Dan Tudor

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College Golf Coaches Using New Technology to Get ResultsSunday, January 31st, 2010

MySmartGolf.com 

 

Golf can be a complicated game.  Getting good college golfers to become great college golfers can be even more complicated for the men and women who coach at the collegiate level.

So it might not surprise you that it would take the brain-power of a molecular biologist to introduce a breakthrough technology to the college golf world that is getting praise from some of the West’s top college programs who have started using it.

"Most stat tracking doesn’t tell the whole story," says Bill Schneider, the brains behind MySmartGolf.com.  "We track the stats that are truly important for understanding and improving your game.  In the short time we have been around we have already driven other stat tracking providers to offer some of what we offer." 

Schneider has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics from Stanford University, and spent nearly two decades using his knowledge in the biotechnology industry.  One of his natural gifts was assimilating, analyzing and presenting data to his colleagues.

After 18 years as a respected technology guru in the biotech world, he decided it was time to put his expertise to work for his life-long love: Golf.  He teamed with Josh Zander, a former star on the Standford golf team who is now a regular contributor to Golf Digest magazine, and was named as one of the "Top 20 Golf Coaches Under 40" by the magazine.

The result?  MySmartGolf.com, a website that lets golfers and their coaches disect their game in a way they never have been able to do before. (Click here to find out how you can use it for free).

MySmartGolf.com"Lots of golfers keep their stats but do not get much value for their effort because there was not a good way to turn that effort into valuable information", explains Schneider.  "Most stats end up in homemade spread sheets and little is done with the information."

According to Schneider, that’s where the opportunity for most up-and-coming golfers exists, and what makes MySmartGolf the next big thing in analyzing a player’s golf game.  "Most stat tracking does not give a complete story.  It is fine to know that you are hitting, say, 50% of the greens.  But it is better to know why you are hitting only 50% of the greens and what you need to work on to improve that."

"We are very good at what is called ‘data mining’, extracting useful information from large amounts of data", says Schneider.  "As more and more people use MySmartGolf, the possibilities of extracting more types of useful information grow.  We are excited about that."   

If you’re a golf coach that is looking for the instructional edge for your team, MySmartGolf is an easy to use program that will give you more coaching tools that results in really useful information.  And, there’s a way you can get it for free…click here for the details.

 

College Golf Technology…for FREE!Sunday, January 31st, 2010

MySmartGolf.com is giving college coaches not just one, but two great offers:

  1. Now through June 2010, college coaches can use the full suite of MySmartGolf.com features for free.  "It might be hard for a coach to know whether or not he or she would like MySmartGolf without first trying it out", says Bill Schneider, the founder of MySmartGolf.com.  "After all, $495 is a lot to pay without knowing if you really like it.  So we think this is a great opportunity to give it a try through the spring season with no risk or obligation."  Getting started is easy…just click here.MySmartGolf
  2. As a bonus, you can offer the MySmartGolf.com tools to all junior golfers who attend your program’s Summer golf camps…at no cost to you!  It’s something you’ll be able to offer your campers as an added bonus at no additional cost to you, and give you additional tools to help evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as a rising golfer.  "We want to get MySmartGolf into the hands of as many golfers as possible", says Schneider.  "Plus, it’s a good way to add value to a coach’s camp package at no cost to them."

MySmartGolf.com, based in Northern California, is used by several Pac-10 golf programs.  But now, they’re expanding their services to golf programs – large and small – around the country. 

To put the software to work for you and your program this Spring, get started today…try it for free.

Using the Right Subject Line in Your Recruiting EmailsMonday, January 25th, 2010

Pressing the delete buttonNot only was the subject line in the email I was about to delete boring, it wasn’t even spelled correctly!

So, in just six words, the sender told me that he wasn’t very interesting, and he was quite possibly stupid.

But enough about him.  Now lets talk about your emails for a moment…

How much thought do you put into the subject lines in your recruiting emails?  The reason I ask is because the degree of creativity you put into your email subject lines is most likely directly proportional to the number of times your email gets opened by your prospects.

