Dan Tudor

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Your Prospect’s Psychological ExpectationsSunday, May 31st, 2009

Dan TudorI’ve seen Jerry Seinfeld perform his stand-up comedy act in person twice.

Each time I went, there was an excitement.  I loved "Seinfeld" when it was on television, and I love Jerry Seinfeld in person.

And that’s the interesting thing about it all…

When I went to see him perform, I was ready to laugh.  I was expecting to laugh.  And, I wanted to laugh.  Same thing holds true for people who love horror films.  They go into the theatre expecting to squirm, scream and feel their heart pump a little faster.

There is a psychological condition that we slip into that explains the condition that I am describing.  And if you’re a coach that can dupilcate that kind of a response in your recruits, you are going to win the recruiting battle more often than not.

Does that mean you have to learn how to deliver one-liners, or chase your athletic department co-workers with a bloody axe?  No.  As tempting as that second one is, no.

What it does mean you need to do is delivering either a) what your prospect is expecting a college and coach to be, or b) totally un-doing what they expect your college or program to be like.

What do we know about what athletes are expecting as a part of the recruiting process?  I spoke about it several times these past few days in a series of On-Campus Workshops at college campuses:

  • They want to feel like they are wanted.
  • They want to feel like they will have the chance to succeed academically and athletically.
  • They want to know that they will have fun and enjoy college. 

Those are some important facts coaches need to know.  And yet, most coaches will fall back to stale sales pitches about their facilities, their top-rate conference, and other "features and benefits" of their program.  Every recruiting year that goes by, that strategy will become less and less effective.

So let’s focus on a few things that are effective when it comes to either delivering what a prospect is expecting, or what a prospect is going to need to see from you to change their mind about your program.

Here’s what I find most prospects are looking for as they start to go through the recruiting process:

  • They want to feel like they are the only one you are recruiting.
  • They want to understand exactly why you are interested in them.
  • They want to know what to do next.

And that’s it.  Honestly, if you do each one of those three things, you’ll be in really good shape.  Now, there are a lot of details packed within each of those three items to be sure.  But let’s not worry about the details right now.  Answer me this, Coach: If you and I were talking on the phone, could you prove to me that you are doing each one of those things?  If so, how?  Think about what your answer would be.

On the other side of the coin, here are the things that you need to do if you are a program that needs to overcome misconceptions your prospects may hold as you start recruiting them:

  • You’d better tell them a great story about you and your program that they can (and should) believe.
  • You’d better help your athletes know how to be great campus hosts that make recruits feel like they are already part of the team.
  • You’d better learn how to use technology, specifically to show recruits what your program is really like behind the scenes.  Why?  Because they are looking for the "real" you.

Are you doing each of those three things?  Are you doing any of those three things?  If the answer is "no", then I don’t really need to ask how your recruiting is going.

There’s an expectation that your recruits have as they go into the recruiting process.  In the same way we like to be entertained, and will laugh along or scream along with the crowd because it’s fun and part of the experience, your recruits are looking to have their expectations confirmed.

Before your next recruiting campaign, make sure you can answer each of those questions I presented.

One of the things that Selling for Coaches does for college programs is to help them formulate a strategy for their recruiting efforts.  From the timeline to the actual communication messages to recruits, we work with your staff to build a recruiting plan that gets results.  For more information, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@sellingforcoaches.com and let him know that you want to see how our Total Recruiting Solution works, and how it would be customized for your individual program.

Great Twitter Tools for College CoachesMonday, May 25th, 2009

Twitterby Sean Devlin, Front Rush – Product Development Director 

With all of the hype around Twitter and the new NCAA ruling for Divisions I and II, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about how coaches can transition to Twitter life a little easier and what tools are out there to improve your experience.

Let’s say that you have gone through the steps of setting up your Twitter account (www.twitter.com), and you customized the layout to reflect your team.  The question is, “How does one actually post a ‘tweet’?” To help you do this, here’s an overview of some of the Twitter ‘stuff’ available to you:

On Your Computer

Twitter.com
This is the standard Twitter site.  You can go to Twitter.com, login, post your tweet, and move on.  This is the simplest way to post your messages whenever you are around your computer.

