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Episode 5: Price and Risky Work of Earning Your Prospect’s AttentionTuesday, November 29th, 2016


For the 98% of you that can’t offer full ride scholarships to your prospects, talking about money the right way is an ongoing mystery.

And for those of you that can offer full ride scholarships, it’s not about money: It turns into a debate over the “price” of your conference, facilities or program history.

At the center of it all is the aversion by many coaches to want to do the risky work of earning your prospect’s attention. But what exactly does that mean, and how should a college coach craft the right kind of story about the cost of their program? Dan Tudor dives into the topic with the help of a timely article from the world’s top marketing expert.



Advice On Talking About Cost With Prospects and ParentsTuesday, November 29th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You and I both know that talking about paying for college is a stressful and complex topic for most families.

In our focus group recruiting surveys on college campuses across the country, we ask freshmen students which of the following three things was “most stressful” for them during the college search process – Thinking/talking about paying for college, filling out applications, or waiting for decision letters/emails. The number one answer every single time (close to a 70% overall average) is thinking/talking about paying for college.

Unfortunately I continue to both read and hear a lot of stories about college and university admissions counselors waiting until their school’s financial aid packages are distributed before starting a real conversation with a family about cost…unless you count sending out reminders to fill out the FAFSA and other aid forms (which I don’t, and neither should you).

So, if you’re not sure where to begin, or you’re willing to consider a different approach, let me share with you some strategies that we’ve seen work over the past year that you should think about putting to use with families of this current recruiting class.

  • Start the conversation early. Too many counselors do the exact opposite. They avoid talking about cost until a family brings it up in conversation mainly because, they tell us, they’re worried it will lead to an objection.  Your ability to clearly explain the process early on will lead to a greater comfort level and a lot less questions down the road when you try to convert those admitted students. I would also recommend that initially you have separate conversations with students and parents about cost and financial aid, not the parents and your prospect together at once. It’s a sensitive topic, and we’ve found that when a school does it this way, both conversations end up being more productive.
  • Ask the parents what kinds of challenges this process creates for them. That type of question is one of the effective questions that I recommend to admissions teams when I lead an on-campus training workshop.  You need to understand what obstacles the subject of cost creates when it comes to considering your school.  By engaging the parents in that conversation, you’ll help them connect the dots which is something they value.
  • Focus on what you can offer them instead of what you can’t. Our ongoing focus group research also continues to show that more often than not, multiple other factors rank ahead of “being more affordable than other schools” in terms of their importance of influencing your prospect’s final decision.  The “feel” of your campus, how your admissions staff and students treat them on their campus visit, the perception of the college as a whole, and other non-monetary factors play a huge part in the final decision.  Are you directing your conversation with your prospects back to those factors?
  • Be their guide and always keep them in the loop. I’ve talked numerous times in previous articles about how important transparency is with this generation of students (and parents). The college selection process is confusing and stressful. Both you and your admissions colleagues need to be their guides from start to finish. Be sure and reiterate key dates and deadlines well in advance. If you want to avoid “sticker shock,” explain to them how the bottom-line total is calculated and why that’s the important number to remember. Also, try and touch on how a financial aid offer might change in years two, three, and four as well as how your school can help them manage their student debt. Don’t just pass these things off to your financial aid office. I want you to strive to be an honest guide who makes the details easy to understand. If you do that, you’ll quickly gain their trust.
  • Be prepared to provide detailed student outcomes. You can’t expect a family to commit to taking on any sort of debt unless you can provide a detailed outline of the potential return on their investment. For example, if the student wants to major in business, show them how many graduates have been produced by your school as well as where those recent alumni live and work and what they earn on average in the first few years after graduation. A detailed account like that will help prove your school’s value in easy to understand dollars and sense terms.
  • Understand that they might have the money, but they don’t know if they want to spend it on your school. When a family talks about not being able to afford your school, remember that in some cases they can afford it, they just haven’t decided that they want to. Ask yourself what would happen if a bigger, prestigious brand name school with a perceived higher academic reputation entered the picture for your prospect and offered the exact same financial aid package. Chances are that family would find a way to “make it work” financially. Just remember that more often than not your prospect has the money, they just aren’t sure yet if they want to spend it on your school. It’s your job to consistently and creatively find ways to get them to justify the expense and why it’s worth the investment.
  • Collaborate with your school’s financial aid staff. The days of directing all “money” questions to your financial aid office are quickly coming to an end. If you haven’t already done some cross training with the folks in financial aid, now is the time. You need to understand what financial aid officers look for and how they make their decisions. Be able to navigate your school’s financial aid website because if you can’t do it, you can guarantee your prospects won’t be able to either. Cultivating these relationships will make a tangible difference. Remember that both offices are working towards the same goal of enrolling those “best fit” students.

