Dan Tudor

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How to Run Your Program Like McDonaldsSunday, December 31st, 2017

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Now that you are probably already back in work mode after the holidays, I want you to think for a second about how you and/or your co-workers work on a daily basis.

Do you have a consistent way of doing things or is it a little bit different every time?

As you know already, the way you do things currently in the office, with your team, or with recruiting produces a certain result.  If your step-by-step process for getting things done is random and each of your co-workers does things their own way, it depends on their mood, or it depends on the time of the day, you are going to get random results, and random results are usually bad results for you coach. 

So what’s the solution?

This may seem way out in left field, but I want you to think about running your program like a franchise, which is one of the most successful business models in the world.

What is it exactly that franchisees do? They follow documented procedures.

Each franchise unit under a franchise brand, such as Domino’s Pizza or McDonald’s, performs exactly in the same way as the next. Franchise brands figure out a formula that really works, even with the very smallest procedures of an operation, and then they document the procedures so that others can follow the format and repeat the model with the same level of success.   

So how would this work with your program?  Think about all of the things that you do as a coach that are reoccurring events.  Some examples would be: answering the phone, setting up a practice, running meetings, processing email, setting up an on-campus visit, or anything having to do with recruiting to name a few.

Do you fly by the seat of your pants daily to get these things done or do you have a documented system that is consistent that will produce the desired result that you want no matter who performs the task?

Ultimately, as a coach you want to find the best way of doing things, document it, apply it every single time, and keep finding ways to approve it along the way.

Documenting your daily repeatable procedures in order to produce quality and efficiency is so effective it almost seems like there’s magic in it. Again, that’s everything. How can we apply the best solution to every situation?

Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth, centers itself around this concept and it will be the basis for my upcoming Win the Day Academy Group Coaching Program. 

Here is how you start the process of documenting your systems.

Have a meeting with your staff. You want predictable results, and so you put everybody together, you find the best way to do things and you all do it the same way.

  1. Write down your three biggest problems right now.  It might be with another employee, and it might be with a process (on-campus visits, processing email, recruiting phone calls, etc.) But it all leads down to a system that needs some tweaking or there needs to be a system corrected altogether. 
  2. Then you need to document your processes as they are now. If there’s any kind of a coherent step-by-step process in your particular procedure you need to document it one, two, three.  Just the way it is now. It is much easier to construct your new procedure when you know exactly what your old procedure was. It’s much easier to tweak something that’s already in place, and something you can clearly see, rather than trying to create the perfect procedure from scratch.
  3. Once things are down on paper, start analyzing the steps. It’s much easier to analyze on paper than just randomly thinking about it. When it’s down on paper you can look at it and you can analyze it. If it’s not on paper there’s no analysis, it’s just random floating thoughts. You have to nail it down.

Another thing, writing your processes down demands focus. Focus equals study. Study equals understanding of the process, and understanding the process equals the ability to repair the steps that don’t make sense, and especially to add new steps.

When you get this sorted out, this could be the big difference between your new program and your old program. Or if you’re on your own with no staff, how you used to do things and how you do things now.

Documentation of all of your processes is so potent because it allows you to manage your systems. You want to put your hands around them and get them going in the direction you want them to go, and you want them to perform the same way every single time, because that is what creates efficiency.

You want your processes to be hyper-efficient every single time it’s executed. Rather than efficient one time, sort of efficient the next, and terrible the next time. The great execution every time adds up to something very good over the long term.

Finding the best way of doing things, documenting it, learning how and when to apply it every single time, and keep finding ways to approve it along the way will be the focus of my upcoming Win the Day Academy Group Coaching Program.  For more information, click the link or email me with your questions at mandy@busy.coach.  It is starting on January 3rd so don’t miss out!

How to Stop Giving Up Control of Your Day to Everyone and Anyone Who AsksFriday, December 22nd, 2017

by Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

“I just don’t have time to do it all.”  Here at Busy Coach, we hear that a lot from the coaches that we work with.  It seems to have become the mantra of this generation of coaches. 

Most feel overwhelmed. 

