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Making Sure the Admissions Travel Season Doesn’t Turn Into Groundhog DayMonday, October 27th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

My first introduction to life on the road occurred as a 22 year-old Recruiting Analyst working for a basketball scouting service.

Over a four-month span known as the “AAU season,” I traveled from state to state attending events where I would spend between 12 and 14 hours a day in high school gymnasiums. My goal was to evaluate as many of the nation’s top high school boys recruits as I could, and compete with other media entities for information from these teenagers on their college recruitment. I moved from hotel to hotel, ate way too much fast food, drank way too much Red Bull, and a couple of times even slept in my rental car.

By this point you may be asking, “What does this have to do with admissions?” It’s Fall, and that means we’re currently in the midst of “travel season” for college recruiters. My question is, “Are your admission counselors learning how to become road warriors or reliving the same day (Groundhog Day) over, and over again like Bill Murray’s character did in the movie?”

I’ve heard many of you describe the “travel season” in admissions as Groundhog Day. You wake up, drive to several high schools to meet with prospective students, or sit in a chair and man a booth better known as a folding table at a local college fair. The day essentially consists of trying to show recruits, counselors and parents the unique educational experience your school offers while also evaluating the high school and its students to see if they’re a good fit. You then return to your hotel and get ready to do it all over again the next day. I’m curious, though. At the end of the day, do you or your staff sit back and spend a few minutes evaluating how the day went and whether or not you worked towards accomplishing the goals of your institution’s recruitment strategy?

It starts with when and where travel should occur. This should be decided based on your aforementioned recruitment strategy in conjunction with data that has been collected including which students scheduled a campus tour and who applied to and ultimately enrolled at your school. This will ensure recruiters’ time on the road is well spent.

Once travel begins, it’s time execute the game plan. Along with hard work and positive thinking, here are 7 additional tips that I believe will help the representatives of your college work smarter, more confidently, and not look at tomorrow as Groundhog Day.

  1. Know your school, not just admissions. How much do your admissions’ counselors really know about their school? It’s important to be current on new developments or recent policy changes not just in admissions, but other offices throughout campus. Cultivating relationships with other departments, in addition to attending sporting and art events, will also allow counselors to use more specific personalized examples when discussing something with a recruit. Ask yourself which sounds better. “Our business major is very popular,” or “A lot of freshmen really enjoy the first-year Business Ethics class that Dr. Leif teaches as part of the Business major.” Finally, if your counselor doesn’t know the answer to a question, just say so. The last thing you want them to do is stretch the truth, only to have that student make a campus visit and see something different.
  1. Get prospects to visualize. High school visits and college fairs provide many opportunities for your staff to paint a picture that will lead prospects to visualize themselves as part of your campus community. Start with unique traditions. Indiana University has Little 500. Occidental College has the Birthday dunk. Every school has something. Your staff can also provide stories about dorm life or popular activities off campus.
  1. Be the early bird. Getting on the calendar early at high schools can be beneficial. Students won’t be into the “meat” of their academic course-load yet, which means they’ll be more attentive and less stressed out. Plus, as a counselor you will be fresher.
  1. Speak to the guidance counselor ahead of time. Doing legwork prior to your visit is time consuming. We’re all busy I get that. However, working with the school counselor(s) to communicate your upcoming visit and interest to prospective students needs to be a common occurrence. The school counselor is also a great resource in terms of gathering more behind-the-scenes information about recruits, their social activities and course selections. That knowledge will be helpful later on when admissions counselors are reading the prospects’ application.
  1. Take notes. As a College and Career Counselor I was always amazed at the lack of note taking on the part of college counselors when I sat in on school visits. Yes your staff member is there to make a presentation and answer questions about your school, and yes students will ask dumb questions that lead to frustration and the desire to speed up the visit. Still, the opportunity to have 5, 10 or even 20+ prospective students all in a room at once is a goldmine. Throughout the visit those students will convey information both verbally and with body language that needs to jotted down.  Posing a couple of questions during a school visit is also a great way to get feedback on students’ values and beliefs.
  1. Coordinate with your colleagues. Across campus coaches from your colleges’ athletic department are also driving and flying to conduct school visits at this time of the year. Check with them to see if you have similar stops and more importantly if a coach is traveling to a region which admissions doesn’t currently cover. Coordinate and ask if your colleague could deliver information packets to a few key high schools.
  1. Don’t forget to follow-up. While getting out and meeting new students is important, it’s just as imperative to solidify your connection with students you meet who demonstrate interest or may have already applied for admission. Counselors need to block time in their schedule for emails, phone calls, and hand-written notes. Maintaining communication is a key piece of securing that commitment you’re looking for.

