you happen to know what those objections are in the first place.  A college coach that does that is way ahead of the game in the battle for a recruit.

But I got a phone call from a coach who just became a TRS Client two weeks ago with a bit of a twist to the objection question: "What do you do," he asked, "when you know there’s something a prospect isn’t telling you, but it’s obviously something that’s going to keep him from choosing your school?"  Call it a gut feeling, or something else, but sometimes a coach just "knows" when something isn’t right with one of their prospects.  

It’s actually a great question…and that’s a tough one to overcome, no doubt. It’s one of the reasons we’ve created a special series of conference for college coaches to take coaches through a step-by-step process for addressing every objection they face from prospects (you should be a part of it!)  Before we hold that conference in Atlanta, here are a few proven strategies you might want to try the next time you have a recruit come right out and tell you that they’re "not interested", or give you that gut feeling that they’re holding something back from you and not telling you about an objection they’re thinking about:

  • First, ask them what they mean by "not interested". Does it mean that they aren’t interested in playing college sports? Not interested in the offer you have for them? Not interested in going to school in that part of the country? Asking probing questions is the key to getting to the heart of their lack of interest.  You’ve got to get them to be specific, so that you can give them an answer that helps redirect their interest back towards your program.
  • If you think they might be holding back an objection from you, you’ll need to do even more probing.  Try asking your prospect to give you three reasons a prospect would have a problem with you or your program.  By taking them out of the equation (you’re asking about another prospect, not them or their views) it might free them up to give you answers that will, in fact, be their feelings toward your program.
  • Next, try to get them to them to clarify the general answer they gave you. "Do you mean you already know what our offer is going to be?" Or, "Have you already read about our program’s success but have decided that it doesn’t matter to you?" Or maybe, "How did you become familiar with the part of the country that our school is located in?"

The point in asking these types of questions? Get your prospect to clarify what they mean by their objection, and how they came to feel that way.

Next, you’ll want to focus on trying to solve the problem and overcoming that objection. That is the goal of any conversation when an objection arises, and what we spend a lot of time on in our recruiting guides for college coaches. A problem-solving discussion might start something like, "I understand…so, if a full-ride offer was on the table, you’d take a serious look at us?" Or, "I see. So, if I could show you how well you’d fit into our championship caliber program, you would keep an open mind and consider us?" Or, "If we were able to show you how valuable a degree from our school is out there in the real world, would you give us another look?"

Again, my strong recommendation to you is to be a problem solver. Your prospect may not be raising an objection as much as he or she is reaching out to have their problems solved. Most of your competition still tries to hard sell a prospect by throwing out a lot of sales-oriented bullet points and trashing their competition (that would be you, Coach).

Approach things from a different perspective, and stand out from your competition: Deal with objections with the frame of mind that you are a problem solver, and your prospect is someone in need of help solving that problem. 

Whether they come right out and state an objection to you, or they hold back and make you dig for it, overcoming objections is THE biggest challenge you face as college recruiter.  If you learn how to effectively deal with objections, you’ll build a long, successful career for yourself at the college level. 


7 Keys to Making Better Recruiting Phone CallsMonday, October 13th, 2008

Recruiting over the phone is probably the most challenging recruiting task that a college coach faces.  Whenever I get to talk to coaches at one of our On-Campus Workshops, and ask them about talking to prospects over the phone, it ranks just behind stomach flu and slightly ahead of hitting their thumb really hard with a hammer. 

"What do I talk about?"  "Why can’t I get my prospect to talk back?"  "What do I say when I’m leaving a message?" 

Those are just some of the questions we get from coaches on a regular basis.  And, they are important questions.  Because if you can’t communicate on the phone, all of the letters and beautiful brochures that you’ve been sending to your recruit these past many months just went down the tubes.

Tying together all of your recruiting communication so that it makes sense to your prospect and builds a logical case for why they should choose your program is essential to successful recruiting.  That’s why we’re hosting two special conferences for college coaches this November and December, one that focuses on overcoming objections and another that teaches coaches how to develop a great recruiting message.  And one of the topics we’ll be covering in both conferences is how to talk to prospects over the phone, and (more importantly) how to make those phone calls play off of the letters you’ve been sending out.