There’s just so much to do!  Over and over again comes the same frustrated question: “How do I fit it all in?”

For all college coaches, fitting it all in is a function of priority management.  If you think about it, priority management is less about managing your calendar than it is about managing your decisions.  By learning to prioritize and manage your decisions well, you will have a leg up on most of your competitors because you’ll be putting onto your calendar what is truly most important to you. 

Unfortunately, while most coaches have thoughts, hunches, and ideas about what is important, they rarely transfer those ideas to their calendars.  And that is why it so quickly fills up with reactive stuff:

“Oh, I need to have that meeting with the captains?”
“Oh, there’s this crisis with the team?”

“Oh, I haven’t got that recruiting letter out yet?”
“Oh, I have to take this call from admissions?”

Coaches who talk like this get to what they label as “important” only after reacting to the crisis stuff. 

How does this happen? 

It happens when you don’t make and stick to a daily plan.   Coaches everyday give the controls of their day–and with it their success and sanity–to anyone and everyone who asks.  As a result, they come to us feeling unproductive and stressed out.

Start being ‘intentional’ with what you want to see both in your program and in your life.  Control the route and outcome of your day by scheduling into your day the activities that will be important to both your program and to your life.

Priority Management:

There are three important questions to ask yourself when scheduling your day.

1.  What is important to you?  You will not be able to manage your daily routine until you first figure out what is most important to you.   Whatever that may be, you know that getting it done will enable you to be more focused, productive, successful, and happier. 

2. What is your vision?  Running a program without a vision of where you want to be is much like building a puzzle without having the picture on the box.  Schedule activities that will lead you in the direction of your vision every single day. 

3. What is your roadmap to success look like?  What will it take to win at your program?  What are the things your staff and team needs to do everyday to be successful?  Schedule these activities into your day, every single day. 

The answers to the three questions above are the non-negotiables.  These things have to be scheduled into your calendar and worked on everyday. 

 Coach, if you don’t schedule your priorities, everyone and everything else around you will.  If you don’t take charge of your schedule, your team, assistants, recruits, parents, administrators, and whoever or whatever else will fill your days for you. 

 If you don’t identify your top priorities and schedule your day around them, at the end of the day you’ll always find yourself using leftover space to cram in what you consider important.   

 The worst thing?  The end of the day is usually family time or exhaustion time.   If you find yourself in that regrettable situation, there’s only one thing to do: step up and take charge of your schedule. 

Something Different That I Need You to ReadTuesday, December 19th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

It’s 11:53pm EST on Thursday night and I just pulled out my MacBook in-flight on my way home to Indianapolis.

You won’t read this article for a few days but I just can’t get these thoughts out of my mind, so I’m going to start typing while they’re fresh.

“Why do you care so much?” That’s the question an admissions counselor asked me this week during our 1-on-1 meeting that accompanied the workshop I led. The older I get, the more I’ve actually found myself thinking about this whole notion of a “kindness gene.”

Why do some people care more than others and how is it that a lot of those same people are able to cultivate trust with a complete stranger (and get them to take action on something) after a single conversation?

You can go to Google and find all kinds of studies about character traits, but in a nutshell, there’s a lot of evidence that suggests there is empathy in our genes.

I’m bringing this topic to your attention today because as this generation of students searches for their “right fit” college or university, caring more than your competition continues to significantly impact a student’s final decision.

I have over 3 years of survey data from college campuses nationwide that shows how the admissions staff treats a student and their family throughout the college search process influences their final decision more than factors like affordability, location, and the prestige of a college’s name.

One of the survey questions we ask is, “What was the deciding factor that led you to pick <College Name>?”

  • “My admissions counselor’s motivation to make sure that I knew everything I needed to.”
  • “How much care admissions counselors took in making sure I had all the information I needed, and financial/scholarship plans.”
  • “The contact I had with my admissions counselor throughout the decision process and other staff members whom I spoke to more than once and remembered me.”

Those direct quotes came from surveys at schools in Texas and Minnesota that I visited this week. Just about every time I do a workshop there are similar quotes from other students in a school’s survey.