Tweetdeck
There are a number of applications that you can download to your computer that make twittering a little bit more robust as well as easier to aggregate your Twitter data.  Tweetdeck is one that we use quite a bit here at Front Rush because it lets you organize all of the people that you are following in a nice layout as well as in groups.  This application is built for the power users who constantly need to be in touch with their followers as well as with the people they are following on Twitter.  You can get tweetdeck, free of charge, by going to http://www.tweetdeck.com

On Your Mobile Device

Twitterberry (Blackberry Users)
Twitterberry is an app that you can download directly to your blackberry.   It will give you access to your Twitter account without having to go through the long process of signing onto the internet, logging onto twitter, posting your message, etc.  Instead, once you download this app, you add your username and password (just the first time you login) and, you are a button push away as twitterberry now exists on your Blackberry.   If you want to post a tweet on the go, you just need one click on the app and the twitterverse is right in front of you.  You can get this by going to http://orangatame.com/products/twitterberry/changelog.php

Twitterrific (Iphone Users)
Twitterrific is one of two Iphone apps that has really stood out when posting to Twitter.  It’s easy to use, easy to post tweets, and easy to manage your Twitter life.  You simply download the app from the app store and login.  Immediately, you are set to jet.  The only downside is that the free version is ad supported.  As a result, every hour or so, you will get an add at the bottom of the screen.  If the adds get annoying, you have the option of paying a one time $3.99 fee to get rid of those adds.  This fee will also provide you with a few additional features.  You can get this by going to the app store on your Iphone and searching for ‘twitterrific’

Tweetie (Iphone Users)
This is the other of the two Iphone apps that has really stood out as a leader in usability and functionality.  For the purpose of sending out tweets and not having to worry about the adds at the bottom, tweetie is a great tool for its $2.99 price.  You can get tweetie by going to the app store on your Iphone and searching for ‘tweetie’

There are countless other applications out there that you can add to your desktop or mobile device, and more are coming every day.   As you become a power user, many of the features in the above list will stand out and improve your Twitter experience.  One last suggestion: We highly recommend– especially on a mobile device–to download a twitter specific app.   It will save you a ton of time logging into Twitter.com.

Sean Devlin is available to answer your Twitter related questions, as well as any questions you have about your web-based recruiting management program (even if it is a product other than Front Rush).  To ask Sean a question, email him at sdevlin@frontrush.com or call him directly at 866.634.1186 x105. 

For more information about web-based recruiting management and advanced emailing for college coaches, visit www.frontrush.com.

6 Tips for “Old School” RecruitersMonday, May 25th, 2009

Dan TudorFor all of the college coaches that are Twittering, blogging, using Facebook, have a MySpace page promoting their team, using tools like Front Rush to communicate with recruits or Dartfish to coach them better, there are lots of others who are keeping it “old school”.

They’ll recruit their kids with hand written letters, thank you very much.

Posting a “tweet”?  Forget about it.  They’d rather pick up the phone and let you hear their prospect’s voice.

With all the advances in technology, there are coaches who aren’t going to use it in their daily recruiting efforts.

And you know what?  That’s fine.  You can still sign great recruits using some of those “old school” methods that have been around for years and years.  However, to use them effectively with this generation of teenage prospect, you’ll need to do a little fine-tuning in your approach and use of these common recruiting techniques.

Here are six things you need to know about these tried-and-true recruiting techniques as you eye your next recruit:

Use the phone to make the first contact.  Did you know that our in-depth study of how prospects make their college decision showed that a phone call from the coach was their preferred first contact?  Chalk one up for the old-schoolers out there!  Phone calls work when they are used correctly, and this one has some big-time benefits:  It tells recruits that you’re serious about them right from the start, the phone call can be very short and to the point (saving you from those awkward “what-the-heck-do-I-talk-about-now” moments) and you can set up the next step in the process.

Speaking of phone calls, keep it short.  Coach, you don’t need to spend 30 minutes or an hour on the phone.  This is a “get-to-the-point” generation of kids.  If you find yourself doing all (or most) of the talking, keep your phone call to 10 minutes or less.  Our research shows that it’s just as effective as a long phone call (more so, in many cases) and you won’t overstay your welcome with your prospect.  The one exception to the short phone call rule?  If your prospect is asking questions and doing the talking.  If that’s the case, stay on the phone as long as possible…and, you should realize that you have just been given a HUGE “buying signal” from your prospect. 