Think about it, Coach: You get hundreds of emails in the course of a month.  When you scan your Inbox, and decide which emails to open and which ones are going to be sent to the Trash folder, don’t you make that first judgement from reading the subject line?

You probably do.  And, so does your recruit.

When we produce our Total Recruiting Solution plans for clients around the country, subject lines are something we pay close attention to.  Why?  Because our job is to get more prospect click-throughs for our clients.  And, great subject lines are a big key to that.

So, if you want to take this little aspect of your recruiting a little more seriously in an effort to get more prospects to open more of your emails, here are some ideas that we’ve seen work:

  • Ask a question.  Make it short, and create curiosity.  For example, “Is your room at home as nice as our new on-campus suites?”
  • Chop-off half the sentence.  It might prompt them to wonder what the other half says!  For example, “My athletic director wanted to know if…”
  • Make it really, really short.  Short words or phrases get attention.  In this case, because most subject lines are long and rather mundane, something short and odd looking gets attention.  For example, “You”.  Or, “Deadline”.  Or, “Scholarship”.
  • Don’t make it so formal.  If you’re sending out a newsletter, don’t make the subject line “ABC State Baseball Newsletter”.  Borrow some old-time newspaper headline energy and write something like “EXTRA! The Inside Story on That Crazy 5th Inning”.  See the difference?
  • Be different every single time.  There are no subject lines so wonderful that they should be used over and over again.  Take a few minutes to be creative.  Don’t be boring.

Oh, and speaking of boring…

Please, do something different with your “out of office” auto-reply emails.  What an opportunity to be creative and show your recruit some of your personality!  Yet most coaches don’t take the time to have some fun with that email that goes out to peers, parents, your team and – most importantly – your prospects.  Take a look at what your message says…and then take two minutes to make it a little more interesting.

Little things?  Absolutely.  But the more I consult with college coaches, and see what makes one program good and another program great, the more I realize that getting the athletes you really want usually comes down to those “little things”.

Writing emails and other recruiting communication is easy if you’ve read our two recruiting workbooks for college coaches.  They’re loaded with insightful tips, new ideas and great techniques for creating better letters and emails.  To get these recruiting guides, click here.

CASE STUDY: How One University Streamlined the Way Their Coaches Analyze VideoMonday, January 25th, 2010

University at Buffaloby Carrie Bigbie, Selling for Coaches

When Katherine Aiken, the Director of Technology Services for Athletics at the University at Buffalo, begins working with the coaching staff of a sport program, she and her tech team begin by meeting with the coaching staff asking how they can best enhance that program by tailoring technology to meet that sport’s needs while saving the coaching staff valuable time.

The technology they chose was Dartfish.

Does the football program need scouting videos? Does the men’s and women’s basketball program need pre‐season workout sessions prepared using Dartfish Mediabooks? Does women’s tennis need a two camera set‐up for on court stroke analysis? Is immediate feedback with Live Capture and Instant Replay needed for an athlete learning a new dive? Will Mediabooks be needed to illustrate key skill positions for a baseball or softball coaching session on pitching, catching, or fielding?

When the need is defined, Katherine and her tech team work together with the coaching staff to develop a plan that best fits a specific athletic program’s needs and then incorporates Dartfish technology as seamlessly as possible.

Aiken’s goal at UB is to assist coaches in getting their athletes to the place where they can self-coach, self-adjust, and self-evaluate their performance to:

• Generate sports performance using the proper technique specific to their sport
• Improve understanding of sport specific biomechanics
• Empower the athlete’s self‐analysis of his/her performance
• Improve communication between the coach and athlete

“Dartfish saves us time and money while providing a coaching toolbox packed with video analysis feedback tools,” says Aiken.

Having coached at the collegiate level, Aiken knows that technology is an indispensable tool in a coach’s toolbox, but she also understands that it has to be integrated into the workflow of the sport in a way that becomes a valuable asset rather than an ongoing obstacle. And, it should save both the coach and athlete valuable time while improving performance. This means knowing the flow of the sport and the system of the coaching staff. This understanding assists in every aspect of equipment set-up from cable placement to camera angle, leading to the specific goals for video capture and feedback desired by the coach.