With budgets tight and competition for new students increasing, I believe implementing some or all of these ideas will translate to your staff being extremely productive anytime they travel to visit with recruits.

One final thought. With plenty of travel comes fatigue. Taking care of your body is paramount not only for good health, but also productivity. Find time to take breaks. This also goes for your brain. Long days with a jam-packed schedule often result in mental exhaustion. While relaxing, remind yourself of your goals and if you feel adjustments need to be made to your presentations, don’t be afraid to do so.

Need more specific ideas for your admissions department?  We’d love to conduct an On-Campus Workshop at your school.  We conduct specific focus group research on campus, present a dynamic interactive discussion of effective recruiting strategies, and answer specific questions from your staff on how to address the challenges you’re currently facing.  Click here for more information, or email Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services, at jeremy@dantudor.com

How College Coaches Can Profit From Watching “The Profit”Monday, October 27th, 2014

Most college coaches who have spent time in the private sector would agree that being successful in recruiting is a lot like being successful in business.

If you run your business the right way, profits will follow.  If you run an organized recruiting effort, you’ll get good recruits consistently, year after year.

Many businesses, like many coaching staffs, don’t organize themselves to operate profitably.  The results are dire: They struggle financially, jeopardize their personal relationships because of the stress, and often have to close their doors.  While the end results for a college coach may look a little different, the symptoms are identical: Struggling bottom-line results, increased stress, and losing out on the recruits you really want.

This is where a reality T.V. show might just be the answer you’re looking for – whether you’re a business owner, or a college recruiter.

The show I’m referring to is the CNBC hit, “The Profit”.  It features Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World, as a business success “prophet” who goes into a struggling business, invests his own money (much of the time in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) to take a controlling interest in the operation, and turn it around through a set of principles that he has developed, and uses in his own operation at Camping World.

It’s that set of principles that college coaches can learn from, as well as measure against the way they currently operate their coaching office and recruiting efforts.  On the surface, Lemonis’ principles seem to be very simple: People, Process and Product.  In every business he invests in, those three things have to be present in order to realize success.

And that’s where college coaches can take a page from his winning strategy to turn around their recruiting results.

As I take you through each of the principles laid out by this successful entrepreneur, ask yourself, “Is our coaching staff, and our recruiting approach, generating the kind of recruiting “profits” that are building our program’s brand and separating us from the competition?”

Your People

Do you have the right coaches on staff to be as successful as possible, and are you communicating with them to make sure that they have what they need to get the job done?

Notice this set of principles doesn’t start-off with “stuff”. I didn’t ask how new your stadium is, or what your budget was, or the year you won your last conference title.  Frankly, those types of things become more of a hinderance than a help when it comes to what a coach talks about, or how they tell their story to a recruit.

What’s important is having the right people in place, not only from purely a coaching perspective, but also when it comes to communication ability, sales ability, and other traits that typically make-up successful coaches at the highest levels.  Do you have those people on your staff?  Are you one of them?  And if you aren’t, are you taking steps towards educating yourself and making yourself the best recruiter you can be?

If you don’t have the best people around you, and if you aren’t the most competent recruiter you can be, it’s going to be impossible to succeed over the long haul.  That’s true in business, and it’s true in college athletics.

Your Process

If you looked at the way you’ve laid out your recruiting process, could you say that it reflected these traits?

  • You have an agreed upon plan of attack when it comes to the geography you and your staff will be recruiting, as well as who is best to recruit those areas.
  • When you scout prospects, everyone is using the same measurement metrics that reflect the criteria for a top prospect as outlined by the head coach.
  • Are you giving your recruits a consistent, compelling message that tells the story of your program and answers the question, “why they should want to compete for you?”
  • Are you setting-up fair but firm deadlines that put you in control of the process?
  • Is your staff evaluating how a previous recruiting year went, and what can be done to change and improve the results for the next year?

The process you put in place is critical to your success as a recruiter.  Without a good process, all the talented people in the world won’t matter.

Your Product

In one sense, you might say that this is an area where you, as a college coach, have no control when it comes to the quality of “the product” you can give a recruit.  You can’t control the type of facilities you have, what they look like, the location of your college, whether it’s blazing hot in the Summer or icy cold in the winter…all of that is out of your hands.

But let’s choose to focus on the parts of your product that you do have control over:

  • The coordinated effort with your team to wow a recruit you bring to campus, making them feel like your team wanted them the most, and are the easiest to get to know.
  • How you interact with the parents of your recruit, and what you do with the separate from their son or daughter during that recruiting visit.
  • The tone of your voice on phone calls, and how you personalize a recruiting letter.
  • Using the largest and most influential public relations resource that you have at your fingertips to engage with your recruits, showing them what your program’s personality is all about.

