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

Phone calls seem to be on the minds of college coaches recently. 

Not a surprise, really.  The NCAA is giving coaches more flexibility when it comes to calling recruits, and there’s no doubt that a phone call is critical to moving the recruiting process forward.

Forward, that is, towards getting a “yes”.  The yes is what every coach is looking for, and there are definite rules that apply when it comes to putting yourself in the best position to get that thumbs-up from a recruit.

So with that in mind, here are three really important strategies when it comes to getting a “yes” from a prospect you are recruiting:

YES STRATEGY #1: Don’t react negatively

We’ve all sent an email, or said something in haste over the phone, that we wish we could take back.  Either we’re upset by what we’ve just heard, or we say something that just doesn’t put us in the best light with a recruit (or their parents) as the recruiting process gets started. 

It doesn’t even have to do anything with recruiting…we’ve all overreacted to something trivial, and wish we could take it all back and start fresh.

What it means to your recruiting conversation: It’s great to feel passionate about what you’re selling, especially if your school or program has a lot to be proud of. But before launching into a feverish sales “rationale” with your teenage prospect or their parents, take a minute to figure out what your prospect really wants. Some prospects want security and might be looking to commit early, while others might like the excitement of trying to see how many top tier schools they can have a shot at. They might want a challenge, they might want to feel wanted, they might want to know that they will fit into your team dynamic.

What is it you’re really selling, Coach? Is it what you should be selling to that prospect you’re about to call for the first time? Know before you get started. For this generation of college prospect, it’s often something more or deeper than the thing you’re excited about. And sometimes, it’s less.

YES STRATEGY #2: Disarm Your Prospect

In recruiting, we’re not really talking about “opponents” in terms of how you might view your recruits (their parents, perhaps…just kidding).  The prospect and their parents are not your enemy. And in a negotiation about what you’re offering them at your program you’re better off thinking the same way. That is, instead of looking at the recruiting process as two sides facing off over the offer you’re making, you’ll get much better results if you “step to the other side.” In other words, do the opposite of what your recruit expects.

And the easiest way to do this? Simply agree with your “opponent” on as many points as you can. Build consensus first, before you try to defend a single counterpoint of your own. Most negotiation experts tell us the best negotiators even steer clear of using the word “but.” They instinctively replace it with “and” wherever possible.

What it means to your recruiting conversation: This is a lot like what we’re doing in our Total Recruiting Solution plans that we develop for coaches when we try to ask questions designed only for a “yes” response. For instance, stating our prospect’s own rationale right back to him and tacking on a line at the end – something that might sound like, “Wouldn’t you agree?”

These are just copywriting tricks, of course. The bigger idea is that when you can show agreement with your prospect’s own opinions – in person, over the phone or in print – do so. It will pay off in the end.

YES STRATEGY #3:  Change their frame of mind.

This is a more advanced tactic, because it requires listening better than most people and thinking more creatively than anyone else in the negotiation. Its one of the things we go into more detail on in our recruiting guides for college coaches.

What you’re doing is looking for solid ways to “reframe” the objections to your counterpoint in the discussion you are having with your prospect. You’re actively exposing the objections and stonewall tactics… then finding a way for both of you to get around them.

This is where a real recruiter shows his or her expertise in overcoming an objection.

What it means to your recruiting conversation: As tough as this is to do, the parallel here is easy. Too often, I’ve seen new college coaches try to avoid the prospect’s potential objections to an offer or opportunity rather than raising them in their recruiting letters, emails and conversations. But just because you don’t confront the reader’s doubts or objections doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Or that they won’t stop your recruiting effort cold in its tracks.

When you get the urge to sneak around an objection, don’t. Especially at the start of a relationship with a new recruit.  Take time to actually list every objection you can. (Even better, make this list before you start writing the recruiting letter.) You’re playing your own devil’s advocate, coming up with every reason why a prospect might NOT want to take a serious look at your program.

Once you’ve got this list, you can use it to tweak your recruiting outline. You can even hit each objection head on, writing responses almost in a Q & A style. Or try making every subhead a persuasive resolution to every doubt you suspect your prospect might have about what your program is offering.

