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This Week in Tech – August 1, 2017Monday, July 31st, 2017

Every week, Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, and Neal Cook, Director of Support at Front Rush, review recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech.

Neal: Greetings my fellow earthlings!

Ken: Hey Neal, I hope you had a good week!

Let’s get right to it today. Have you ever heard of a company named Amazon? I know you didn’t want to talk Amazon in this week’s blog again, but, as Mugatu said in Zoolander “Amazon is so hot right now”.

Ken: Ha! Yeah, Amazon has definitely not been keeping a low profile the past few weeks. But that’s a good thing. The fact that it’s a household name says a lot about what they’re doing and what people expect from them.

Neal: Amazon made the headlines again this week when it was reported that the e-commerce giant was getting into the Healthcare field – which is a $3 trillion dollar a year industry. Amazon has dubbed this new lab ‘1492’. Health care seems like an easy shoo-in for them, it’s ripe for improvement, and they already have the resources to create some awesome things. Think about it, Amazon already has data and server space up the wazoo, they are heavily invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, if those are applied to healthcare, the possibilities are endless.

In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Echo (Amazon’s in home speaker assistance) could take a pin size sample of your blood, quickly analyze your DNA and that jazz, then Alexa would say to you “Ken, you glucose levels are low, eat some sugar. Also, it looks like you might have cancer, I’ve set up a doctors apt with the best cancer doctor in Philadelphia, your blood results and health history have already been transferred to her”.

Ken: Loving the technicality of those statements. What you described would be awesome, but I don’t think any of us know if that’s the direction they’re going to go in. I think if they start with making people aware of their choices and help us all live better lifestyles, that would be a tremendous start. Especially with the acquisition of Whole Foods, I guess we shouldn’t be as surprised about the report regarding this secretly rumored ‘1492’ team. Of course, just as people are concerned with privacy and HIPAA compliance, Amazon will definitely have it’s cards laid out if they want Alexa to ready your blood samples. If people are concerned with Alexa listening in on their conversations, I don’t think they’ll be keep to submit DNA.

Neal: I agree with your point on making people aware of their unhealthy lifestyle patterns and what steps you can take to not only feel better in the short term, but also, what you can do to prevent future illnesses. The healthcare industry as a whole needs to do a better job at preventive care, not just curing you when you are sick, or giving you drugs that do nothing to fix the root cause of the problem.

Let’s do a complete 360 now and talk about something that we can also use our magic ball to predict. The future of a fan experience at a live sporting event. A Huffington Post article gave their thoughts on how sports tech can improve the fan experience. As a sport and rec major at Temple, we often chatted in our classes about the future of live sports. Let’s face it, with jacked up ticket prices, super HD tvs, instant replay, and the comfort of being at your own house, it’s going to take some really cool innovations to get fans to want to shell out their hard-earned dollars to continue to support their team in person.

I’m going to throw the magic ball at you now (DUCK!), as you have a knack for blending current tech trends with the future. What do you think can be done to improve fan experience at stadiums?

Ken: Stadiums – especially MLB for example – have implemented features in their mobile apps that let you order food from your seat and have it delivered to you. Some might call that lazy, but if you paid $x for the ticket, why would you want to go wait in line for 25 minutes while the game is going on? I think other things – such as the huge super HD screens at stadiums (even surrounding them in a basketball or hockey arena) are helpful, but somewhat primitive. I think forcing technology into the stadium experience should be done with caution. It’s a hard balance, because on one hand you don’t go to the game to play on your phone or other smart device. While I obviously love technology and integrating it where appropriate, there’s a time and a place for everything. It’s an intriguing dilemma: the at home experience is as good if not better in many cases than the in person experience.  I think the focus should be – what can you do at home that you can’t do at the stadium? Lay sideways on a 3 person couch? Well that’s not really feasible with crowds of 50k people. I think part of the issue is that the in stadium experience is immersive. You go to the stadium for that event, but, at home you are likely doing something else. I’m sure not many people sit in one place for 3 hours from start to end. In my opinion, technology isn’t the inhibitor here.

One interesting concept will be to see if stadiums begin to use Augmented Reality (AR) as a way to hook fans in while at the stadium. If you’re unfamiliar, augmented reality is basically showing digital objects on a screen that don’t exist in real life. For example, sometimes it’s not easy to find out how fast the last pitch was or how many timeouts are left on the screens at the stadium. With AR, you could use your phone to get that information displayed on the screen on top of the live action. Of course, this technology is still being expanded – and fans don’t want to go to a game and put on a bulky headset or look through their phone camera just to get info they have on a TV screen at home – but I think AR has a lot of potential to blend technology and improve the fan experience.

