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Are You Following This Recruiting Call Rule?Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

The next time you make a recruiting phone call I want you to check your watch.

Once you hit the 10-minute mark when talking to a prospect, you’ve crossed a line in terms of the effectiveness of connecting with him or her.  The source of that information is several hundred survey responses we’ve collected from students around the nation. Their answers to our questions can give college admissions staffs some key insights regarding the importance of keeping recruiting calls short and sweet.

The basic rule I’m recommending that you follow is easy:

Keep your recruiting phone calls to ten minutes or less.

Here’s why. Those same survey responses revealed that prospects get bored with recruiting calls that go past that mark.  They’ve even told us that they will put their phones on speaker so they can do other things while you’re talking.

Your prospects’ biggest complaints centered around long recruiting calls taking them away from studying, delaying their ability to respond to text messages from friends, and being too “sales” driven and pressuring.

So, how can you get the most out of those ten minutes? Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • For starters, make sure you’ve been following the flow. As we’ve explained before, the natural communication flow for your recruits begins with letters and emails. Both are easy to take in and low risk in the mind of your prospect. One student’s survey response summed things up perfectly. “Being called on the phone is good after having an email or letter because it gives the student time to do their own research on the school before talking to an admission counselor. With doing this, the student knows what exactly to ask and what to say. Without their own research, the student will not know exactly what to ask, think, or say via phone.”
  • Make the phone call 100% about them, and 0% about your school. Come up with a list of great questions that are original and all about them. For example, ask them about their approach to the process or what they want to see and hear from you as they learn more about your institution.
  • Go ahead and talk about your school IF…they ask you about it. If your prospect asks you about something specific, then talk about it and “sell” all you want. According to our surveys, the time limit goes out the window as long as your prospect is the one driving the conversation.

Observing the ten-minute rule can completely change the way your recruits view you.

By the way if you’re reading this and worrying that the length of the phone call is going to hurt your chances of enrolling that prospect, fear not. A large majority of students confided in us that the length of the phone call made no difference in their overall interest level. However, they did rate regular frequency in phone calls as a sign that a school was serious about them. (Our research over the past year indicates that during the college search process over 75% of recruits wanted to receive a phone call only once per month.)

Confusing?  Sure, a little.  Just understand that there’s a definite right way and a wrong way to execute successful recruiting phone calls with this generation of recruits.

Did you know that each month we give our clients talking points for counselors that not only build on the messaging their prospects are currently receiving but also work to strengthen the counselor-prospect bond? If you’re wondering what being a client is all about, email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com  

How To Be A Successful At Coaching (And Just About Anything)Monday, October 26th, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportToday.com

Coaches attempt many crazy things: win competitions, develop athletes, raise money, wow the public – to name just a few.

Think of all the things YOU try to do. How can you possibly be successful?

It boils down to this, there are 3 things that dictate your chance of success.

What’s interesting, without these 3 things (a better name might be component) you stand virtually no chance of succeeding.

Even more interesting, just knowing what the components are eliminates the overwhelm that could hold you back. And that allows you to move forward and improve in steady, bite-sized steps that you can manage.

The Success Components

So what are the components? Simply stated:

  • Successful coaches are skilled.
  • Successful coaches take action.
  • Successful coaches are white-hot passionate.

It’s as simple as that. Skills, action, passion.

Certainly, other factors do have an impact (timing, education, etc) but not at the level of skills, action, passion.

Picture Perfect

This visual representation might bring it to life:

The height of the 3 components represent the chances of you being successful.

Two things to note. First, the components are rarely equal in size. Most coaches have a limiting component and one (or two) might loom larger. And that works, because the height can still be higher:

Second, this IS so rocket science, IS so live TV and IS so brain surgery (or as I like to call it rocket-live-surgery). Each of those top-end human-endeavors would not be possible without the three components.

A Balancing Act

When I first started coaching, I was fired up (high on the passion scale). I’d wake up at 3am, buzzing with ideas about workouts. Then, in the morning I’d zip to the boathouse and work like crazy (high on the action scale).

