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Why College Coaches Need to Pay Attention to DetailMonday, August 29th, 2011

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

A story recently came out in the press in response to Steve Jobs’ sad announcement that he is leaving Apple as CEO due to his ongoing health issues.

As the story goes, one of the top product guys at Google received an email in the middle of the night from Steve Jobs complaining that there was a major issue with the Google icon that appeared on the iPhone. It was such a big issue that Steve Jobs was personally going to assign an Apple representative to work directly with the Google employee to resolve the issue immediately.

So what was the problem? It turns out that the yellow color in the letter O of GOOGLE was slightly off.

Was this slightly off-colored letter going to cause major issues for Apple or Google? Absolutely not!

The key takeaway is the care for the granular detail that Steve Jobs has had over the past decade.  In product development, maybe some of the details are more apparent but certainly in recruiting there are parallels.

For example, when a recruit calls your phone and you don’t answer, what type of message will they hear on your voicemail? Is it something that is welcoming and open, or is it a brief ‘leave a message’ recording.  If you are out of town for a few weeks and they send you an email, is the automated message back informative and interesting? Or, is it something ordinary like “I’m out of town for the next 3 weeks with limited access to email”.  When they browse your website, is the information about you enticing and powerful, or is it something ordinary like “Head Coach for past 3 years”.

The trick is to look at every single interaction a recruit could have with you, your program and your school. This is not just limited to emails, calls, and on-campus visits.  There are many, many other signals that they absorb, and you can’t control them , you can control more than you currently are if you employ a little out of the box thinking like Steve Jobs has made a career of doing.

Apple did not go from near bankruptcy to one of the most wealthy companies in the world because they built a few great products. They did this by looking at all the granular details – from the yellow O’s to the box that the product comes in.

If you start controlling the signals and pay attention to your slightly off-colored O’s, they will add up.

 Sean Devlin and the team at Front Rush have established themselves as the go-to team of technology experts for thousands of college coaches and their programs.  It’s their personal service and attention to detail that have made them the leaders in easy-to-use web recruiting management tools.  If you aren’t using them yet, you need to click here right now.

A Defense for Negative Recruiting When Bad News HitsMonday, August 29th, 2011

Like thousands of other people around the country, I was saddened to hear University of Tennessee women’s basketball coaching legend Pat Summitt announce health issues that she has started to battle.

It’s rare that someone in any profession – certainly in college coaching – that an individual has built such a unanimously respected coaching and personal resume as Coach Summitt has been able to do over the past many decades.

The day that she announced the news, my Twitter account was buzzing with activity and comments. 

A couple of comments caught my attention:  A few people made the case that this news would be used as negative recruiting material for competing coaches going up against Tennessee’s coaches.  In response to that, I made the claim that not only did it not have to be a negative, Tennessee could easily turn this news into a huge positive when it comes to recruiting the next few classes for the Lady Vols. 

Skeptical followers wondered how I could make such a claim.  I gave them some short answers (it’s Twitter, so that goes without saying, right?) but wanted to expand on that idea here today:  News like this does not necessarily mean recruiting woes for Tennessee women’s basketball, which Coach Summitt will continue to lead as long as her health allows (and if will, grit and determination is a factor, that means that Coach Summitt has a lot more wins left to engineer).

So whether you’re a recruiter at Tennessee, or a coach at another program that is facing potential bad news that could be used against them by a competitor, here are some theories we see working in the real world of college recruiting under trying circumstances:

Players will often rally around a challenging situation.  That includes a coach facing a health battle, a team facing disciplinary actions left-over from a previous staff, or some other bad news that a competing coach might be tempted to use against that program.

When we’ve worked with clients in the middle of this kind of situation, we find that the players will often naturally rally around each other and the program.  The benefit to the coaching staff?  Their athletes will sell the program more, speak more passionately about the coach and his or her talents, and try to connect with prospects on a more personal basis (through texting or social media).

In Tennessee’s case, it’s still a destination school with a great women’s basketball program.  Just as TV political commentators sometimes over-analyze a presidential candidate or an issue’s effect on the electorate, coaches and the sports media that follows them often get it wrong when it comes to how high school recruits will react to a challenging situation.