Neal: You read my mind. There’s always the possibility that one day Virtual Reality (VR) get’s so good, you can actually be on the field with the players like you are fully suited up.

That about wraps it up for this week. Steadfast, until next time!

Ken: Looking forward to next week!

Establishing Trust Early With Prospects and ParentsTuesday, July 25th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

Thin mints…that’s my favorite kind of girl scout cookies and I never hesitate to buy a box when I see the local Girl Scout troop set up outside one of our neighborhood supermarkets. Other than the fact that they taste really good, what’s the primary reason that both I, and many others across the country, don’t hesitate to hand over a few dollars for a box each year?

Conversely, why do we all try and end the conversation as fast as possible when a salesperson knocks on our door?

It boils down to trust. The organization selling those cookies has spent years building it, and we have faith that our donation is going to a worthwhile cause. On the other hand, we don’t know the salesperson at the door and it’s likely that we haven’t ever heard of their company.

The gut reaction we have to each of those scenarios has big implications for college admission professionals, and that’s what I want to focus on today.

Most of us don’t like interacting with people we don’t feel like we can trust. Prospective students and parents are no different. Establishing trust early in the college search process with both is an important piece of a winning recruitment strategy. Without it, how can the student or parent believe that you or your school will deliver on those statements or assurances that get made throughout the recruiting cycle?

The same factors that you and I use to judge the trustworthiness of people and organizations are being used by this generation of students to judge your trustworthiness.  Many of those prospects tell us that initially they’re figuring out whether or not to have a serious interaction with your school based on whether they feel like they can trust you or not.

How you construct your letters, what you say in your emails, the layout of your website, and what you post/how people at your school act on social media all factor into whether or not a prospect chooses to trust you enough to engage back.

Here are a number of other things I want you to consider:

What your website and email templates look like: When they look at those, which studies say they do, what’s the brand image that comes to their mind?  If you’re a smaller school, do you look like the bigger brand institutions?  If you’re a well-known college or university, how are you separating yourself from your other big-name competitors?

The first letter or email between you and your prospect: I’m not talking about the marketing materials encouraging them to visit, or postcards, or other general material that your school sends out. I’m referring to the first letter or email that goes out with your name on it or the name of someone in your office/admissions department. Does it look and sound like every other one your prospect is receiving? I can guarantee you that when you reach out and communicate with a prospective student for the first time the way that message is worded will determine whether or not they feel you’re worth interacting with. (Hint: Shorter, less formal, and you not only inform, but you attempt to engage, that’s the key).

What they’ve heard about you:  If your prospect has heard good things about your school from people they know, the entire relationship changes. You automatically get the benefit of the doubt. Let me ask you, “What are you doing to make sure that your current students, as well as the students (and their parents) who chose another college instead of yours, experience superior customer service?”

Their fear:  It’s the other four-letter “F word” that most admission counselors don’t think is important, or don’t know how to talk about with their prospects. I talk about fear extensively when I lead an On-Campus Workshop because fear is present throughout the recruiting experience and prospects tell us that when an admissions counselor talks about it the right way, it vastly increases their comfort level with that counselor.

What you’re asking them to do early on: If you’re asking a prospect to reply to your email early in the recruiting process, there’s at least a decent chance that’s going to happen.  Conversely, counselors and schools that jump right into visiting campus or filling out their school’s application before building some trust and value will quickly lose the attention of many of their prospects.  Forced urgency rarely leads to increased trust from your prospect. Be mindful of what you’re asking them to do and whether or not you’ve given then ample reasons as to why they should do it.

What they see about you social media:  What you, your students, your athletic programs, and other departments on campus post on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the other social media platforms matters to this generation of students.  In fact, it matters a lot!  Your online presence is one of the most immediate impressions that gets formed by your prospect.  And in most cases it helps to determine how much interaction they wish to have with you and whether or not they’re excited to learn more about your school.

You make the process about them:  How are you proving that you understand the college search process is about their wants and needs and not why you think they’d be crazy not to pick your school?  More importantly, how are you communicating that?