At the end of the day there will be times when, despite your best efforts, you won’t be able to overcome the reality that some families just cannot afford your school without taking on what they consider significant financial debt.

I’m confident, though, if you start the conversation earlier and focus more on the value of your institution and not the dollar amount, you’ll avoid a lot of confusion and frustration by your prospects and their parents.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this week’s article. If you’ve got a question about any aspect of student recruitment, let’s schedule a time to connect. All you have to do is email me directly at: jeremy@dantudor.com

Admissions VIP Extra: November 29, 2016Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

How to Make a Better Recruiting Argument: by Jeremy Tiers

Every time you recruit a student you’re making an argument.

You make an argument that they should visit your campus.  You make an argument that they should fill out your application.  And, some of you make an argument as to why they should pay more to attend your school.

Here’s the problem: Many of you “argue” with your prospects, and their parents, from your point of view.

You have deadlines to meet, applications to get completed, and so on and so forth.  As a result, many of you get so wrapped up in the procedure that your school uses to recruit students that you forget one important aspect of the recruiting and decision-making process – Your prospect usually doesn’t care about your school’s process.

Ask yourself, “How often am I arguing from my point of view, rather than empathetically from my prospect’s point of view”?

It’s not about just sharing what you believe. It’s about what the listener (your prospect) believes.

Here’s a simple three step plan for you to revamp pretty much any argument, recruiting pitch, or conversation with your prospect:

Define what you want to tell them from your point of view. Before you can react with empathy, you need to narrow down what exactly it is that you want to tell your prospect. Be specific.

Reverse sides – How is your prospect going to hear your argument? I want you to think worst case scenario here.  What’s the least positive way your prospect would hear what you’re telling them?

Now redesign your argument that takes your prospect’s point of view into account. Any argument, recruiting message, or sales pitch you’re hoping to make needs to focus on “what’s in it for them”.  Nothing to do with your school’s priorities, deadlines or process…everything to do with their perspective, hopes, dreams and fears.


A Smart Way to Control Your ScheduleMonday, November 28th, 2016

Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Due to the nature of the work, coaches have to follow a flexible schedule. You need to be free to accommodate the needs of your teams and recruits and other administrative staff with whom you work.

But coach, you don’t have to turn your schedules over to others as much as you may think.

The most successful people in any profession are usually highly scheduled. Have you ever met a successful doctor who tells patients to “come on in any ol’ time”?

No, doctors have highly scheduled lives. They have blocks of time set up for seeing patients, performing surgeries, and working at their hospitals. They know how many patients they need to see each day to create the lifestyles they choose to live.

Is it possible for you to run your program the same way? It’s certainly more efficient than the way most of us coaches run our programs now.

Time blocking involves consistently setting aside time for the high priority activities.  Time blocking will provide some much needed structure in your day and as long as you avoid getting distracted and commit to just doing the one thing, it will allow you to complete tasks or at least complete a large part of a task before moving on to something else.  The fundamental rationale for time blocking is the knowledge that if high priority activities don’t get scheduled, they usually get done feebly, fruitlessly, or not at all.  

Here is how it works. Decide on the tasks you will do for a particular day. Instead of just having a “to do” list with everything listed in order of importance and working down the list, take a few items from the list that are top priority for accomplishing what you need to accomplish, and block out whatever time you want to allocate to that task. This can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. The point is to only allocate the allotted time to each task.

What activities should you time block for?