“We streamline and help make the workflow more efficient. At the front end of the process, I work extensively with each sport analyzing their workflow,” says Aiken. “As the process developed, the coaching staff could see that they were spending less time breaking down and making videos and DVDs which gave them more time to actually coach.”

To streamline the process and make it the most efficient for everyone from the video coordinator to the head coach, the staff and coaches determined that Dartfish was the best solution. Aiken explained that the video coordinator or assistant coach uploads the video and then the head coach and/or other assistant coaches watch the video adding comments to highlight particular points. “That is the most attractive feature we found,” says Aiken.  “They can watch the video and comment in real time. No more taking notes or making videos for later when meeting with the team. The team sees the comments the minute the coach puts it up there.”

Next week: Read how Katherine Aiken has tailored the Dartfish Total Solution package to meet the needs of sixteen different UB athletic programs.

How to “Time Block” Your Way to Coaching StardomMonday, January 25th, 2010

Mandy Green, Selling for Coachesby Mandy Green, Selling for Coaches 

Since beginning my work with Selling For Coaches, I have spent most of my time working with coaches on team and personal development.  For many of these coaches, with so many things to get done every day, there is just not enough time in the office to accomplish the goal or goals that they set for their recruiting, team, staff, or for themselves.
 
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet successful coaches manage to accomplish more in their days and weeks.  How? Because successful coaches have prioritized their goals and have set aside blocks of time in their day where they do nothing else but focus on accomplishing one task. 
 
Coach, you will get more done, be more effective, and still have time left over when you "time-block" your day. You need to schedule time daily to send emails, to plan practice, to do administrative work, to return phone calls, to recruit, to manage your team, to meet with staff, etc. These activities should be clearly blocked in your schedule at specific half hour, hour-long, or however much time you need to accomplish the task time slots.
 
To get started, put all of your important activities into categories.  Let’s say for example that the 4 categories you come up with are administrative, recruiting, team, and personal: 
 
Administration time is when you need to troubleshoot, get your paperwork done, schedule games, do your game reports, go to meetings, etc. 
 
Recruiting time is when you focus on nothing but recruiting your future team.  Use this time to set up your recruiting plan for next month, analyze how your recruiting is going this month,  write hand written letters, send emails, mail letters, plan what interesting questions you will ask on your phone calls that night, schedule on-campus visits, etc. 
 
Team time is when you work on your team.  This is when you’re reading, planning, strategizing, thinking.  This is when you’re implementing and executing.   How can you improve your productivity, their commitment, what is your training session going to be.  Scheduling time in your day to develop you team enables your program to grow and will help bring value. 
 
Personal time is when you set all of your work aside.  This is time for you to focus on you.  Personal time may fall in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, at your gym time, or at lunch.  It can also be when you have some spare time on the weekend to spend with your family.  This is your time to get recharged.  Allow yourself some time to relax and decompress mixed into your schedule. Giving yourself 15 minutes of relaxation time will enable you to stay focused and sharp during the course of your day.

Once you have categorized your important tasks, it is time to "time block" these tasks into your day.  Make sure these tasks get scheduled and done at the times you are least likely to get interrupted, such as early morning.

For example, from 7-7:30am you do administrative work, 7:30-8:30 is only for recruiting, 8:30-9:30 is when you focus on your team development, 9:30-9:45 is your personal time when you get up and stretch, get water, go to the bathroom, etc.  

Again, during these blocks of time that you have set up, you focus on doing only that task.  It is important that you don’t allow yourself to check your email and you don’t answer your phone during this time.  Checking your email frequently during the day is a major contributing factor to why most coaches don’t get done what they need to.  Change your voice mail and e-mail message so you can let all would-be interrupters know when you’ll be returning calls and getting back to them. 
 
Every day you must block out time for all of your high priority activities.  

