Dan Tudor

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5 Things Your Prospect’s Silence Could Be SignalingMonday, January 28th, 2013

Sure, it may be a virtue, but patience is still tough to come by if you’re a college coach who isn’t getting the kind of response he or she expects from their prospect.

Especially this time of year.

Early winter is one of the roughest times of year to maintain, or continue, good communication with recruits you have been in contact with.  I could be describing some of your Seniors who have an offer, but haven’t come to their final decisions yet.  Or, I might be talking about your underclass prospects, who are done with the initial excitement of first hearing from you and are now feeling ill-equipped to continue the conversation with so much time left to go before they are close to reaching a final decision.

In either scenario, or a cavalcade of others that you and your fellow college coaches could easily add to that list, the immediate reaction is a combination of frustration and urgency.  And when a college recruiter is frustrated and feeling pressured when engaged in ongoing communication with their recruits, bad things often follow.

Those are the coaches who set unfair deadlines late in the game…stop communicating all-together…ask end-of-the-process questions way too soon in an effort to get a decision (or the hint of one).

All of these actions could be devastating, not only in your efforts to continue effective communication with your prospects, but also in your efforts to eventually win over that prospect as their final choice.

But rather than give you a list of things you should be asking or doing with your recruits at this point in the process (check our blog archives for lots of information on that topic), I wanted to take you inside your prospect’s head and give you an idea of what they might be thinking or feeling.  There’s a reason for the silence, and it’s important that you understand some of those motivations that will lead them to stop communication with you.  That understanding will give you the roadmap you’ll need to continue – or reignite – effective communication with your recruit.

Are are five of the most common factors behind your prospect’s silence:

  1. They aren’t interested any longer, and they just don’t want to tell you. This is one of the most common reasons for non-communication, which you probably already know as a college recruiter.  Why don’t they just tell you that they’ve lost interest?  Our research tells the story: They are afraid you’ll get mad at them, first and foremost.  Secondly, they don’t want you to criticize their lack of interest.  That fear manifests itself through silence.  By being silent, they hope you just sort of fade away so that they don’t have to have that uncomfortable conversation with you.  If you don’t confront it and address it, you might find yourself months down the road still hoping for a revival in good communication with your recruit.  (If you want to dive in deeper into some of the reasons we find recruits being hesitant to tell you the truth, watch our quick webinar training video on this important topic).
  2. They don’t know if you’re serious about them, so they aren’t sure they want to invest time into you. How could they get the impression that you aren’t serious about them, when you clearly are?  The most common answer we hear when we conduct focus groups on the topic is simple: Inconsistency in the story that is told, primarily through letters and emails.  Coaches who send a few things at the start of the recruiting process, and then slowly trail off into inconsistent messaging, almost guarantee this result.  How can you expect your recruits to have a reason to keep communicating with you when you haven’t done the same with them?
  3. They’re interested, but don’t know what to do or say next. This usually results from coaches who make their conversations and messages all about giving information about their school and program, sprinkled in with “how-you-doing?” phone calls that don’t progress the conversation to the next step.  And that’s what they’re looking for: “The next step”.  They might like you, they might like your school…but what are you talking about that actually focuses on the topic of what the next step in the process is?  Is it talking with the prospect’s parents?  A visit to campus?  There has to be a logical next step that you guide them towards.  If you are noticing increasing silence, it could be because they’re stuck and don’t know what to do or say next.  Lead the way, Coach.
  4. They don’t like talking on the phone. Seriously, Coach…it could be as simple as that.  If you’ve moved through the communication process and are at the point where you think talking on the phone is the most personal, most effective method of communication, make sure your prospect feels the same way.  Most recruits don’t like speaking on the phone, but just won’t tell you (again, because they don’t want to offend you).  Better make sure you’re on the same page with them, and if you find that phone calls just aren’t working then revert back to email or text communication in an effort to get some kind of conversation going again.
  5. They’re busy and overwhelmed. When we look at our research data, the two most common reasons recruited high school student-athletes give as reasons for not being prompt in returning a coach’s call is that they’re busy with high school life, as well as being overwhelmed with the number of different coaches they have to talk to.  There is a real inability to devote time to all of those coaches, as well know what to talk about with all of them.  I’m not suggesting that you utter a few magical words to fix this situation – nor am I suggesting there are any.  However, I want you to know that your prospect might be very interested in what you’re offering them. They just might be a little overwhelmed at this point and feel like they don’t know what to say next (or if they’ll have time to say it).