Coach, don’t get sucked into the false assumption that it’s only the size and quality of your facility that sways recruits into choosing one college program over another.  That’s false.  You can counteract any shortcoming when it comes to something like facilities, location or your team’s recent performance by nailing those four important parts of your overall product.

I’m not suggesting that any coaching staff or athletic department can be turned around magically overnight with just a few simple tweaks.  However, these three areas are a good foundational starting point when it comes to figuring out what to focus on when you’re looking to include you program’s recruiting performance.

And the best part? There won’t be any reality T.V. cameras following you around while you do it!

7 Things Leg Defense Taught Me About Being A Successful College RecruiterMonday, October 27th, 2014

by Tyler Brandt, National Recruiting Coordinator

One of the most difficult things to do in wrestling is beat a good leg rider! The history of wrestling has proven that when you’re really good (I mean exceptionally good) at using the legs to score you become a formidable opponent. I think there is a simple explanation for this, even though the real life application is very difficult to execute. One of the reasons good leg riders have so much success is that they …

CONTROL THEIR OPPONENT’S POSITION & KNOW WHERE THEY’RE GOING NEXT!!

What this really means is that the offensive wrestler, or the “leg rider”, not only is in control of their opponents current position, they’re dictating the position they’ll be in next and are prepared to control that position as well. It’s as simple as being 3 moves ahead in a chess game, the person who is playing from behind is always in a tough position to get the win.

The key to successfully defending a leg rider is to take the control away from them. As soon as you control the leg rider’s position and start dictating the action you begin to regain control and can escape or reverse your opponent to start getting the match under your control. These 7 things taught me how to successfully defend the legs and also taught me how to build a Nationally Ranked team at the collegiate level through solid, sound recruiting practices:

How to Defend The Legs:

  1. DON’T LET EM’ IN!!
  2. Control the position you’re currently in so your opponent can’t improve his
  3. Set-up your opponents next move by adjusting your position so he has to adjust his
  4. When he adjusts his position use your technique to attack and regain control
  5. Don’t panic if it doesn’t work – there is always another time and another technique
  6. Don’t Give In – The Period Is Always Almost Over & You Get A Re-Start
  7. Learn from what just happened so you don’t get in that position again

How I Recruited at the College Level Like I Was Defending The Legs:

  • I kept objections from being objections before they became objections
  • I controlled the direction of the conversation so it never went in the wrong direction
  • I asked the right questions at the right time gets the right answers
  • Since I knew the right questions to ask – that meant I also knew how to answer it
  • I never panicked – I was smart enough to hire TCS who always had the right response
  • I never gave in – I kept communicating! The right message at the right time for long enough flat out WORKS!
  • I listened more than I talked – what they just said matters & dictates the direction of the conversation.

A former college assistant coach of mine said “wrestling is like being in construction – there is a tool & a technique for everything to make it easier!” That’s absolutely correct, if you are open minded, willing to look at what others in your field are doing and why they’re successful. Remember, if you had all the answers then you wouldn’t lose a competition. Not having the answers and even losing have their place in the development of you, your program and your athletes.

Please email me at tyler@dantudor.com and we can talk about creating the best recruiting class you’ve ever had!

Featured Series: The ‘Miracle’ Behind Herb Brooks’s Miracle On IceMonday, October 27th, 2014

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

I have always encouraged college coaches to not only get the movie Miracle on DVD but to make sure it has the extras on it. On the second disc is a war-room type conversation the producers of the movie and actor Kurt Russell had with coach Herb Brooks in 2002. It was less than a year before Brooks would be killed in a car accident.

They asked Herb to share behind the scenes information on how he built the 1980 US Olympic hockey team and led it to the greatest sports moment of the 20th century – the stunning 4-3 upset of the Soviets and the gold medal two days later in Lake Placid, NY.

Here is what Herb had to say on a variety of topics.

On his approach: “A lot of the players have said they have never been pushed as hard. I wasn’t trying to put greatness into them. I was trying to pull it out. I have never agreed with coaches that are trying to put greatness into players because the coaches think they have all the right answers. I believed in setting very high standards for them and pulling it out. I think my favorite coach John Wooden would concur with that approach.”

On how badly he wanted to coach the 1980 US Olympic hockey team: “How bad? Really bad. The main reason I coached seven seasons at the University of Minnesota was to hopefully coach in the Olympics. That was my passion.”

On how they were successful: “I had to steal from the style of play the Soviets, Czechs and Swedes were doing. Their style of hockey was better than ours. Out of the top ten NHL players today (this interview was done in 2002) nine are European. We also had to focus on conditioning. In the past US teams could play with them for two periods and then hit the wall. We were not going to hit the wall.”