But be careful. This isn’t about dismissing a legitimate objection out of hand. Rather, you’re easing doubts and building consensus, and getting them to see the advantages of what you’re offering them.

As many of you start your phone calls in the not-to-distant future, you have a desire to start hearing “yes” as soon as possible.  That doesn’t happen by accident:  You have to earn the “yes”.

And, earning the “yes” from a new prospect requires active, engaged communication that helps them overcome their initial objections they might have about the idea of competing for your program.

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

“Shooting is the most important offensive fundamental skill in basketball.  A team that shoots well will always be in ball games.”  – Jerry Tarkanian, former UNLV head coach

Most coaches recognize it as the most important aspect of playing great basketball: Correct shooting mechanics.

Even at the college level, incredible amounts of time and energy are spent on trying to uncover mechanical defects in a player’s shooting technique, followed by more time trying to explain the needed corrections to the athlete.  And, of course, proper mechanics aren’t reserved for just basketball coaches.  Every coach can benefit from identifying faster ways to correct incorrect mechanics. 

“The most frustrating part of what I used to do was getting my players to visually understand what they needed to do to correct their shot,” said one assistant college coach.  “Man, the software has really changed the way we do things.”

“The software” he is referring to is Dartfish, the revolutionary software tool for college coaches thatDartfish coaches allows an athlete to visually identify small differences in their mechanics more quickly, allowing their coaches to work with them to correct errors in those mechanics.  The results?  Fixing problems more quickly.

“We use to spend several days trying to identify and correct little mistakes and bad habits our players would fall into,” said the assistant coach.  “Now it might take an hour or so.”

Some of the things that college basketball coaches say that they’ve been able to more easily correct include changing shot velocities, incorrect angles of release and the trajectory of a ball once it leaves the fingertips.

“We designed the way the software works with coaches in mind,” says Victor Bergonzoli, CEO of Dartfish USA.  “We’ve had great feedback from the college coaches that use it.  Over and over again, they say its given them a real advantage over their competition that still isn’t familiar with what it does.”

Originally used by the U.S. Olympic team, Dartfish is becoming a mainstay in gyms across the nation’s college campuses.

To get your look at the how this new technology can work for your program, click here.

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

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

I don’t watch TV, never listen to the radio and rarely pull up a magazine.

Why?

I cannot stand the advertisements. The four minute commercial breaks drive me bananas. Instead over the years, I’ve capitalized on my commute to and from the office, long trips and late nights by listening to, and watching, podcasts. Have you heard of these? They are amazing.

Podcasts are like radio shows that you can listen to or watch on your iPhone, iPod, computer, or other device.  They are a great resource for staying on top of the latest news or trends, learning a new trade, or honing your existing skills in a particular area. The amazing thing is that you get to choose the content or the topic and there is a ton of them. In addition, since they are downloaded to your device, you can listen to a show at anytime and if they do have commercials then just scroll through them.

For example, I like to stay on top of tech news so I listen to a weekly podcast called “This Week in Tech”.  This show goes through all of the weeks news with industry analysis by top tech leaders. I also like to learn from entrepreneurs and what their businesses are all about, so I listen to “Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders” which is a Stanford University syndicated show where they bring in business leaders who talk about their start-up business experience. To learn more about social media, I listen to “Inbound Marketing – Hub Spot TV” where all of the latest Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn news is overviewed with pragmatic insights. I have about 30 other topic specific podcasts as well.

So, if you are looking to learn more about a specific topic, you can go directly through iTunes and browse their podcast collection. You can listen to anything from business, to sales, to tech, to sports, to sports business to…well it goes on and on. Once you choose a podcast, you can subscribe (almost always for free) and they will sync to your iTunes and your iPod, iPhone, etc. If you are using an Android or another device, you can use Google Listen (http://listen.googlelabs.com/) and for Blackberry users, there is an app called “Podcasts”.

So instead of zoning out to some music or in front of the TV, take a look at some podcasts. They are an amazing resource for college coaches to continuously learn without the inconvenience of having to listen at a specific time set by someone else.  Instead, listen, watch or learn on your time.

Sean Devlin will be one of the presentors at the 2011 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville this weekend.  His session is entitled, “Mobile Recruiting: Today and Tomorrow” and will offer some amazing tips and insights to attendees who want to utilize their mobile devices more effectively when it comes to recruiting.  For more information on Front Rush, one of our most highly recommended technology resources, click here.

