I’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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.