On his mind games and keeping 26 players almost to the end knowing 20 would go to Lake Placid: “I kept them on the bubble up until the end. I played mind games with (goalie) Jim Craig up until the Olympics. We played the Soviets in an exhibition three days before the Games. I said, ‘Jimmy I have played you too long over the last few months. Your curve ball is hanging. Gotta play Janny (the backup). I see flaws with you. It’s not your fault. It’s mine. I played you too long.’ Well, Jim got right up next to me and said ‘I’ll show you.’ Halfway through the Soviet exhibition game I yanked him in front of 18,000 (at Madison Square Garden). He was livid. I didn’t sit him in the Olympics. I played him right through, the whole time. After we won gold he put his finger in my chest and said ‘I showed you.’ I told him that yes he did.”

On keeping defenseman Jack O’Callahan on the 20 man roster even though he hurt his knee three days before the Olympics and was questionable to play: “I kept him because he was very important to the chemistry of the team. His passion, even his spirit during the playing of the National Anthem. I even went to him during our training season and said ‘if I say OC (his nickname) when I yell at you during practice I am yelling at you because I want the team to get the point. If I call you Jack while yelling it is about you.’ He was just so good.” (Mike Eruzione has said since that Herb keeping O’Callahan on the roster rather than replacing him was huge)

On the exhibition game vs Norway in September where he put them through Herbies for an hour after an exhibition game: “They were individuals at that time (September of 1979). They were listening to their agents about turning pro. I had to draw the line. They didn’t take the Norway team serious and didn’t respect the opposition. I told them we would get our work done in the game or after the game. Would I do it again? Probably not, but I think it was the moment when they realized they had to come to work every day and there would be no nights off.” (goalie Jim Craig has said the team had flown to Europe that day and already had a two hour practice before playing the game and then an hour of Herbies)

At the Univ of Minnesota Herb had a strict no facial hair policy. During Olympic training he really wanted Ken Morrow out of Bowling Green (who would later play on four straight Stanley Cup winning NY Islander teams). Well, Morrow had a full beard: “Other guys started growing a beard because he had one. I posted a rule that said if you had a beard when you showed up, you could keep it. Otherwise, no! I never had curfews. You know why? Because the best player always gets caught!”

On what the gold medal meant to him: “That it was a TEAM accomplishment. That was voted the top sports accomplishment of the century and won all the sports awards. That was what I was trying to build the whole time, that a team could accomplish such a big thing. What was most gratifying was that the top sports moment of the century was a group, not an individual like Michael Jordan.”

Airport Restrooms, and What They Teach Coaches About RecruitingMonday, October 20th, 2014

As a frequent flyer, I have visited my share of airport restrooms.

It’s one of the worst parts of flying, to be honest.  Bathrooms don’t smell good, they are usually in need to some cleaning, they’re crowded, and sometimes just plain weird (if we ever meet, ask me about the time I walked into a crowded restroom at LAX and saw a man with his shirt off, washing himself and shaving his back. Wow.) They’re also incredibly “utilitarian” – meaning that you’re there to do one thing, and one thing only.  They serve a basic need, and don’t try to venture very far from that basic need.

Unless you travel through the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Restroom attendantWhen you walk into a restroom at CLT, you’re greeted by a smiling attendant like the one I had the pleasure of meeting on a recent trip visiting clients along the East coast.

The bathrooms at Charlotte International are clean.

When you’re ready to wash your hands, you’re often offered a paper towel by the attendant, as well as a small cup of mouthwash or a breath mint.  The whole time, the attendant is usually politely wishing people safe travel, and asking them about their day.

Their tip boxes are usually full, deservedly so.

So, why in the world am I talking about airport bathrooms with college coaches?

Because it’s important that coaches who want to be serious recruiters understand the important mistakes that get made on a regular basis.  And, because the similarities between your run-of-the-mill airport bathroom, and the challenge you have in separating yourself from your recruiting competition, are many.

  • Most airport bathrooms look the same. So do most campus recruiting visits.
  • Most airport bathrooms make you notice what’s wrong with them instead of what’s right with them.  So do most recruiting messages you send to student-athletes.
  • Most airport bathrooms are dull, making you want to do what you need to do and then get out.  That’s how most prospects treat your recruiting phone calls.
  • Most airport bathrooms are a necessary evil for an airline traveler. So is the closing process through the eyes of a prospect and his or her parents, as a coach is either pressuring them to make a commitment before they’re ready or not adequately outlining what the prospect should do down the stretch.