The home visit still works.  With travel budgets decreasing throughout the NCAA, home visits are going to become less and less frequent.  If you can swing it, making a home visit becomes an even bigger weapon in effective recruiting.  The keys to a good home visit?  I’ll briefly name three since that’s something that we normally talk about in depth if we get to work with a coach and their college one-one-one:  1) Try to do only 20% of the talking by asking great questions, 2) take as much time as possible to find out about the non-sports side of the family and interacting with siblings who might be present for the meeting, and 3) if you’re going to do a presentation about your school or your program, don’t bore them with ultra-detailed information that you end up reading to them.  Make it less presentation, more conversation.  Oh, one more thing:  If you want them, ASK THEM TO COMMIT AT THE END OF THE MEETING!  Don’t leave the home of a prospect you really want without making it clear that you’d take a “yes” from them right then and there.  Not enough coaches do that, and the result is that they walk away from a golden opportunity to secure a recruit.  Don’t be one of those coaches!

You’d better spend time getting to know their coach.  More and more, today’s prospect looks to their high school and/or club coach for guidance on recruiting.  At an extreme, many will let their coach select the “right” school at the end of the recruiting process (I’ve seen it happen a LOT in the past two years).  If you’ve got an old school recruiting attitude, it’s an absolute must to include your prospect’s coaches in the process.  In the good old days, a relationship with a recruit’s coach was a no-brainer.  It was a natural part of the cycle.  Today, I see coaches not paying as much attention to what their prospect’s coaches think of them and their program.  I think that any smart coach should (and if you want to know how, take a look at our workbooks for coaches).

Hand-written letters win every time.  What’s more old school than a blank piece of letterhead and an ink pen?  Not much.  But this old recruiting standard carries even more weight these days.  Why?  Because recruits know that the time you take to write them is meaningful.  They know how busy you are, and the fact that you’ve taken time out of your day to correspond with them means a lot.  They will always read hand-written mail, and will assign value to the fact that you took the time to write them.

Be seen in person.  Being visible at games, tournaments and practices counts in the eyes of your prospect.  When we conduct one of our On-Campus Workshops, and talk with our athlete focus groups at a school, we find that most athletes are able to remember times when the coach they signed with came to their gym or their stadium to watch them compete.  Again, they know that takes time…and that’s the one big thing that this generation of athlete respects.

Old school recruiting strategies definitely still have a place in modern day recruiting. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think technology tools that are available to college coaches today are incredible additions to their recruiting arsenals.  However, I’m also a realist: I know that there are coaches out there that aren’t comfortable using technology, and don’t want to use it in their everyday recruiting.

If I just described you, my message is simple: You can still be an effective “old school” college recruiter.

How to “Time Block” Your Way to Coaching SuccessMonday, May 18th, 2009

Time management for college coaches

by Mandy Green, Selling for Coaches 

I keep hearing, “Mandy, I need more balance and less chaos in my day as a college coach.” 

I hear it frequently when I am leading one an On-Campus Workshop for an athletic department…coaches tell me that they go into their day with a game plan and by 9:30 in the morning, it has gotten thoroughly messed up because of a crisis, or a colleague stopped by, emails, unexpected phone calls, and on and on and on.  Many of these same coaches can’t get back on track after that happens.

How many times have you ended the day and wondered, “What did I accomplish today?” So many times we get caught up in being "busy" during our day and before we know what hit us, the day is over.

Due to the nature of the work, coaches have to follow a flexible schedule. You need to be free to accommodate the needs of your teams and recruits and other administrative staff with whom you work.

But Coach, you don’t have to turn your schedules over to others as much as you may think. By controlling your time in "blocks" you may actually manage your time better.

The most successful people in any profession are usually highly scheduled. Have you ever met a successful doctor who tells patients to "come on in any time you’d like?" No, doctors have highly scheduled lives. They have blocks of time set up for seeing patients, performing surgeries, and working at their hospitals. They know how many patients they need to see each day to create the lifestyles they choose to live.

Is it possible for you to run your program the same way? Of course!  And, it’s certainly more efficient than the way most of us coaches run our programs now.