Your honesty:  This generation of prospects and their parents are actively searching for people who prove they’re honest. In just about every recruiting survey we conduct ahead of a workshop I see one or more responses that say something like, “tell me the truth” or “just be honest with me.” Don’t be the admissions professional who, in trying to build trust, over promises and under delivers. You need to repeatedly demonstrate that you’re someone they can trust.  That means from time to time it’s okay to admit when your school isn’t better than a competitor in a particular area.

I encourage you to have a discussion about each of these things as you develop your recruiting plan for this next class of prospects.

And remember, I talk strategy with college admission professionals and leaders across the country just about every single day. If you have a question or you want to know what I’m seeing and hearing when I talk to you peers, all you have to do is email me and ask. You can reach me at: jeremy@dantudor.com

P.S. I thought you might enjoy this picture I took at sunset last night right after take-off above O’Hare International airport in Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: July 25, 2017Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q.  An Admissions Counselor asks:

“Regional Rep. How do you encourage students to think outside the box when they and their parents default to the local university? Sometimes students want to go away and parent doesn’t want it; sometimes it’s the reverse.”

A.  Thank you for your question! A few things immediately come to mind as I write this from 12,000 feet on my way to Chicago.

For starters, can you answer what it is about your school that’s keeping many of these students (or parents) in your territory from seriously considering you? Is the “too far from home” objection real or is it more along the lines of not knowing as much (or having an incorrect picture) about your school versus the local university which they’ve grown up around? There’s an important difference between these two and there are different strategies for both.

Regardless of which one is the bigger issue right now, I can guarantee you that by asking the right “effective questions” of the student or parent(s) you can get useable feedback that will tell you how to proceed.

Going forward, I want to encourage you to be the first one to write on their “whiteboard,” which is something I refer to it when I lead a counselor training workshop. Just about every single student starts their college search process with biases for and against different schools. Some are legitimate and some are inaccurate and downright crazy. That’s because someone (a friend, a family member, a teacher, the media, etc) has written on that student or parent’s “whiteboard” and told them what to think about your school before you got the chance or took the initiative to.

What you need to do next is figure out why they feel the way they do not only about your school, but also about the local university in question. What do they want out of a college experience and how do they see (or not see) different schools being able to provide (or not provide) that for them or their child?

For example, if your school is more than a few hours away for these prospective students, why is that a problem in their mind? Are they afraid of the not fitting in and making friends because they don’t know anyone at your school and they think there’s going to be nothing to do there, or is there a more concrete reason behind why going that far away for college is a concern? If it’s an issue of fear, which I’ve found in many cases it is, now it’s up to you to reframe the conversation and explain why coming to your school will be exciting and not scary…and you’re going to need concrete and personalized examples when you tell those stories if you truly want them to make a positive impact on the other person and change their point of view.

You can write on their “whiteboard” every single time you conduct a high school visit, meet them at a college fair or during a campus visit, or through email, letters, phone calls, and social media.

The longer you wait the harder it becomes and the more likely that student will make the safe, less risky choice (i.e. the local university closer to home; the bigger name school; the cheaper option, etc).

Good luck!

Two Times More Persuasion Power With These Four WordsMonday, July 24th, 2017

Interesting words and phrases that equal better results fascinate me.

Years ago, we published our well known article about the power of “because”, and coaches who have incorporated it into their recruiting language have seen big increases in their ability to get recruits to give them an answer to their key questions. It’s part of the science that we love to see being incorporated into recruiting plans.

Well, there’s another study that we’ll be starting to use in the plans we design for coaching staffs. And it centers around four words that can double a user’s success rate with their prospects.

It involves using the phrase “But you are free to choose”, or “BYAF” for short.

Here’s an important section from the Neuroscience Marketing blog on the strategy:

This technique has been studied extensively. Christopher Carpenter of Western Illinois University conducted a meta study of worldwide research on BYAF and came up with 42 studies that involved 22,000 participants. BYAF was found to double the success rate in this huge data set.

The exact language doesn’t seem to be important. Pointing out that the person isn’t obligated to do as you ask seems equally effective. The key is to give the person the security of knowing they are free to choose.

Why isn’t this used more often? I think BYAF may seem counter-intuitive to sales people. A typical sales effort often focuses on showing how the customer’s other choices are less desirable or won’t work at all. To wrap up a lengthy persuasive discussion with a reminder that the customer is free to choose seems, at first glance, like a recipe for failure. To some salespeople, it may seem to indicated a lack of confidence in their solution.