Time Blocking at Work
What if you had two uninterrupted hours every day to focus on nothing else but your most important activities? The time might be spent planning or working on recruiting, developing your team and staff, getting caught up on administrative work, or learning something that will add value to your program. How would spending just two hours dedicated to the really important things improve your program? Keep in mind that these two hours are focused, uninterrupted work time and do not include all the other time spent traveling, in meetings, talking by phone, sending email and other activities also directly related to achieving these activities.

Personal Time Blocking
You cannot be effective in your work if your inner reserves are depleted. Making time to “recharge your batteries” will actually boost your energy. Block time for exercise, contemplation, relaxation or recreation. Be sure to carve out time for family or friends as well. And, before committing to anything else, be sure to pencil in some vacation time as well. Then, treat appointments with yourself as respectfully as you would with others.

After talking to all of the coaches that I have worked with since coming on board with Dan Tudor about 10 years ago, I would say that the number one reason coaches do not reach their goals is because they did not allocate enough time in the office to accomplish the goal or goals that they set for their recruiting, team, staff, or for themselves.

Tonight, figure out what your 3 most important activities are for tomorrow.  Then open your calendar and block off the time you need to get these activities worked on.  When it is time to get to work, WORK! Protect that time and don’t let anything interrupt that time you have allocated to work on a significant task or goal that you have.  Good luck!

If you want more information like this to help with your office organization and productivity, please email me at mandy@busy.coach or check out my website at www.busy.coach.

Have a productive week!

If Your Recruiting Communications Plan Doesn’t Do These Two Things…Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

ncrc3by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

…then I think you’re making student recruitment harder than it needs to be.

Throughout the year we’re constantly reviewing comm. flow plans and individual pieces for clients and non-clients alike. When Mackenzie Mulligan (TCS Communications Director) and I compare notes, there are usually two consistent themes – the emails and letters inform but don’t encourage engagement (outside of apply or visit), and there’s an overall lack of continuity.

One of the follow up questions I ask the admissions and/or marketing and communications leadership is, “What do you want a letter or email that you send to a prospective student to do”?

The answers I get most often sound something like:

  • “We want to give them information about our school”
  • “We want it to help them move to that next step”

Both answers are good and make sense, but I think there’s an even better strategy that you should employ. It’s a simple, yet highly effective approach that we help our clients execute on a weekly basis.

When we create our clients’ personalized recruiting plans and messages, we always aim to get them a response to the email or letter, and to have that communication set up the next message.

Here’s why both of those strategies are vital to any effective recruiting campaign:

  • Generate a reply. The point of an email or letter shouldn’t just be to inform and convince a prospect to choose your school based on what’s written in that one communication.  That’s not realistic. It’s also unrealistic to expect a prospective student to take a big step like apply or visit campus without having some consistent interaction with you or someone in your admissions office first, during which a comfort level is created. That’s why the focus of each of your written communications should be to generate a response from your prospect, be it via email, text, or a phone call. I would even encourage you to specify the response you want.  Without that response, you can’t expect to truly understand your prospect’s overall mindset or their opinion (positive or negative) on the information that you just sent them.
  • Set up the next message.  One of the biggest findings that resulted from our research study on how today’s prospective students make their final decision was the importance of the prospect knowing what to do next throughout the process.  When you send an inquiry, a prospect, or an admitted student an email or a letter, make sure that you let them know what’s coming next.  In other words, a message that goes out next week should set up an expectation that another communication is following in the coming days.  Your recruit should be expecting the next step, not wondering when it will come.  And as I mentioned at the very beginning, your recruitment emails and letters need to connect with each other and provide a continual flow.

It’s imperative to establish this system as early in the recruitment process as possible.

Now I’m going to ask you to do something small for me that will actually benefit you. Take 15 minutes over Thanksgiving break and review some of your most recent emails and letters. As you’re looking them over, I want you to ask yourself:

  • Are they too formal?
  • Are they just a bunch of facts, figures, and fluff?
  • Is there one big idea in them and not three or four?
  • Are they prompting the right kind of engagement from recruits (and parents)?
  • Is there a continuous flow in what’s being sent?

I promise you the answers to those questions will tell you whether or not you currently have a high probability of keeping your recruit’s attention, and successfully recruiting them.