Time blocking involves consistently setting aside time for the high priority activities.  Time blocking can provide structure in your day and allow you to complete tasks or at least complete a large part of a task before moving on to something else.  The fundamental rationale for time blocking is the knowledge that if high priority activities don’t get scheduled, they usually get done feebly, fruitlessly, or not at all. 

Here is how it works:

Decide on the tasks you will do for a particular day. Instead of just having a "to do" list with everything listed in order of importance and working down the list, take a few items from the list that are top priority for accomplishing what you need to accomplish, and block out whatever time you want to allocate to that task. This can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. The point is to only allocate the allotted time to each task.

What activities should you time block for?  Here are the two big areas that I want to focus on today:

Time Blocking at Work
What if you had two uninterrupted hours every day to focus on nothing else but your most important activities? The time might be spent planning or working on recruiting, developing your team and staff, getting caught up on administrative work, or learning something that will add value to your program. Just two hours dedicated to the really important things? Keep in mind that these two hours are focused, uninterrupted work time and do not include all the other time spent traveling, in meetings, talking by phone, sending email and other activities also directly related to achieving these activities.

Personal Time Blocking
You cannot be effective in your work if your inner reserves are depleted. Making time to “recharge your batteries” will actually boost your energy. Block time for exercise, contemplation, relaxation or recreation. Be sure to carve out time for family or friends as well. And, before committing to anything else, be sure to pencil in some vacation time as well. Then, treat appointments with yourself as respectfully as you would with others.

Give this a chance and try it for five consecutive days and see if you have improved productivity, have less stress, and have more time to do the things that are important to your program and to your life.

Coach, if your days are chaotic, stressful and you don’t feel like you are accomplishing all that you could, take back control of your program and your personal life.  Blocking times in your day in which you focus on high-payoff activities is a must if you are to become a more effective leader.  

For SFC Premium Members this week, we will break down time blocking more in depth and find ways to include all of your high-payoff activities for your program into your day, everyday. 

How to Give Your Recruiting Emails More Likable LinksSunday, May 17th, 2009

Front Rush recruiting technologyby Sean Devlin, Front Rush 

Have you ever wanted to include a URL in a letter or email that you were sending out but the address was really long? 

It might have looked something like https://www.frontrush.com/login.aspx?URL=Recruit&SportId=899&iframe=1.  This is horribly messy and, more importantly, hard for your recruits to remember.

There are a couple tricks to use with your email program, whether you use Front Rush or another more basic web-based recruiting contact manager:

1) Get your own domain:  If you go to sites like godaddy.com, you can buy your own domain for about $10 and point the really along address to it.  So instead of the really long address like the one I gave you earlier, you can get something like universityrecruitsite.com.  "Universityrecruitsite.com" is much much easier to remember than https://www.frontrush.com/login.aspx?URL=Recruit&SportId=899&iframe=1 and it doesn’t take up nearly as much space.

2) URL shortening sites: Another trick is to go to URL shortening sites like tinyurl (http://tinryurl.com), or bit.ly (http://bit.ly).  Once you get to the site, you simply type or paste the really long address and in return, they will give you back a really short/neat address.  So for example:
https://www.frontrush.com/login.aspx?URL=Recruit&SportId=899&iframe=1
becomes
http://bit.ly/11DTVW

3) “Click Here”: Many email tools allow for you to turn words into actual links.  So instead of saying “Please go to https://www.frontrush.com/login.aspx?URL=Recruit&SportId=899&iframe=1”, you can say “please go to our questionnaire located here”, and the word “here” will be a link back to your website.  Typically this works by typing out the text , highlighting the word(s) you want to be a URL and then using that respective applications URL button.

All of the above tricks are intended to keep your outgoing correspondence short , easy to read, and easy to remember.

Front Rush is the recommended recruiting contact management system of Selling for Coaches.  To find out how much your program would save by switching to Front Rush, click here.

NCAA’s Jay Jones Clarifies Division III Twitter RulesSunday, May 17th, 2009

NCAA Twitter Rules for Division III coachesJay Jones, the NCAA’s Director of Academic Affairs and Membership Affairs for Division III, took some time to address the recent confusion regarding Twitter and whether or not it could be used by Division III coaches to communicate with recruits.

Here are the questions we asked Mr. Jones, and his unedited answers on the matter:

So Division III coaches will understand better, what was the motivation behind defining Twitter differently for them than the other divisions?