The way to use BYAF without seeming wishy-washy is to express your confident opinion while still pointing out that the customer is free to choose.

One important rule to follow is to not use it in a direct “sales” situation. I’ll translate that in saying that when you are asking for a final decision from your prospect, using the BYAF method wouldn’t be something you would want to do, according to the research. In that stressful moment of needing to make a decision, hearing you say something to the effect of “look, we want you, but we need your decision before you leave campus. If you aren’t ready to make that decision, you can walk away and we’ll move on. You are free to choose”, would come across as rude, and gimmicky. It screams “hard sell”.

However, in the process of making small decisions along the way, the BYAF strategy works wonderfully. For example, we are starting to see it work when giving the prospect a choice of visiting campus, for example: “We’d love to have you come on our big visit weekend with a lot of other recruits, or you can schedule a time when it would be just you and your parents here on campus. You are free to choose.”

As the article observes, using exactly those four words is vitally important.

There are plenty of situations you can try to use this proven phrasing. Just a few of the more successful areas include:

  • Talking to prospects about visiting campus
  • Applying to your school before the deadline
  • Discussing the cost of coming to your school with parents
  • Spending time with the team while a recruit visits campus

Using science and psychology as a part of your recruiting language is important, Coach. Look for ways to incorporate proven strategies like this as you begin your next recruiting campaign.

For more than a decade, we have teamed with coaches around the country who want to take a more research-based, scientific approach to their recruiting strategies. The process we take them through works. If you’d like to find out how we would specifically work for you and your program, email Dan Tudor directly at dan@dantudor.com

 

This Week in Tech – July 25, 2017Monday, July 24th, 2017

Every week, Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, and Neal Cook, Director of Support at Front Rush, review recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech.

Neal: Aloha, Kenneth! Another week, another Tuesday, where does the time go?

Ken: Hey Neal, I hope you had a good week. This week was pretty quiet in the tech world, however, we scoured the interwebs to dig up the best stories from the week.

Neal: Even if I had a bad week, I’d say it was a good week. “How’s it going?“, should be replaced with a different question. You get the same answers all of the time. I do hope you and all our readers had fantastic, dream filled weeks.

To the tech front, one little bit of news that is really mind-blowing if you think about it, is Microsoft’s plan to bring broadband internet to an estimated 34 million Americans, 23.4 million of them in rural areas. How do they plan to do this? Well, it’s quite simple, they are going to use the ‘white space’ in between TV channels to give the household broadband Internet access.

It really confused me at first. White Spaces are gaps between television channels on the wireless spectrum below 700 MHz. Scientists have figured out a way to turn that unused ‘white space’ into internet for those who are in rural areas with either no access to internet (or over-expensive internet).

It’s a massive undertaking, and would need wide-adoption to be successful. It still boggles me that some households do not have access to internet. It’s become critical in all aspects of life, especially education. I’d love to see this take off and provide more Americans with access to the web.

Ken: Yea, and I think it’s great that such a big company – like Microsoft – is spearheading this. The article we read mentions that there has been some success already with similar projects in 17 countries around the world. Sometimes we take it for granted, because many of us live in overpopulated areas. It’s a no brainer for a company to invest in an area where hundreds of thousands of potential customers live. Those more remote places might not show such promising results. However, if this technology proves to be effective, Microsoft will be the only game in town – literally. And while we’re on the topic of location, let’s switch to this Hyperloop. It’s kind of ironic how on one hand, we have Microsoft trying to bring broadband internet to places in this country that don’t have it, and on the other we have Elon Musk trying to build a super fast speed line between major cities in the Northeast.

Neal: Elon Musk tweeted “Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins,” though, this hasn’t been confirmed by the White House or anyone else in government.

Ask any European what they think about the state of America’s public transit, and they’ll laugh in your face. The few subways we do have in the east coast fail in comparison to the transportation across the pond. We all agree that quicker transit is a win-win. The average American commutes 100 hours a year to work and would greatly benefit from such improvements to our infrastructure. The Hyperloop could travel up to 800mph (double the speed of an airplane), while whisking passengers in low-pressure steel tubes. I am a big fan of Musk and I hope that this project takes off just like Microsoft’s internet initiative. How do you see this playing out?