If you’re facing some important recruiting phone calls this week, and need some quick tips to make sure they’re successful, here’s a few to take with you:

  1. Keep it under ten minutes.  If you make it longer than that, you risk losing the attention of your prospect.  Studies show that we start to let our mind wander after listening to someone else for more than ten minutes.  Don’t let that heppen on your next recruiting call.  The exception to this rule?  If your prospect is the one doing the talking.  Never cut short an engaged conversation with your prospect if they are the one’s that are directing the discussion.
  2. Try not to sell.  Oooo, it’s so tempting though, isn’t it?  Just one more great thing about your school…one more bullet point they may have missed from the college brochure that you sent them.  You know the drill.  The problem is, the more you’re selling, the less you’re listening.  And now you’re like every other coach that your prospect is talking to about a scholarship.  Sell less, listen more.
  3. Have questions ready to ask.  Don’t wing it.  Write down questions that you want to make sure to ask, and then make sure that you ask them.  Try to ask the type of questions that we describe in our recruiting guides for coaches…open ended questions that make your prospects stop and think. 
  4. Give them an insider’s view of your world.  Wanna get your prospect’s attention in a phone conversation?  Tell them about your last game, or about a tough decision you had to make, or about a problem that you had to help a player with.  Show your human side, and give them a peek inside your world.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised how your prospect will view you when you share that with them. 
  5. Ask them what they would do.  It’s a great conversation starter, Coach.  Give them a game situation, and ask them what they would do.  They’ll love it that you are interested in their opinion, and you’ll gain insight on how they would approach a situation that they might face as an athlete in your program.
  6. Tie-in the "before and after".  Here’s what I mean: Talk about the last letter you sent as a way to start the phone call, and then let them know what they’ll be hearing from you next after you hang up.  A letter?  An e-mail?  Another phone call?  Make sure you’re setting up the next communication you’ll be sending them at some point in your phone call.
  7. 7.  Ask for "the sale".  You need to do it almost every time you talk to your prospect.  Your prospect needs to be given the opportunity to commit to your program every time they talk to you.  It’s a must, Coach.  The worst thing that heppens?  They politely tell you "not yet", but go away knowing that you want them.  The best that can happen?  They give you their commitment.  The phone is a great time to ask that question, because it’s just personal enough to make them feel like they could give you their commitment, but "safe" enough to tell you "not yet" if they aren’t ready.  But you have to ask them, Coach.

The magic ingredient to successful phone calls is when your call matches-up with the message that you’ve been talking about in your letters and e-mails.  After studying what makes athletic prospects say "yes" to a coach, I’m convinced it’s when they feel like everything makes sense and the message sounds genuine. 

That’s a tough balance to achieve, and few coaches get it exactly right.  But when it happens, it’s magic.  And that coach will get most of the prospect they want.

Why Knowing More About Yourself Can Launch Your Coaching CareerMonday, October 13th, 2008

by Mandy Brettingen, Coaching Development Specialist 

Those that get into coaching are generally prepared to handle the fundamental game strategies, the “X’s and O’s” of the sport.  And, they usually have a natural desire to become better recruiters since so much of their job depends on their ability to sign solid prospects. 

But these same college coaches are often blind-sided by demands made on them from managing,Mandy Brettigen building, and training their current team, recruiting their future team, managing their staff, dealing with their administration, game day preparations and executions, fundraising, and administrative duties.  These day-to-day challenges can frustrate even the most experienced college coaches and cause almost every sports leader to wonder whether guiding a team is worth all of the extra headaches. 

Every coach that I know, including myself, spends almost every minute of every day worrying about taking care of every detail of their program, and tend to neglect the most important part of the equation:  Themselves.

A vital step in managing your college coaching career is getting to know yourself. This is true whether you’re just beginning your career, established in one but wishing you could change in some way, or happy where you are but still wanting to improve certain aspects of your situation.