If you have a solid history of results in your program, a good college with solid academics, and a strong supporting cast helping to lead a team through the challenging situation, you can still get solid recruiting results.  A crisis does not necessarily mean a disaster when it comes to recruiting.

Programs enduring a crisis can actually insulate themselves against negative recruiting from competitors.  Not that Tennessee women’s basketball needs my advice in particular, but I’ll share four quick things that I would recommend any program do to make it harder for a program to use a situation in a negative way with recruits, based on our research:

  1. Speak openly about the situation.  Acknowledge that it’s tough, but you’ll pull through it.
  2. Offer a plan of how that’s happening.  Show your prospect that you’re not paralyzed by the situation, and that you and your staff are calmly handling things in an order manner.
  3. Focus on everything else that’s right about your situation: The school, the academics, the people, the staff…whatever you can show a recruit that will get them to look at the big picture instead of the crisis you are facing.
  4. Involve your team in telling the whole story about the situation.  It’s hard to give specifics here, because you’ll face a situation that is completely unique from the examples we’re sharing here today.  But whatever it is, make sure your team is brought in to help tell the story.  The worst thing any coach or school can do is to deal with a serious crisis outside of the team’s direct involvement.

Tennessee women’s basektball will get through this.  Not only will they survive this crisis, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see their players excel beyond what even they are aware they are capable of doing.  Coach Summitt will make sure of that as she begins to wind down her incredible and inspirational college coaching career.

The big question for you is this:  When you face a trying circumstance in your coaching career, what’s your plan to handle it effectively?

Tudor Collegiate Strategies is the nation’s leader in developing effective recruiting strategies for college coaches.  To inquire about working one-on-one with Dan Tudor, developer of the popular “Selling for Coaches” program for college recruiters, visit our popular website or email Dan directly at dan@dantudor.com.

Why “Relaxed” Prospects Are WAY Better Than “Excited” ProspectsMonday, August 22nd, 2011

You know how you want to create an exciting campus recruiting visit, with wall-to-wall fun and non-stop heart-pumping activities for your guest prospect?

Well, what if I told you there was emerging science that showed it’s actually the calm and relaxed recruit that is more likely to buy what you’re selling at your program?

It’s true.

Researchers at Columbia University did extensive marketing studies that found relaxed subjects in their experiments assigned more value (and volunteered to pay much more) for the same products that “excited” subjects were less willing to pay more for.  Overall, the relaxed subjects assigned higher monetary values to the items than the control group. The researchers determined that this effect was an inflation of the value by the relaxed subjects rather than a deflation by the less-relaxed subjects.

That’s, for example, why high end car dealerships have big, comfortable leather chairs and soft music playing.  And, it’s why those same dealerships get you to focus on the feeling you’ll have driving that new car, instead of closing the sale with gas mileage statistics and other features.  They know that a more relaxed customer is going to be more likely to buy than an excited customer.

This matches the overwhelming comments we hear from current college athletes we interview during focus group sessions as a part of our On-Campus Workshops:  They much preferred just “hanging out” with members of a prospective team instead of the highly scheduled itineraries that most prospects are subjected to by some college coaches (if that word “subjected” sounded a little too much like a prisoner being forced to do things outlawed by international accords, good…that’s what I was going for).

Not that excitement doesn’t have a place in the recruiting process, of course.  Much of the time, you need to get them excited about what you have to offer before you can reassure them in a relaxing manner as they get nervous in the later stages of the recruiting process.  However, there’s a time to focus on relaxation and reassurance, and a campus visit - something many of you are going to be hosting in large numbers over the next few months – is the perfect place to give your important recruits that feeling that will compel them to choose you over your competition.