If you had observed me back then, you might have thought I was finding success with my career. But I wasn’t — because I was missing the skills component. It wasn’t until I become more skilled that success started to come.

As time went by, my passion started to wane. Yet, the reduction in that component was balanced as my skills continued to improve.

Now, being older, and having coached for 35 years, my passion has reached a steady plateau, but the action I can take is reduced. Again, this is where an increase in my skills component can offset a reduction in my action component.

Now let’s bring this closer to home for you.

Action You Need To (and should) Take

What are your chances of being a successful coach? Although you can’t predict the future, by rating yourself on the chart below you can get insight into that powerful question.

Give an honest evaluation of where you are NOW, not where you want to be tomorrow. And compare yourself to those coaches who you compete against, for example, other coaches in your conference/league/division.

Skill (circle one)

4 – no one is more skilled

3 – few have more skills

2 – I have average skills

1 – I have some skills, but need more

0 – I have no coaching skill

Action (circle one)

4 – I take as much action as possible

3 – I take action quite often

2 – I take action whenever I can

1 – I seldom take action

0 – I take no action

Passion (circle one)

4 – There is nothing more I’d rather be doing than coaching

3 – Coaching is pretty cool

2 – I like coaching

1 – Coaching is just okay

0 – I don’t care about coaching

Add your numbers, and compare to this scale:

12pts – We bow to your greatness (and time to give back)

9-11pts – Congrats, you’ve got it going on

6-8pts – You’re moving in the right direction. Success will follow

4-6pts – Could be a good time for a mentor to get to the next level

2-4pts – Do you have a self development program?

0-2pts – Are you sure you want to coach?

(A word of caution: This scale was created to get you to think about success in a bite-sized manner. It should not be taken as a valid measure of your ability as a coach, or a human, or all an around wonderful person.)

With this knowledge from the scale, you can work to increase your limiting component, and appreciate/celebrate your strongest one(s). Next week’s post will continue this successful-coach discussion with 7 Choices Successful Coaches Make.

Making All New Prospects and Inquiries CountTuesday, October 20th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

As your admissions team navigates through fall travel season, I’m sure you’ve been adding a plethora of new names to the admissions funnel.

The most popular question I’m asked this time of year by both counselors and directors goes something like, “How do I/we make an incredible impression that results in the student submitting an application?”

That early impression, specifically the first one, is something you don’t get a second chance to make. Selecting a college or university is the first big decision that students will have to make. How are you going to begin creating those feelings that convince the student, his or her parents, family and other influencers that your institution is the “right fit?”

Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin communications with those new prospects and inquiries. To be clear, I’m not just talking about the letters and emails that you’ll be sending out.  Your follow-up, ongoing communication over these next few weeks will be almost equally, if not more, important.  Why?  Your new recruits are looking to see who contacts them consistently early on…in their minds this is a strong indicator of just how serious you and your school are about them.

So, how can you make new prospects and inquiries count? Start by implementing these seven tips as a part of your recruiting communications plan:

