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 firstname.lastname@example.org