Now, what you might be expecting at this point is a list of what you should do next.  You might be hoping to see a series of tips that have worked for other coaches, guaranteed to work no matter what campus you’re coaching at or how well your team did last year.

Sorry, that’s not the point of this article.

I want you to ask yourself, or have a conversation with your coaching staff or athletic department, some important questions about how you are executing your recruiting plan:

  • Ask yourself about your campus visits, whether they’re unofficial or official (and by the way, as early as recruiting is getting, your unofficial visit really might be your official visit!). Do you know the worst thing your visit experience can offer a visiting recruit and his or her family?  The exact same thing the last two visits they went on offered. If your current visit looks, sounds and feels like the visit you went on as a college prospect waaaay back when, then that’s a problem.
  • Ask yourself about the recruiting messages that you’re putting into the hands of your recruits.  Specifically, ask the questions that I’ll bet you’ve never ever really sat and thought about: “What are my recruits saying about my message right now?” And after you’re done answering that question, “Did that message prove to him or her that my program should be the obvious choice when it’s all said and done?”  Your answers are important, because just like that airport bathroom, your prospect is hyper aware of what’s wrong with you instead of what’s right with you.
  • Ask yourself how you’re making your recruit desperate to pick up the phone the next time you call.  Because, quite honestly, that’s what recruiting calls are all about: Getting them to pick up the next time you call them! What about your phone calls are so unique, so interesting, and so compelling that your recruits are looking forward to the next time you call?  And if you can’t come up with anything, what are some non-traditional, slightly off-the-wall ideas that you can use to separate yourself from other recruiting phone calls your recruits are getting.  Just like one airport taking the unique step to staffing their busy restrooms with friendly attendants, mouthwash and breath mints, you can find unique ways to approach your recruits creatively – if you’re willing to take a fresh look at the way you do things, and not be afraid to do things that aren’t the traditional way you’ve done them before.
  • Ask yourself how well you guide your prospect (and his or her parents) through the process of making a final decision.  Are you willing to be involved in that conversation, or are you too timid to lead that discussion?  Are you willing to help them through the decision making process, or are you simply going to set a deadline and leave it at that?  Are you comfortable in leading a closing discussion – the ultimate necessary evil in the recruiting process – with your prospects, Coach?

Those four questions, along with your four answers, are some of the cornerstone philosophies that you need to define for yourself if you’re going to become a serious, consistent and successful recruiter.  The easy thing to do is not spend a small part of your day coming up with great answers to those four important questions.  Do the hard thing, Coach…fight hard to not settle for ordinary in a world of recruiting approaches that all look the same.

Want more great ideas on how to stand out from the crowd? We’ve written several popular recruiting workbooks that have helped coaches all over the country re-define their approach and become more successful recruiters.  Click here to order your copies today, Coach!

Personalization – The Secret to Increasing EnrollmentMonday, October 20th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You pull up your list of prospective students. How are you going to convince each one that your school is the right choice for them? Will you start by sending out a few of the old generic form letters, follow that up with emails as well as a phone call, and then cross your fingers? That’s one approach, but I think we both know that in the competitive market of college admissions recruiting you’ve got to do more. You have to convince each recruit that his or her name is not just a number. You have to personalize!

Personalization was one of the most valuable lessons I learned as a College Advisor. Each student had individual needs and goals, and some were more ambitious than others. One of the first questions I used to ask them when discussing post-secondary planning was, “If you were given $100,000 dollars right now, what would you do with it?” The answers were wide ranging to say the least. The bottom line, however, became clear. Not everyone would take the money and produce the same results.

College admissions’ recruiting is no different. Today’s student is busier then ever. If they’re going to spend the next 4-6 years on your campus, and in most cases make a significant financial investment to do so, they want to feel that the messages they receive are relevant to their interests and needs. This mindset however is not limited to just your messaging. Prospective students want the entire process to be personalized.

The first step is to understand your audience: what makes them tick, what motivates them, and what content about your college they will find most helpful. As you ask questions, it’s important to know the right amount of information to ask for. Doing so will allow you to create personalized content. Keep in mind, though, that you can also overwhelm the prospective student if you ask for too much information, especially early on. For example, you may discover that a higher income student cares more about lifestyle and the academic reputation of your college. Conversely, a lower income recruit might be more concerned about the surroundings, friendliness and what your school will do to make it affordable. There’s no doubt that listening is a challenging task for many of us, but it’s essential to form that connection and create a personal experience if your school is committed to increasing enrollment.