"NCAA Divisions I, II and III members commonly propose and adopt rules and legislation that are division-specific. One year after the Division I text messaging ban took place, Division III adopted that ban and included within their proposal more stringent language that also strictly prohibits the use of social networking sites within the athletics recruiting process, including e-mail functions. This legislation’s adoption was based on the urging of Division III student-athlete advisory committee. Unlike Division I, Division III still operates on a one vote per school majority rules process to adopt legislation. So, within Division III, there was a purposeful step taken to not define various parts and pieces of different technologies, but instead to strictly limit electronically transmitted correspondence that may be sent by, or on behalf of, a member of the institution’s athletics department staff to a prospective student-athlete to e-mail and facsimiles."

What if a Division III coach has an individual Twitter account that is not used to communicate with prospects, but rather just to use it as a tool to let people know what they are doing?

"Within Division III, social networking of any type that has an athletics nexus or athletics information and engagement with prospective student-athletes is not permissible. Therefore, information through a social networking site that with an athletics focus in which prospective student-athletes are allowed to be members are not permissible. A coach would need to be able to ensure that if athletics information were being delivered through a social networking site that it is not being made available to prospective student-athletes. Some social networking sites have the capability to limit whom views the information, while other sites may not."

Are there any other clarification or things that you would want to communicate to our Division III coaches and athletic directors to eliminate any future confusion on Twitter?

"The Division III membership adopted this change in 2008 by a vote of 362 supporting institutions and 72 institutions in opposition. At that time, within the package of materials that was provided to institutions prior to the vote, there was information that clearly noted that instead of attempting to anticipate what other technologies may be developed, the proposal defines the permitted forms of communication and prohibits all other communication. Thus, the proposal was clear that for new technology to be permissible, there would have to be new legislation allowing the new form of communication. The issue for Division III was less about technology and more about recruiting. Our members were concerned about the level of intrusion in a young person’s life related to recruiting, which is why limits were placed on how often coaches can contact recruits."

Editor’s Note: We want to thank Jay Jones for his candor and quick response to our questions, which allows us to pass that important information on to our readers in a timely manner.  It is our hope that Mr. Jones’ statements help bring clarity and understanding to this developing technology for Division III coaches and Athletic Directors that the NCAA and Selling for Coaches serves.

The Twitter Recruiting Revolution, and What It Means for CoachesSunday, May 17th, 2009

Dan Tudor talks about TwitterWhat started as a matter-of-fact statement from the public relations office at the NCAA, telling an ESPN reporter that Twitter was in fact an acceptable form of communication for college coaches to use when recruiting their high school prospects, turned into a whirlwind of confusion and questions (click here to read a background article on the statement from the NCAA, and what specifically is allowed when using Twitter in communicating with your prospects).

Some of the questions that it raised:

Was the NCAA saying that Twitter, one of the most popular social networking websites in the world, was allowed for all division levels?

Did this mean that coaches could use other social networking websites, like MySpace and Facebook, to directly communicate with prospects?

There seemed to be more questions than answers, and in many ways that wasn’t helped when we here at Selling for Coaches passed along the news of the NCAA statement to our readers.  We had lots of follow-up questions from coaches and Athletic Directors, as well as some rather firm admonishments from our Division III members reminding us that the use of social networks as a recruiting tool is strictly prohibited as of 2008.

So what does all of this mean for Division I and II college coaches?  Here are some things we think you need to know:

  • First and foremost, there was confusion as to what this statement from the NCAA meant forTwitter Division III coaches and their recruiting efforts.  To be clear, this latest statement from the NCAA does not apply to Division III institutions.  The rules adopted by Division III are still in effect, and prohibit the use of social networks to communicated with prospects. 
  • For Division I and Division II coaches, this can be a recruiting game-changer.  When we first started talking to you about Twitter back in December 2008, we told you about the unique aspects of this new communication tool.  Many of you invested in learning about Twitter as a recruiting tool, and joined the ranks of some of the best known coaches in the country in using Twitter to market yourself to recruits, fans, alumni and boosters.  Now, look for there to be a stampede towards this technology tool. 
  • In our view, Twitter can give D1 and D2 coaches back the type of communication that you had with text messaging.  If a prospect’s Twitter account is linked to their web-enabled phone, they will be able to communicate with you back and forth like they did in the good ol’ days.  Twitter does, however, allow the prospect a measure of control over the communication between the two of you which is why we believe that the NCAA looked favorably on this form of communication and compared it to email in the way that it functions as a communication tool.  It’s the best of both worlds, Coach.