Silence from your recruits later in the recruiting process is a common problem, and I would advise you to expect it from the vast majority of your recruits. What results from that silence on their part is the crucial aspect of all this.  That part is up to you, Coach.  Make sure you know why they’re being silent, and then effectively address those concerns.

Cutting edge research and techniques are just a few of the reasons to be at this June’s annual recruiters weekend, the National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.  You need to be there, Coach…it’s going to be an incredible weekend of learning and networking from some of the best recruiting experts in the country!

Click here for all the information on this popular event for college coaches from around the country.

Three More Tools For Personal OrganizationSunday, January 27th, 2013

I know that early in my coaching career I fell into the trap of conventional thinking that to be more productive, I just needed to work harder. My thought about time management was that if I spend more and more hours at my desk, I will get more done.  Makes sense right?

In the book, The Power of Full Engagement, author Tony Schwartz talks about how we shouldn’t worry about time management. Rather, we should focus on managing our energy levels because that is the key to productivity and getting things done.

When I first read this book, the concept of managing my energy over managing my time got me thinking. I looked at what I was currently doing to increase or at least manage my energy and how it was affecting my productivity throughout the day.  Pretty sure I smacked myself on the forehead and thought “Duh, why wasn’t I doing this stuff before?”

Coach, if you are just waking up and not preparing to have a productive day by controlling your energy, I can almost promise you that very rarely will you ever actually be consistently productive.  If you feel at times that you’re too tired to do the things you need to do, it is time to start strategically thinking of ways to increase your energy capacity and to use your body’s naturally productive rhythms of alertness in an effort to get more things done everyday.

Here are 3 simple ideas dealing with energy that you can start incorporating into your day:

Get Healthy and Practice What You Preach

Nothing will negatively impact your productivity as much as illness or injury. You tell your players to take care of themselves, don’t you?  Practice what you preach by working out, stretching, eating right, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep every day.  You need to start looking at exercise, proper nutrition, sleep patterns and water as investing in your body’s ability to get more focused work done over time. Getting more fit will help your productivity by increasing your energy, stamina, and will prevent you from having to miss work time being sick.

Schedule Important Activities When You Have Good Energy.

Coach, what time of the day do you most feel the most alert, focused, and productive?  We all have times during the day when we feel energetic and then other times when we feel tired.  For a lot of coaches, your “prime time” or “magic time” is first thing in the morning.  For some though, they are at their best at night.  Your most important work for your program usually requires that you be at your very best, rested, alert, and creative.  So coach, whenever you know that your energy is highest, you should plan to do your high-priority tasks. During the times of the day when you are feeling sluggish, take care of your non-challenging, low-priority tasks. If you fit your schedule to your moods and energy levels, you’ll save time and be more effective in your job.

Take mini-breaks

It’s been proven in many studies that taking short 10-15 minute breaks will increase productivity. To make sure you take breaks during the day, I recommend setting a timer that goes off every hour.  Every time the timer rings, stand up before you turn it off. And once you are standing, get moving. Do something physical for five minutes. I get up to go to the bathroom, take a quick lap around the building, plan to run an errand or 2 during this time, get up to stretch, or walk around and talk to people for a moment…just do something that refreshes you for just a few minutes.  You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you have just by taking a few short mini-breaks throughout the day.

Like I said in my article a few weeks ago, I have found since I have started to work with coaches these ideas are common knowledge but they are not common practice.  Try implementing just one of these ideas this week and see what sorts of results you get.  Then try it each week after starting, incorporating a new one into your daily routine.  Trust me coach, if you want to get more important things done well and in less time, these simple techniques can make a world of difference.

I would be very interested in hearing how these techniques are working for you.  Please email me about how you have incorporated these techniques into your daily routine. Also, feel free to contact me if you have other questions about being more productive this year!

Mandy Green has been a College Coach for over 13 years and has created a company called Coaching Productivity Strategies. She is helping coaches develop the disciplines of time management by teaching coaches through seminars and one on one coaching more practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques for getting more done faster. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. The Green Time Management Workbook and Calendar for Coaches are designed to give you hundreds of valuable ideas that you can use immediately to organize your coaching life and tasks so that you can get more done in less time.  For more information, contact mandy@mandygreencps.com or visit www.mandygreencps.com.