If you’d like an outside perspective on your comm. flow plan or some feedback on a few of your individual emails and letters, email me at jeremy@dantudor.com. I’m here to help.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

EPISODE 4: Theresa Beeckman on Building a Winning Team CultureMonday, November 21st, 2016


So often, college coaches get tunnel vision when it comes to their program.

There is always the tyranny of the urgent at hand: The next game, the new recruit, the meeting you were supposed to be at ten minutes ago.

Lost in the shuffle, for many coaches, is creating and maintaining a winning team culture. It can be the difference between another mediocre season, or your first conference championship. So, what does developing a winning culture in your program look like? And, what’s the best way to develop it?

We talked to former Division I coach Theresa Beeckman, a team culture expert and founder of Tree Roots, about the topic. You’ll find her advice and direction immediately applicable to you and your team’s situation, Coach.

Are you building your culture the right way?



Every Single Recruiting Situation Boils Down To ThisMonday, November 21st, 2016

No matter what division level you coach, no matter what sport you recruit for, and no matter how experienced you are at recruiting this generation of student-athlete, every single recruiting situation boils down to this:

Who is it that you’re trying to reach? The answer to that question can’t be “everyone”. So what’s your answer, Coach?

Do you have your prototype recruit defined? Do you know who is right and who is wrong for you and your program? If you don’t, how in the world can you target the right message to that group?

How are you going to tell them your story?  Have you decided how you’re going to make them aware of who you are and what you can offer them? And more importantly, what form does that message take? Social media, letters, emails, phone calls…the mix you provide is critical.

Understand what I’m saying. Our research tells us very clearly that each method holds different meanings for recruits: Social media, for example, is perfect for showcasing your team’s personality to your prospects. Letters, on the other hand, really underscore the level of seriousness that you have towards that recruit, in their eyes. Use a good mix of messaging when you plan out your recruiting story.

What story are you telling that is worth repeating? One thing that we can tell you with a great degree of certainty about this generation of prospect is that they are attracted to a good story. They respond to marketing, if done correctly.

Average stories, with vanilla story lines, told in a mildly interesting way doesn’t go viral. It doesn’t get shared, nor does it get talked about. The bar is high for you, Coach. But if you can give them something different than the other coaches are, you’re going to win more prospects than you lose.

Is that story fitting their worldview? Understand that your prospect has specific fears, biases, and desires as they head through the recruiting process. And if you don’t adapt your message along with way to that specific recruit’s worldview, you’ll start losing them.

This part is important: In order to keep them engaged the deeper you go into the process, you need to find out what their dreams and fears are, and then develop a more customized message specific to their set of beliefs. The best recruiters do that regularly (which is why they get the best recruits).

Speaking of fear: What are you doing to alleviate it?  Every single one of your prospects that you lost in last year’s recruiting class said no to you and your program because their was a fear that was unresolved, and an objection that went unanswered.

Do you know what your prospects’ fears are? If you don’t, how can you answer his or her fears?

When do you want them to move forward? In other words, when you want them to take action, do they know it? And if they do, what’s holding them back?

One of the concepts that we teach in the recruiting workshops on campuses around the country is the idea that your recruit is either moving towards you, or away from you. They never stay neutral…they are always moving. Are they moving in your direction? And, are you controlling that action or is it a random result?

Why should they say yes? What is dad going to say to his friends when they ask him why his daughter or son chose your school, and your team? What is the prospect going to say when they go to high school with your college’s t-shirt on? Are people going to be impressed, or is he going to get funny looks and get asked “why them”?

If you don’t think this plays a major roll in how a final decision gets made, you’re fooling yourself.

How well you do with the first six points we’ve made is going to determine whether or not they’re able to answer this last critical question.

You can get one-on-one help in developing your story, and determining what the right approach should be for your program. We help coaching staffs around the country, and we can work with you and your program, too. Click here to get more details and take the first step towards defining what your story should be through our special client Total Recruiting Solution plan.

What Exactly is a Meme?Monday, November 21st, 2016

IMG_2590 (1)Josh DiCristo, Front Rush

Writing an article about memes might seem counter-intuitive at first. You’re only a sentence and a half in and already you’ve read more text than is in an average meme. Probably. I don’t know, there’s really not any significant data on that sort of thing. But part of that reason is because memes aren’t a language, though you might find the people who are the most confused by them usually refer to them as such.