Ken: Well, like you said it hasn’t yet been confirmed – but I like the idea of it. Of course, this also wouldn’t just go up overnight, but Musk is ambitious and I think he’s got the right mindset to get the job done. While the ability to jump across a few states in under a half hour is appealing, the price tag might not be. I’ll be really interested to follow this story and see how it pans out. The idea of giving people more time to spend with their families or explore areas that might typically need to take place over a few days is a great concept. Plus, who doesn’t want to be stuck in a metal tube going 800mph first thing in the morning?

Neal: That would definitely give you an extra jolt with your morning joe. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see these both progress over the next few years.

With that being said, it’s time to say goodbye for another week. Don’t forget to be your unique self this weekend. You’re one hell of a guy. See ya!

Ken: Thanks, Neal – next week we’ll have to find a topic we can banter more about!

I’ve Got Two Creative Student Recruitment Strategies for YouTuesday, July 18th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Some call it “the grind.” Others say they feel like a robot.

It’s a conversation I have a lot each recruiting cycle with college admission professionals across the country. Once a new year begins they quickly feel like they’re doing and saying the same thing(s) over and over to every prospect and parent.

A big part of the frustration, I’m often told, centers on how this generation of teenage prospects communicates and ultimately makes their college decision. As I’ve told you before, it’s often completely illogical and irrational. You can choose to accept that as fact and change your approach, or you can continue to recruit the same way every year and cross your fingers.

The bottom line is this next class of prospective students is looking for “different,” “original,” and “about them” when you communicate with each one.

If you feel like you’re repeating the same worn out recruiting script, and you’re looking for something different, I urge you to consider using one or both of the strategies below. These tips coupled with our admissions training workshop helped multiple clients of ours increase their yield this year, and in one case, bring in the largest freshman class in more than 20 years.

  • Recruiting messaging straight from your counselors. Most schools send singular emails and letters throughout a typical recruiting cycle that aren’t tied together and have different people’s names on them. All of our focus group research continues to show that how the admissions staff treats a prospect throughout the college search process is one of the two most important factors when it comes time for that prospect to make a final decision. If you want to differentiate yourself and create engagement, this is an effective way to do both.  Our clients know that when you create and cultivate a recruiting relationship between a counselor and a prospect/family, you build trust and loyalty. Your prospects will want to continue to interact with you rather than your competitors, and your counselors will have a much better feel for what that prospect is looking for and how they plan to come to a final decision.
  • Plant questions you’d like your competitors to address. Attacking or criticizing your competition directly comes off as petty and unprofessional. But during a conversation with your prospect, it’s okay to bring up issues, facts, questions or topics that would raise doubts about your competitors.  This is a good, subtle way of planting questions in the mind of your prospect that they’ll want to raise if and when they talk to another school they’re considering.  Done correctly, this is a great technique for raising your stock in the mind of your prospect.

You and I both know that student recruitment is stressful, competitive, and at times confusing.  Being more persuasive is a great equalizer.  It doesn’t cost more and it doesn’t discriminate based on your school’s name or size.

Learning to be persuasive is an important tool that all college admissions professionals need to develop.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we create a yearly recruiting communication plan (emails and letters) that comes straight from your counselors, email me and we’ll start a conversation about how and why this approach works.

I’ll talk to you again next week!

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: July 18, 2017Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q.  An Admissions Counselor asks:

“Hi Jeremy, I hope you are doing well. Thank you for taking the time to read my question. What do you know about students’ preferred time to make college visits? Do they prefer weekends, weekdays, holidays, or summer? We are trying to tailor our campus visits to best meet the needs of the students. It’s no secret how important it is for prospective students to set foot on a college campus they are considering attending, and making sure that piece of the process is as refined as possible is what we are trying to do. Thank you very much for your consideration.”

A.  Thank you for your question! It’s hard for me to give you a definitive answer because at the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference, and those preferences can change based on a host of different factors.

Remember that when planning a campus visit families have to take into account things like school restrictions, work/vacation schedules, homework, sports and activities, childcare, etc. And I didn’t even mention travel expenses (gas, airfare, hotel, food, etc).

Because time is such an important factor in everything we do, giving each prospect/parent a concrete reason why they should visit your campus is more important than ever. Is everybody in your office consistently doing that right now?

Keeping that in mind, I would recommend you try to avoid summer visits (and holidays) and here’s why. During those times, you’re almost always missing one key ingredient – your current students. There’s less energy on campus and you have fewer opportunities to create emotional connections.

