Dan Tudor

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Using Facebook to Engage with Your Fans, Alumni…and Your Recruits!Monday, February 28th, 2011

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The Importance of Selling Your VisionMonday, February 28th, 2011

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Creating the Right “Beat” for Your RecruitsMonday, February 28th, 2011

Ever listen to a song and start tapping your foot to the tune…even though you’ve never heard it before?

It’s probably because its using a beat that’s been used before in other songs.  Dozens and dozens and dozens of other songs you’ve listened to in your life, and have probably forgotten about.

You’ve just fallen for a secret tactic in the music industry:  They want to get you sucked-in to a new song by giving you a taste of something that you’re already familiar with.

What I’d like to suggest to you today is that you employ the same subtle messaging in your communication with prospects.

Here’s why it works…

Our brains (your teenage prospect’s brain, included) loves to be able to predict what’s coming next.  We do it all the time:  Try to guess the end to a movie, guess the next play in a football game we’re watching…we love to be one step ahead.  As I mentioned a moment ago, so do your teenage prospects.

And, like us, they also want to be intrigued by new, exciting information.  Actually, let me rephrase that:  They don’t “want” it, they need it.

The challenge, of course, is giving them those two ingredients:  Something new and exciting, as well as something familiar and comfortable.  However, if you can mix those two things effectively – like we try to do for our clients – then the results can be stunning.

So let’s aim for “stunning” today…here are a few important rules as you begin the process of creating the delicate mix of these two critical parts of any good recruiting communication piece:

  • Watch for too much familiar information.  For example, grab a few of your recruiting letters and emails.  Do they all sound the same?  Do they seem to all sound alike and look alike?  Do they seem to be saying the same thing?  That’s what you could probably define as “too familiar”.  Time to come up with some new stuff, Coach.  Quickly.
  • At the same time, watch out for too much “new”.  My four year old son loves candy.  He’d eat it all day long if he could…its fun, tastes good…come on, who doesn’t like candy???  Me, for one, if that’s all my four year old son eats.  He’ll bounce off the walls, and then hit the sugar low.  He gets fussy.  So do your prospects when all you feed them is new, exciting, over-the-top, exclamation point filled messages.  A little bit is nice, but it needs to be balanced with the “meat” of solid, interesting facts that they can file away as a reason to take a serious look at you and the program you offer.
  • Develop a good beat.  I mentioned the music analogy earlier, remember?  When you go to create a new message, look for a balance between the candy and the meat.  One short paragraph about something exciting, one short paragraph that follows about something logical and sound.  You should almost be able to tap your foot to it if it’s balanced correctly.
  • As you get towards the end, invite your prospect to join in the tapping.  When you have them entranced and tuned-in to your message, the last thing you should want to do is end the foot tapping by saying something bland like, “so if you ever have any questions, feel free to call me at your convenience.”  That’s not a “call to action”, that’s begging for forgiveness.  When you have them marching to your beat, it’s the perfect time to ask them to do something specifically for you.  “Email me and let me know if…”  Or, “Have your parents call me before the end of next week.  The best number to reach me at is…”  Be specific, and prompt them to take action.

If you want some more ideas on how to create original ideas for your messages, campus visits, and phone calls, visit the resource section of our website.  You can also access all of our past newsletter articles here…just scroll down the right hand side of the page to look up past articles by topic or by date.

Make a commitment to re-energize your recruiting messages ahead of this next recruiting class.  Work on creating that “beat” and watch how your prospects respond.

Taking a psychological and scientific view of developing an irresistible recruiting message is the focus of the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. If you’re a coach who wants to dive deep and really understand how today’s athlete receives information – and how to adjust your program’s recruiting message – reserve your seat now to attend!

Adding Some Sanity to Your Coaching Travel ScheduleMonday, February 21st, 2011

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How to (Successfully) Play the Waiting GameMonday, February 21st, 2011

There’s almost an art to it, isn’t there?

They’ve taken their visit.  You’ve made your offer.

They’ve turned in their application.  You’re crossing your fingers.

And now you wait.

And wait, and wait.

How is there an “art” to it all?  Because if you don’t successfully play the “waiting game”, all your hard work goes down the drain.  The time period that many of you find yourself in right now as you read this is the critical phase in the recruiting process.  The sobering detail of that statement is that most coaches manage the waiting game very, very poorly.

Now the good news:  Today, I want to give you three, easy-to-implement ideas on how to effectively manage this crucial time period in the recruiting process.  If you’re one of our TRS clients, we can expand on this list, but use this as a starting point:

  1. Please – and I’m begging you here, Coach – keep giving them the reasons they should compete for you.  One big problem we see in athletic departments is the tendency for coaches to stop “selling” their schools, their programs, and themselves.  They (not you, but the other coach down the hall) go to their corner, and basically tell their recruits that they’ll not bother them anymore until they’re ready to make their decision.  Some coaches describe this as not wanting to pressure their recruits.  On the flip side, your prospects are craving direction.  They want good reasons to finally choose you.  Make sure you give it to them.
  2. Make sure you are talking to the parents.  Why?  As most of you know, our national study on how prospects make their final decision tells us that parents are one of the key outside influences in a prospect’s final decision.  So it should make sense that you should be communicating with mom and dad during that awkward silent time that happens during the waiting game.  We find that a conversation with the parents can really be insightful, mainly because they will often divulge crucial information about what’s going on behind the scenes.  Don’t forget to include them in good, in-depth communication during this part of the process.
  3. Don’t be afraid to set a (reasonable) deadline.  By “reasonable” I mean ten days…two weeks…a month…something that doesn’t demand an immediate decision.  So, what’s the point in a longer deadline?  Because it’s something that gives you some power, coach.  Too many of you give it away to the parents, and then complain when they use that power you’ve given them to make you wait and worry.  As we talk about in our On-Campus Workshops that we lead for athletic departments, someone has to control the sales process (which is what this is).  And as the lead sales professional, it’s your responsibility to lead that discussion by setting the guidelines for what’s allowed and what isn’t.  A reasonable deadline during this decision making process will give you a yes or a no that will enable you to move forward, and maybe – just maybe – give your prospect a reason to talk to you first and accept your offer.

The common theme in giving these three recommendations is to maintain control of the recruiting process. Think about it: How often have you been waiting for a decision, or the next step, in the recruiting process with a student-athlete and felt like you didn’t know what was going on? No successful program that I’ve encountered has been built on coaches waiting in the dark for a recruit to meander through their mysterious decision-making process. As a coach, your job is to let your prospect make their decision, but give them the guidelines with which to do that.

Should you use these three guidelines?  If what you’re doing now involves you feeling like you aren’t in control of the process, or if your prospect that you have penciled in as your new starting point guard hasn’t returned your phone calls in about six weeks, or if you’ve stopped sending emails and letters selling you and your program they way you did right after you put them on your recruiting list, then I think it might be a smart move.

These strategies work, Coach.  All it takes to be successful is a willingness to try something new, and the willingness to take control of these final days of the recruiting process.


The 5 Best Practices for Social Media in College Sports (Part Two)Monday, February 14th, 2011

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The First 5 Steps to Telling Your StoryMonday, February 14th, 2011

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How StatEasy Makes Volleyball Coaching SimplerTuesday, February 8th, 2011

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Where Should You “Ask for the Sale”?Monday, February 7th, 2011

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Should Coaches Buy the New Verizon iPhone?Monday, February 7th, 2011

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