So, what should you be aiming for in a more “relaxed” and calming interaction with your next recruit?  Here are some ideas that we’ve seen work in the past:

  1. Make the planning of their visit to campus more collaborative.  In other words, rather than dictating their campus visit from start to finish before they get to campus, let them be a part of the planning process.  Ask them what they’d like to do, and what they wouldn’t.  Let them feel like they’ve helped design the visit, which should result in them feeling a little more relaxed coming to your campus for the first time.
  2. Have one or two of your team write a short, non-sales note to them prior to the visit.  I’d recommend an actual hand-written note versus an email or Facebook message.  The more personal, the better.  Let them know that there are friends waiting for them that are looking forward to the visit.  That little gesture can go a long way in relaxing your recruit.
  3. Start the visit slowly, but with something “big” to think about.  This is one of the biggest mistakes we see otherwise savvy recruiters make:  They don’t paint a big picture for their visiting recruit to consider while they are on campus.  An exact offer, what their plan for them is if they come to compete for that program…something “big”.  Why is that part of relaxing the prospect?  Your prospects, we find, are looking for more detailed specifics of why you want them, and what their role would be, if they do indeed choose your program.  Giving that to them right at the start could enable them to take a deep breath, get their big question out of the way, and let them spend the rest of the visit figuring out if you’re the right fit for them or not.  And the more relaxed you make it for them, the better that “right fit” feeling will come across.
  4. Carve out LOTS of casual time with your team.  There’s a growing body of research that we’re putting together that demonstrates one of the most powerful weapons you have as a recruiter is one that you actually choose to bypass as a part of a recruit’s visit:  Casual, relaxed “hang out” time with your team.  Specifically, I’m talking about time that is non-structured, where your recruit and a few of the younger members of your team can just sit and talk.  No coaches, no parents, no structure.  Trust me, it works.
  5. Set a reasonable deadline for a decision.  What, am I crazy???  A deadline as a part of “relaxing” a prospect?  Yes.  As you are ending that nice, relaxed campus visit, I’d let them know that you’ve loved having them on campus and (if they are someone you’re ready to hear a “yes” from) ask them if they’d like to commit.  Most of the time, they’ll want to delay that decision.  Let them know that it’s not a problem, and then give them a general date that they can take to think about your opportunity that you’ve just presented them.  Ideally, two to three weeks unless they’ve already outlined future campus visits that would take them past that point (but you can make it longer, if needed).  This tactic achieves two important things:  One, it reassures them that you want them and that you’re offering them an opening for making that commitment.  Secondly, you appear to be reasonable with the amout of time you’re giving them to consider your offer; most of the feedback we get from prospects after the fact is that a timeline like that seems “fair”.  What I like about it is that it puts you in control of the process and gives them some reasonable guidelines for making a decision.

Relaxed prospects are in a better position to make a life-changing decision like this more quickly, and with more confidence.

So, as you begin hosting a new group of recruits on campus, ask yourself (and your team) this important question:  “How can we re-tool our campus visit and make it a more relaxing, less hectic experience for all of our upcoming recruits?”

We’re working with our growing list of clients to help them create better (more relaxed) campus visits right now.  And, we’re identifying and creating more effective recruiting message content that is resulting in more high-level recruits showing interest in their programs. 

Want us to help you?  Schedule a time to talk one-on-one with Dan Tudor by emailing him at dan@dantudor.com.  It’s more affordable than you may think, and the results are turning heads on campuses across the country.  See if it’s the right fit for you, Coach!

Strategies for Combating the Too-Close-To-Home ObjectionMonday, August 15th, 2011

In a previous article, we talked about some proven strategies for combating the “too-far-from-home” recruiting objection. 

You’ve all heard it before…a recruit you really want, and may have even been the one that initiated the first contact, tells you “no” because they’ve decided that you’re too far from home.

But many coaches also face the opposite side of the coin:

Recruits that decide you’re the wrong choice for them because you’re too close to home. 

The biggest hurdle for you behind this objection, according to our research, is the fact that many prospects will have already defined you.  Growing up nearby, they’ve heard people talk about you, made some observations about your campus or your program, and have decided that you’re not “exciting” enough for them as they look forward to the next four years of playing their sport in college.