Time blocking will allow you to experience consistent growth with more balance and less chaos in your day coach.  Trust me, I have been time blocking for a few months now and I love it!  I am getting so much more work done and now have a ton of more time at the end of the day to work on things that in the past I never had time for.  

Get into the habit of blocking out time for your most important activities on a consistent basis and you’ll be unstoppable!

Successful team development is the key to taking your program from "good" to GREAT!  Selling for Coaches and Mandy Green specialize in working one-on-one with coaches who want to eliminate the waste in their day, and maximize their organizational lives as college coaches.  For more information, email Mandy directly at mandy@sellingforcoaches.com.

7 Reasons Coaches Better Make It All About…Them!Monday, January 18th, 2010

Dan TudorCollege football has given coaches everywhere a valuable example of the primary way today’s recruits make their final decisions.

No, it’s not about the stadiums, the conference, or even the academic accolades at the school most of the time. 

First, a quick review of the well-publicized ups and downs of college football these past two weeks: Florida’s Urban Meyer resigns, then un-resigns…Texas Tech’s Mike Leach is dismissed…USC’s Pete Carroll uncovers 35 million reasons he’d be a better coach in the NFL…and Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin decides the beaches of Southern California beat sweet tea in the south and leaves the Vols after just one year.  And, you can add dozens of other smaller profile schools’ coaching changes to that list.

The result of all this shuffling around?  Prospects are de-committing in droves.  They are re-thinking their decisions, and changing their minds.

And, it doesn’t just happen in college football…other sports have the same occurance and the same results: When coaches leave, recruits change their mind.

It illustrates a hard, cold fact of life for coaches that they need to understand about this generation of teenage prospects: Our reasearch shows that one of the two major factors in how they decide if a college is right for them is their view – and their relationship – with the coach at that school.  Take the coach out of the equation, and suddenly the college isn’t viewed in the same light as it once was.

Agree with me so far?  Good.  Now that I’ve established this nearly universal truth about today’s college prospect, here’s the bad news for a lot of you that are reading this:

The letters, emails and other printed material you send a prospect barely reference you.

What percentage of your mailings talk about you as a coach?  What you are like as a person?  What your coaching philosophy is?  What your plan for them is?  What you’d like them to do next in the process?

When we begin working with a college coach and their program as one of our Total Recruiting Solution clients, one of the first things we do is to establish the coach as the person that is going to be the main attraction to the program.  Sometimes, college coaches are uncomfortable with the idea of not being modest.  I try to make the best case I can for them to get past that feeling.

If it were all about the school, logic would dictate that a coach could leave and the recruits wouldn’t care one bit.  But that doesn’t happen: When a college coach leaves, it causes the recruit to reconsider.

So, how should you put yourself in the spotlight more effectively?  Here are some ideas that we’ve found to work well for our clients:

  • Make all of your messages centered around you.  As you lay out all of the nice facts about your school, make sure the conversation comes back to you.  Never assume that the school or your program is going to sell the recruit on coming to your campus.
  • Talk about the personal side of you along with the professional side of you.  Yes, your impressive win totals count, as do your Coach of the Year awards.  But your prospect is looking for more than that…they want to know the person behind the whistle.  Learn ways to reveal the real you to your recruits.
  • Unveil your screw-ups.  Your prospects know you’re not perfect.  Don’t be afraid to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and what you learned from them.  In our workbooks for college recruiters, we make the point that this is one of the best techniques for breaking down walls that might exist between you and your recruit. 
  • Get on Twitter.  It’s an incredible social networking tool that is paying off for the coaches that are using it to build a following.  Twitter is free, it’s easy and it’s a great way to reveal the real you to your recruits (and your fans, and your boosters, and other coaches and Athletic Directors that might be looking to hire you).
  • Create a fan page on Facebook.  Update your recruits on what’s going on with you and your program using the most popular communication tool in the world.  This can be one way communication out to a group that broadcasts the daily pulse of you and your program.
  • Write a blog.  The benefits are too many to count.  If you want more ideas on what makes a great blog, and how to get started, click here for a popular article on the topic we did in September 2009.
  • Make it all about the conversation.  All of your communication should focus on building the relationship between you and the prospect.  Not the school and the prospect, you and your prospect.  Everything you send out should prompt them to feel more connected with you.

