Dan Tudor

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7 Ways to Make It All About You (and Why It’s a Smart Recruiting Strategy)Monday, May 28th, 2012

A few weeks ago at an On-Campus Workshop I was conducting for an athletic department, it happened again.

A coach that I was speaking with had way too much modesty for his own good.  He was the nicest, most humble person you’d ever want to meet.  However, from a recruiting standpoint, it could be making a hard task even harder.

Why?  Because your prospects are trying to get to know their potential coaches.  They are trying to understand whether you want them or not.  And they are trying to formulate the beginnings of a relationship with you.

And when a coach is reserved, quiet, and – yes – even a little too humble, it makes it hard for a recruit to get a good “read” on who you are and, more importantly, whether or not you’re excited about the prospect of them competing for you.

It all illustrates a hard, cold fact of life for coaches that they need to understand about this generation of teenage prospects: Our reasearch shows that one of the two major factors in how they decide if a college is right for them is their view – and their relationship – with the coach at that school.  Take the coach out of the equation, and suddenly the college isn’t viewed in the same light as it once was.

Agree with me so far?  Good.  Now that I’ve established this nearly universal truth about today’s college prospect, here’s the bad news for a lot of you that are reading this:

The letters, emails and other printed material you send a prospect barely reference you.

I’m serious, Coach: What percentage of your mailings talk about you as a coach?  What you are like as a person?  What your coaching philosophy is?  What your plan for them is?  What you’d like them to do next in the process?

When we begin working with a college coach and their program as one of our Total Recruiting Solution clients, one of the first things we do is to establish the coach as the person that is going to be the main attraction to the program.  Sometimes, college coaches are uncomfortable with the idea of not being modest.  I try to make the best case I can for them to get past that feeling.

If it were all about the school, logic would dictate that a coach could leave and the recruits wouldn’t care one bit.  But that doesn’t happen: When a college coach leaves, it causes the recruit to reconsider.

So, how should you put yourself in the spotlight more effectively?  Here are some ideas that we’ve found to work well for our clients:

  • Make all of your messages centered around you.  As you lay out all of the nice facts about your school, make sure the conversation comes back to you.  Never assume that the school or your program is going to sell the recruit on coming to your campus.
  • Talk about the personal side of you along with the professional side of you.  Yes, your impressive win totals count, as do your Coach of the Year awards.  But your prospect is looking for more than that…they want to know the person behind the whistle.  Learn ways to reveal the real you to your recruits.
  • Unveil your screw-ups.  Your prospects know you’re not perfect.  Don’t be afraid to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and what you learned from them.  In our workbooks for college recruiters, we make the point that this is one of the best techniques for breaking down walls that might exist between you and your recruit.
  • Invest in your Twitter presence daily. It’s an incredible social networking tool that is paying off for the coaches that are using it to build a following.  Twitter is free, it’s easy and it’s a great way to reveal the real you to your recruits (and your fans, and your boosters, and other coaches and Athletic Directors that might be looking to hire you).  It’s important that you maintain consistency, which means posting daily, and making sure that you share things that show your recruits the personality of your team and your program.
  • Create a fan page on Facebook and Instagram. If you don’t have one yet, this is a prime opportunity to showcase your team and update your recruits on what’s going on with you and your program using the most popular communication tool in the world.  This can be one way communication out to a group that broadcasts the daily pulse of you and your program.  While you’re at it, you need to make sure you’re on Instagram, as well. Especially if you coach a women’s team, but increasingly for male recruits as well.
  • Write a blog.  The benefits are too many to count.  If you want more ideas on what makes a great blog, and how to get started, click here for a popular article on the topic that we wrote a few years ago on the power of this under-used medium.
  • Make it all about the conversation.  All of your communication should focus on building the relationship between you and the prospect.  Not the school and the prospect, you and your prospect.  Everything you send out should prompt them to feel more connected with you.

Here’s the bottom line, Coach:

Whether you’re a Division III softball coach that only won three games last season, or a Division I coach that we see interviewed regularly on ESPN, the facts remain the same: Your prospects are going to pick the program who has the coach they feel most connected to.

Still don’t believe me?  Just ask one of the dozens of recently de-committed prospects who are searching for a new coach they feel connected to…they’ll back me up on what I’m saying.

Two Critical Time Management Mistakes Coaches MakeMonday, May 28th, 2012

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What GM’s Cancelled Facebook Ads Can Teach Coaches About Social Network RecruitingMonday, May 21st, 2012

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What Looks Like a Square Hockey Puck and Helps You Present Ideas to Recruits?Monday, May 21st, 2012

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Irrational Recruiting Decisions Made by Recruits (and College Coaches)Monday, May 14th, 2012

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Cementing Your Prospect Relationship Using This Tested TechniqueMonday, May 7th, 2012

There’s a great deal of psychology that the professional business world uses daily in their interactions with their prospects and clients.  As a college sports recruiter, you can (and  should) use the same kind of techniques to solidify your relationship  with your athletic prospects.

