Even though many college coaches complain about the amount of time and travel associated with scouting athletes during the Summer, it’s an essential part of the job.
If you don’t scout, you can’t recruit.
But there’s an equally important aspect to the Summer recruiting itinerary that doesn’t get as much publicity as logging time in the gym, diamonds, courts or fields: What you do after you get back to the office with all of that new recruiting information.
If I had to list the number one thing I hear from coaches when it comes to their concerns about their own effectiveness as a college coach and recruiter, it would be centered around effectively executing their recruiting plans after the scouting is done.
Basically, they’re worried about making mistakes that will screw-up their recruiting results.
So today, let’s not focus on what to do to be successful at selling and recruiting. Instead, I want to look at the reasons you might be failing when it comes to recruiting high school and junior college athletes. See if any of these struggles have plagued your recruiting efforts in the past, and what you can do to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again this year:
- You don’t believe in your ability to recruit. Believe it or not, a lot of coaches struggle with this. Especially new coaches. They know they’re great coaches in their respective sports, but they hate recruiting and feel like they can’t get the job done as well as their competition. If you don’t think you have the ability to recruit, get help. Learn to sell. Read our recruiting guides for college coaches. Talk to coaches within your department that you see doing the job right. Don’t wait for someone else to “teach” you how to do this essential part of your job: Seek out resources that will raise your ability level when it comes to selling and recruiting.
- You are lazy and unprepared. Sound harsh? Unfortunately, it isn’t in the case of some coaches. Many coaches I meet with don’t take recruiting seriously, and don’t prepare for it going into a new season. Lack of preparation will equal mediocrity every single time. Is it hard to be more prepared than your competition to recruit? Your darn right it is. Start now to prepare yourself for the upcoming recruiting battles.
- You don’t know how to accept rejection. Coaches tend to get down on themselves when an athlete rejects their offer. Many develop a negative attitude and a defeatist outlook when it comes to recruiting. Remember, coach: They are not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your offer. There’s a difference. Don’t become bitter, and don’t lose your optimism. Maintaining your confidence and belief in your ability in the face of rejection is key to succeeding. Furthermore, expect to hear “no” far more often than you hear “yes”. And when you hear “no”, don’t get down…get moving on the next recruit on your list!
- You fail to master the fundamentals of sales. I’ve said it many times: Like it or not, coach, you’re a professional salesperson. Recruiting is selling. Have you mastered selling skills? Are you reading sales training materials? Are you serious about developing this crucial aspect of your professional career? If you answered “no” to any one of these things, that should be a red flag. Take matters into your own hands and train yourself to become a great salesperson (who also gets to coach college sports), or let us help you become that great salesperson. The resources are out there…they are yours for the taking.
- You fail to overcome the objections of your prospects. This is huge. We talk about it frequently, as you probably already know. This is the number one reason coaches fail when it comes to recruiting. Why? Because no prospect is going to say “yes” when you have failed to answer each one of their concerns and objections. Learn to overcome objections, and you’ll find that recruiting will get a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.
- You blame others for your mistakes or shortcomings. Recruiting isn’t easy, no doubt about it. But when you start blaming others for your recruiting failures, you’ve lost the psychological battle in selling. Don’t blame your athletic director, your fellow coaches on staff, your facilities, your school’s academic standards, the prospect’s parents, your lack of a recruiting budget…stop it. The buck stops with you when it comes to your area of recruiting oversight. Make it your goal to be the best recruiter in your athletic department no matter what your obstacles – because there will always – always – be a competitor out there with more money, more wins, and a newer facility.
- You can’t cope with change. Some coaches are creatures of habit. And, they like it that way. But change is constant in the NCAA and at your institution…new policies and procedures, new recruiting limits, new rules, new guidelines, new restrictions. And, new recruiting tools and technologies. You know the drill. To be the best, you have to embrace change and learn to succeed under new and changing circumstances. Maintain your positive attitude – it’s essential to being successful in recruiting, and in life.
- You fail to develop long term relationships. How many high school and junior college coaches did you really work at developing relationships with last season? Did you expand your recruiting network? Failure to develop enthusiastic advocates at the high school level is a common problem we see when we come in to help develop a winning recruiting strategy at colleges around the country. Why is it so important to develop long term relationships? Because you’ll have more eyes and ears out there eager to give you tips on who to watch and recruit. High school and college coaches are eager to give you that information…if they feel you’re partnering with them for the good of their program and their athlete’s lives. Take the time to develop GREAT long term relationships this year with as many high school coaches as you can.
- You aren’t persistent. “I’ll only recruit a kid if they call me first.” Or, “I’ve already sent them enough information…if that’s not good enough, then we don’t want them.” Those types of “take it or leave it, kid” statements from college coaches can be foolish. And the coaches who hold those attitudes won’t be coaching for very long, in most cases. Being professional persistent is a key to selling in the business world, and a big key to success in the college recruiting world. Don’t give up. Ever. But remember to be professional. And, as we talk about in our recruiting guides, if an athlete picks another program over yours be professional in how you respond to them (those of you who have already read the books know the secret – and many of you have e-mailed me us over the years talking about how it has worked for you!).
Did any of these warning signs apply to you?
Here’s the next step: Develop a written plan to erase these bad habits from your work life as a recruiter and a coach. Even one of these mistakes can cripple your coaching career, and make recruiting more of a chore than it needs to be this coming recruiting season.
Need help overcoming any of these hurdles? We’re here to help. Since 2005, we’ve been working with coaches to develop their recruiting skills and recruiting plans, leading to more successful incoming classes. Bottom line: Our methodologies work. Email Dan Tudor directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to talk about this upcoming recruiting year.