I understand that summer visits are unavoidable in some cases, so here are three things for that timeframe that I would recommend:

  • Make it a shorter visit
  • Work in extra 1 on 1 time with the prospect and their parent(s)
  • Talk about the importance of getting them back on campus during the school year

At the end of the day, I believe you need to offer multiple visit options and encourage more weekday and weekend visits…unless you’re a “suitcase college” in which case weekend visits will present many of the same challenges that summer visits do. Regardless of when you offer a visit day there will always be obstacles. Figure out what those are based on your location, student body, etc and adjust as best you can.

I’d also encourage you, if you haven’t done this already, to take your visit data from the past 2 or 3 years and see if there’s a clear time preference among the different demographics you’re targeting.

The last piece of advice I want to give you is a simple but important reminder. Prospective students go to a college campus expecting to receive personal attention. How are you making sure from start to finish that they feel “important,” and that they leave campus with the information they want and need.

Good luck! And you’ve given me an idea for some survey research in the next year so stay tuned.

This Week in Tech – July 18, 2017Monday, July 17th, 2017

Every week, Ken Whittaker, Director of Engineering, and Neal Cook, Director of Support at Front Rush, review recent tech news, offering analysis and banter about changes in tech.

Ken: Hey Neal! Numbers for our last blog were off the charts – actually – we have no idea, but let’s just pretend they were! This time we’re going to tackle the biggest event of the week – Amazon’s Prime Day. Towards the end, we’ll touch on a topic you previously blogged about regarding Net Neutrality, as that was back in the news as well.

Neal: Bonjour, Ken! That blog was definitely off the charts; my phone has been off the hook with interview requests. We’re going to have take this one down a notch. Let’s get rockin!

Ken: Alright, so if you touched any electronic device this week – you probably heard, saw, or read something about “Prime Day.” The media outlets reported on it, Amazon’s competitors responded to it in one way or another, and you may have already started to see the cardboard pile up. A few years ago, Amazon started Prime Day to give it’s Prime users access to great deals. There was some criticism by those that said this was just a way for Amazon to clear the warehouse of items that didn’t sell. While that may be true, we can’t overlook its success.

Neal: I think most people were underwhelmed with the deals this year. I was able to score a 23andME DNA/Health/Ancestry test for $99 bucks instead of $200, that’s been on my wishlist for awhile. I tried to stay away from the rest of the deals, it’s very easy to be pressured online with discounted goods. Amazon absolutely dominates the e-commerce industry, one of the reasons why is there “aggressive pricing strategy.” They have so much data on you and I that they can predict the ideal price for every item. So, the pair of shoes you see for $78 might be $77.98 for me (or vice-versa). You can clearly see this when the items are priced at $12.79 or $13.60. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Amazon’s pricing strategy used to be more of a fixed price for most of the goods.

Ken: I browsed a little but didn’t make any purchases on Prime Day this year. One thing that often gets overlooked is that this event is for Prime Members. While there are free trials available to new users, an Amazon Prime account generally costs $99/year or $9.99 monthly. That alone is a massive boost to Amazon. Even those that sign up, think they can get the deals for Prime Day, and then cancel might not end up following through with the last part. And you’re absolutely right, Amazon has been able to dominate the e-commerce industry for years. I’m not too sure on the fixed price – but fluctuating pricing is just a simple example of supply and demand. It’s easier to change the price of an item for 1 hour only, then it is to have employees run around and change signs for door buster or flash sales.

Neal: I’m curious to know what metrics Amazon used to track whether or not the day was a success. On to net neutrality news, July 12th was ‘net neutrality’ day, prominent tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix all showed their support for net neutrality in one way or another. Net neutrality is the basic principle that your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should never block or limit sites, regardless of the source. Tim-Berners-Lee, who invented the world-wide-web in 1989, said it best in this 44 second video, saying “If we lost net neutrality, we lose the internet as we know it”. My question to you Ken, do you think the cable lobbyists will get their way and reverse net neutrality?