I would argue that, in many cases, consistently demonstrating you care more than your competition can help a family overcome the cost barrier, the fear factor, and a whole lot more.

As we get ready to enter 2018, I thought it was really important to remind you of this.

You have the ability to show how much you care every single day in every single interaction you have with other people. And it’s easy for another person to tell when you genuinely care versus when you’re trying to act a certain way because you know it’s part of your job.

By the way, if you’re wondering how you can show students and families that you care more than your competitors, here are two easy ways.

  • Listen more to them
  • Stay in consistent contact with them throughout their entire process

Before I sign off I want to again thank you for being a loyal reader of this newsletter. I’ve met so many of you IRL (in real life) this year and the stories you shared about the impact of an article I wrote, a strategy you tried that I had suggested, or just telling me you shared something from my newsletter with a colleague means the world to me.

The exciting news is, I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface yet on what I have to give! At the same time, it’s hard for me to do that without your feedback…a podcast, video from a workshop I lead, posting a talk or keynote I give…these are a few suggestions I’ve already received but you tell me what you want.

Click this link and send me a quick email right now. I’d love to hear your comment or suggestion (positive or negative).


How I Created 12 Months of No Recruiting StressMonday, December 18th, 2017

by Mandy Green, Busy.coach

I have been a college soccer coach for over 18 years now. 

When I first started out as an assistant in my early 20’s (and not married yet), I LOVED going out and watching potential student-athletes play for 10 hours a day at tournaments.  I really liked the process of writing to them, hearing back from them, getting them on campus, and then ultimately getting them to commit to our program.  At the time, I could afford to spend 40+ hours a week on recruiting. 

Then I became an associate head coach, had to take on all of the responsibilities that came with it, and was in a serious relationship.  Even with all of these new responsibilities, I wanted to continue to spend as much time on recruiting as possible because I knew that the success of the program depended on it.  I gave it my best effort for a while and then reached a point where I was frustrated, burned out, and had the hopeless feeling that I wasn’t doing any one of the things I was responsible for well.   

I knew something had to give but I just wasn’t sure what. 

First, I went out and spent a fortune on coaching books and soccer conferences.  Then I decided to try Dan Tudor’s “Building a Winning Recruiting Message” workshop in California.

At the workshop, I was like a sponge.  I frantically wrote down every piece of information as Dan showed us how to get our story out there to recruits, how to write more effective letters, gave us better questions to ask them on the phone, taught us a new way to deal with objections, showed us new ways to recruit parents, took us through a recruiting plan, among other things.      

I sat and talked to my assistant that night after the workshop about all of the new, productive, and more efficient ways we were going to go out and recruit.  I was so excited about all of this new information that I couldn’t sleep for days. 

Then I got overwhelmed with all of it.  It was all such great information, but when and how was I going to find the time to apply all of it to my program with all of the other stuff I had to get done?

I needed a plan.  I thought back to the process that Dan took us through at the workshop, pulled out the forms he gave us to use as an outline, and started writing.

First I wrote down and evaluated everything I was doing from a time perspective.  I made a list of all the recruiting activities I was doing in a week (watching games, writing letters, emails, phone calls, on-campus visits) and determined how much time I was spending on each.  What an eye opening exercise that was for me.  I realized that I was being inefficient, I was unorganized, and was spending too much time on things that weren’t producing results. 

I prioritized my list of recruiting activities to make sure I was focusing on things that would generate the greatest results, I figured out what time of the day was best for me to get my recruiting business done with the fewest interruptions, and I gave each recruiting activity a specific amount time to complete.  Just by managing my time better, it was amazing how much more time I had in the office to prepare for training or for managing the team.  I got into the office at the same time as I usually did, but was able to leave earlier with less stress and more of a satisfied feeling that I had actually accomplished something.         

The next step I needed to take, and probably one of the most important activities that I learned at the Building a Winning Recruiting Message workshop, was to lay out a 12-month recruiting calendar. 