  • Deliver that first communication right away. Don’t start your relationship on the wrong foot. Sending a new prospect their first email or letter in a timely fashion is of extreme importance. If there’s a delay in that communication, what do you think the teenager on the other end is going to think? (I can tell you that it’s not good and will make your job a lot harder).
  • Limit the selling.  This isn’t new advice, but rather a reminder, if you want to experience early reach-out success. Take it easy on all of the statistics about your school. Our research shows that prospects aren’t interested in being “sold” on your school right away. In fact, you can’t realistically do that in a first email, letter or phone call. Don’t try.  So, what should you focus on?
  • Tell them what you like about them (and be specific).  That’s the top thing young people want to know right away.  It’s also something that your competition probably isn’t doing, so you’ll stand out. Why do you think they’ll have no problem fitting in at your school? How can your school help them achieve their goals? Those are the questions that you need to answer for your prospect early on.
  • Ask them a question as early as possible.  In your contact with them, whether it’s written or spoken, you should include a question about their process for making a decision. Forget the old, “What do you want in a college?” That’s a question that gets a vanilla, untrue answer much of the time. Instead, ask them what they want to see you talk about or do next. How about asking who is helping them make their decision or what things they know they don’t want in a college or university.
  • If your contact is coming after they’ve visited or applied to other schools, ask this important question: “So, what have you heard so far from admissions counselors that you’ve just kind of rolled your eyes at?” This is an extremely effective question that will yield valuable information and also define all previous calls and contacts as boring and hard selling.
  • Create curiosity. We frequently remind our clients about the importance of crafting a message or ending a phone call with unanswered questions, especially early in the process.  You want to create curiosity and prompt them to want more interaction from you…something that makes them want to go to the next step in their communication with you.  Ask yourself, “Are we creating curiosity in the way we talk to our new recruits?”  (Hint: Creating curiosity is done by giving less information, not more).
  • Have a call to action. If you remember only one thing from today’s article it should be this bullet point. A call to action is what gets them to respond to you!  You need to tell them what to do and how to do it.  Want them to call or email you?  Tell them that very clearly.  Tell them when to call, and let them know what you want to talk about.  Want them to reply to your email?  Be crystal clear, and instruct them on what you want back from them. Not consistently having a clear call to action is the number one reason most communication flow plans fail.

Communication with new prospects and inquiries should result in one thing, especially at the start of the recruiting process: A response from your prospect!  Your specific goal when a new student enters the funnel over the first few weeks should be getting them to talk with you via email or phone.

The seven tips I’ve provided you with will help you do that more effectively.

Feel like you’re off to a slow start with this recruiting class? We can help. We offer multiple plan options that will best fit your needs and your department’s budget. You will start to see a difference immediately! Email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com to learn more.

The Customer ISN’T Always Right (and Neither Are Your Recruits)Monday, October 19th, 2015

It was a revolutionary idea back in 1909.

Harry Selfridge, an American entrepreneur who began Selfridge’s Department Store in London at the turn of the century, coined the phrase – and the philosophy – that “the customer is always right.”  It was meant to reassure retail shoppers at the time that they were going to control the shopping experience and that their complaints would be listened to and treated seriously.  It was a revolutionary idea at the time.

But then, in 1914, a counter-philosophy began taking hold. After years of customers taking advantage of the good natured intent of the rule and abusing the kindness of retailers, it was time to re-think the adage.

“If we adopt the policy of admitting whatever claims the customer makes to be proper, and if we always settle them at face value, we shall be subjected to inevitable losses”, wrote Frank Farrington, author of the 1914 book Successful Salesmanship: Is the Customer Always Right?  “If the customer is made perfectly to understand what it means for him to be right, what right on his part is, then he can be depended on to be right if he is honest, and if he is dishonest, a little effort should result in catching him at it.” In short, the customer isn’t always right in the world of retail business.

This has direct application to your recruiting one hundred years later:

Your recruits, and their parents, are dishonest with you at times and are just plain wrong in the way they deal with you during the recruiting process.

The problem that compounds this?  Most college coaches allow it to happen.

Your job as a college coach, as I emphasize in the recruiting training workshops we have done for college athletic departments for more than a decade, is to control the sales process. Somebody has to do it…either you, or your recruit and his or her parents. Since we work for all of you, I vote for you!

That means that there are going to be several times during the recruiting process that you are going to have to identify your prospects as being wrong about something, and require a change in their thinking.

Here are some of the top ways your recruits are going to be wrong during the recruiting process, and what you should do to re-direct their thinking if you want to successfully manage their recruiting process:

Your recruit will easily give in to common misconceptions about your school or program. This will happen earlier rather than later in the process, and if it isn’t corrected and called-out as “wrong” then you will have let it become fact, and it will rule the rest of your recruiting conversation with that athlete and his or her family. Note the root cause of this problem: You. We can’t blame the athlete, who is using limited information and has never gone through the process before, for trying to come to some initial definitions (positive or negative) about you and your program. That’s to be expected, especially if you haven’t won a national championship lately, aren’t in a great location, cost too much, don’t have a successful program history, can’t brag about your extensive resume…you get the picture.