 

Using Email to Get Your Prospect’s AttentionMonday, January 21st, 2013

Winter is a tough time to recruit:

For most of your prospects, you’re either trying to get a final “yes” from a Junior or Senior, or working to figure-out how to keep the conversation going with a Junior (or Sophomore).

Primarily, most coaches are going to rely upon email to achieve either of those two goals.  And if that’s the case, how well you communicate in your email will largely depend on whether or not it gets opened.

So in a sense, much of the success (or failure) rests on how well you write your email subject line.  Why?  Because according to our research, when they check their email (which is usually only once or twice a week for most prospects) they tend to judge whether or not your message is worth their time by the subject line (the same way we adults do as we’re filtering through our Inbox).

So the question then becomes, “How much thought do you put into the subject lines in your recruiting emails?”  It’s an important question, because the degree of creativity you put into your email subject lines is most likely directly proportional to the number of times your email gets opened by your prospects.

It’s something we factor into messages that we create.  For example, when we produce our Total Recruiting Solution plans for clients around the country, subject lines are something we pay close attention to.  Why?  Because our job is to get more prospect click-throughs for our clients.  And, great subject lines are a big key to that.

So, if you want to take this little aspect of your recruiting a little more seriously in an effort to get more prospects to open more of your emails, here are some ideas that we’ve seen work:

  • Ask a question. Make it short, and create curiosity.  For example, “Is your room at home as nice as our new on-campus suites?”
  • Chop-off half the sentence. It might prompt them to wonder what the other half says!  For example, “My athletic director wanted to know if…”
  • Make it really, really short. Short words or phrases get attention.  In this case, because most subject lines are long and rather mundane, something short and odd looking gets attention.  For example, “You”.  Or, “Deadline”.  Or, “Scholarship”.
  • Don’t make it so formal. If you’re sending out a newsletter, don’t make the subject line “ABC State Baseball Newsletter”.  Borrow some old-time newspaper headline energy and write something like “EXTRA! The Inside Story on That Crazy 5th Inning”.  See the difference?
  • Be different every single time. There are no subject lines so wonderful that they should be used over and over again.  Take a few minutes to be creative.  Don’t be boring.

Oh, and speaking of boring…

Please, do something different with your “out of office” auto-reply emails.  What an opportunity to be creative and show your recruit some of your personality!  Yet most coaches don’t take the time to have some fun with that email that goes out to peers, parents, your team and – most importantly – your prospects.  Take a look at what your message says…and then take two minutes to make it a little more interesting.

Little things?  Absolutely.  But the more I consult with college coaches, and see what makes one program good and another program great, the more I realize that getting the athletes you really want usually comes down to those “little things”.

Writing emails and other recruiting communication is easy if you’ve read our two recruiting workbooks for college coaches.  They’re loaded with insightful tips, new ideas and great techniques for creating better letters and emails.  To get these recruiting guides, click here.

 

When Your Timeline Doesn’t Match Your Prospect’s TimelineMonday, January 14th, 2013

They are common problems we see unfolding this time of year:

You had set a deadline for your prospect to make a decision by last week, but mom and dad just emailed you to tell you that they really need to visit just one more campus at the end of the month.

You have a verbal commitment from a prospect, and you just got an email saying that they’re having second thoughts and are going to talk to the other coach again before they make their final decision.

You think you have until late Winter to bring one of your prime recruits on campus, but they’ve decided (unbeknownst to you) that they want to make their final choice in the early Fall, and surprise you with an email announcing their decision before you even have the chance to get them to campus.

Any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, Coach?

It all comes down to this reality: Your timeline as a college coach doesn’t match your prospect’s timeline that he or she has set in their mind.

There are two different ways this usually materializes in the recruiting process.  The most common is that you have a timeline that you need your recruit to comply with sooner rather than later, and your prospect is dragging their feet.  However, there is a more treacherous timeline scenario that sneaks-up on coaches, too: Your prospect is going to make their decision earlier than you think, and you never get to fully recruit them because they make their decision much earlier than expected.

For the coach that mishandles either situation, the results can be devastating to a recruiting class.