Here are a few ways that you can effectively use personalization during the recruitment process:

  • Direct Mail. When students narrow down their list of potential schools, they’ve told us that direct mail plays a big part. As a college coach, every one of my recruiting mailers had two things: A hand written note or comment on the bottom that was related to the message in that specific mailer and a hand written mailing address. Teenagers are constantly looking for something that sets your college apart, and this is a simple and effective way to stand out.
  • Creative and Relevant Content. If you’ve started to build a relationship with your prospects, you will have discovered things they like and things they don’t. Use this to your advantage when sending mail. It’s much more successful than the patch and blast approach. If you have a student who wants to major in Music, figure out who some of their favorite artists are. Then create a unique mailer that incorporates something about that artist, the prospective student and your school. Make sure the message is clear, concise and not too drawn out. This will grab their attention, especially if it’s tailored to their interests.
  • Tell a Story. Today’s admissions recruiting cycle starts a lot earlier. Because of this it’s important to develop a long-term strategy. Storytelling is a powerful method for building relationships with your recruits. Start by picking a key message. Then, break that down into bullet points and over time create individual letters that build toward your ultimate message. Make sure that your letters are relevant to the prospect’s needs and it will keep him or her engaged. It also shows them that you took the time and effort to craft a unique message.
  • The Campus Tour. Simply put, this one can make or break your school’s chances. When surveyed, prospective students consistently state that the campus visit is a top 3 or 4 factor in influencing their college choice. It starts as soon as your recruit checks in at the admissions office. Whoever greets them and conducts the tour needs to be friendly, extremely knowledgeable about your school, and have some basic information about the recruit and anyone accompanying them. At the very least this includes first names, where they’re from, and what the prospect’s interests are. Like it or not,  students and parents often make the mistake of discounting a great school because the person or people involved in the campus tour turned them off. It’s also important that at some point during the visit, the prospect spends some time with the admissions counselor involved with their recruitment.   This creates continuity and shows them your staff is committed to helping them find the right fit. If your visits are already getting high marks, then I encourage you to raise the bar. For example, if the student is a big football fan, why not take them on a personal tour of your team’s locker room. This makes them feel special and is an easy way to create a lasting memory.
  • Social Media. Social media and technology have changed the recruiting game. Let’s start with email. Over 140 billion of them are sent each day, and this remains the most utilized method for delivering personalized content. Your subject line is the key. According to our research, students will judge whether or not your message is worth opening by that subject line. Keep it short, don’t make it formal, and do something to create curiosity like asking a question. Next we have your apps. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram remain popular with the high school crowd. Your school can organize a private Facebook group for prospective students, or use Twitter to create virtual information sessions on a particular topic assigned with a hashtag. Now, let me touch on the next big things – Snapchat and Vine. Snapchat is image based and allows you to take pictures, record video and even video chat. “Vines”, as they’re known, are short video clips that can be used in many different ways including congratulating students on getting accepted to your school. It is also very easy to embed your “Vines” on websites. Regardless of which method of social media you use, remember that recruits want you to show the personal, behind-the-scenes personality of you and your program.

The common theme with each of these methods is they’re more time intensive and involve some extra creative thinking. It remains a proven fact – students make decisions based on the level of personalized attention and immediate service they get. If you want to stand out amongst the crowd, I encourage you to make them a part of your next recruitment plan. Use personalization correctly, and your staff will be able to deliver effective communications that entice recruits to choose your institution.

Jeremy and the experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop research-based personalized messaging for both your current class and your future recruits. Want to learn how? Email him directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

New Psychological Training for Your Team Available from EXACT SportsMonday, October 20th, 2014

EXACT Sports Banner

 

 

 

Tudor Collegiate Strategies is pleased to partner with EXACT Sports to bring the power of ‘mental’ to your team.

“I selected EXACT to be a resource for us as they bring some powerful technology to the college landscape”, said Dan Tudor, President of Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  “EXACT is the #1 sport psychology organization in the country, working with over 60 professional teams, Olympic and national teams and thousands of college & high school age athletes, and really excited to be able to see college coaches access it for their teams”.

EXACT was founded in 1997 by a neuropsychologist and professor, and remains a scientific, results-oriented group. They have built an advanced coaching toolkit for coaches to both measure the ‘intangibles’ of their athletes as well as provide training for improving psychological readiness to compete at the college level.

EXACT is giving TCS clients enhanced access to tools helping them not only evaluate prospective athletes, but also improve each athlete’s potential once they join the team.  No matter what time of year you choose to utilize these advanced coaching tools, it is a great time for teams to enroll in the Online Mental Training course.