The next question that we are getting asked by college coaches is how to use Twitter.  What are the best ways to communicate?  What should you talk about?  Here is a brief overview of our recommended Twitter strategies for those of you who want to jump on this incredible communication tool:

  • First, talk to your athletic department’s compliance officer to ensure that they have the same understanding that the NCAA has communicated.  There are specific things that can and can’t do with Twitter, and we recommend that everyone within your athletic department be on the same page with the NCAA’s definition of allowable uses as you begin to utilize this new communication strategy.
  • Second, understand that Twitter is all about transparency and being genuine.  It’s not so much an opportunity to "sell" your college program, in our opinion; rather, it is an opportunity to show recruits who you are at your core: As a coach, as a parent, as a friend, as a leader…it’s a chance for you to peel back the curtain 140 characters at a time.
  • Thirdly, speaking of those 140 characters: It’s a lot like texting, but since your readers are finding your initial Twitter postings (commonly referred to as "Tweets") on your Twitter page that are open for anyone to see, you’ll need to be creative in those short text-like posts.  We recommend coaching tips, quick updates on what went on at practice, short observations, things that made you laugh…basically, anything that isn’t sterile and common knowledge.
  • Fourthly, once you begin to communicate with a recruit one on one through Twitter’s direct message feature as a D1 or D2 coach, you need to remember that you will still be limited to 140 characters at a time.  Focus on learning to get to the point and be brief, because as our studies have shown, today’s recruits want more direct information sooner from coaches.  In short, they’ve been wanting you to get to the point for a long time now.  Twitter gives you the excuse to do that in a new way.
  • Last thing: Your prospects will need to choose to "follow" you on Twitter.  It’s voluntary on their part, which is why I believe the NCAA is comfortable with this form of communication.  They can choose to follow you, or stop following you.  They can choose to communicate with you, or not.  They have the power.  So, after asking them to "follow" you on Twitter, you’d better be interesting!  They’ll turn you off as easily as they gave you permission for you to communicate with them in the first place.

This week, our Total Recruiting Solution clients and SFC Premium Members will be giving you a primer on how best to use Twitter in more detail.  If you want good examples of coaches that we see using Twitter creatively and effectively, go to www.twitter.com/dantudor and click on the coaches that are "following" us here at Selling for Coaches for our daily "tweets" on how to recruit more effectively through Twitter.  Personally, I like how USC coach Pete Carroll uses Twitter.  If you follow his example, you’ll be on the right track.

We feel this is one of the most exciting, and most significant, recruiting developments in the last several years for Division I and II college coaches.  What you do with the opportunity is completely up to you, but it looks like Twitter will be a major tool for your competition to use in the battle for today’s technology-loving high school recruits.

 

Want an in-depth training session on how to use Twitter and develop a game plan for the upcoming recruiting year?  Reserve your seat for our 2009 Recruiting Kick-Off Conference in Dallas, Texas.  We’re going to be inserting a special technology training segment at this popular annual retreat for college coaches, and teaching D3 coaches how to use other technologies to even the playing field.  Plus, you’ll be learning other new recruiting techniques and strategies that apply to all Division level coaches.  Reserve your space now.

5 Disneyland Recruiting Lessons for CoachesMonday, May 11th, 2009

A recent trip with the family to Disneyland yielded some great lessons that can tell almost ANY college coach how to recruit more effectively when they host recruits on a campus visit.

If you’ve ever been to Disneyland in California or DisneyWorld in Orlando, you know that the "experience" is what they’re selling to the millions of people that visit each year.  However, not every experience goes well…and that’s where coaches can step in and learn from the good and the bad from a visit to the "magic kingdom". 

Consider the pictures below, and apply them to your campus visits:

Dan standing in line

Here’s a picture of me standing in line with 1.3 million other people waiting in line for a roller coaster.

I hate to wait in lines, and after a day of walking around the look on my face says it all.  I’ve had enough, and I’m ready to end the day.