The person that can be blamed is you, since you and you alone are the voice that can correct those common misconceptions quickly and effectively. Most coaches, however, don’t do that. They give in to definition that their prospect has wrongly created, and begin the recruiting process with two strikes against them.

Don’t do it. Correct their perception of your program, and re-define it for them boldly and in as much detail as possible.  And, do it as early as possible. Once we decide something is true, we don’t like being proven wrong and seldom change our mind. Don’t let that happen with your recruit.

Your recruit will tell you they need more time. More time to look at other schools. More time to think about your offer. More time to come back for another visit. In general, “more time” is the same as telling you “I don’t want to make a final decision.”  Even recruits that we interview for our clients as a part of our ongoing strategic work in developing their recruiting message tell us that much of the time they knew they were going to commit to that program, but just didn’t want to make it official…or they were scared to end the recruiting process…or they felt like if they waited another bigger, ‘better’ program would come calling.

For the majority of your prospects, it’s imperative that you set a fair but firm deadline. It’s wrong for your recruits to think that they can control the process and make you wait. It’s your job as a coach to give them the direction that they need to understand your timeline for making a decision.

(Note: This is not a universal rule, certainly. There are situations where you will strategically want to give your prospect more time, and where waiting puts you in a better position to get that athlete. However, in the majority of cases, college coaches don’t direct their recruits strongly enough, resulting in the recruit and his or her family dictating when they will give you a decision. And as I’m sure you’ll agree, most of the time that isn’t to your benefit).

Your recruit lists objections as to why your school or program isn’t going to be right for them.  Sometimes, they’re right. Much of the time, they’re wrong. (And most of the time, the reason they’re wrong is because you haven’t corrected them about the common misconceptions about your school or program, as we talked about a few paragraphs earlier).

Objections are not bad. They are needed in the recruiting process! Tell me about the last top-tier recruit you had who didn’t have any questions, objections, hesitations, or arguments with you about your school. When was the last time that happened? Almost never.

You need to address each objection, and correct it. When your prospect objects to something you have presented, or in the way that they view your college, it’s because they want to know why they should think differently. Read that again, Coach. When your prospect throws out a reason that they aren’t sure your program is going to be right for them, most of the time they want you to give them a counter-opinion as to why they are wrong. You need to do that, Coach. (Here is a quick video primer on the steps to do that).

Do you get the idea, Coach? It’s your job to set the standards, manage the timeline, and correct false assumptions. In short, you need to tell your recruit – your “customer” – when he or she (or the parents, or their coach) is wrong.

If you don’t, nobody will. And if nobody does, the inmates will continue to run the asylum.

Learn more of these kinds of advanced recruiting philosophies and techniques by enrolling in Tudor University, our online training and certification class for college recruiters. It’s an effective way to gain the edge on your recruiting competition! Click here to get started.

The 3 Critical Hardwires That Impact Your CoachingMonday, October 19th, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Our brains are hardwired. Firmly fixed in the ways we perceive the world.

For coaches, you ignore these hardwires at your peril. If you do ignore them, odds are your coaching efforts will fail.

We have numerous hardwires, but there are 3 critical ones you need to know about because every time you work with people these hardwires start buzzing.

Hardwire #1: People crave stories

Think back to your early schooling. Remember the story of Columbus sailing the “ocean blue in 1492?” Or Aesop’s Fables? Or those books like “Captains Courageous?” Stories were the way we learned.

Today, it’s stories like Harry Potter, House of Cards, and The Martian that grab and hold our attention — because we are hardwired for them.

So what?

How this impacts you. First, a story will help get your point across. Telling an athlete to “eat a good breakfast on competition day” won’t inspire habit-breaking action. Yet, your story of Bobby, who skipped breakfast and on his way to break the Conference record ran out of gas and collapsed 10 meters from the finish line, just might inspire the action you want.

