You throw them around all the time.
You use them to sell your college, and you use them to combat a competitor’s advances.
If you’re a fan of classic television, Sgt. Joe Friday on the old “Dragnet” detective show was famous in asking for only these things.
We’re talking about facts.
But here’s the challenge for savvy recruiters: Which facts are worth talking about, and which ones just take up space in your messages our to your prospects? Moreover, what facts may actually be hurting your recruiting efforts?
We began asking that very question, beginning in 2011, with the athletes of our clients and during focus groups at our On-Campus Workshop. Our theory at the time was that all the facts a coach presented to a prospect played a part in their final decision.
We were only partially correct. Here’s why…
While today’s prospects do rely on facts about a college to form their overall opinion of the place, it is most effective when recruiters tie that fact directly to a benefit the athlete will receive as a result.
This is a very important distinction that coaches need to begin implementing. Again, when you state a fact as a selling point of your program, it is vital that you take the extra step in explaining to your prospect exactly how they will personally benefit from that fact.
The reason is simple, really: Our research shows that prospects won’t “connect the dots” between your points of benefits and what it means for them personally. As we discuss at length in our two recruiting guides for college coaches, your recruits rely largely on their feelings – how they feel about you, your team, and your campus – to make their final decision.
However, when you can add facts that will personally benefit the prospect, and get them to understand those selling points, you win; more often than not, good feelings about your program coupled with these personalized facts are almost impossible to ignore.
To get you started, here are a few of the top facts that we’re finding recruits rating as most important in their decision-making process:
- Your on-campus housing. According to the research we’ve conducted, it’s the clear #1 on the list in your recruit’s mind. Interestingly, you don’t always need the newest and biggest dorms or apartments to win. Instead, you need to make sure your recruits understand how they will have fun living there. By the way, your team’s opinions and personal stories go the furthest in selling your on-housing campus to your recruits.
- The food on campus. Prove to your recruits that they will eat well, and you’ll have an advantage over most of your competition. Food, and the socialization around gathering together in a community on campus and “breaking bread” together, is one of the biggest comfort areas that your recruits are looking for when they come to visit campus.
- The vision for your team. It’s very important that you clearly explain where the program is heading, and how the prospect will play a part in the plan. Make sure you go into as much detail as possible when it comes to your plan. And, if possible, have a separate conversation about that plan with your prospect’s parents.
- How a degree at your school will trump a degree at another school. Coaches love to talk about the academic strengths of their college, but talk is cheap. You’d better be ready to prove it to your prospect, and give them real-life examples (personal letters from your former players are great, by the way!) as to how your school is going to give them a better launch into their career after sports is done.
The misuse of facts is a major problem in recruiting. We see it almost daily.
If you’re a coach who commits themselves to taking the extra step of stressing facts that your athletes care about, as well as finding how best to tie that fact personally to your recruit, you’ll most likely gain the upper-hand over your competitors who are content with reading this research and then choosing not to change the way they are telling their story.
Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you formulate your strategy when it comes to presenting facts about your program that get attention. We can take our research and put it to work for your program, making a big difference in your overall recruiting efforts as you get ready to communicate with your next recruiting class. Want more information on how we can do that for you and your program? Contact Dan Tudor directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.