Here’s the bottom line, Coach:

Whether you’re a Division III softball coach that only won three games last season, or a Division I coach that we see interviewed regularly on ESPN, the facts remain the same: Your prospects are going to pick the program who has the coach they feel most connected to.

Still don’t believe me?  Just ask one of the dozens of recently de-committed football prospects who are searching for a new coach they feel connected to…they’ll back me up on what I’m saying.

Looking for more winning techniques for connecting with recruits?  Bring the Selling for Coaches team to your campus.  We work with entire athletic departments, or individual sports staffs.  And best of all, it’s custom designed especially for your campus. 

For more information or to schedule your session, email Dan Tudor at dan@sellingforcoaches.com.

The Delegation Dilemma for College CoachesMonday, January 18th, 2010

Control freak coachby Mandy Green, Selling for Coaches 

"If it’s to be, it’s up to me."

This seems to be the favorite saying of a lot of the coaches that I am working with these days. To me, it says a great deal about their willingness to delegate. These coaches work non-stop morning to night, and still do (although they are getting better), because they somehow can’t embrace the notion that it’s possible to get things done any other way.

Beneath the many excuses for not delegating lays the reason why many of us coaches avoid delegating things:   

True delegation means giving up a little of what we would like to hold onto (some measure of control) while keeping what we might prefer to give up (accountability).

Delegation is an area of personal and professional management that many coaches struggle with. The difficulty stems from our need to control outcomes and a strongly rooted belief that we know how to do things best (sound like you at all coach?).

It’s often a scary prospect even to think about letting someone else take over a task or duty we’ve been doing for a while:

What if they don’t do it correctly?
What if the outcome is not up to my standards?
What if they don’t do it the way I’ve been doing it?
What if I become less essential to my program?
What if, (gasp), they do it better than me?

Think about it, Coach. By nature we love to keep control. We also fear the repercussions when our support staff fails to complete something correctly or in a timely manner. The failure might reflect badly on us so we take the path of least resistance. Rather than working on improving our delegation skills to the other coaches we work with, sometimes we simply keep hold of more tasks. That way we can make sure things are done completely the way we want them done. Being overworked somehow seems less risky than having things done that might not meet our exact requirements.

Delegation means taking true responsibility and inevitably means giving up some control. If that sounds a bit scary, how can you overcome your mindset and become a better delegator? Here are some tips:

Realize that you just can’t do it all. Everyone has limits. If you fail to acknowledge yours, you will burn out. Maybe not tomorrow and maybe not even next year, but the stress and pressure of trying to do it all will get you eventually.

Start small. Delegation is a skill and learning it needs patience, persistence, and practice. Start by giving away small, uncomplicated tasks. As your confidence grows so will your willingness to delegate more.

Realize that "Your Way" is not always the "Only Way." A big part of letting go is the fear that the task will not be done "right." Consider that there are other ways to achieve the same result.

Work on giving others the tools to do what you do. Delegation will only work if you help your support staff succeed. So make sure he or she has the right resources and then keep communicating, participating and supporting your staff. Remember, delegation means NOT abdicating your responsibility, so you need to make sure you have done everything you can to influence a successful outcome.

Appreciate others’ accomplishments. You might be bored with organizing on-campus visits, but if one of your coaches has never done it, the challenge can be exciting, invigorating, and motivating. The successful outcome is not just a well-organized visit. It’s the opportunity for someone else to shine and get recognized for their achievements.

Seize the opportunity to work on more stimulating projects. The less time you spend on lower level tasks, the more time you have to concentrate on your main objectives. (You know the ones, the really important issues that keep getting shoved to the bottom of the pile because you’re so overloaded…)

Use the leverage. Delegation can put the right people on the right tasks. And the better allocated your coaches and staff are, the greater the productivity, effectiveness and the opportunity for organizational growth.