Ken: This is a tricky one. Obviously, the world-wide-web is not even close to as primitive as it was in 1989. I don’t think Mr. Berners-Lee could have predicted the scale at which applications be built, but there’s no doubt in my mind he knew it would be huge. The problem the ISPs are faced with is – the internet is too good. Cord cutters opt not to pay for a cable subscription, because they can pay another service – such as Sling, YouTube TV, Hulu, etc. for live television channels. Of course, cable has the upper hand right now in terms of number of channels and content…but for people that only sit down to watch a specific show or channel, they don’t need all the fluff. Fast internet with the ability to stream the shows they want is the obvious option. The idea of packages and upgrades then goes away, somewhat. As content providers come up with their own free apps (getting revenue from advertisers) – ISPs are looking for an alternative. Yesterday I saw something interesting that hadn’t occurred to me before. A popular deal site Slickdeals had a posting where they put all of this in perspective. What if your ISP blocked access to content in a similar way Cable companies block access to TV channels? That part of Net Neutrality is scary, and I think will be a hard battle for these companies to overcome anytime soon.

Neal: Scary stuff there Ken, we need to start being more cheery. Let’s talk about unicorns next week. You are right about the cord-cutters, in news many saw coming, there are now more Netflix subscribers (50.9 million) than the total subscribers for the top cable companies (48.6 million). To your point, you can see how this scares the living s*** out of them. What scares me more is someone telling me what I can and cannot do online. We shall see how the next few months pan out. As a concerned citizen, you can go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express, enter the number 17-108 in the proceeding field, and let the FCC know you want to keep the internet open.

That about wraps it up for this week. It’s been a pleasure, Ken. Once those DNA results come back I’ll be sure to share with you, hoping there’s some magic in my blood. See you next week!

Ken: Haha, great! See you next week!

Championship Morning Routine – Part 5Monday, July 17th, 2017

The last and final step to the Championship Morning Routine that I talked about at the 2017 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.  If you want to read the first five parts, go here.

Step 6 of the Championship Morning Routine is that Champions Quit

Here is how you are going to do it. In the morning, before you leave for your day, you’re going to give yourself a quitting time. Yep, you heard me right, you’re going to decide when you’re actually going to quit working.  You see there’s a concept called Parkinson’s Law, which I have talked about many times before, that says work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

I’m sure you’ve seen this play out in your own life. In college, maybe you had all semester to write a huge research paper.  Are you guilty of wasting the whole semester and waited until the last 24 hours to get started and then you turned it in at the very last minute?  I know I was guilty of doing that.

The same thing happens with your recruiting phone calls. You know you have all of these phone calls to make in order to grow your program.  The call itself will take you 10 minutes but what do you do? You think and strategize about it and the next thing you know, you’ve wasted 45 minutes thinking about the call and you haven’t even made it yet. The more time you waste tweaking, perfecting, thinking, and stressing, the less time you have to work on things that matter or to make more phone calls. The worst part of all of this time wasted, is that nobody even notices the extra 80% effort and time that you wasted putting into it.

Every single day, I’ve gotten into the habit of giving myself a deadline whether I’m at home or on the road. I determine what time I am going to stop working and when I stop, I go hang out with my family or I do something to rest and recharge.

This has been such a powerful and drastic change in my life. Before I set a deadline, I would just work, work, work and then I would go home and I would be half on my phone or half be working, and I wouldn’t be present with anything.  And then when the kids would go to bed, I would work some more. By setting a deadline, it keeps me honest with myself.  It keeps me focused on what I need to get done and more importantly, it helps me create a boundary between work and home.

I’m not going to lie to you, there are lots of days where I have to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to quit. Sometimes I even need to force myself to step away and stop working for the day. I am addicted to work just as much as the next coach and when the demand in my life intensifies, my pattern had been to hunker down and push harder.  Not anymore.

It’s been really surprising to me how this one change can be in creating control and balance in your life. Setting a deadline puts a time pressure on your so that you accomplish more with less stress.

If quitting for the entire night is not an option because you have recruiting calls to make, at least plan an hour of free time EVERY NIGHT!  Get off the grid.  No recruiting emails, no phone calls, no checking your phone during this hour or two. 

Play with your kids. Take a 30 minute walk outside. Meditate. Workout. Watch your favorite show.  Enjoy the time with the ones you love. Call a friend. Go to a movie.  Do whatever it is for you that you love to do and makes you happy.

After you take this rest and recovery from work time for yourself, you are going to feel so much more mentally clear, present, and so much less stressed.

So there you have it.  To recap the Championship morning routine.