Here are a few facts you should know about the 10 week mental training app:

  • Available for any college sport for the heavily discounted team price of $100.
  • Once set up, athletes access modules independently, on their own smartphones, iPad or laptop.
  • Each training session is efficient, taking 5-10 minutes to learn the skill needed to be successful.
  • A full online demo of training is available here.
  • Modules include the following:

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If you have any questions, please contact EXACT at director@exactsports.com, 888-853-8877.

Or, to find out more information about this incredible resource for college coaches, click here.

 

Two Critical Money Questions Your Prospects Are AskingMonday, October 13th, 2014

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Creating a Story About Money for Your Recruits (and Their Parents)Monday, October 13th, 2014

I’m writing this article using wifi that I bought from American Airlines at 32,000 feet.

For the convenience of Internet access, I forked over $27 for a three and a half hour flight.  If you do the math, that’s insane.  That’s almost what I pay for high speed wifi at my office for an entire month!

Why is that?  What makes the wifi thirty times more valuable on a plane than it does at your office?  What part of our brain justifies that kind of expense?  (I’m guessing it’s the same part of the brain that tells us it’s o.k. to pay $7.50 for a bottle of water in your hotel room).

Are we really just telling ourselves “stories” about money?  And, if we are, are there some secrets that college coaches can steal to make selling walk-on, non-scholarship or partial scholarship opportunities an easier sell with this generation of high school prospects and their parents?

Marketing expert and author Seth Godin has some ideas on where to start if we want to really understand how to think about money, cost, and the value of something like college tuition:

“Money’s pretty new. Before that, we traded. My corn for your milk. The trade enriches both of us, and it’s simple.

Money, of course, makes a whole bunch of other transactions possible. Maybe I don’t need your milk, but I can take your money and use it to buy something I do need, from someone else. Very efficient, but also very abstract.

As we ceased to trade, we moved all of our transactions to the abstract world of money. And the thing about an abstract trade is that it happens over time, not all at once. So I trade you this tuition money today in exchange for degree in four years which might get me a better job in nine years. Not only is there risk involved, but who knows what the value of anything nine years from now is?

Because of the abstraction and time shift, we’re constantly re-evaluating what money is worth. Five dollars to buy a snack box on an airplane is worth something very different than five dollars to buy a cup of coffee after a fancy meal, which is worth something different than five dollars in the grocery store. That’s because we get to pretend that the five dollars in each situation is worth a different amount–because it’s been shifted.”

Are you starting to see how this is applicable to college recruiting?

It’s not just applicable in a theoretical sense, it has immediate real world application if you’re serious about approaching the “money conversation” with your prospects.

So, with that in mind, there are some questions that every virtually every parent and prospect you are recruiting asks, and what each coach needs to answer when it comes to determining the right way to construct a conversation about money with his or her recruits.  Here are the questions (many of them courtesy of Seth) that run through your prospects’ minds on a regular basis (along with some insights on how to formulate your answers):

  • How much pain am I in right now?  As I interpret this and apply it to the college recruiting process, I think of the family is convinced a full-ride offer is right around the corner, which makes your partial offer seem almost insulting.  “Why should I pay for something that I feel I should be getting for free?” If that’s the place you find yourself in with some of your recruits, the answer to your prospect’s question, “How much pain am I in right now?” is “Not all that much”.  Fast forwarding to late in the process, when the prospect and parent is more desperate for a viable college option, their story about money might be changing.  Maybe now, they’re willing to look at a partial offer.  If you’re a D1 coach with full scholarships to give, you know your top recruits are asking a version of this question, as well.  Selling an early verbal commitment is tougher than it is a week before it’s time for them to sign their Letter of Intent.  We all start with this question when we’re determining whether or not it’s smart to buy something.  For your prospect, you need to help them answer that question, as best as possible.
  • Do I deserve this?  That question could come from a positive or negative point of view. Most recruits have the mindset that they deserve everything you have to give them.  They might also be asking that question negatively, as if to say “Don’t I deserve something better?” The big point you should take away is the idea that they are constantly trying to assess their place in your world, and more specifically in your program.  How are you showing them that they do deserve what you’re offering, and going into detail about why they should want it, is critically important in the recruiting process when it comes to justifying cost to a recruit and his or her parents.
  • What if the coach is trying to trick me, and am I smarter to hold out for more money later in the process?  That’s a legitimate question. Prospects and their parents are more savvy than ever about the process, and have heard lots of stories about similar recruiting situations and will use that info to construct their strategy in dealing with you and your offer.  We’ve talked in detail in our On-Campus Workshops with athletic departments about the incredible importance of honesty, and how prospects will be actively looking for demonstrated proof of it throughout the process.  As a strategic approach to justifying the “purchase” of your offer to play for your program, ask yourself: “What am I doing to demonstrate that I’m the most honest coach they’re dealing with?”  That’s an important question, Coach.
  • What will my friends think?  I believe, at the core, this question drives much of their earlier recruiting behavior.  “I’m not going to reply to this coach, they’re from a Division III school.”  Or, “I’ve played club ball for the last seven years, and my club coach says I shouldn’t take partial offers seriously.”  Or, “That coach is struggling. Would I look stupid if I committed to them, even though I really liked the guys on the team?”  Or, “Those other parents’ daughters all went to BCS-conference schools.  What are they going to think if we take the offer from this smaller D1?”  Sound familiar?  Just know, Coach, that this is a question going through the heads of all of your prospects and their parents early on in the process.  It’s up to you to tell them why they should want the opportunity to come to your school, to play for you, and to leave with a degree from your school.  Not telling them what you have, but telling them why they should want it.  There’s a big difference, Coach.