One such technique is what I  call the “stay the course” technique.  Here’s a sampling of how it  works, using an actual study that was conducted to back up my ideas to  you today.

When most people (your prospects included, coach)  decide on a course of action, they have a very strong desire to stay  with that course.

Frequently, this desire is so powerful that they  will refuse to alter their chosen path … even when there is  overwhelming evidence that it is unwise.

There are several reasons  for this. For one thing, there’s the simple power of ego. Nobody likes  to feel like they made a bad decision.  Perhaps more important is that  nobody likes a “flip-flopper.”  A classic example from the world of  politics would be a candidate who “flip-flopped” on positions and,  therefore, couldn’t be trusted. There have been numerous instances over  the past decade where the allegation alone were enough to derail the  political aspirations of many politicians.  As a society, we don’t like  people who appear to not keep their commitments.

Once a person chooses a certain position, their desire to be consistent will compel them to behave as promised.

An interesting study illustrated this universal human tendency. A “beachgoer” (an accomplice to the study)  would stroll onto the sand and choose a spot near a target subject. The  “beachgoer” would then spend about five minutes spreading out his  blanket and setting up with suntan lotion and a small portable radio.    Just another person enjoying a day at the beach. He would then stand up  and walk away, without saying anything to the target.

Shortly  after the “beachgoer” left, a second accomplice would approach the  unguarded blanket and make a move to steal the radio. Only five percent  of the time would the target make any effort to confront the “thief” or  do anything to try and prevent what appeared to be a crime.

Now  … here’s the interesting part of the study: With a second group of  targets, instead of simply walking away from his blanket, the  “beachgoer” asked them to keep an eye on his things. And the results  were drastically different. Ninety-five percent of the time, these  targets aggressively attempted to prevent the “thief” from stealing the  “beachgoer’s” radio.

What made the difference?

Like  the first group, this second group of targets didn’t know the  “beachgoer.” The only communication they had with him was that single  verbal exchange when he asked them to watch his things.

But because these subjects had agreed to do something, they aggressively stayed the course … despite the  fact that it was not in their best interests.   In fact, it put them in  the potentially dangerous position of confronting a brazen thief in  order to protect the low-value property of a stranger they’d only spoken  with for one moment.

Understanding this tendency of people to  follow a consistent course of action can help you persuade them to act  in a way you want them to act – whether you want to get your boss to  assign you to a particular project or get your child to do better in  school.  Or, get your recruit to commit to your program.

One of the things that we constantly hear from college coaches who read our two foundational recruiting guides is that they now understand how their prospects feel makes them most  likely to commit to a particular program or a coach.  How they feel  about the coach, how they feel about the players on the team, and how  they feel about the thought of playing for you as a coach.

There are three steps to making this technique work, Coach:

1. Make a statement of fact that your prospect can agree with. (“Playing for us here really improves your odds of being able to start as a freshman.”)

2. Link a conclusion to this statement of fact. (“In order to make sure that happens, we need to make sure you’re one  of our early commitment prospects so that we can stop recruiting other  athletes that play your position.”)

3. Obtain a commitment from your prospect based on that conclusion. (“So, you’ll get that application paperwork I sent you  last week turned-in early and start planning your college career here  at our university right away?”)

It’s easy, it works, and it begins to get your prospect thinking about a permanent athlete-coach relationship with you and your program.

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  • Tudor University

    LEVEL 1 - Recruiting Foundations
    Through Level 1, you will learn some of the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful college athletic recruiter. At the end of each module there will be a quiz that must be passed with 85% or higher. In addition to the quiz, you must complete the Module Competency outlined at the end of each module. Both the quiz and module must be completed in order to move on to the next module.
    Module 1 Recruiting Letter Format-
    Unit 1 Recruiting Letter Format
    Module 2 How To Find Out What Your Prospect Isn't Telling You-
    Unit 1 How To Find Out What Your Prospect Isn't Telling You
    Module 3 Utilizing Social Media-
    Unit 1 Utilizing Social Media
    Module 4 Involving A Prospect's Parents-
    Unit 1 Involving A Prospect's Parents
    Module 5 Setting Fair And Firm Deadlines-
    Unit 1 Setting Fair And Firm Deadlines
    Module 6 Revising Your On-Campus Visits-
    Unit 1 Revising Your On-Campus Visits
    Module 7 Your First Contact-
    Unit 1 Your First Contact

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