  1. Make a plan the night before so you can start the day on purpose.
  2. Don’t sleep with your phone.
  3. Let your mind wander instead of getting sucked into your phone or to-do list.
  4. Focus on making progress, not to-do lists
  5. Spend 30 minutes working on your goals.
  6. Set a quit time before you leave the house.

I hope that this information has been helpful.  If you have decided to try this, please let me know how it goes.  If you have your own morning routine that you have found sets you up for a great day, I’d love to hear about it.  Email me at mandy@busy.coach

This Year’s Award Goes to…Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Award shows highlight the amazing work of people in any given industry or profession.  They also bring about healthy competition and allow for both personal and team growth.

Later this week, ESPN will broadcast their 25th annual ESPY awards (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly). Once a year the worldwide leader assembles some of the greatest athletes on the planet all under one roof and then celebrates and relives the best moments of the past calendar year.

In honor of the ESPYs, in 2015 I came up with the TCS Awards for college admissions. There is one small difference. I’m not actually handing out trophies to specific people today. Instead, I’m going to give you some very important reminders and strategies that will help you as you begin to recruit this next class of students.

Are you ready to get started with the show?

Here’s a look at this year’s categories and award winners:

Courage Award: This award goes to the Director of Admissions who understands that this generation of students wants a variety of messaging during their college search process, even after they’re committed to your school. From beginning to end, you need to consistently tell your school’s story via email, direct mail, phone calls, text messaging, social media, and in-person in a way that promotes and encourages engagement. It’s okay to be different in your tone and language because that approach will increase the engagement level you receive back. Once you get a prospect or parent to pay attention to what you’re saying, then you have to keep them engaged. The moment you (or your content) become boring or predictable, you’ll lose their attention.

Best Breakthrough Counselor: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor who is self aware enough to know when to ask for help from their colleagues. They worry less about perception and more about effectively serving students and families. They understand that not asking for help can cause a situation to grow from a problem into a crisis. On top of that, not asking for help can cause way too much time to be spent on a task when their energy and focus are needed elsewhere.

Best Record-Breaking Performance: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor who’s able to get 8 or 9 out of every 10 students they call to answer the phone and engage with them. That performance is the result of setting up calls ahead of time, communicating the purpose of the call, and allowing each student to ask questions versus dominating the entire conversation with a bunch of facts and figures.

Best Director/VP of Enrollment: This award goes to the Director of Admissions or Vice President of Enrollment who creates and maintains a motivated and confident admissions team. They understand that, just like the students they’re recruiting, each of their staff members needs to be managed differently and has different motivations and fears. As a leader, they’re consistent with their message, ask for input and new ideas, and understand the importance of both ownership and recognition. This year’s winner also values collaborating with other offices on campus, specifically financial aid. They set up cross training between admissions counselors and those in financial aid so that everyone’s skill sets are expanded and time is used more efficiently.

Best Upset Award: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor who isn’t afraid to go up against their big name competitors because they know they have a winning strategy. The foundation of that strategy is consistent, personalized communication from the counselor to both the student and his or her parents. Within those communications there needs to be constant reinforcement about why choosing the smaller name school is going to be the smarter choice for them.

Best Championship Performance: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor, new or veteran, who has delivered the best performance turning admits into deposits. They understand the power of creating and cultivating an emotional connection with their prospects because those same prospects trust their feelings as they make their final decision about a college or university.

Best Comeback Award: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor who doesn’t avoid talking about objections and instead confronts negatives that they consistently hear about their school early on. They anticipate the common ones (like financial aid and location), get clarification, and become a problem solver for their prospects.

Best Moment Award: This award goes to the Admissions Counselor whose hard work is rewarded in a major way when they get a big YES after they “ask for the sale.” Most admissions counselors rarely ask for that commitment, instead assuming that their prospect will tell them once they make their final college decision. If you’ve built trust, understood your prospect’s individual needs, and answered any objections, the next logical step in the process is to ask for this.

Best Team Award: This award goes to the small college or university whose leadership creates and promotes a working environment where the admissions, financial aid, athletics and campus visit staffs all work in sync. Doing so creates a unified campus community that shows prospects and parents the kind of support they can expect to receive.

Thanks for being a part of the 3rd Annual TCS Admissions Awards, and enjoy the rest of your day. We’ll see you next year with more awards for college admission professionals.

P.S. If one of your summer discussions has to do with changing your messaging/comm. flow, check out this unique approach with a BIG R.O.I.

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