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

by Mark Drosos, Lodestone Social Media

Summer camp season is almost upon us. You rely on camps to supplement your income. It’s a business, a livelihood, a recruiting tool, a connection to fans and branding tool for you the coach.

It may be too late to affect this summer’s camp, but NOW is the time to start planning for next year. Today, we will focus on three key factors that every coach should consider in preparation for next summer and next season. They all have to do with your website.

  1. User experience
  2. Social Media and search implications
  3. Registration fee

Before we talk about the three items you need to focus on let’s talk about how people make decision, find and share information in today’s social/digital world. Here are some stats to keep in mind:

  • 87% of people will search online before buying. Using search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing
  • 73% of Moms trust online community/social network recommendations
  • 53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets
  • 40 year + women have more friends than their kids on Facebook
  • 13-18 old demographic on Facebook is over 60 million

Now let’s tackle all three points. The best example I can give is for you is to pull up four sample websites and review them as you read the below points. TCU Women’s Volleyball vs. Baylor Volleyball vs. Michigan Volleyball vs. Minnesota WBB

First let’s look at user experience. You all shop, research and browse online. So ask yourself this question, if you came to all four of these websites which one would you buy from. Which one leaves you feeling good about the team, coaches and camps? If you are paying someone a 6.5-8% fee for this experience do you feel you are getting your money’s worth? If you think your are consider these two points:

  • What kind of brand message are you sending about your program, camps and you as a coach?
    • In our opinion here at Lodestone, TCU has branded their experience, given recruits, parents, fans and campers a feel for what it means to be a part of this program and camp experience. In addition to providing value and benefit content as to why you’d want your child to attend.
    • The other colleges we used in this example all of areas of opportunity when it comes to strongly branding their schools, in our opinion.  In today’s competitive marketing climate, it’s no longer good enough to be just “good enough.”  It’s about being amazing in the eyes of your recruits, your fans and your alumni.

What kind of registration experience/process are you delivering and does it benefit your program?

    • Registration on websites vary but the main items to consider are do they leave your site when they pay and is it easy to buy. With today’s technology it should be just like shopping on i-Tunes or Amazon.
    • If you use registration companies similar to Thriva/Active, My Online Camps or CampReg the user may actually leaves your website to go make a payment. Not only is this a bad experience but it negatively affects your search engine rank and takes your customer away from the content you want them to check out.
    • An example is one of the college’s registration process takes you to another website and from that website you can actually easily find other competitor camp information. See Example Here
    • If you want to reduce the number of phone calls and emails you get from parents about camp and free up your time a good spot to start is with your website process.

You all pay fees for these services. You make your livelihood from them. Your brand is tied to them. You should expect more from your providers and the hard earned money you pay them.

The second point we will discuss is Social Media and Search implications. As mentioned above 87% of people use ‘search’ like Google to find information and 73% trust recommendation from social networks. So what does your website do to take advantage of this?

  • TCU takes advantage of this in multiple ways that give them additional marketing power for search engines and making it easy for their campers to share, market their camps for them.
    • Facebook ‘Like’ button to like the camp website
    • Facebook News Feed plugged into the website
    • Links to Gofrogs.com, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Picasa and more
    • Facilities and other tabs use map links to Google with images linked to Google’s Picasa

Most of you don’t have marketing budgets or support for camps. You all have fans and campers but are you providing them with an opportunity to promote your camps? How will you reach new customers? You should expect more from your providers and the hard earned money you pay them to help you do this.

The third point is registration fees. This really comes down to the value you get for your money. Do you currently get some of the above mentioned features? Does your provider build your website for or just create a shell and you have to fill in the blanks? What kind of customer support do you get? What fees do they charge you in addition to e-commerce fees?

With technology advancements today this process should be a lot easier. I would argue set up fees, hosting fees, cancellation fees, etc. are a thing of the past. I’d also add that a sliding scale on registration fees is outdated too. A set fee is more appropriate and provides you predictability for what you will pay for the services.