“I don’t get this stuff, it’s like they’re speaking a whole nother language.”

Well first off, “a whole nother” isn’t English so maybe take a look in the mirror before you criticize. But second off, the word “meme” actually comes from a term describing an idea or behavior that spreads between cultures. So really, it’s more of a sociological term than a linguistic one. And if you think about it, that actually makes a lot of sense. Memes gained traction on the internet because they’re short jokes overlaid on top of images that represent a simple, shared idea. Everyone likes short jokes and what better use of the internet is there than to connect with people from different walks of life over a shared experience and make them laugh in the process?

And that brings us to the first rule of memes. Don’t try to use them in conversation, and don’t print them out and put them anywhere. They live online and are best read in your head.

But what kind of memes do you share with your recruits? You want to connect with them in some sort of way but you also don’t want to be the weird, out-of-touch adult desperately trying to seem cool.


Dear god, please don’t do this.

College Freshman

The college freshman meme might be the most relevant for the purposes of recruiting. When that wide-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman is still making that transition from high school to college and they’re doing and saying the wrong things? Well the internet found the stock photo for that idea and jumped on it.


Confused Fry

Fry is a character from Futurama but for the purpose of understanding the meme, all that matters is he captures the feeling not understanding if an action means one thing or something else completely different. The other meaning could be random, inappropriate, or sometimes the complete opposite.


Bad Luck Brian

Everyone’s had a bad school picture day every once in awhile. Just be glad yours didn’t go viral. You could say that adds an extra bit of irony to Bad Luck Brian, who encapsulates every time the rug’s been pulled from under you.



And finally, the new kid on the block. These Biden/Obama memes have been echoing around certain corners of the internet for a while now, but they’ve taken on a new life since the election. No matter where you stand on the results, the decision from the internet has been unanimous – Joe Biden as the embarrassing trickster/class clown/roommate to Obama’s straight man will be sorely missed come January.


Systematize Your WorldMonday, November 21st, 2016

Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I have made some of my biggest breakthroughs with productivity only after I created systems.  The systems that I have created have played a big part in helping to reduce the amount of hours that I work while in the office so I can get home quicker to my family.

Today I wanted to share with you some very simple, but effective systems that you can create for yourself to help reduce the time it takes you to do things.

In my study of the best time management strategies, it became very apparent that effective self-leaders in every profession have systems for just about everything from work activities like scheduling, follow up, entering data, and sending thank you cards, to personal activities such as sleeping, eating, dealing with money, cars, and family responsibilities.

Those systems make life easier, and ensure they are always ready to perform.   Here are two examples of basic systems (the second one being the ultimate game changer):

Daily Attire— In addition to being a college coach, as you may know because you maybe have read some of my articles in Dan’s newsletter before, I run a company teaching time management strategies to college coaches called Busy Coach, have two children, and I have spent the last two and half years completing 5 different products that help coaches make a greater impact in a shorter amount of time.

As you can imagine, there is not a moment of time to spare. In order to ensure that I do not have to waste any time preparing in the morning, and to make sure I have proper attire, I make sure to lay out the night before what I will wear the next day in the office, to work out, and then out to practice.  It sounds simple, but that extra fifteen minutes every morning adds up in the course of a week.

Travel— As we all know, we travel a lot during our seasons, in the off season we are recruiting week after week, we may travel with youth teams we coach, and then we are traveling some more if we decide to be on the road working other camps.  Collecting the items we need for every trip can be time-consuming, inefficient, and ineffective, especially if you tend to often forget things at home or in your office.

For me, after the third time of forgetting the charger for my computer and having to spend another $75 for a replacement or ask the front desk for a phone charger, or a toothbrush, I’d had enough. I assembled a travel bag containing every single item I need for my trips, and now I can leave at a moment’s notice because my bag contains everything I need to be on the road— business cards, toiletries, adapters and chargers for my phone and computer.