We’re finding that more and more of this current generation of student-athlete prospects are up for the adventure of going “away” to school.  So, if you’re a coach that is recruiting a prospect that is starting to tell you that you’re too close to home to be a serious consideration, here are a few proven strategies that we’ve seen work with the coaches we work with around the country:

  1. Focus on mom and dad as soon as possible.  Whenever you hear a prospect talk about your college being too close to home, you need to find out how your prospect’s parents are playing into the equation.  Normally, according to our national research, parents are a primary outside factor in the decision making process of a recruit.  The question here is simple: “Why do you want to see your son/daughter play away from home?”  We see parents tending to encourage your prospect to stay close to home whenver possible.  Find out what their view on the matter is.  If you see that there is a conflict within the family (i.e., prospect wants to go out of the area and the parents are hoping he or she stays close to home) then you need to find out which side is going to win out in the end.
  2. Ask about their friends.  One of the big factors in a decision by a recruit to not go far away to play for a program is their friends back home (that includes boyfriends and girlfriends).  When you find that a recruit is not open to staying close to home, you’ll want to ask if they’ll miss their friends, or why they see themselves being o.k. with leaving them behind.  That doesn’t mean you should use friends or family as a “guilt trip” on your recruit.  Rather, you view it as your responsibility to bring up factors that we see playing a major role in the final decision of your recruits so that they are taking into account all possible factors in determining what schools (yours included) they should be considering.
  3. Get them on campus spending time with your team.  Assuming that a big reason your local recruit is not that interested in your program is the fact that they have been on your campus and grown-up nearby hearing the good, the bad and the ugly about the school and your program, you need to get them to take an up-close-and-personal look at what you have to offer as soon as possible.  And, since they have probably already made up their mind about you and the campus, I recommend that you have them spend as much time with your team as possible.  Not you, coach…your team.  The one big thing we see being able to alter their initial assumptions about you and your college is a strong bond with your team.  As we conduct studies with current college athletes as a part of our On-Campus Workshop training sessions for athletic departments, they tell us that their ideal percentage of time they’d like to spend just hanging out informally with your team is 60% of their total time on campus.  If you can achieve that kind of time with your team, you’ve got a shot of creating a bond that overcomes their initial perception of your program.
  4. Make the case that staying close to home gives them a choice.  Make the phrasing your own, but the basic thinking we’ve seen work goes something like this: “If you stay close to home, you get the best of both worlds: You get to be your own person here on our campus, but still get to see your family and friends whenever you want.  Athletes that go far away to school don’t get to have that choice.  They’re stuck on a campus far away from home.”  It’s a valid concept that you should encourage your recruit to consider.

In summary, let me go back to a thought that I started the article with:

This generation of recruit is more open to going away to college and play their sport.  Social media and familiarity with other parts of the country are just two of the reasons we see athletes willing to leave home and compete elsewhere.

In the long run, you’re going to hear more and more of the “too close to home” objections from your recruits.  You can overcome it using these strategies some of the time, but you’ll also want to expand your recruiting base so that you can take advantage of this growing trend.  There are lots of tools and resources we recommend that make this easier than ever.

That being said, when you find yourself recruiting a local athlete you really, really want on your team, these proven strategies just might do the trick in getting them to take a serious second look at you and your program.

How Do You Know When New Technology Is NOT Right for You?Monday, August 15th, 2011

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Overwhelmed with all of the new technologies coming out?

You’re not alone.  A lot of coaches are talking to us and telling us that they’re a little overwhelmed.  Just as the NCAA has trouble keeping up with all the technology and how it’s used in recruiting, coaches seem to have trouble keeping-up with the seemingly daily onslaught of new stuff.

New apps, new devices, and new sites that all can help you save time, save money, better recruit, communicate more effectively, better manage, and…well…just be ‘better’ top to bottom. 

However, all this new technology can seem like a full-time job when it comes to keeping up with new premiers, and it can seem like two full time jobs trying to learn them all.

There is one fundamental model that is often forgotten:

Technology is unique to the end-user, so what works for one coach doesn’t always work for all. If there is a system or process that works for you today, and works well, you don’t have to find a technology to replace it until that technology is overwhelmingly going to improve your current system.