If you could get the TCU Website vs the other websites for the same or less fees would you?  This is your business, your money, your brand. So ask yourself am I getting the most for my dollar? I mean, if you could buy an i-Phone 4 for $100 or a 1980 Brick Phone for $100 which would you choose?

In summary, are these services hurting your recruiting, brand and wallet? Your website is tied to your livelihood, recruiting, community, fans, your own brand and more. Technology has advanced so quickly you should expect more for your money.

Lodestone Social Media is used by some of the top college brands to effectively – and economically – plan their social media marketing campaign.  We highly recommend that you take a serious look at what they can do for your school, no matter the size.  You’ll be glad they did.  You can click here for more information about Lodestone, and you can also follow us on Twitter at @lodestonesocial

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

There are two types of coaches reading this today, and you fall into one of two possible categories.

Either you’re a coach who is still scrambling to scrape together the final tattered remnants of what was supposed to finally be a great recruiting class, or you have long wrapped-up recruiting for the year and are evaluating how to do it better next year.

Today’s article works for both groups.  Granted, it’s better to be sitting in the second group, but even if you find yourself still stressing about this year’s class, you can put these principles to work right away.

They are four primary principles that are a great foundation for building a solid approach to recruiting.  Talk to a successful coach and recruiter in your sport, and I’ll bet they have a few of these down cold and part of their annual recruiting plan.

Here they are:

Over-deliver on what your prospect gets from you and your program.  By “getting”, I’m not talking about a bigger media guide or longer, more fact-filled letters.  That stuff plays virtually no role in getting an athlete interested in you and your program.  What does?  Being genuine in the way you communicate with them, and delivering more than what they are probably expecting: More focused on them, more focused on what they want out of their recruiting visit, and more personal interaction from your team when they get a chance to interact with them.  That’s the stuff that matters…if you over-deliver and exceed their expectations in those areas, you’ll win almost every time (see our detailed study of how athletes choose their college program).

Focus on creating a bond with your recruits, not selling your program. You need to resist selling your program too early to this next class or recruits.  Instead, focus on creating a solid bond with your prospect.  They aren’t ready to listen to what you have to sell early on anyway, so spend that time making sure you’ve build the beginnings of a relationship.  Don’t focus on selling too early:  Look at your first recruiter letter, for instance.  Does it have a lot of references to how great your school?  That won’t sell your recruit on your program…to do that effectively, you need to have developed a really solid communication basis with your teenage prospect established first.  Don’t rush it, and don’t worry about selling (there will be plenty of time for that later in the recruiting process).

Make sure you, your department, and your team go the extra mile in making prospects feel like family. Two big words in that sentence: “Feel” and “family”.  If you’ve read our two popular recruiting guides for college recruiters, you know how important their feelings are: About you, about your team, about your school…they are all big factors in how they make their final choice.  And, if they get the feeling like they are part of a family on the visit, you’ll be at the top of their list.  “Feeling like part of the family” is always cited as a big reason for why coaches end up signing their recruit.  So here’s the question for you, Coach: What kind of planning goes into your campus visits, and how are you ensuring that your prospects feel like famiy when they are around you and your team?  It’s an important question…take it seriously as you prepare for 2012.

Don’t give up too easily on those top tier prospects. Most of you do way too soon, and you shouldn’t.  Persistence is a learned skill, and if you haven’t learned to keep going after recruits even though they don’t show immediate interest, you need to.  The more I visit campuses and conduct closed-door focus group sessions as a part of our On-Campus Workshops, the more I hear stories from athletes that said they came to the school because their coach didn’t give up on them.  At a Division III college I visited a few weeks ago, a few of their athletes specifically mentioned that the coach who was recruiting them at that school never, ever gave up.  Even after a few of them said that they had decided that they weren’t interested, the coach kept at it.  They didn’t take no for an answer.  And in quite a few cases, they are able to turn things around and get the prospect to change their mind.  At some point, recruiting a prospect comes to an end.  I just see too many coaches give up way too early.

Here’s my promise: If you put these four principles to use this coming year, and make them a part of the foundation that you build your recruiting upon, you will really see a difference in your results.  And, you’ll find that the recruiting process itself is less stressful and more productive earlier in the cycle.

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

by Mandy Green, Head Soccer Coach – University of South Dakota

One of the biggest hurdles that coaches seem to be facing is finding enough time to do everything they need to do when it comes to recruiting.