Second, people hate story-vacuums. If they believe a story is missing, they will create their own.

For instance, years ago, I removed a member from the team for disciplinary reasons. I believed it best to only tell the team, “Betty Sue will no longer be with us as we try to win a championship.” I thought, “That’s that!”

Not even close.

Team members filled in the vacuum of what I didn’t say with god knows what. Her dismissal became a “drama-point” for weeks, and drained the team of critical mental energy.

Since then, I implant a story in other’s minds before they create their own.

Hardwire #2: People are the center of their stories

This story thing gets more involved because we are hardwired to be the center of our stories. It is, no kidding, all about us. We are the center of our own Universe.

It doesn’t matter if you are the most giving and selfless person in the World, it is still your-story.

So what?

How this impacts you. Each athlete has a story, and he is the center of that story. Going one step further — you are the center of your own story, Coach.

Again, so what? Well, think about that for a moment. Constantly running through our heads are me-stories. Your athletes see their time with the team from their perspective. You see your coaching from your perspective.

Understanding this hardwire gives you insight into athlete behavior, and also yours.

For instance, going home torqued because an athlete disappointed you at practice? That’s your-story. At this very moment the athlete is creating her-story. Understanding both stories will help you be better prepared for the next outing.

Hardwire # 3: People value approval over results

“I’d rather be liked than be right.” I heard that a while ago in a locker room.

I get it.

We are hardwired for approval. Okay, some folks don’t have this wiring, but I bet many of your athletes and peers do. Odds are, you do to.

How this impacts you. Let me share two perspectives. First, relationships, especially with youngsters, are often more important than winning.

Second, wording is critical. Read both of these:

  • “I liked your effort. Next time, with some improvements, you might win.”
  • “You are not playing the way we want. Play better so we can win.”

The first one has approval, the second is about results. Think how each of those plays out in the athlete’s me-story. If you want better performance from me, give me the first one any day.

How about you? And what if results get you approval? How does that play out? There’s a question to chew on.

Action You Can (and should) Take

As a coach, you take on the role of a lay-psychologist. You benefit when you understand the working of your athlete’s mind.

Interesting, to thrive in coaching, you need to understand the workings of your own mind, also.

For better understanding, try each hardwire:

  • See how stories resonate with your team.
  • Ask yourself what your-story is. Ask an athlete what his-story he is telling himself.
  • See how approval comments do or don’t impact the quality of action you get.

Knowing what goes on in the other person’s mind makes you a better coach. Knowing what goes on in yours, makes you a better person.

Coach Like A MartianThursday, October 15th, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

I love going to the movies — the theater, the previews, the healthy eating ?

On Sunday, my youngest and I went to see a beauty — The Martian.

I’m won’t tell you how great it is, or “My God, you’ve got to see it!

But I will tell you that the main character, Mark Watney, stuck on Mars, took actions, a lot of actions, to save himself.

While the movie was playing I kept thinking, “Ya’know, there’s something kinda familiar about what Watney is doing.”

[Spoiler alert: I am going to talk specifically about parts of the movie, so if you plan on seeing it (you should) and don’t want me to spoil it (you don’t), then for gosh sake … stop reading now (but read this after you’ve seen the movie).]

Then it dawned on me … Watney was coaching. Coaching himself. And doing a smashing job at it:

  • When things went bad, he didn’t wait for rescue. It was all up to him.
  • In pursuit of his goal, he wasn’t afraid to blow up a few things.
  • A person unknown to him, millions of miles away, buried in an office, had an idea that saved his bacon.
  • It was good to have a steely-eyed missile man on his side.
  • Being part of something bigger, may require big sacrifices, he knew that and was okay with it.
  • What he learned saved his life, and he was obliged to pass it along.
  • Once again, duct tape was a life saver.
  • Old discarded things were the exact things he needed.
  • Poop and potatoes were just what the doctor ordered (if the doctor was there)
  • Thinking like a pirate was what he needed to do (but don’t be surprised if those around you don’t understand if you decide to pirate-up).