Here’s are some solid basic strategies we can recommend in approach each unique scenario:

You need your prospect to make a decision, but they aren’t ready and have told you they need “more time”

  • First, understand that a consistent talk-track of messages, starting as early as possible in the process, will put you in the best position to make requests of your recruit for a final decision.  Inconsistent contact, conversely, will make your prospect read your sudden request for a final decision as “pressure”, and may end up being a reason they choose to go with a competitor.
  • As early as possible in the process, ask your recruit what their timeline is for making a final decision.  If you’ve been through our On-Campus Workshop training, I’d recommend using the version of that question that we included in the list of questions we see as essential to ask your prospect.  Establishing the date that your prospect (or their parents) have set in their mind as the timeline for making their final decision is critical to effectively managing the entire recruiting process, and you are the only one who has the power to get agreement with your prospect on what that date is.
  • Whatever date they finally give you, I always recommend – based on my experience of watching the recruiting process unfold hundreds and hundreds of times – to assume that their final decision is actually going to occur 30 days prior to the date that they tell you.  I don’t believe they are being devious when they give you one date and then end up deciding earlier, it just seems to be a very normal occurrence with this generation of recruit.  They feel like making their decision earlier than first thought, and act on that impulse – sometimes with the first available coach that asks them if they’re ready to commit.  Make sure you are that coach.
  • If they are telling you that they still need more time, you have two choices: Give them more time, or set a firm deadline and require a decision:
    • If you want to give them more time, make sure you do so by getting an agreement on when their decision will be made.  Keep in mind that they may be avoiding giving you a firm decision because they’ve already made a decision not in your favor, and they’re just too scared to tell you.  If that’s the case, you’ll see them hesitate in giving you a firm decision date.  That’s your cue for asking them, “It sounds like you have already made your decision…is that right?”  Getting a decision in this example is the priority, even if it’s not in your favor.
    • If you are ready for – and need them to make – a decision, you need to give them a fair but firm deadline.  My recommendation is 10-14 days from now.  Let them know that you don’t want to rush them or pressure them, so you’re giving them another two weeks to think it over.  That being said, ask them if they know what that decision is right now.  And, if they don’t ask them what are the big questions left in their mind that they’re still wrestling with…that’s an opportunity for a conversation between you and your prospect at a crucial time in the process.

You don’t want your prospects to decide on a competing program before you get the chance to sufficiently take them through your recruiting process

  • As early in the process as possible, as them what their timeline is for making a final decision.  If this is during their Sophomore or Junior year, ask again every six to twelve months (their answer will change each time, I guarantee it).  If this is during their Senior year, make sure you ask at least every three months (their answer will change each time, I guarantee it).
  • Re-read the first bullet point again.  It’s that important.
  • Tell them when you will be making your final recruiting invitations, telling them at what point (approximately) you will be wrapping-up your recruiting for their class.  The longer of a horizon that is, the better.  When you begin asking for a decision as that timeline draws to a close, you will not be viewed as “pressuring” them for a decision; rather, you will be seen as a coach who has been fair with them, and are just keeping your word as to when you would be done with the process.
  • A good general approach when it comes to that conversation: “Keith, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be wrapping-up our recruiting by the end of this coming October…maybe a little sooner.  So that’s why I want to keep track of where you’re at, what questions you have, and make sure we get you on campus soon so you can have lots of time to figure out if we’re going to be right for you.”
  • When that deadline comes, keep it.  Move on.  Not doing so will define you as someone not serious about what you’ve said in prior conversations, which opens you up to further negotiating and waffling down the line. (“Hey son, that coach caved when it came to the deadline he gave you…maybe we can work him over for some more money, too.  Just let dad handle everything, kiddo.”)

The bottom line for getting your prospect to come inline with your timeline is setting expectations early, and communicating throughout the process.  Done regularly, you’ll find this particular recruiting hurdle can be easily addressed time and time again.

Successful recruiting is all about strategy, and the right timing.  If you want to team with a group of professional researchers and recruiting experts to help you communicate with prospects more effectively, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com. We’d love to talk to you about the specifics of your program.

Plus, make plans to attend the National Collegiate Recruiting Conference this Summer!  It’s a massive gathering of coaches, recruiters and college marketing experts from around the country with one focus: Learn the latest and best recruiting approaches to take into the new year.  CLICK HERE to find out more, and reserve your seat soon!