Running a program means you have a lot on your plate and it is really tough to stay on top of everything, especially recruiting.

Most of the coaches we work with during an On-Campus Workshop feel
overwhelmed. These coaches come to Tudor Collegiate Strategies – as I originally did as a college coach - hoping to learn some tricks that will create time for them to do more recruiting and still get all of the other things done that they need to
do.

I consistently hear from fellow coaches that they go into their day with a game plan and by 9:30 A.M. their day has gotten thoroughly messed up because of a crisis, a colleague stopped by, emails, unexpected phone calls, etc.  Many of these same coaches stay relatively messed up the remainder of the day. So many times we get caught up in being “busy” during our day and before we know what hit us, the day is over and we still have recruiting phone calls to make and emails to send out.

Here are four ways you can make more time for recruiting, without adding more hours to your already hectic workday:

1.  Schedule recruiting into your day. Most coaches haven’t established recruiting, and all the little details that are a part of it, as a top priority in their day.  They let interruptions, distractions, unimportant conversations and unwanted visitors eat up their time.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Recruiting student athletes that will make your program better is crucial to your success as a coach and should be scheduled into your day every day. Turn off your phone, close your email, and shut your door.    Block off a half-hour, an hour, or
however much time you feel is going to be necessary to accomplish what you
need to get done where you focus on nothing but recruiting.

2.  Do your recruiting first thing in the morning or when your energy is highest. Whether its e-mails to send, letters to write, or making arrangements for an upcoming prospect campus visit, get it done right when you
walk into the office.  Plenty of fires flare-up as the day progresses and it seems like the first thing to get shoved aside is recruiting.  Get your recruiting tasks done first thing in the morning, when you have the fewest interruptions, and your mind is fresh.   If you are not a morning person, plan to do your recruiting for the day at a time when you know that you will have good energy.

3.  Make a list the night before and prioritize it. Start your recruiting day the night before by making a list of the top five or ten things you plan to accomplish in your recruiting duties for the upcoming day.  Once you have your list, prioritize it.  When you get into the office the next morning, work off your list in order of importance.  Writing down the things you know you need to do will let you sleep more soundly, and give you a clear direction the next morning when your day starts.

4.  Set small daily recruiting goals for yourself. Maybe you set the goal of
calling three recruits a night.  Or, maybe its to hand write five prospects by the end of the day. Whatever it is, set your goals and then post them in front of you so that you make sure you accomplish them.  Measure your success in recruiting effectiveness in the same way you would analyze your team’s statistics as a way of measuring their performance.

Easy to do?  Surprisingly, no.

Most coaches will look at the list and kind of roll their eyes because its all just common sense, much of which they’ve heard before.  And yet, those same coaches will let their valuable work day slip away because they haven’t made it a priority to keep focused on what it is that they need to do to be successful recruiters.

Are you struggling to find time to get your recruiting done in a more efficient manner?  Does the thought of not stressing-out to sign more quality recruits sound appealing?  Want more time away from the coaching office to spend with your spouse and kids?  It’s all there waiting for you, coach.  But first, you need to get serious about using the time you already have to do your recruiting.

Mandy Green, head coach at the University of South Dakota and veteran recruiting and organizational expert, is one of the many experts getting ready to teach coaches from around the country at the 2011 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville.  The deadline for registering for this year’s conference is approaching fast!  Register today!

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

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

If you haven’t heard, Amazon.com’s popular website went down recently.

Not the website front page itself, but the infrastructure.

You see, companies like Foursquare, Reddit, Quora and many many other big name companies actually use Amazon to host their websites, their apps and their data. So when Amazon went down it was a really, really big deal because not only were many websites down but many websites actually lost users’ data. Amazon is the shining knight in terms of security and redundancy and even they hiccup’d, went down and lost vital digital information.