A lot of your campus visits are the same way, coach.  Your recruits are visiting, and instead of a relaxing, insightful relationship-building experience, their campus visit turns into an exhausting ordeal that they just want to see come to an end.

That’s NOT what you want.  This is what you want…Dan having fun!

Happy, excited, screaming fans (that’s me along with my two daughters). 

We’re not thinking about the lines, or the $4 bottled waters, or the hot sun, or the exhaustion.  We’re experiencing what we imagined we would experience at Disneyland: Big time fun!

THIS same experience is what you want to shoot for with each and every one of your campus visits when you have a prospect come to your school.  Here are five ways to make sure it happens:

  1. Don’t wear-out your prospects.  In the last On-Campus Workshop that we conducted for a school on the East coast, we made a point of making sure they understood the importance of creating a balanced campus visit for their recruits.  Resist packing the schedule full of meetings and activities.  Make sure you leave time for some rest and lots of "hanging out" time with their potential teammates.  That’s what your prospects really want, according to our studies.
  2. Sit-in on interesting classes.  This may be something that you end up eliminating all together, since our feedback from recruits indicates that most of them would be fine if this wasn’t a part of your tour (but check to make sure).  If you do end up scheduling them for a class, make sure it’s a class that is discussion based rather than a lecture, or a class that is about a subject that they won’t usually find in their high school (like Astronomy, Anthropology, and classes like that).  The best attractions at Disneyland are the ones that create a lot of hype and a little bit of mystery.  When it comes to your campus visits, skip the "kiddie rides" and go straight for the big time rollercoasters.
  3. Build in time to rest and hang out.  After eight hours of darting around Disneyland, we were exhausted.  I can’t even say that we really "enjoyed" every bit of it.  Why?  We were spent.  Lots of your recruits tell us that they feel the same way…the campus visits you schedule for them are too intense.  What they want most is time to hang out and get to know the team, and a little bit of time to just walk around campus and explore the place they might be calling home.  Build that into your schedule.
  4. Choreograph the visit.  When you go to Disney, the interactions with the characters is really interesting.  They are all about playing the part and giving you the best experience possible while you’re visiting the park.  Your prospects are looking for the same thing.  You need to work with your fellow coaches and your team to make sure you create an amazing experience while they are on campus.  The goal here is not to create a "fake" visit experience; rather, it is to accentuate the best of what they would find on your campus if they were to become a part of your team.  That’s best achieved through a choreographsed visit.
  5. Beware!  Your prospects are looking for reasons NOT to commit.  One of the things that we recommend you do is to design a thorough recruiting plan that eliminates objections and removes hurdles, just like we do for our TRS clients.  That holds true for campus visits, as well.  Just like a bad employee at Disneyland is magnified because the rest of the experience is so flawless, your campus visit is going to make any inconsistencies or mistakes stand out.  And like the warning states, when it comes to campus visits your prospects are there to figure out what is wrong with you and your program, so be on your toes and make sure you leave no part of the visit to chance.

A bad experience at Disneyland will leave you a few hundred dollars poorer, exhausted and sun burnt. 

A bad recruiting visit will probably be THE reason they say no to you.  In the dog-eat-dog world of collegiate recruiting, too many "no’s" can be career killers.  Learn from these lessons, and correct the mistakes that may be happening when your prospect comes for a visit.

Did you know the recruiting pros at SFC can help you design a winning strategy for hosting a campus visit as a part of a Total Recruiting Solution package?  It’s an effective way to make sure you develop the kind of campus visit that leads to the best possible chance at success with your prospects. Email Dan Tudor directly at dan@sellingforcoaches.com with the subject line "Help Me Plan my Recruiting" and we’ll set up a time later this week to discuss your individual situation.

Dartfish Software a Proven Coaching Tool in College BasketballMonday, May 4th, 2009

Bob Simmons, Ball State University basketballby Carrie Bigbie, Selling for Coaches 

With seconds left in the game, your team is ahead but without the best defensive strategy it could all be lost.  You wonder what offensive plays your opponent might try.  Good thing you did your research and watched some scouting clips on your opponent using the Dartfish software.

Coach Bob Simmons, assistant men’s basketball coach at Ball State University, has been using Dartfish for scouting purposes for several years.  Even prior to joining Ball State, he used it at his previous coaching position as well.  “Dartfish has been very helpful in breaking down game film to prepare for our opponents.”