So, an example from my own world is that I used a magic marker for years to take notes. I always carried a sharpie pen with me and whenever I had an idea or needed to write something down, I would write it on my hand. At then end of the day, I would look down on my hand and react accordingly. It was a great system because if I was on the road and away from my computer, I could just take notes on the fly.

Throughout this time, many apps came out that supposedly improved “note taking” but I always fell back to the marker model because it worked for me. I stuck with the marker until an app called Evernote came out that dramatically improved on my marker system.

And that is the point: I stuck with what worked until I found something else that dramatically improved upon my marker technique. If it hadn’t, I would still be walking around with magic marker scribbles up and down my arm.

So, how do you know if a technology is going to work? There may not be an easy answer for this because it is unique to you, but the trick I found is consciously being willing to drop the technology quickly if it doesn’t work for what you need. When I am testing an app or new device, if I don’t see a huge upside or a large amount of potential in the first day, I move on. The technology should improve my process, not require me to totally change it. Sometimes I miss out on some great new stuff this way, but it’s all about finding technology that makes your coaching life earlier.

We are obviously huge advocates of trying new technologies, and highly recommend doing so.  However, we are also huge advocates of using technology that actually improves your day to day perations as opposed to using technology for the sake of using it.

Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Little known fact:  Did you know Sarah Palin stole Sean Devlin’s “marker on the hand” idea?  It’s true.

A widely known fact:  Front Rush is one of those technologies coaches can’t do without.  It’s the #1 choice for college coaches around the country when it comes to recruiting management.  Don’t get left behind on this technology…it’s a must have!  Click here for all the details.

Strategies for Combating the Too-Far-From-Home ObjectionSunday, August 7th, 2011

It struck me a few days ago how often the “distance from home” objection so completely controls whether or not your recruit takes your interest seriously or not, and ends up packing up the family car and coming to your campus for four years.

That epiphany probably shouldn’t have made such an impact on me, but some previous conversations this past week with our clients – who are working with us to map out the start of this next recruiting season – seemed to be coming face-t0-face with the hard, cold reality that they weren’t exactly sure how high to place their really good out-of-area recruits on their developing recruiting boards.

For a lot of coaches – maybe you, too – the distance from home question can end recruiting before it even begins.

The difficult part of all this is the prospect, and their parents.  Once in a while, you’ll get an honest family who tells you right from the start that they don’t want to compete that far away from home, and politely suggests that you don’t need to put any energy into trying to convince them otherwise. 

It works otherwise, too: There are some prospects who won’t want to compete for you because you’re too close to home.  They want something different in a college, and since they’ve already defined you over the past few years, it’s going to be a long-shot to convince them that you deserve to be a serious consideration.

As a college recruiter, the problem with these all-too-familiar scenarios is simple:

Your prospects will rarely offer-up their true feelings and tell you how they feel.

Today, I want to make the case that determining those feelings right away is probably one of the hurdles I’ve seen really good recruiters clear, leading to consistently good recruiting classes.  They know when to pursue the out-of-area recruits, and when to cut bait and run.  And they don’t waste a lot of time making that determination.

Taking a cue from these recruiting pros, and mixing it with what I’ve seen work over the years, here are five proven ways to figure-out whether you should invest your time and resources in that tantilizingly good prospect in an area code far, far away:

  1. As soon as possible, ask the prospect why they want to look at out-of-area colleges.  If they don’t give you an answer that centers around a specific reason that they can verbalize, that should be a red flag as a college recruiter.  Answers like “oh I don’t know, I just want to see what’s out there” or “my parents want me to keep an open mind and listen to everyone that’s interested in me” don’t necessarily mean you should throw in the towel, but it should cause you to really dig deep and find out some additional thinking behind those statements.  If, on the other hand, you hear your out-of-area prospect say something like “I really want to look at a college in your part of the country because I’m looking for warmer weather, and plus my best friend is going there and she loves it”, then that’s a great indicator that there’s a substanitive reason behind their desire to talk to you.  Ask the question, coach.
  2. Ask the parents why they would want to see their son/daughter go “away” to college.  You need to phrase it exactly like I worded it, coach:  “So, why do you want to see your son/daughter go away to college?”  If you hear a response like, “well, I don’t really want them to go away…I just think it’s smart to keep all their options open”, approach with caution!  Our research shows that when push comes to shove, mom or dad (or both) is going to play the emotion card and push for them to stay close to home.  Again, a response like that doesn’t mean you give up; however, it does mean that you really need to have the parents define why they see you – as an out-of-area program – being a smart consideration for their son or daughter.  Asking this question will help you get an answer that tells you how to move forward.
  3. Ask sooner rather than later.  Want to totally bog-down your recruiting efforts with out-of-area recruits?  Wait until later in the process before asking them and their parents those questions.  Asking them at the start will tell you exactly what you need to do next in determining whether you keep pursuing that recruit, or walk away before you begin to invest your valuable time and resources.  “Wait an minute,” you say.  “Did you just say that maybe I should keep pursuing that recruit who is giving me those red flag warning statements you just listed???”  Yes…
  4. Keep recruiting them, but do it efficiently.  Wishy-washy out-of-area recruits may change their mind as the recruiting process moves forward:  Some of their other local top choices may not come through with an offer, they may like what you have to say about your college and your program as time goes on…in short, teenagers and their parents change their minds.  While I’m advising that you approach with caution, I still think a consistent message sent efficiently (group letters and email) is smart to do.  Too many coaches give up too soon and just stop messaging those kids at the first sign of trouble.  Don’t be one of those coaches.  Continue to consistently, efficiently sell them on you and your program.
  5. The good prospects that reach out to you should be your priorities.  Note that I said “good” prospects, not all prospects.  When you have a solid recruit who can compete for you at your level, and they have taken the time to personally send you something in the mail or fill out your online recruiting questionnaire, that shows a high degree of interest in you no matter where they live.  These prospects have invested their time in you; if they’re good, do the same.  Show special interest.  (Note:  We find that another outstanding source of verified out-of-area prospects is NCSA Athletic Recruiting.  Those athletes can indicate what areas of the country they are open to considering, removing a lot of the work associated with determining whether or not to add them to your recruiting list.  The number of college coaches we see using this free resource is really spiking this time of year, so you might want to take a look at their searchable database).

One final note on out-of-area prospects:

When we conduct our detailed athlete surveys as a part of our On-Campus Workshops when we are asked to teach at college athletic departments, we’re finding a real rise in the willingness to go far away from home from a significant number of top prospects.  The reasons vary greatly, from perceived academic opportunities in particular parts of the country to a desire to experience a different climate.  The point is, they’re willing to listen.

Your job?  Ask smart questions on the topic, be consistent and persistent, and look for signs that your prospect is more open than most to looking seriously at out-of-area scholarship and playing opportunities.

If we haven’t been to your campus yet, make this year the year you get us there!  We’ve worked with high level Division I athletic departments, as well as small, private college coaching staffs, with one goal in mind:  Finding the right story to tell for those coaches, and training them to be the most effective recruiters possible.  For all the details on reserving a date for your athletic department, click here.

Will Apple’s Lion Release Roar for College Coaches?Monday, August 1st, 2011

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

Last week, Apple released their latest version of their operating system, titled “Lion”.

We have been playing with it since release day and wanted to give you our thoughts.

The net-net is ‘no bueno’.  I’ve been an Apple user for awhile now, ranging from the iPhone to iPad to Macbook Pro to Apple TV, and even my loyalty can’t skew my initial impression of Lion.

The Good
The upgrade to Lion is amazing.

You go onto the app world from your laptop, search Lion, pay 29 bucks, and 20 minutes later your laptop is running the king of the jungle.

After the download I only had one application on my laptop break and it was easily fixed by re-downloading it. In fact, from other people I have spoken with, this “break” was more of an anomaly than anything else. The upgrade is very different than years past where you had an external disc and had to go through 30 prompts and then cross your fingers. With that said, please make sure you first back-up your Mac to an external drive or in the cloud before you upgrade as a just in case.