Premium Membership DetailsMonday, January 14th, 2013

For years, college coaches from around the country have relied on Dan Tudor and his team of experts from around the country to research and teach the latest recruiting skills.

With a Premium Membership, serious college coaches can access more next-level training and resources from the experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies!

Here’s what our Premium Members are able to access week after week:

  • Exclusive training and research reserved just for our Premium Members and TRS Clients
  • Video training from Dan Tudor
  • Ebooks, special research, and other publications designed for coaches who want to take a more research-based approach to developing their recruiting plans
  • One-on-one consultations with Dan Tudor and his team of nationally recognized recruiting experts
  • Review and editing of recruiting letters and emails
  • Customized training and services based on your needs

The annual cost of a Premium Membership is just $500 per year.  Becoming a Premium Member is fast and easy…just click here.

What is the difference between a Premium Membership and becoming a full Client? When you become a full client, the Tudor Collegiate Strategies team takes the lead in researching, designing and implementing a week-by-week recruiting messaging strategy.  We lead the way in creating the plan and make sure you are moving forward with your top-tier prospects as effectively as possible, and take a very pro-active role in making sure that you stay on top of the recruiting messaging process.  As a Premium Member, we provide you many of those same tools to do it yourself.

After I become a Premium Member, what happens next? We will contact you personally within 48 hours to begin the process with you and determine what areas we should work together on improving first.  Additionally, you will be immediately plugged-in to our exclusive added content and training available only to our Premium Members and TRS Clients, and we will add you to our popular Client Insider training newsletter for college coaches, which is released each and every Thursday morning.

Ready to become a Premium Member?  Click here.

 

Exact Sports Brings Psychology To The Recruiting GameSunday, January 13th, 2013

Front Rush recently partnered with Exact Sports (http://exactsports.com/), to provide coaches with a mental achievement profile (MAP) of each of their recruit. This helps schools see beyond the physical side and evaluate recruits’ on their mental strengths and weaknesses as well. Below is an article by Front Rush’s own Joe Cice who is a doctoral candidate in psychology. We thought it most appropriate for him to discuss the mental side of sports and introduce this partnership.

-Sean Devlin

The idea of psychology has always been prevalent in society. Before it could be defined as a science, it was folded into the ancient mystic idea of philosophy. In sports it can be described as the intangibles. That underlying makeup of an athlete that cannot be explained by mere physical attributes. These intangibles are vital to the success of an athlete or a team, but may often be forgotten when recruiting. Finding that right fit of an athlete to a program is not only important for the development of the individual, but also the team. As a coach, these tools can be useful in molding a cohesive unit and aid in the overall growth of these athletes.

It is not to say that these intangibles alone are the key to success, but assessing these factors along with the physical components of sport can provide a comprehensive picture of an athlete. EXACT Sports has created a program that looks to maximize the holistic understanding of athletes. Through combining athletic talents with psychological testing EXACT Sports looks to provide an extensive evaluation tool for coaches, players, and organizations. These tools help players, coaches, and teams monitor and increase characteristics such as motivation, confidence, competitiveness, leadership, and mental toughness.

But what do these characteristics mean to a coach or a team? As a coach, harnessing the intangibles and providing leadership on and off the field can aid in creating a winning environment. There are many different perspectives when approaching the topic of sports psychology. Whether it be the idea of encouragement, positive psychology, cognitive approaches, or adapting career models such as person-environment fit, coaches can benefit from the advantages these intangibles can provide. They can assist in better understanding the athlete’s personality and behavioral patterns. These can provide a clearer picture as to how an athlete may react under a pressure situation or what kind of leadership qualities they possess.

Through research and constant movement, EXACT Sports looks to push the idea of psychology in sports. They are looking to constantly adapt and evaluate in order to better understand the inner workings of an athlete’s mind. Working with youth athletes all the way up to the professional ranks, EXACT Sports has been able to develop a program that provides scientifically based assessments of these athletes at their current stage of development.

These psychological tools coupled with athletic assessments provide a clearer picture into an athlete. Tools such as these provide more information for a coach when recruiting. All of this information can be valuable when trying to evaluate how a prospective athlete will compete and develop. However, these tools are utilized and the most important factor in the development of athletes and teams are relationships. Even a basic understanding of psychology in sports can assist coaches and create more meaningful and beneficial relationships while creating an environment for success.