Delegation, when done well, benefits everyone on your staff. You have more time to concentrate on the main responsibilities of your position. Your support staff will have more opportunities to expand and enrich their jobs. An added bonus is the fact that because delegation relieves your own time pressures, the job gets done better in the long run.

So, cast off your preconceptions about delegation! You were doing a good job before: You can do even better when you delegate more. With a fresh perspective and little courage to "let go", you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve!

Mandy Green helps focus coaches on creating an organized, systematic approach to managing their workload and building great team dynamics.  For more information on how she can help you and your program reach new heights, contact Mandy by email at mandy@sellingforcoaches.com.

Using What the Tech Pros Use to Get the Upper HandMonday, January 11th, 2010

Sean Devlin, Front Rushby Sean Devlin, Front Rush 

We are often asked what tech stuff we use internally here at Front Rush. Its a very fair question as our goals are very similar to coaches we serve to the extent that we are both trying to recruit individuals to be a part of our program. We decided to share a short list of our favorite technology tools to start the new year.  Hopefully, some of these can be beneficial to you in your behind-the-scenes life as a college coach.

Contact Management

Front Rush: That’s right, we use our own product to track our conversations with our clients, as well as our prospective clients.  This is obviously a biased decision but sales and recruiting are one in the same, so we actually use our own product to manage:

1) “Recruits” or coaches we are trying to recruit to use our program.
2) “Roster” or coaches who are currently using our program
3) “Alumni” or coaches who have moved on to new position
4) “Messages” to communicate with our coaches product updates, changes, or marketing material.

Communication

Gmail: We have switched entirely to gmail. This is actually a trend we are seeing a lot of universities do. Gmail has a very intuitive interface with tons of space and accessible from anywhere. It certainly doesn’t have the bells and whistles of an Outlook but because of its limited features, its so easy to use.

Campfire (http://campfirenow.com/): There are dozens of instant messenger programs out there to communicate with the staff but one we have found works great is Campfire. The difference between Campfire and most other IM programs is that you are basically given your own room so you can sign in and sign out at any point and all of the conversations are still there. This way, you can share documents, write messages or respond to posts at any point in time. The other benefits are that it is web-based (no downloads) and free for the initial users.

Browser

Firefox: We actually use all of the web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, any everything else) but our browser of choice is Firefox. Its quick, easy to use and has a ton of useful extensions.

Image Editors and Screen Recorders

Photoshop: Our design team uses Photoshop. Its the most advanced image editor out there. This is what we use for creating email templates, web-pages, and more.

Snag-it (http://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.asp): Snag-it is a cheap (like $40 bucks) application that lets you quickly grab images from the web. Its incredibly easy to use and has some nice features for editing pictures to send out as emails.

Snipping Tool: This comes standard with Windows and is another tool to quickly grab pictures off the web. We use this to very quickly grab an image off the web and send it out as an email. You can find it in the start menu.

Screen Toaster (http://www.screentoaster.com): This is a neat tool that let’s us record video directly from our screen. So whatever we are doing on our computer, Screen Toaster records and let’s us share it.

Computers/Operating Systems

Windows 7: So Microsoft has finally taken a major step to building a good operating system. We still have Windows XP in house (because many of our end users are on it) but primarily we are on Windows 7. Windows 7 is a much more usable, stable version of Vista and rarely requires a restart.

Snow Leopard: The Mac users here are on Snow Leopard. This is an obvious choice for mac users. The standard Leopard was great, and Snow Leopard is just a bit quicker.

Hopefully some of these items can be helpful to fulfill your technology needs within your program.  Don’t be afraid to try new things when it comes to technology…you may just find some incredible new tools to help you to be a much better coach and recruiter.

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Getting Past Your Prospect’s NoSunday, January 10th, 2010

Dan TudorTrue story:

A few years ago, my wife tells me (as I’m driving home from work) that a young man who had just sold a set of "really great" steak knives to her sister was coming over to our house to show us the set.