The air-drop is also pretty cool. This allows you to find another user on your network and literally drag and drop files to them. This eliminates having to either email them the large files (which if their big enough won’t work) or having to use some third party to upload the files to and they download them. Instead, its a quick drag over and you’re set to go.

That’s pretty much where the compliments stop for me.

The Bad
Apple tried to connect the mobile experience with the desktop and found ways that may not be appropriate. Their are lot’s of new hand gestures that you have to memorize and my experience has been that they are inconsistent. For example, if you put three fingers on the track pad and swipe right to left, it will take you to the next screen. However, 1 out of 10, this gesture is moving all windows to the forefront.

In addition, Apple changed the direction of the scrolling. So historically, if you wanted to move down the page and view more content, you would swipe your fingers downward on the track-pad. If you want to go back to the top, you would swipe your fingers upward. Well this is now completely reversed so it works more like the iPad or iPhone, which is the intent, however this takes days of getting used to.

The interface itself is a bit clunky. It doesn’t have the smoothness that has been consistent with previous Apple products. It seems the intent was to push the envelope (as per usual Apple) but this time without as much success.

Prior to Lion I was a very happy Snow Leopard user. Since the upgrade is done I am pushing through it and trying to get more comfortable but I am hoping that Apple will push some upgrades soon.

Are you a loyal Apple user who needs help with this upgrade or other technical issues?  The pros at Front Rush are the people that the rest of the college coaching world turns to for answers (and for the best recruiting contact management database on the planet).  Seriously, these guys are the experts you want in your corner. 

If you have questions that you want answered, visit Front Rush or email technical guru Sean Devlin directly at sdevlin@frontrush.com with your questions.  You’ll see why so many coaches from around the country trust Front Rush for their recruiting technology needs!

A Simple Question That Gets a Better ResponseMonday, August 1st, 2011

Most college recruiters make great efforts to tell their recruits to commit to them.

Today, I’m going to show you that you might be taking the wrong approach with your prospects by doing that.

And there’s science to back-up what I’m about to reveal to you.

It has to do with the very subtle difference between telling your prospect to commit to your program, versus asking them if they will commit to your program.  And the research that’s been done on the topic tells us that it’s smarter to ask – and get them to predict or visualize that commitment – if you really want that prospect in your program.

Here’s how it works:

When you get your prospect to make a verbal statement about their intent on a future action – such as whether or not they see themselves living in your dorms, playing on your team, and coming to your college - they are far more inclined to follow through with that commitment.  That research is one of the reasons we focus on starting conversations between our clients and their prospects, and focus on having their prospects commit to do things like reply to their email or come and visit their campus. 

It’s those small commitments that can signal real interest from a prospect.

So, here’s what I’d recommend you do as you prepare for this next round of messaging to this class of recruits you’re targeting:

  • When you have decided you want a prospect to start getting serious about you and your program, ask them about their intent to commit to your program.  This is an important step: Just asking the question can have a big impact on your prospect.  Don’t tell them to commit…ask them if they are probably going to commit.
  • Try hard – really, really hard - to get some kind of affirmative answer.  The science shows that if your prospect gives you a positive statement, more than likely they will evenutally act on that statement.
  • If you can get them to make that statement in some kind of public way – in front of their parents, or while they are on campus with some of your team – it drastically increases the liklihood that they will commit to you. 
  • If they don’t respond in a positive way on the first try, don’t despair:  Asking consistently over time in a professional, collaborative way can build a feeling of trust over time and get them to understand that you’re serious about them and want them in your program.

So, the lesson here is pretty simple:  Instead of spending time just telling your prospect how great you are, make sure you ask them if they see themselves as a part of your program.  It’s a better way to gain a commitment from this next class of prospects!

Want help in putting together the right message for your prospects, with just the right balance of information and direction in the plan?  We can help.  We work with coaching staffs all over the country and help them plan their recruiting campaigns, and even help produce text that they use in their letters and emails…text that works better because it’s based on research and proven science (like the principle we just outlined in this recruiting article).

For more information, or to talk with Dan Tudor about becoming a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies so we can develop a plan for you, email him at dan@dantudor.com.

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