More Info about Exact Sports can be found at http://exactsports.com and http://prephero.com. The highlights are:

* The EXACT Sports Mental Achievement Program (MAP) is a questionnaire that provides information on the character of an athlete.

* The MAP is the most commonly used athlete behavioral survey, used by over 60 professional sports teams, hundreds of collegiate programs and tens of thousands of athletes across North America.

* Exclusively at Front Rush, the MAP will be provided along with a Portfolio of other tools such as the Learning Styles Inventory (LSI), which are automatically integrated in Front Rush coach accounts.

 

Four Tools For Personal Organization: Part 1Sunday, January 13th, 2013

by Mandy Green, Head Soccer Coach, University of South Dakota and Time Management Expert

For those that have read my Green Time Management Workbook for coaches, you know that I am big on helping coaches have more productive days through the use of time blocking, making lists, prioritizing, and working with a sense of urgency. This week I wanted to share with you four more ideas that you can use to help get yourself organized for maximum productivity. I will have four more ideas for you next week.  The more of these tools you learn to use, the more that you will get done each day.

1. Plan Everything in Advance

I am a big believer in making a plan for each day based on your goals and vision for your program. Schedule your day to make sure you are giving yourself enough time to work on your plan.  Brian Tracy, author of Time Power, says that the top 3 percent of high achievers are all persistent, continuous planners. They are forever writing and rewriting their lists of goals and activities. For you coach, once your to-do list is organized based on your goals and vision, it becomes a map to guide you from morning to evening in the most effective and efficient way. This guide tells you what you have to do. It also helps you decide what is urgent and what is not, saving you a lot of time. Time that you might have otherwise wasted on less important busy-work that isn’t necessarily going to move your program forward.

2. Plan Your Day the Night before

Prepare your work list for the following day before you leave the office or at least the night before. Brian Tracy has found that when you plan your day the night before, your subconscious goes to work on your plans and goals while you are asleep. Very often you will wake up in the morning with ideas and insights that apply to the work of the day.  He says that often that’s when you will gain a new perspective on a problem or job, or see a different or better way that it might be accomplished. I found that once I started to write down everything I had to do the next day, it cleared my mind and enabled me to sleep deeply. This was much better than lying awake trying not to forget to remember everything that I have to do. Remember when you start planning, make sure to strategically think about and write down what you could do during the day to move your program forward.

3. Power Question

Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” What are the most important tasks you have to complete to make the greatest contribution to your program? These questions will do more to keep you on track, hour by hour, than any other single question in the list of time management strategies. Every hour of every day, you can ask yourself this question… and this isn’t one of those questions where there’s “no right answer.” There is a right answer, and your job is to be clear about the answer and then to start and work on this task before anything else.

4. Carry a notebook

You never know when you are going to have a great idea. Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go so you can get any great ideas down on paper before you forget them. When trying to stay focused on what I am working on, I have found it extremely helpful to have a notebook nearby so I can write down any thoughts of other tasks that I remember that I need to do that may come into my head.  So if I am writing an email and I remember that I need to call a coach, I write it down instead of immediately making the call.  Writing it down allows me to get the thought out of my head and then I can immediately get back to staying focused on finishing my email. This results in the email getting done a lot quicker.  When the email is finished, I will make the call.

I have found since I have started to work with coaches that these ideas are common knowledge but they are not common practice.  Try implementing just one of these ideas this week and see what sorts of results you get.  And then each week after, start incorporating a new one into your daily routine.  Trust me coach, if you want to get more important things done well and in less time, these simple techniques can make a world of difference.

I would be very interested to hear how these techniques are working for you.  Please feel free to email me and let me know how you have incorporated these techniques into your daily routine. Also, please contact me if you have any other questions about how I can help you with being more productive this year!

Mandy Green has been a College Coach for over 13 years now and has created a company called Coaching Productivity Strategies. She is helping coaches develop the disciplines of time management by teaching coaches through her newsletter, seminars, and one on one coaching more practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques for getting more done faster. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. The Green Time Management Workbook and Calendar for Coaches are designed to give you hundreds of valuable ideas you can use immediately to organize your coaching life and complete tasks so that you can get more done in less time.  For more information, contact Mandy directly at mandy@mandygreencps.com or visit www.mandygreencps.com.