Money is not the real obstacle when it comes to convincing a prospect that your offer is a good one.  Defining the value of that offer, and explaining to them why they should want it, is the real secret.

Stop focusing on the dollar amount.  Start focusing on creating a story about the value of your opportunity, and watch how different your conversation is with each of your recruits.

Creating the right story is important, obviously. But what if you are a coach that doesn’t have the time in their schedule to create that story, and manage it’s delivery? That’s where Tudor Collegiate Strategies comes in: We work with hundreds of coaching staffs around the country to help them strategically launch an effective, consistent recruiting messaging plan. It works, and we can show you how. If you’d like to talk about how it could work for your program, email Dan direction at dan@dantudor.com.

Creating a Good First Impression for Your SchoolMonday, October 13th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You meet someone for the first time. Immediately after that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you trustworthy, competent or likeable? Studies say all of this happens in the first seven seconds of meeting.

With the competition to attract prospective students at an all time high, colleges and universities across the country have been forced to brainstorm new ways to improve student recruitment.  It’s also a fact that recruits are starting the process earlier and they now apply to an average of a dozen schools to assure acceptance.

In most instances, the first contact a prospective student has with a school is through an Admissions Counselor. Believe it or not, many of those students are hesitant to reach out to your staff because as one high school senior put it, “it’s scary.” Being approachable and memorable then, whether it’s at a college fair or during a high school or on-campus visit, is vital for admissions staffs.

It takes both verbal and non-verbal skills to make a great first impression. Here are some tips that will help separate you from the competition.

  1. Greet people by name.

Research indicates that people like to hear their own name. Instead of saying “Nice to meet you,” or “Good to see you again,” include the person’s name. If someone begins a conversation and doesn’t tell you their name, simply ask them. It will make a favorable impression.

  1. Listen more then you talk.

It’s a fact – people like to talk about themselves. By listening you will pick up pieces of information that allow you to expand the conversation and begin to build a relationship. Listening also shows that you’re genuinely interested in the other person’s well being.

  1. Smile.

It seems easy, but for some it’s also potentially uncomfortable. However, any successful business person will tell you, when you are willing to put a smile on your face, you become more engaging, likable and it helps put the other person at ease.

  1. Eyes on the prize (literally).

Eye contact is extremely important during the first meeting with anyone. Too often people look away and that creates the impression that they’re either not listening or they really don’t care about what’s being said.

  1. Say it like you mean it.

The power of positive thinking. Speak with confidence. It’s not just the words you say that matters it’s the clarity and tone with which you say them. If you’re excited about something, it shows.

  1. Put the phone away.

It was estimated this past year that there are now more mobile devices than people on the planet. The problem – respect has gone out the door. Think about how many times you’ve been in a conversation with someone only to have it halted when the other person answers his or her cell phone. Turn it off, or put it on vibrate. Voicemail will get it. Giving your undivided attention goes a long way.

  1. Thank you.

Two simple words that people often forget. Not only are you ending the conversation on a positive note, you’re also demonstrating that you appreciate the time and effort of the other person.

As the old expression goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Being memorable and likeable will go a long way in peaking the interest of prospective students, and subsequently result in them wanting to learn more about your institution.

Next time you sit down with a recruit or their parents, implement these proven techniques into your conversation and I’m convinced you will come out a winner.

Communicating effectively is a key factor in successful recruiting. That’s why we’re making sure our clients get one-on-one attention and the best training possible during our On-Campus Workshops. Our Admissions Recruiting Advantage (ARA) program will provide your staff with the tools to recruit more effectively – and more confidently – than they ever have before, because they will know the right messages and strategies to use based on our proprietary research and training techniques. 

Want to learn more?  Schedule a time to speak to Jeremy by emailing him at jeremy@dantudor.com It’s more affordable than you may think, and the results are turning heads on campuses across the country. 

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