Stop worrying about all of the other stuff that has to get done for a second. Sit down, close the door, and try to develop a better understanding of yourself-your values, your tendencies and your methods of operation as a coach.  Self-knowledge is the foundation on which successful coaches build their careers.  Without a strong sense of who you are, both as a person and a coach, your chances of staying in the game are slim at best. 

In other words, to define and navigate your coaching career path, you need to identify three main qualities about yourself:

1. Your most passionate core coaching interests.  What about coaching do you like and not like?  What do you like or not like about Recruiting?  Team building?  Team management?  Administration?  Game day?  Etc. 

2. Your deepest coaching values.  Values are the things that we’re most naturally drawn to and they form the basis of how you approach your life. When you define your values, you have something concrete to check-in with when making decisions and setting priorities. When we live and coach according to our values, it doesn’t feel like hard work. It’s much more fulfilling. Defining your values is an ongoing process and you may find that over time they change slightly or their importance alters.

3. Your strongest skills. Each one of us has our own unique set of talents. If developed consciously, these talents can become our greatest strengths, and propel us to new levels of success in life and coaching. However, the most common mistake we coaches make is focusing on the development of our weaknesses, rather than on the development of our talents. Why not become more of who you already are?

How do you go about identifying your core coaching interests, values, and skills? You have four sources of information to which you can turn to begin this clarification process:

• You
• Your colleagues, friends, and family
• Your team
• Assessments

Look inward by blogging or journaling – To use yourself as an information source, look deep within yourself to identify key themes. The blog can be a place where you can record in writing or drawings the personal knowledge that you are gaining about yourself as a coach, your philosophy, your values, and any other factors.  It is beneficial to get these thoughts and feelings about yourself and about your coaching ability out in some way so they don’t build up and contribute to unproductive thoughts, feelings, and behavior.   Self-reflection will allow you to engage in self-evaluation to reflect on, evaluate, and alter their own thought processes and experiences and from there will be identify areas that may need to be changed.   
Consult your friends, family, and colleagues -The people who know you best often become excellent sources of information about your work interests, values, and abilities.  If you are too shy to ask them in person, send them an email.  Collect all the responses and look for common themes. These themes will provide clues to your interests, values, and skills.

Your team – Asking your team to give feedback about you as a coach accomplishes two things.  One, you gain valuable information about what somebody who is being coached by you thinks your strengths and weaknesses are. And two, you empower your team to be the ones to offer constructive criticism in an effort to do things better.

Assessments – Using coach-specific checklists or worksheets can help you clarify your core interests, values, and skills.  Attached is a coach’s self-evaluation assessment.  It can be a useful tool for you to use as you start to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a coach. 

Coach, you need to spend time on yourself.  By regularly attending to your development and updating your skills, you can increase your value to your program and to your team. You will also get more satisfaction and stimulation from your work.  For those that are SFC Premium Members, you will be getting more ideas from me tomorrow on how to get to know yourself better so that you can advance your college coaching career. 

4 Questions to Jump-Start Your RecruitingMonday, October 6th, 2008

Dan TudorIt’s the core of every good recruiting effort…the single thing that can determine whether you get the prospect, or lose them to a competitor.


Make that good questions.

Asking the right ones, the right way, at the right time.  When you get right down to it, questions drive successful recruiting efforts.  Everything else - all those "exciting" brochures, all those tantilizing one page letters - don’t measure up to really effective questions. 

To help you kick off a successful year of recruiting, I wanted to give you a few of the right kinds of questions you can ask your prospects as you head into the busy Fall recruiting season.  See if you can incorporate these into your recruiting conversations: 

1. The Who Question

Never, ever assume that the prospect you are speaking with is the real decision-maker. It sounds strange, but it is true: Your prospect may be only one of a number of individuals who will figure into his or her final decision. Parents, coaches and others may have real influence over your prospect.  Know all the players in the game so you can prepare strategies and tactics to deal with them and how they may individually effect your prospect’s decision. Your challenge is to find out if there are other participants in the decision without putting your recruit on the spot. If you’re too blunt, the prospect might mislead you. Here is a simple question that you can’t live without. Use it every time:

"Amanda, apart from yourself, who is going to be involved in your decision?"

