Dan Tudor

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3 Logical Ways to Earn Your Prospect’s YesMonday, May 30th, 2011

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Bad Mechanics Fixed with Good SoftwareMonday, May 30th, 2011

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Podcasts: What’s In It for College Coaches?Monday, May 30th, 2011

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Are Your Summer Camps Hurting Your Brand, Your Recruiting AND Your Wallet?Monday, May 23rd, 2011

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Building Your Recruiting Philosophy for 2012Monday, May 16th, 2011

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Four Ways to Make More Time for RecruitingMonday, May 16th, 2011

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Making Sure You Have Top Tier Technology in Your CornerMonday, May 16th, 2011

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Warning: Beware of Summer Prospect Visits to CampusMonday, May 9th, 2011

I’m an optimist by nature…a “glass-is-half-full” kind of guy.

So when I was asked recently by a coach we are working with for my opinion on having a top recruit visit their campus during the Summer, my inclination was to put a positive spin on the possibilities.  At least the coach is getting the prospect on campus, right?  At least the family is going to get a look at the buildings…walk around the quad…see the dorms.  All that’s better than nothing, right?

Just barely.

The stark reality is that on-campus visits during the Summer, when there are less students and less energy on your campus, are not factoring significantly in a decision by the prospect, according to our research.  It’s not going to turn out as badly as it did for the Griswold family during their Summer vacation, but it could get close when it comes to the end recruiting results.

That should be significant to you if you’re a coach who looks at Summer as a convenient “down time” to take time and have a recruit visit campus.  Here’s why:

A summer visit is missing a key ingredient to their final decision: Your athletes! Also known as their future teammates…their friends…the big reason they determine whether or not a particular school feels right to them.  Yep, all of it is missing.  That’s a big piece of the puzzle, and it’s difficult to duplicate during the Summer.

A summer visit is missing the normal energy of your campus during the school year. You know the great random moments that end up being the really memorable moments during your recruit’s visit?  Those are probably going to be missing during a summer vacation visit.  Even if you have some of your team working out and actually staying on campus, it can’t duplicate the normal school year feel that you can show your prospects.

However, in addition to being an optimist, I’m also a realist.  Sometimes, the best time for a family to schedule a visit is during the Summer.  They drop by while they’re at a tournament nearby, or they schedule you as one of four other colleges they’re going to visit on a family trip…sometimes, a visit by a prospect to your campus over the Summer is unavoidable.

Don’t misunderstand me: I think it’s wise to have them on campus during the normal school year.  However, if it’s unavoidable, here’s how to make lemonade out of Summer recruiting visit lemons:

  • Focus on your one-on-one time with them.  Much of the time, a prospect visit during the regular school year is packed with other items on their visit agenda (a separate problem that you need to address, actually…but we’ll save that for another day).  So, make this day a lot of good one-on-one time with your prospect, and make it personal about them: Ask them the right questions, talk about how they fit into your plans, and what you see as the next step for them as you consider them for your future roster.  This is an opportunity to make that connection with you as their future coach.  Use it.
  • Schedule shorter visits. One thing we’re finding, when there’s no way around a Summer recruiting visit, is that coaches who schedule shorter visits with their prospects.  You don’t want to create a vacuum with the missing elements of the traditional campus visit.  So, shorten it.  Make it two or three good hours with you, a quick campus tour that includes the dorms (a must…don’t fail to show them where they’re going to live!) and time in your athletic facilities.  In fact, try to have a good deal of your conversation outside of your office at your athletic facility.  You’ll want to create as many unique, positive visuals as possible since they won’t be getting some of the normal images and experiences that they would be seeing during the school year.
  • Use it to set up the NEXT campus visit. In other words, use a Summer prospect visit to justify their return trip once school gets back in session.  If you accept this piece of advice, it could really alter your entire approach to the visit.  How would your conversation and approach to their short time with you during their Summer campus change if you were totally focused on setting up the next visit?  Radically, I imagine.  I’d make the case to you that your next visit should focus on setting up a time when they can come back, experience the energy, and – most importantly – spend lots and lots of time with your team, which will be easier to do since you’ve spent the bulk of this visit talking to them one-on-one about your plans for them once they commit.

Again, I don’t recommend Summer visits when it’s avoidable.  Your chances of signing a recruit that visits over the Summer is significantly less than a visit during the normal school year.

However, if it’s the only way to get a chance to visit with a prospect you really want, it’s better than nothing.  And, you can increase your odds of having it turn out favorable by following a few simple rules built on our research from campuses around the country.

Summer recruiting visits are advisable, but becoming a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies should be a definite “to do” on your schedule.  It’s the perfect time to put a proven, systematic approach to work for your next recruiting class.  Want to see how it would work for you?  Email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com.

4 Easy Ways to Get Your Recruiting Message ReadMonday, May 2nd, 2011

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