Dartfish makes it easy for Simmons and staff to watch film, pull clips and organize them to show to their players and other coaches.  They can show a particular play on the opposing team or offensive/defensive plays.  It helps both the coaches and players prepare for their opponents.

“Dartfish has been tremendous,” says Simmons. “It is very user-friendly and makes our scouting much easier.”

Dartfish is a recommended tool for college basketball coaches who want to scout in a more effective way, and give their players immediate feedback on technique and mechanics.

25 Ideas I Needed to Tell You AboutMonday, May 4th, 2009

I am a Post-It note junkie. 

If I have an idea or something I want to remember to tell all of you, I write it down on a Post-It note…the big ones that are like little mini-billboards. 

So I figured this was the time of year to run through all of these 25 ideas and pass them along to you.  They range from ways to jump-start your recruiting, to ideas to motivate and shake-up your staff, and lots, lots more. 

If you feel like you are stuck in a recruiting rut, try one (or all) of these:

  1. Ask your top five recruits that you’re in contact with to commit.  Tell them you want them at your program, and that you’re ready to make them your top recruit at their position.  They’ll probably say no, but they’ll be excited that you’ve made it clear they are wanted.
  2. Start a blog.  Tell prospects how to become better athletes…give them your tips for being the best player they can be.  Demonstrate that you are an expert they should want to be around for the next four years.
  3. Send a letter to the three recruits who are putting you off and not replying to your communication.  Thank them for their time, but let them know that you are going in a different direction and will be looking at other prospects at the end of this month.  Be professional and wish them the best.  Two possible results in doing this: 1) They won’t reply and you won’t be stressed-out wondering if they will contact you eventually, or 2) they will call right away and apologize for not getting back to you.  It’s a win-win for you.
  4. Pick a new area of your state/region/country and start recruiting there for 2010. 
  5. If you have a staff opening, hire the best recruiter, not necessarily the best coach.
  6. Host an in-house recruiting roundtable discussion for your staff (or bring us in to do it).
  7. Become an expert for your sport by building a page on Squidoo (it’s like a cross between a blog and Google, and is growing quick in popularity).
  8. Speaking of blogs, start one.  Now.
  9. Offer to do a free college recruiting workshop for high school athletes and their parents in your area.  Better yet, do one when you’re on the road at a high school of a recruit you are scouting.  You’ll get recruits talking to you that you didn’t know would be interested, build your reputation as an expert, and bring in leads for other sports in your office.
  10. Go on the same tour through the admissions department that you send your prospects on when they visit your school.  It will be VERY insightful for you.  Scary, more than likely.
  11. Bring us in to help you manage your recruiting message.
  12. Let your youngest most inexperienced assistant run your office for a week.
  13. Come up with three suggestions for your athletic department on how you should change your college’s athletic website.
  14. Call a former coach that you used to work with and ask him for two ideas on how you can be a better coach, leader and recruiter.
  15. Ask your team what kinds of clothing your department could sell that they would be excited to buy and wear around campus.  Let them design it.
  16. Quit and get out of collegiate coaching.
  17. Take at least 15 minutes during your day and go for a brisk walk.  It helps.
  18. Write thank you notes to each athletic administration staff worker that helped you do your job this year.
  19. Check your emails once in the morning, once at mid-day, and once at the end of the day.  DO NOT leave your email window open in front of you on your computer.  It’s a time waster.
  20. Have everyone on your staff switch offices.  You’ll be amazed how energizing that can be, and how much worthless stuff you’ll be forced to throw away.
  21. Go to a campus activity – a concert, play, debate, etc. – where students are at.  Be seen outside the athletic department.
  22. Hire the folks in video production to do a documentary of your staff and program and put it on YouTube.
  23. Read books that will make you better sales professionals and recruiters this summer.
  24. Be in Dallas on August 1st and 2nd to make sure your 2009-2010 recruiting year gets off to a better start than this past year.
  25. Ask for the sale.  Ask early, ask often (but only to the kids you want…a lot of them are ready to give you a yes).

There!  The Post-It notes are off my desk, and you’ve got 25 ideas that will help jump-start real change in the way you coach, recruit and manage your office. 

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