Here’s a variation: "Kevin, when a player like you has to make a big decision like this, there are usually several people involved. Apart from yourself, who else will help you make your decision?"

2. The When Question

I am amazed at how many coaches and recruiters ignore this powerful and insightful question:

"Kathy, when do you see the final decision being made?" Or, "Chad, if our offer was a go in your mind, when do you see it happening?"

The "when" question helps you to assess your prospect’s urgency. A decision that will be made within a week has more urgency than a decision that will be made in three months. Knowing when the recruiting might conclude helps you set priorities, determines the time and effort you devote and dictates your follow up strategy with the prospect you’re recruiting.

3. The Scenario Question

Discovering a prospect’s needs can be challenging in the early stages of recruiting. When prospects don’t know you, they tend to be much more reserved in the information they share. Many are not comfortable telling you about their "warts and blemishes" (i.e., their needs, challenges, weaknesses and concerns) until you’ve established some rapport. You’ve probably noticed that by now, right coach?  To get around this hesitancy, coaches should use a scenario question. As the name implies, the scenario question paints a scenario that addresses a problem or concern without putting the prospect on the spot. Here are a couple of examples:

"Eric, a lot of the prospects we’re recruiting this year have said they’re interested in committing as early as possible. Let me ask you, is that something you’re thinking about also?"

"Jennifer, we are getting more and more feedback from our prospects that are part of our 2009 recruiting class about who they’ll rely on to help them make their final decision.  Let me ask you, how would you answer that question?"

The scenario question is based on the premise that "misery loves company". You want the prospect to think, "Gee, if others are experiencing the same thing then it’s okay for me to open up." Master the scenario question and you’ll get to their needs and inner motivations more quickly, reduce your recruiting cycle and get more recruits committed in less time.

4. The Net Impact Question

Even if you use a scenario question and the recruit opens up to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the their need for what you’re offering at your college is strong enough for him to take positive action. One of the best questions you can ask to determine the depth and breadth of a need your athletic prospect has is the "net impact" question. Here are two versions:

"So what’s the net impact of our offer to cover half of your total tuition costs?" Or, "What’s the possible net impact of waiting until late March to give us your final decision?"

The net impact forces your prospect to think about the rippling effect of a problem. It gets your prospect to do some analysis. In effect, you want him to say, "You know, I never thought of it like that." Suddenly, seemingly minor problems become more significant. Or, you learn the net impact is minor in the mind of your teenage prospect. If so, avoid wasting your time. Move on. Because the question is opened-end it gets your client to expand and elaborate. You get information and information is power.

Those four questions will jump-start your recruiting conversations and get you past some of the common road-blocks coaches tell me that they’re experiencing when they’re dealing with today’s prospects.

Want more help that is more personalized?  Let me recommend two ideas for you to take a look at:  Our popular On-Campus Workshop and the new Total Recruiting Solution plan.  Both offer you unparalleled advantages in getting you ready to win every recruiting situation you face. 

Big SFC Conference Coming-Up Soon!Monday, October 6th, 2008

Dan Tudor"Building a Winning Recruiting Message" - December 13-14, 2008   Bakersfield, CA

This is one of our most popular conferences, and it’s back with our special Hawaiian twist.  

For two information-packed days, you’ll get step-by-step instructions on how to create a winning recruiting message from start to finish: Your letters, emails, phone calls, website…EVERYTHING.  We’ll teach you how to revamp your message in a way that connects with this generation of student-athlete.

Since it’s on Dan Tudor’s "home turf", we’ll throw in some fun extras at this conference.  And,2007 SFC Conference in Bakersfield you’ll be learning in the middle of one of the most unique training venues ever…a full Hawaiian-themed private restaurant and conference hall (check out picture from last year’s conference).

We’re also letting you attend this conference at our lowest cost of the 2008-2009 conference series…just $129 for the full two day conference.

Want to find out creative ways to craft a new and more effective recruiting message?  Are you ready to stop struggling with finding a message that connects with this generation of student-athlete?