Those were several of coaching-themes which bombarded me during the movie. But here’s the biggest one:

You’ll think you’re alone … you’re wrong.

Watney gets left on Mars when his fellow space-travelers evacuate. He missed the boat, so to speak. He then spends the first part of his Mars-cation with no outside contact. A familiar story for many coaches.

For instance, you have to make a hard decision — to cut a popular athlete. Or, your team just lost the big one — because of a bad decision you made.

There you stand — all alone. Isolated in your own version of deep space.

But you’re not really alone, are you? They are those out there who care, that could help, that want you to succeed. You may not know where they are, or even who they are. But they are there.

Action You Can (and should) Take

I get it — its a fictional movie. But watching someone else solve insurmountable problems (fictional or real) can be enjoyable and educational. And so can this.

When you’re stuck, feeling overwhelmed, crushed, try looking outside of yourself — especially outside of your situation. It might yield some valuable insight.

Salesperson or Resource: Which One Are You?Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Fact: Your prospects (and their parents for that matter) see you as either a salesperson (bad) or as a resource (good).

The key to successful selling, otherwise known as recruiting, is to be a resource rather than a salesperson.

During individual counselor meetings that occur as part of our on-campus workshops, I’m constantly asked, “What do my prospects really want from me?” The answer is simple. They want to feel that you’re genuinely trying to help them achieve their goals, which means consistently delivering on their wants and needs.

Here’s what I mean. If you approach your prospects with information and bullet points about your school, they’re going to view you as a salesperson.  However, if you provide them with ideas, answers and engaging ways to meet their goals, they’re going to see you as a resource.

There are huge benefits that come from being a resource for your prospects. For starters, it’s much easier to connect with them.  If you connect with them, they’ll see you as someone they can trust.  When you develop a reputation as someone who is trustworthy, you’ll become the “go-to” counselor for help and advice.   Add it all up, and you significantly increase the chances of your prospects choosing your institution.

When you’re a salesperson it’s all about you, what you want them to do, and why you think they’d be crazy not to pick your school.

Does that mean if you’re a salesperson you won’t be able to connect with and gain your prospect’s trust? No, but I promise you it won’t be easy, and it’s going to take a lot more time and convincing.

Like we outline with new clients, early in the recruitment process it’s vital that you connect with your prospects. If you don’t connect with them, it’s going to be tough to turn those admits into deposits.

Sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer has a great rule to remember when you’re in a selling (recruiting) situation: The percent of time your prospect does the talking dictates your chances of securing their commitment.  If they talk 20% of the time, you’ll probably have a 20% chance of enrolling them.  If they talk 80% of the time, you’ll probably have an 80% chance of enrolling them.

Gitomer’s point? If you want to sell your prospect that your school is the “right fit” for them, you need to give them the answers they need.  You need to be the resource they’re searching for, and you need to do it by making everything you do and say about your prospect and not about you.

The minute you cease to be attentive to their wants and needs, you run the risk of losing them to a competing school that will be.

Here are a few additional things you can do to become a resource for your prospects:

  • Respond quickly & deliver information in an easy to understand, engaging format
  • Stay current on trends and pop culture
  • Continually polish your sales and problem solving skills
  • Consistently network and exchange ideas with other admissions professionals
  • Admit when you don’t know something (then let them know you’ll find out)

I’m going to leave you today with some homework. Check your brochures…your recruiting letters…and your talking points during campus visits.  How much of it is centered on your prospect, and how much of it is stuff you’re pushing about you and your school?

If you like the advice you’re getting in our newsletter and blog, you’ll love the one-on-one access you have to our staff and the extra training you and your colleagues will get as one of our clients. Click here for all the information!

Next Level Questions to Ask Your Prospect AFTER They Visit CampusMonday, October 12th, 2015

This is premium content reserved for our Clients and Tudor University coaches. We’d love to have you join them! Go to www.dantudor.com for all the details.