After speeding through those stages of grief that you always read about at the thought of having to sit through a sales presentation, I arrived home.  They were waiting for me.

To make a long story short, the young man does a nice job with his presentation.  At the end, he has us on the verge of buying a set of knives that we probably wouldn’t use that often, he says this: "You know, if you want to take a week or so to think about it, I can just call back."

Do I even need to tell you what I did?  You got it.  I took him up on his offer and took the "out".  Suffice it to say that we’re still using the same worn-out set of steak knives that we have for years.

The thing that was his downfall?  The same thing as many coaches: He couldn’t overcome the "no".  He couldn’t identify the fact that I had some objections that he needed to address, but didn’t.  Ultimately, he left without ever having dealt with – and overcome – my objections.

Here’s where you, as a college coach, can learn a few valuable recruiting lessons as you begin to have to face the "no’s" from some of the prospects you really, really want.

Here’s an important truth that I want you to remember when you hear that "no": Their first instinct is to say no, but what they really want is for you to convince them to say yes.

Maybe they think they’re rushing into their decision.  Perhaps your team didn’t treat them right on their visit to campus.  Or, maybe they still think a better offer from a "better" program is right around the corner.

There are a hundred different reasons why recruits might initially say no to you. Your job is not to shrug and walk away, but to get to the truth behind the no and find out how to re-direct their attention back to you and your program. 

When it comes to your recruiting messages and the plan behind it, it’s your copy that must do the job of getting past "no" by overcoming each objection.  Here are some ideas that we’ve seen work for our clients: 

  • Before you ask for the big commitment, test out their willingness to engage with you by doing some "trial close" offers.  Are they willing to tell you that they are sending in their application?  That they plan on sending in a housing deposit?  That they want to come and bring their other parent on a campus visit?  Those are all good signs that things are heading down the right track.  However, you have to be the one to offer them those small "tests" and then see how they answer.
  • How are you crafting the message behind your offer?  Sometimes, re-wording the way you approach the idea of committing to your school works wonders.
  • In your letters and emails to your prospectse, go ahead and confront the most prevalent objections head on. Don’t be afraid to mention them . . . your prospect has been thinking about them from the moment they started paying attention to you and what you’re offering them.
  • In addition to your recruiting message, try to get your athletes to tell their story.  Do interviews with them and write articles on why they chose your program and what they like about playing for you.  What they say will trump your sales pitch every single time.
  • Make the offer too good to refuse. If you were selling knives, you might do it by offering a guarantee for the life of the product…return it anytime for a full refund.  As a college, what are some things that you can do to give your prospect a feeling of confidence in choosing you?  They’re looking for safety and comfort in choosing your program…find ways to give it to them.
  • One last suggestion: Before you ask them to commit, what have you done to help them be better at where they’re at right now as a high school athlete.  If you want to give yourself an edge over your lazy competition, find ways to give them help right now and they’ll be more apt to want to stick with you moving forward.

The simple reality is that we all have different buttons that need to be pushed before we buy. When I listen to knife salesmen and have deep-seeded hatred towards anything that will cut meat, and it isn’t because I don’t want the product. I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t.

Instead, I’m secretly trying to find a reason to help me feel good about pulling the trigger. Buying releases endorphins . . . it feels good.  So does picking a college where you know you’re going to fit in. 

Still, we’ve all learned from bad buying experiences that have left us feeling empty after the initial high wears off. This is where the job of the sales person becomes increasingly important.

You need to not only help your prospects understand and appreciate the need for your school and your individual coaching, but you need to make them feel good about committing to it. This starts from the initial pitch and should continue even after they tell you that you are their top choice.

Like we teach in our two best-selling workbooks for college coaches, don’t be pushy, but don’t be afraid to explore what reasons stand in the way of a final commitment. Have the confidence to stand behind your program when you know that a recruit could benefit from it as a student-athlete. Even if they ultimately still say no, at least you’ve been given the insight of another objection to tackle down the road. Marketing – and recruiting – is a learning process, but you can’t sell yourself short.

And giving up at the first sign of no is doing just that.

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