 

“Think Outside The Box” For Recruiting Strategies That Can Make A DifferenceMonday, January 7th, 2013

By Sean Devlin, Front Rush

This week, I digressed from technology…

“Love something besides magic, in the arts.  Get inspired by a particular poet, film-maker, sculptor, composer.  You will never be the first Brian Allen Brushwood of magic if you want to be Penn & Teller.  But if you want to be, say, the Salvador Dali of magic, we’ll THERE’S an opening.”

This excerpt is from an email between celebrity magician Teller (Penn & Teller) and a young up-and-coming magician Brian Bushwood.

I read the above in a blog post and my head exploded with the simplicity and obvious nature of it, yet we all practice this so little. It’s true. Think about how often you look to your peers or predecessors for inspiration but rarely look outside the coaching world. Or think about how often you emulate your competition instead of seeing how others in a different domain dealt with their challenges. We all fall into this trap of tunnel vision so let’s explore the idea of breaking away a bit.

Let’s start with an example that you are already using with this blog/newsletter. You are learning techniques that Dan Tudor has taken from a parallel industry (sales) and applying it to your own (recruiting). It’s a small chasm to cross to make the leap from recruiting to sales yet the lessons and strategy and passage are the same.

So let’s step further outside our comfort zone, and look at magic. Is your presentation style that of David Copperfield: very dramatic, very elegant, very artistic. Or more of a David Blaine: up close and personal, very raw, very simple. Or maybe you are the Chris Angel of the recruiting world? Where else? What about music? Could you learn from the calculation of Mozart or the business of KISS or maybe the intelligence of Tupac? What if you research business leaders? Are there lessons from Rockefeller and his outright declaration of war on his competition or Warren Buffett and his focus on the long term?

In the competitive world of college recruiting where so many coaches and schools are looking to “stand out” or find their niche, one great way to do so is look beyond your initial surroundings. Instead of looking at the person next to you, look to outside worlds…look to presidents and world leaders…look to artists and musicians…look to engineers…look to war heroes…look to ancient cultures. Expand your recruiting and coaching by incorporating ideas found far off of the playing surface.

 

Building Traditions: What Is Your Selling Point?Monday, January 7th, 2013

by Ellen Sawin, NCSA College Relations

College sports are home to some of the nation’s most famous traditions: Wisconsin football fans “Jumping Around” before the 4th quarter, Florida fans “Gator Chomping” at their opponents, the Fighting Irish slapping their “Play Like A Champion” sign as they take to the field, and so on. High school athletes dream of playing for a team with a tradition and fan base like these. But less than 1% will realize that dream. One school is changing that…

Picture this:

A gym packed to capacity with college kids and community members lining the court. Everyone is dressed in eccentric and hilarious outfits.  And the crowd is perfectly still and dead silent. Two teams take to the court and nothing changes. Play begins and the crowd remains silent. Both teams put points on the board, and the crowd doesn’t make a sound. Then, the home team scores their 10th point… and suddenly the gym erupts in absolute madness.

Sounds like a top tier Division I athletic event, but this occurs at Taylor University, a small NAIA school in Upland, Indiana. It’s their annual Silent Night Game (see a video version here). The tradition originated in the early 1990s and goes well beyond silence and then cheering at the 10th point. The entire crowd also comes together throughout the game for other crazy events, including this year’s half-time dance to “Gangnam Style,” where fans danced right onto the court. And the game concludes with the crowd singing the famous Christmas carol, Silent Night.

Even though Taylor University isn’t the nation’s largest or most well-known University, news and video of this event is spreading like wild fire, garnering them national notoriety. They’re changing the stakes in the recruiting game. They’ve proven that a team from any level can make headlines and develop a tradition of value to their university, athletes, fans and community.

Taylor’s tradition gives a handful of the more than 99% of high school athletes who won’t play at the Division I level, the opportunity to realize their dream of playing in front of a sellout, loyal, and involved crowd. This is a valuable selling point when recruiting high school athletes.

 

Curing Your Prospect’s Analysis ParalysisMonday, January 7th, 2013

You’ve heard of “analysis paralysis”, right?

It’s the term we use when someone over-analyzes a question, situation or choice so long that he or she is “paralyzed” with the inability to decide what to do.  As a coach, you’ve had moments of analysis paralysis, right?

So do your prospects.