How College Coaches Control The Future Of SpecializationSunday, October 11th, 2015

wayneby Wayne Mazzoni, Pitching Coach, Sacred Heart University

I hope all college coaches reading this agree with this statement: The specialization of young athletes is an epidemic we must take part in changing.

To do this, let’s look at the facts and trends. Over the past 15 years there has been a strong movement by people/coaches to make a living from their sport. These are generally well meaning people who enjoy coaching young people, but in an effort to make a living doing what they do, try to get their pool of kids to pay for their coaching services not only in their primary season, but in as many off-seasons as possible. Some of these coaches give priority attention and playing time to their best customers and thus creating an environment where others feel they need to do the same to keep up. In addition, often times these coaches tell their players and parents that not only is playing their sport for two, three, sometimes four seasons is the only way to develop to play in college, but that this is what college coaches want!

So we are left with young athletes and their parents not knowing any better any who think the only way to develop, and in fact keep up, is to narrow their focus on what they spend their time doing. But this is completely contrary to the way we were all raised. It is also completely contrary to raising a healthy, physically and emotionally balanced child. Worse yet, it also seems to put a focus on the future and making that sport seem like an “investment”. It is not an investment. It is a fun, competitive way for children to grow as people. If an 8 year old is hitting baseballs all winter so his parents get rewarded with his recruiting or a scholarship down the road, then we have completely lost our minds. Plenty of other things for a kid to do in the winter. Wrestle, play basketball, ski, walk in the woods with his dog, you name it. If he loves baseball he can find the time to hit or play a day or two a week during the winter and still be involved in other things.

I am not telling anyone how to live, trust me. I am still figuring out live like everyone else. But I do know when I hear a nine year old only play soccer all year round, give up family time, friend time, to devote to this one sport, this one endeavor, I feel like I’m living on Mars. I just don’t get it.

This concept seems to continue in high school. Kids who either would like to play two or three sports start getting the message that to be really good you have to spend time on just one sport. Most of us know better. We know that the more sports you play, the more skills you build, that will help you be a better overall athlete and better in your primary sport.

As college coaches, I think it is our duty to let all people we come in contact with, whether it be at coaches clinics, speeches, during recruiting, or even around the office, it is important we let everyone know how we feel. Recently helping coach my son’s 6th grade football team I saw the older brother of one of our players. Big kid, great shape. He was a very good high school football player. But when I asked him how the season was going, he said he gave up football (as a hs junior) to play fall lacrosse. He said he was getting attention from the lacrosse coach at my school (Sacred Heart University). So I said to the kid, “Do you think Coach Basti would rather you play lax or football this fall?” The kid replied that obviously the coach would want him to be playing lacrosse. Having had this conversation with many of my fellow coaches, across many sports, I went on to tell the kid that I was 100% sure that coach would prefer him to play football and told him all the reasons why. He was floored and said he would give it a second thought.

When I ask the players on my college baseball team if they have any regrets about their sports experience, to a man, they always tell me they wish they had not given up playing another sport when they were in high school. They realized later that this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and you don’t get to even play high school basketball again when you get older.

While I am a big public school proponent, this is one of the things I love about private/prep schools. Many of them in New England require athletes to play three sports, thus making them well rounded as people, teammates, and athletes. Often times you hear about a kid who did something he never did before and loved it. We have a freshman pitcher on my team now who went to Canterbury School and had to pick up diving to meet this requirement. He said he went into it pretty skeptical but came out loving the whole experience.

Let’s do our part to let all our recruits, friends, family, and community know that believe kids should play multiple sports. If not formally on their school teams, then pick up a golf club, tennis raquet, or even bike or skate board and do something athletic outside of what they plan on doing their four years in college. Specialization will come soon enough, why rush it?

Wayne Mazzoni is the pitching coach at Sacred Heart University and writes his blog at www.CoachMazz.com

4 Techniques That Will Help You Overcome Your Prospect’s ObjectionsTuesday, October 6th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Every college admissions professional is going to encounter objections from a prospective student or their parents during the recruiting process. Ivy League, Liberal Arts or Public University…they all get faced with objections.

