Dan Tudor

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The Secret to Finding Out What Their Objections REALLY AreMonday, September 26th, 2011

Overcoming a prospect’s objections is a tough challenge, even if you happen to know what those objections are.  Most coaches struggle with identifying the real reasons one of their recruits tells them no…and it’s one of the most frustrating parts of their jobs.

But I got a phone call from a coach who became a client a few weeks ago with a bit of a twist to the traditional objection question:

“What do you do,” he asked, “when you know there’s something a prospect isn’t telling you, but it’s obviously something that’s going to keep him from choosing your school?”  Call it a gut feeling, or something else, but sometimes a coach just “knows” when something isn’t right with one of their prospects.

It’s actually a great question…and that’s a tough one to overcome, no doubt.  So to provide you with a map to guide you through the complicated maze of figuring out how to address your prospects’ real objections, here are a few proven strategies you might want to try the next time you have a recruit come right out and tell you that they’re “not interested”, or give you that gut feeling that they’re holding something back from you and not telling you about an objection they’re thinking about:

  • First, ask them what they mean by “not interested”. Does it mean that they aren’t interested in playing college sports? Not interested in the offer you have for them? Not interested in going to college in your part of the country? Asking probing questions is the key to getting to the heart of their lack of interest.  You’ve got to get them to be specific, so that you can give them an answer that helps redirect their interest back towards your program.
  • If you think they might be holding back an objection from you, you’ll need to do even more probing. Try asking your prospect to give you three reasons a prospect would have a problem with you or your program.  By taking them out of the equation (you’re asking about another prospect, not them or their views) it might free them up to give you answers that will, in fact, be their feelings toward your program.
  • Next, try to get them to them to clarify the general answer they gave you. “Do you mean you already know what our offer is going to be?” Or, “Have you already read about our program’s success but have decided that it doesn’t matter to you?” Or maybe, “How did you become familiar with the part of the country that our school is located in?”

The point in asking these types of questions? Get your prospect to clearly clarify what they mean by their objection, and how they came to feel that way.

Next, you’ll want to focus on trying to solve the problem and overcoming that objection. That is the goal of any conversation when an objection arises, and what we spend a lot of time on in our recruiting guides for college coaches. A problem-solving discussion might start something like, “I understand…so, if a full-ride offer was on the table, you’d take a serious look at us?” Or, “I see. So, if I could show you how well you’d fit into our championship caliber program, you would keep an open mind and consider us?” Or, “If we were able to show you how valuable a degree from our school is out there in the real world, would you give us another look?”

Again, my strong recommendation to you is to be a problem solver. Your prospect may not be raising an objection as much as he or she is reaching out to have their problems solved. Most of your competition still tries to hard sell a prospect by throwing out a lot of sales-oriented bullet points and trashing their competition (that would be you, Coach).

Approach things from a different perspective, and stand out from your competition: Deal with objections with the frame of mind that you are a problem solver, and your prospect is someone in need of help solving that problem.

Whether they come right out and state an objection to you, or they hold back and make you dig for it, overcoming objections is THE biggest challenge you face as college recruiter.  If you learn how to effectively deal with objections, you’ll build a long, successful career for yourself at the college level.

We’ve written two advanced recruiting workbooks for college recruiters.  Have you read them?  If they aren’t in your library, they need to be.  Click here for all the details.

The Right Way to Talk About Money with Your Prospects (and Their Parents)Sunday, September 18th, 2011

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The New Facebook Tool Every College Coach Should Know AboutSunday, September 18th, 2011

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Six Surprising Ways YOU Can Be More Interesting to Your RecruitsMonday, September 12th, 2011

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7 Ways to Restructure Your Game Recap MessagesMonday, September 5th, 2011

You are probably sending your recruits some information about you and your program that you are really proud of.

And you’re missing a golden opportunity.


Because they aren’t reading the way you’re hoping (or assuming) they are reading it.

I’m talking about your game and season updates that you send your prospects:  You win a big game, and out goes the email with the game summary and recap written by your sports information director, linked to your college website.  Your star Senior wins Player of the Week honors, and you link to the story on Facebook.  Local T.V. has highlights of your team’s winning play, and you send out the video to your entire prospect list.

And on the other end, your prospects rarely read it.  And if they do, they are probably more than a little bored by them.

Here’s why:

According to the feedback and research we’ve done over the years, one of the biggest non-factors in the decision making process for your typical recruit is the regular season update email updates that you send them, primarily because most teenagers aren’t avid readers of news.  Especially when it’s written.  Studies show that teenagers don’t typically read newspapers, or even any long text articles online.

The bottom line – as sad as it is for me to say as the only person on my block who still stumbles out in his robe every morning to pick-up the morning newspaper – is that today’s generation just doesn’t care that much about your game results, and they certainly don’t want to read articles about something they don’t care that much about.

Which brings us back to those updates that you send your recruits:  Are there ways to actually get them engaged with those updates, and get them to care about how your season is going?

We think so.  Here are seven ways that we’ve seen coaches improve the way they update their prospects on a regular basis:

  1. Always…ALWAYS…give your summary ahead of the actual article.  If you’re going to forward your prospect an article about your team, make sure you give them your take on the outcome before the actual article.  One big reason why: First, it’s unlikely they’ll read the actual article.  They’ll just rely on your summary, and see the link to the article as proof that you’re view is accurate.
  2. Instead of the article, send a video.   After the win (or even a loss) send them a short video from either yourself or a couple of players on your team.  Your prospect cares much more about hearing directly from you or their future teammates for a few seconds instead of an article that was in the newspaper.
  3. Print it out and mail it.   Would you believe that most prospects read printed articles you send them instead of a link that you send them?  It’s true.   By the way, when you send them that article, I’d recommend that you highlight a key paragraph that you’d want them to focus on, and add a quick personal note to it.
  4. Limit it to once every two weeks (at the most).  The one sure way to wear-out your prospect is to send them your game and season updates every week.  Don’t subject them to that.  Try to limit updates (even the improved versions we’re suggesting here) to once every two weeks, at the most.  It might seem like you’ll be missing a lot, but not to worry…they don’t care that much about your day-to-day operation all that much yet, and they certainly don’t want to have to try to keep up with you on a weekly basis.
  5. Ask a question.  In every communication plan we create for our clients, we work hard to make sure that regular communication creates a reaction from the prospect receiving those messages.  The same should hold true for your season updates.  Try to work in questions with your game updates.  Seriously, coach…how cool would it be to get actual reaction from your prospects after they read your updates?  (Trust us, it’s a good feeling).
  6. Make your updates shorter rather than longer.  If you don’t want to make any of these more in-depth changes, try to drastically shorten the game updates you send your prospects.  No more than three paragraphs.  Please.  And, one of those paragraphs should be a quote from you or one of your players about the game.
  7. Give them a preview of what’s coming next.  I’m not talking about your next game.  I’m talking about what they need to look for in their mailbox or Inbox from you in the coming days.  The worst thing a coach can do is to send out a game update as a stand-alone message.  Try to tie it in to your upcoming messages, which is hopefully a part of a complete compelling story that you’re telling them.

There is a better way to send out your game updates, Coach.  In fact, you can turn your run-of-the-mill game updates into lead-generating messages that can get your prospects more focused on what you have to offer them.

Need more tools to help you design a more on-target recruiting strategy?  There are lots of great resources that college coaches have relied upon for years, and you can get access to them, too.  Just click here to take a look at our best selling training DVDs, recruiting guides for coaches, and in-depth research studies.

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