You’ll know you need a system when you have a challenge that is recurring or you find you’re missing opportunities because you’re unprepared. If you’re walking out the door with just enough time to make an appointment only to discover you’re running on fumes, you need a system for getting out the door earlier: pack your backpack the night before, have your clothes already out and ready to go, set the coffee maker, get up earlier, etc.

Said another way, wherever you feel like you need to get your act together, you need a system. A life without systems is a life with unnecessary stress!

If you want more ideas on how to create systems for your recruiting, for working in the office, for your team or travel, or other time management techniques delivered to your inbox every Sunday, email me at mandy@busy.coach or visit www.busy.coach.

Anticipation As a Student Recruitment StrategyTuesday, November 15th, 2016

christmasanticipateby Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

There are just over 40 days left until Christmas. Sorry, but my 7-year old daughter decided to start the countdown this past weekend. She came across a toy that she wants, and now she’s full of anticipation.

If you’ve got kids, or even a young niece or nephew, you know that the thought of toys and other presents under the Christmas tree can almost be too much for them to handle. That anticipation can really be a powerful thing. Much like it does during the holiday season with my daughter, it can change our emotions and our way of thinking.

Which brings me to your current student recruitment strategy. Are you using anticipation? The reason we talk about the importance of creating a “feeling” in the stories that you tell prospective students is because they rely on those emotions to make their final decision just about every time.  I know it isn’t always the smartest way to choose a college, but according to our ongoing research, there’s little doubt that it occurs on a regular basis across the country.

That means building anticipation, and understanding the components of why it’s such a powerful force, should be something that you aim to do in all of your recruiting messages.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Your prospect will anticipate your next message more if you lead into it with the previous message.  This is a foundational strategy that we use when we create our clients’ monthly recruiting message campaigns. Your emails and letters should be ongoing and sequential. One message should set up the next message…and so on, and so on.  Too many communication plans that we’re asked to review contain singular messages that try to cram every key point about a certain topic into one email or letter. The result is something that feels pieced together, is way too long, and overwhelms and bores the reader. Instead, focus on breaking up those longer messages into shorter, easier to digest stories that build into the next message rather than answer every single question right away. At the end of your email or letter you could say something like, “Keep an eye out for a letter from me next week”, or “I’m getting ready to send you more information about this soon”.  Create that anticipation.
  • Your prospect will anticipate that next phone call from you if you exceed their expectations.  Too often admissions counselors jeopardize future phone calls with a prospect when they fall back on the same tired, boring, run-of-the-mill conversation points that students tell us they dread: “How was school this week?”, “Do you have any big plans this weekend?”, “What music are you listening to these days?”…You get the picture. When you have a one-on-one conversation with your prospect, you need to have a plan to engage and amaze them if you want to keep positive anticipation on your side.  Much of that begins and ends with the types of questions that you ask. Whatever you choose to discuss with them, make sure you’re providing value and creating excitement and anticipation during their conversation with you.
  • Your prospect will anticipate coming to campus if they’ve been given a sneak peek at what awaits them.  If you want your prospect to take time out of their busy schedule and visit your campus, you have to provide them with a concrete reason why. Why should they look forward to walking around campus, or touring the dorms, or eating in the dining hall or attending a campus event? Those are some of the key elements our research has uncovered as to what triggers that anticipation in the minds of your prospects when it comes to the idea of committing to a campus visit.  Even students that have applied for admission will rarely visit a campus without a good reason that is solidified in their mind – either one that they came up with on their own or a picture that you’ve painted for them over a period of time.

Let me add one more thing. Since I started this article with a reference to Christmas and presents under the tree, think for a second about what happens after they open the presents. There’s almost an immediate “crash”.  The anticipation and excitement disappears quickly, and all that’s left is a pile of toys and a ton of wrapping paper and empty boxes scattered across the room. Sound familiar?

I want you anticipate that “crash”.  For example, that means after they visit campus you need to anticipate that they will need a clear picture of what the next step in the process is in order to maintain their focus and excitement about your school. Otherwise, the anticipated now becomes the familiar, and they’ll search out a new source of anticipation and excitement…like say a competitor who entered the picture late thanks to the fact that your prospect’s friend is having such an enjoyable recruiting experience with that school.

Your job is to manage their recruitment experience and continue to build that anticipation in their mind from start to finish.

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