This past week at NACAC the theme of my booth revolved around the idea that your prospects want you to be an admissions superhero. I explained to counselors, directors and VP’s of enrollment that recruits are looking for someone to rescue them from a college admissions process that is stressful and at times downright exhausting.

If you’re going to be an admissions superhero, you’re going to have to overcome those objections as quickly as possible. If you don’t do that throughout the recruiting process, the chances of that prospect choosing your school will decrease significantly.

Despite being inevitable, objections during the recruitment process should never be seen as a door closing in your face. Instead, you and your admissions colleagues need to take time and uncover why a recruit is really objecting. From there you can help defuse the objection, which if you’ve begun cultivating a relationship with the recruit and his or her family, will pose less of a challenge.

Overcoming objections can be done in a number of different ways.  First off, it’s important to anticipate any potential objections ahead of time. Each one of you knows what the common ones are. Keep in mind one other thing. The worst, and I mean absolute poorest choice that you can make, is to try and avoid discussing an objection about your school with the hopes it will magically disappear. Not going to happen.

Addressing any objection becomes much easier if the prospect and his or her parents are comfortable about voicing their opinions to you. Creating and maintaining good communication is essential. If you make every effort to treat objections as “normal” you will have a more productive conversation.

As you begin to deal with objections from this next class of recruits, I want to arm you with four additional techniques that will help when it comes to facing and overcoming a prospect’s initial objections.

  1. Listen to the objection. Don’t ever cut a prospect or a parent off mid-sentence when they express disagreement. Even if you’ve heard the same objection from other recruits and you already have the answer, give him or her a chance to explain why they’ve come to their conclusion. Remember, each person’s objection is unique to him or her. By listening you’ll be able to pick up some helpful clues from the way a prospect expresses their objection. One more thing – your body language says a lot. If you sigh or roll your eyes while listening to an objection the other person is likely to treat that as a sign that you feel their feelings of opposition are unwarranted.
  1. Get it clarified. Rarely will someone give his or her real objection up front. That’s why getting clarification is extremely important. This process will require you to think quickly on your feet, but doing so should help you discover the real objection. We tell our clients that asking probing questions is the key to getting to the heart of their lack of interest. If a recruit says your school is too far from home, get them to be more specific. You’ve got the “what,” now you need the “why.” Doing this will allow you to give them a response that helps redirect their interest back towards your school. Sometimes you’ll even discover that an objection isn’t really an objection.
  1. Acknowledge then add information. Clarifying allows you to get to the real objection; acknowledging will confirm it for you. Once you recognize and understand someone’s objection you can then add information that will redirect him or her. Many times an objection is due to lack of information or false perception. For example, how many times has a recruit told you that one of your competitors said their specific academic degree is held in higher regard? Start by saying, “Thank you for bringing that up.” Then present information that dismisses the perception. In most cases a recruit wants to see if you will confirm their current line of thinking or correct them with new reasoning. Finally, remember that telling the student what you think they want to hear usually backfires. Focus on being honest and providing all of the information they need to make a sound decision.
  1. Become a problem solver. The goal anytime an objection arises is to provide a solution.  Answering the objection will provide the recruit with a different perspective that may very well eliminate their concern. This is where problem solving enters the equation. We encourage our clients to approach things from a different perspective that will stand out among their competition. Your recruit has an objection that they want answered. This is a great opportunity for you and your colleagues. Using the information you’ve accumulated on a particular prospect, as well as intuition and logic, a solution can be formed. When a solution is presented, make sure that the other person understands it and feels that it’s truly an answer to their objection.

Overcoming objections is one of the biggest challenges that an admissions recruiter faces. The key to remember is that the only person who can truly overcome the objection is the prospect. Your job is to create an opportunity for this to occur through effective questioning and subsequent problem solving. If you can successfully do this, you will significantly improve your school’s chances to gain the prospective student’s commitment.

Need help developing strategies to communicate your weaknesses, as well as your strengths? Consider becoming a client. You will gain an admissions recruiting advantage!

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