The reason I am bringing this up to college coaches who look to use for many of their technology solution is that when you invest in applications on the web, its important to ask questions about the data…specifically your data. You should know for certain what happens in disaster situations like Amazon’s. If a meteorite comes from outer space and lands on the servers, is your data completely lost? If the server catches fire, is your information burning away with it? Sounds ridiculous right? Well Amazon has shown otherwise, and even then I’ll interject with a story…

A previous company I worked for had a client who had invested thousands and thousands of dollars in server infrastructure and everything was running great!  Well, disaster day came and the location caught fire and they lost all of their servers. They raised some money and re-invested the thousands and thousands of dollars and re-built their infrastructure and sure enough a very sad natural disaster hit and it was all lost again. These events were months apart.

Freakish and unfortunate events can occur and when they do, its important to know that your data is protected.

So with the above said, here are some questions that you should ask when working with a company that hosts your data:

Is my data backed up?

If my data is backed up, how often?

How is my data backed up? Is it onsite or at an offsite location? i.e. if the one site goes down, is there a second site where my data exists for redundancy?

Is my data backed up securely?

If a meteorite does come and land on your servers, what happens next?

Is my data sold? What is your policy?

These are just a few that are important, in our view.  And part of your job as a coach who chooses different technology solutions to house your data and help in your daily job as a college coach is to make sure that the solution you’ve chosen is top tier.

Technology has advanced at an amazing pace; however, we are far from being past asking these questions.

Why do so many coaches trust Front Rush with their valuable recruiting data and contact information?  Simple: They have superior technology backing-up that valuable data, and personal one-on-one technical help anytime one of their clients has a question.  Click here to see why so many college coaches look to Front Rush for their recruiting technology needs.

 

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

Over the years, we’ve focused a lot on the negative aspects of recruiting.

What not to do.

Today, we’re staying positive.  We’re focusing on your recruiting letters and emails, and how to get your prospects to pay more attention to them.  Because the more effective you are in your writing, the better you’ll be able to tell your unique story to your recruits.

Why?  Like it or not, the first step in the entire recruiting process usually starts with a written message from a coach.  So, it’s important for coaches to take the subject seriously.

Even more compelling?  Our studies show that a recruit will most often draw their initial picture of a coach and program that starts to recruit them through the letters and email messages that they receive.

So, see if you can apply these proven tips to your recruiting messages to get more meaningful response from your recruits:

  1. Write your letter and email copy like a website. How do you look at a website?  If you’re like nearly 80% of the country, according to a recent study, you ‘scan’ websites for information.  Do your letters and emails have the same look and feel of a website?  If not, you’re not taking advantage of our society’s new way of looking for (and finding) information.  Your recruiting letters need to look, sound and “feel” different than they probably do now.
  2. Ask a lot of questions. What we find in our research is that this generation of student-athlete is that they need you to ask them questions.  Even if they don’t answer every one of them, they will actively engage with you in their mind.  Eventually, they stand a better chance of replying to you and taking the next step in the recruiting process.  Make sure you ask them questions.  Lots and lots of really good questions.
  3. Use bullets.  Bullet points break up ideas into easy-to-read chunks that let your prospect ‘scan’ your message more effectively.  It’s easier on our eyes, and is one of the ways we like to drive home the main points we want our client’s prospects to understand.  That’s what we’re doing here with this numbered list…see how it helps you take in the information we’re presenting?
  4. Be bold and use bold. Bold type is another way to set your ideas in motion with your recruits.  We see a lot of coaching letters that coaches write with bold type in a traditional place…usually at the beginning of a sentence or main idea.  Nothing wrong with that.  It’s better than nothing.  But if you really want to interrupt your prospect’s train of thought, try bold face type at the end of a main idea.  That way, they’ll have to re-read what you were talking about before the bold face type, which further engages your reader.

Those are four very easy, very effective ways to re-capture the attention of your recruits when they get one of your envelopes or open one of your emails.  Your homework:  Take just one of your tired, old messages and apply these four techniques.  See if it looks and sounds more like something one of your recruits might want to read and (more importantly) want to respond to.

Getting your recruiting messages read should be Goal #1 of any serious college recruiter.  Make sure you re-tool your approach as soon as possible, Coach!

One month and counting to our biggest and best conference ever, the 2011 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on June 3rd through 5th.  If you haven’t made your plans to be there, hurry!  Our block of heavily discounted on-site hotel rooms are almost gone, and the deadline for registration is approaching fast.  Just click here for all the information and to register for this Summer’s NCRC!

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