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

Whenever we go to lead one of our On-Campus Workshops for a college coach or athletic director, a big part of our job is helping them to develop their “story”.

I think effective stories are vital to the recruiting process.  And by the way, when I say “story”, I’m not talking about something that has been made-up to try and trick a teenager into choosing your program.  I am not talking about telling lies, making up statistics to bolster the prestige of your school, or anything associated with negative recruiting against an opponent.

What I am talking about is giving your recruit something to reach out and touch, and feel, and connect with when it comes to what your program is all about.  What is your “story” that you want them to buy into?  Have you sat back and considered what kind of picture you are painting for your prospect in their head through your recruiting materials, phone calls and even on-campus visits?

If you have never seriously thought about “your story” before, and need help in creating it so that you can be a more effective recruiter starting immediately, I want to pass along five questions that you can ask yourself – and your fellow coaches on your staff – to see what you can find that is unique about your program, and how to present it as a compelling story that your recruit will want to hear more of:

  1. What are your prospects demanding?  Here’s a hint: It’s not always about the money, so don’t make that the focus.  If you’ve read our study how high school athletes tell us they will make their final college decision, it usually revolves around personal relationships with your team and you as a coach.  They demand attention, and they demand benefits that revolve around them.  What can you do to “meet their demand”?
  2. What do your prospects need?  Money?  Sometimes.  A degree?  Yes.  A chance to succeed?  All the time.  Ask yourself what your prospects need, and you will go a long way towards reaching them with a message – a story – that they will identify with.  Remember: “Needs” are different than “demands”.  Their needs revolve around the realities that they are facing, and are necessary for them to overcome those hurdles.  Figure out a way to meet their needs (that’s what they care about, anyway…their needs, not yours).
  3. What are they willing to pay for?  This is actually a fairly in-depth question.  What is it that they view as being a “premium” feature of your school that if they had to pay for it, they would gladly do so.  For example, if you are at a school that doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, the premium might be a great education…or the brand new dorms…or the chance to compete in the best athletic conference in the country.  All of those things are tangible “premium” items that your prospects may be willing to pay for if they had to.  Understanding what the most valuable parts of your offering are in the eyes of your prospects is a big key in developing a great recruiting story.
  4. What athletic niches are underserved by other colleges?  Next week, I’m working at a university that is developing a specialized niche in the way they educate their incoming Freshmen athletes.  I give them credit for looking at what their school wants to do regarding enrollment, identifying its most likely student-athletes, and building a story around the focus that they have.  Taking a look at what kind of “specialty” niche you can put together for your prospects, whether it be a unique training approach, training trips to exotic locations, or what you offer them on your campus that most of your competitors don’t.  Find an area that your competitors are failing to focusing on and build out that unique brand for your prospect.
  5. What special credentials to you bring to your athlete as a coach?  Most college coaches we work with on a personal level have an admirable personal quality and, at the same time, a flaw that prevents them from connecting with recruits:  They don’t like talking about themselves.  Humility is a great quality, but it can hamper recruiting efforts.  Why?  Because your recruits desperately want to find a coach who has a strong vision for where he or she is taking their program, and is able to verbalize why they are the best choice as a future coach.  Telling that part of your story effectively requires a coach to be able to talk about themselves in a confident manner.

Just asking those five probing questions about you and your program can help you develop the beginnings to a great recruiting strategy…a strategy that will give your prospect the story they can get behind, believe in, and respond to.

Want to take the next step?  Here are two ideas:

    1. Become a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  Let us help you develop and execute your story, saving you time and increasing your bottom line recruiting results.  Click here for more details.Our system works, and we’d love to tell you why. 
    2. Attend the annual National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.  Join us this summer for the most powerful three days of recruiting available for college coaches who want to take a serious approach to their most important job as a college coach: Effective recruiting.  Get all the details and take advantage of our early registration discount…click here!

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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