A recent family medical procedure found me on the medical campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
But this isn’t an article about medicine. It’s about confidence…and how some very good marketers instill that confidence in the people that buy their products or services.
If you spend any amount of time at USC hospital, it becomes very obvious, very quickly, what the market message is for the patients and family that get care at their facility. And, the confidence that their message is meant to instill: At USC hospital, you will experience “Beyond Exceptional Medicine.”
And that message is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. If you stand at a certain point in their courtyard between buildings, you can see eight bright cardinal colored banners driving that message home. If you are a patient here, you are at a place that boasts “Beyond Exceptional Medicine”.
You know what I love about the message? It’s bold. It goes “beyond” just claiming that they are competent; it makes that case that they are something greater than “exceptional”. And, they aren’t shy about saying it often.
And therein lies the important lesson for college coaches who want to instill confidence in their recruits.
Confidence in you and your program is more important than a past history of success, your resume as a college coach, or your facilities. How confident you appear to your prospect is key to long term recruiting success.
And, the research is there to support that idea. Researcher Don Moore from Carnegie Mellon did a study highlighted in this outstanding article in Neuromarketing that shows confidence even trumps accurate facts about something when it comes to reaching an opinion:
In Moore’s experiment, volunteers were given cash for correctly guessing the weight of people from their photographs. In each of the eight rounds of the study, the guessers bought advice from one of four other volunteers. The guessers could see in advance how confident each of these advisers was, but not which weights they had opted for.
From the start, the more confident advisers found more buyers for their advice, and this caused the advisers to give answers that were more and more precise as the game progressed. This escalation in precision disappeared when guessers simply had to choose whether or not to buy the advice of a single adviser. In the later rounds, guessers tended to avoid advisers who had been wrong previously, but this effect was more than outweighed by the bias towards confidence.
The entire article is excellent. Take a moment to read it.
So, if making your prospect confident that you and your program is the best possible choice, I have one strong recommendation for you, along with three ideas that might jump-start that effort:
- First, my strong recommendation: Stop being shy when it comes to why your prospect should choose you. This is one of the top problems that plaque many of the coaches we begin work with as clients: They are incredibly nice individuals, and instinctively humble. Because of that, they are often hesitant to appear to be “bragging” that their program is clearly the best choice (especially when the numbers or their history doesn’t back that up). But as the research shows, that’s exactly the time when strong confidence is needed! State your case boldly (dare I say exceptionally?) and repeatedly. Your prospect is searching for coaches who seem to strong believe in what they’ve got going on with their program. Will they find it when they are recruited by you?
Assuming you’re ready to accept that challenge, here are three recommendations I’d make to coaches who want to start making confidence a key take-away for their next class of prospects who receive their recruiting message:
- Actively communicate your confidence to your recruits. How do you do that now? How are prospects coming away that you are confident in what you’re offering them? How regularly are you making statements about why you should be their obvious choice? However you answer those three key questions, let me say this: Don’t wait for your prospects to connect the dots and come away with an “impression” on their own. Tell them what they should think about you and your program on a consistent basis, and do it with confidence.
- Don’t waffle. Tell them what you agree with them on. Tell them where you see them heading down the wrong road. Outline what you like about them, but also tell them how you’re going address some of their weaknesses. Give opinions, and ask questions. You can do it in a polite way, of course, but I would advise any coach we are working with to be unflinching in their strong statements and opinions when it comes to the recruit they are speaking with.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. We’ve talked about consistency before, and the importance of that in creating the right “feeling” with your recruit. Well, part of that feeling you should be aiming for is confidence. One of the primary ways you achieve that is repetition. If you’re a hospital, you can do it with signage as far as the eye can see. If you’re a college coach, I’d suggest that you make sure you develop a plan for consistent, compelling communication. It works.
In your drive to make sure your prospects are confident in what you are offering, aim for something “beyond exceptional”. It’s the best way to get them to believe in you more than your competitor.
The best one-stop shop for great recruiting ideas like this? The answer is easy, Coach: The National Collegiate Recruiting Conference, coming up this June. You should reserve your seat today, Coach, and invest in yourself and your college coaching career. Click here.