Especially as the recruiting process enters the final stages.  The fun of being pursued is over, and now it’s decision time.  And making a final choice is tough for many prospects.  Heck, it may happen way before the end of the process…some prospects freeze in the face of the decision of where to take a campus visit, or even which phone call to return.  “Analysis paralysis” is at the root of a lot of the recruiting hurdles college coaches face when it comes to getting their recruits to get to the next step in the recruiting process.

If you want a more detailed, psychological study explaining the reasons behind the very real phenomenon that is analysis paralysis, click here.  But if you’re ready to jump into a strategy that will provide you with a good opportunity to help your prospect (and their parents) overcome paralysis analysis, let’s get started.

First, understand that the fear of moving forward is going to be commonplace for most of your prospects.  While you’ve been through the recruiting process multiple times, your prospect and his or her family are trying to maneuver through unfamiliar territory for the first time.  And the easiest thing to do when they reach that fork in the road in the process (“what campus should I visit?”…”which coach do I like the best?”…”who is giving me the best offer?”) is do nothing.  You should expect it, and plan for it.

Secondly, understand that you – and only you – can take control and help manage the process and lead your prospect out of the morass of inaction, and begin moving towards a decision.

Thirdly, regarding their decision: It could be “no”.  And as I’ve talked about before, hearing that answer earlier rather than later in the recruiting process is always preferred.  One of the things I often mention to coaches while getting the opportunity to train them during one of our On-Campus Workshops is that I take a “real world” approach to the recruiting process, and the philosophies that should guide it.  That includes taking a realistic approach towards understanding exactly where you stand in the eyes of a recruit, and doing so as early as possible.  Getting a “no” early and having months (rather than days) to pivot and adjust your recruiting strategy effectively, based on the scenarios I’ve seen play out recently in our work with our clients.

So, assuming you’re agreeing with my observations so far, let me offer you a few ways we’ve seen work well in moving your recruit out of “analysis paralysis” and back onto the road towards making a decision (hopefully one that is favorable to you and your program):

  • Be direct. If you’ve been your normal sensitive, polite self to this point in the communication process, I’d want to see you change your approach and be more direct.  By “direct”, I mean short and to the point.  There needs to be a noticeable difference in your tone and approach in an effort to subconsciously let them know that they are entering a new phase of the recruiting process, one that will require a new sense of urgency.
  • Present an assumption. In other words, in an effort to get them to say something (anything!), throw out a statement that they will need to either confirm or deny.  This was a strategy we recommended to a D1 lacrosse coach who is our client: The coach had been waiting for a recruit’s answer on a scholarship offer for months, and together we wanted to find out where this recruit stood with regards to our client’s program.  The question had our coach ask was “so, it looks like we’re #3 on your list at this point, right?”  Of course, we were hoping the athlete would tell our coach, “Oh, no Coach…you’re my top choice.”  However, the athlete finally confirmed what we had assumed: Our coach’s program was the #3 choice in the recruit’s mind, but didn’t want to hurt their feelings and tell them that they weren’t going to go there.  Disappointing news?  Absolutely.  But it moved the process forward in a way where our client could then adjust their strategy with their next three recruits that they had waiting in the wings.  None of it would have happened had the coach not presented an assumption, and then let the prospect react to it.
  • Set a fair but firm deadline, and explain why you have to do that. It’s an interesting thing about this generation of recruits: If you are the one asking them for a decision, they tend to look at it as “pressure”.  If you can find another outside reason (your admissions department, your head coach, the athletic administration) that you are being “forced” to move the process along at this point, their reaction is much more accommodating.  All of a sudden, they’ll open up…they’ll reveal what they’re really thinking…and they’ll take the next step in the process.  The key to this is setting a fair but firm deadline, and explaining why you are having to do that.  The deadline should be a few weeks out so that it doesn’t seem like you are “pressuring” them, but once the deadline is in place, you need to keep it.  No answer from your prospect translates into “we’ve got to move in a different direction” from you and your program.  This recommendation is one of the most effective tactics to shake a recruit and their parents from analysis paralysis, especially later in the process.

The analysis paralysis phenomenon is real.  It happens when we look at real estate, it happens when we consider buying a car (which is why the salesman tries so desperately to get you into that little room inside the dealership…if they don’t, they know you’ll stay “paralyzed” out in the parking lot) and it happens with your recruits and their parents during the recruiting process.

You have some power to change their thinking, Coach.  Don’t waste it!

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