In the 10 years that I had been a coach prior to that workshop, I never sat down and planned out a year in advance.  First, it never occurred to me to do it because I thought I was doing things on the fly. Second, I didn’t think that I had the time to sit down and plan a year in advance.  It took me about a week to get a good foundation, but boy was that time well spent. 

I created my plan by focusing on themes and topics for each month of the year. I used Dan’s advice with my letters and emails to shorten them and change the message to get more of a response. And I worked my message around important deadlines or events on campus. I also figured out when and how I was going to recruit parents, their club and high school coaches.

Planning ahead of time what I was going to say to recruits, parents, and club coaches each month was such a stress reliever for me and I know that it will be for you if you take the time to plan your next recruiting year. 

Interested in learning more about how to organize your recruiting plan, your social media, and how to work better day by day, go to www.busy.coach.  If you have a plan that you have already written and would like feedback on, feel free to send it my way at mandy@busy.coach.

How Are You Really Different?Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

That is one of the biggest questions that prospective students want you to answer for them during the student recruitment process.

Just about every college and university has a campus, classrooms, professors, residence halls, a dining facility, a student center, and so on. Are all those things the same at every school? I don’t think so.

Sure, a lot of colleges offer similar experiences, but there are also a lot of things that make your school, and every other college that your prospects are considering, unique.

The problem is, too many colleges continue to look and sound the same in the eyes and minds of most prospective students (your website, your communications, your campus visit, etc).

Instead of just saying you have “professors who care,” start providing concrete, detailed examples of how they care. And if you have a “friendly, welcoming community,” then give some more context that allows your prospect to connect the dots and understand why that kind of atmosphere is important and how it will make their experience at your school more enjoyable and worthwhile.

If you’re a client of ours, or you’ve had me on your campus to lead an admissions training workshop (or you happen to follow me on Twitter), then you know how much I constantly stress the importance of being unique, original, and even surprising when it comes to how you approach and handle student recruitment.

One thing we continue to hear from students in the ongoing survey research we conduct is that aside from a college’s profile (small, private; large, public, etc) and the actual dollar amounts in their financial aid award, they struggle to understand what makes school A different and better than school B and C when it comes to fulfilling their wants and their needs. This generation of students is craving a reason to choose a college based on the unique selling proposition it offers them.

Before I give you some ideas on how to be different and stand out, let me back up for a second because I want to quickly address something that’s come up a lot in conversations I’ve had this year with admissions counselors and those who hold positions of leadership…plus it ties in with this article and I just believe it’s that important.

Truly standing out takes real courage! I would argue that a lot of college admission and Higher Ed professionals are scared to overhaul a process, change their approach, or move forward with an unconventional idea because of a fear of failure.

Making a change individually or recommending change within the office isn’t easy, but if you want different results and you want to stay ahead of your competitors, it’s what needs to be done. Nobody bats a thousand. We’ve all made mistakes, and we’ll all make more mistakes down the line. Without those mistakes, it’s hard to achieve real growth.

If you’re in agreement with me, I also encourage you to remember that not every prospective student and family is one in the same. Sometimes a great recruiting idea that generates results with one student or segment of students might not be effective for another. And always be mindful of the fact that the execution of an idea doesn’t always happen seamlessly the first time around. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea that won’t produce the results you want.

Here are a few aspects of the student recruitment process where we’ve helped schools take a different approach and subsequently make a considerable impact:

  • Emails, letters, brochures and other communications. Study after study says that this generation of students no longer reads things in their entirety. Why then do so many colleges still take the long-winded, cram every fact and statistic about their school in small font approach in their efforts to reach students and families? If you know that your prospects scan everything then go ahead and make your communications shorter in length and have them focus clearly on just one idea. Then have that communication set up your next message and so on. As far as the language you use, if you want to create a reaction and get engagement from your reader (so you can find out what they actually think about what you just shared with them), you need to forget the writing rules. Take a less formal and more conversational approach. That approach does not, I repeat DOES NOT, make you or your school sound unprofessional. It actually makes you more relatable, which makes establishing a relationship with a prospect or parent much easier.
  • Campus visits. More and more I’m hearing stories of students feeling overwhelmed by all that they see and hear during a campus visit. That’s not the feeling you want them to have considering how important the campus visit is in a student’s final decision. Let’s start with your information/welcome session. Most colleges offer a quick overview of their campus along with information on academics, financial aid and scholarships, as well as the application process. Be honest. Do you find your current presentation riveting? Start by offering separate sessions for both students and parents. Each group values different things so come up with topics accordingly. For students, how about a current freshman or sophomore talking about “living with a roommate” or “how I not only survived freshman year, but thrived”. You want it to be something that grabs and keeps their attention, offers value, and is memorable. Speaking of separating students and parents, would it surprise you to know that some students have told us they think the campus visit would be more impactful if students and parents were given the same tour but in different groups? And then there are your tour guides. Do you treat them as part of your admissions team, and do they understand the important role they play in the student recruitment process? When they give tours are they just reciting a script and discussing the history of various building on your campus, or do they understand the importance of storytelling and how to effectively do that throughout a tour?
  • Social media. Students continue to tell us that in their opinion most colleges don’t know how to use social media effectively. The argument I hear a lot from admissions and marketing professionals is that creating great content on social media is extremely difficult and time consuming. I disagree, and here’s why. You’re over thinking it. For example, stop spending hours and hours trying to create fancy videos that look like a movie and are narrated by someone your prospects don’t know and can’t relate to. Whether you like it or not, it almost always comes across as forced and fake. If you really want to showcase your school’s personality, then go document. Have real students and real people (faculty, admissions staff, food service people, RA’s, etc) document what a normal day on campus looks like through their eyes as it happens. It’s okay if the hair isn’t perfect and there isn’t music playing in the background because that’s real and raw. And instead of posting picture after picture of the exterior of buildings on your campus, why not showcase what happens inside those walls. There are so many great stories just waiting to be told if you’re willing to do so, but don’t forget to explain why what you’re documenting matters. Do you know what Instagram influencers are? You need to because you have some on your campus right now that I’m betting would be more than happy to help you with free content. Just remember, real and raw wins over forced and fake a hundred times out of a hundred on social media.
  • How you recruit others around your prospect (namely their parents). Have you ever asked yourself who’s recruiting your prospects for you when you’re not? It’s an important question. Our ongoing research continues to show that parents are the most important outside influence during the recruitment process…but they’re not always the only one. When it comes to parents and cultivating a strong relationship with one or both of them, why not create a separate communication plan for them? We do it for our clients and it continues to pay dividends in a big way! Now, let’s discuss everybody else that matters in your prospect’s life. This may include their siblings, best friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, high school counselor, pastor, or possibly another mentor, coach, or teacher at school or in the community. If you want to be different, it’s time you started connecting on various levels with each of these influencers so they too understand the value of your school and why it’s the best option for that student.
  • Having a discussion about fear. I have done everything I possibly can in 2017 to hammer home not only how important it is to discuss fear but why it’s a difference maker. Every single one of your prospects is scared of something when it comes to the college search process and the transition from high school to college. What are you doing to alleviate that fear?
  • Re-package your negatives. Instead of avoiding them, tell a different story about those negative aspects of your school that you can’t control. Your buildings and residence halls aren’t as new as some of your direct competitors? Don’t talk about that. Talk about what happens inside those walls and what makes your campus community unique (and then mention that choosing a college based on the newest buildings and facilities is the wrong way to choose where you get an education). Is your college the most expensive option for that student? Explain to them your value proposition in a way they can truly understand. Use detailed outcomes and provide examples of recent graduates who also paid more but felt it was well worth the investment. Whatever the story say it confidently, and repeat it over a long period of time.

Here’s the great news – I believe that anyone, if they work hard enough, can come up with a truly amazing idea that can help them and/or their school stand out from the competition.

The next step once you have an amazing idea is arguably the hardest for a lot of people. Go and execute it, or go and present your case on why you believe you and/or your colleagues need to do it. That can take some courage, but an amazing idea executed well can make all the difference.

Think about it, and enjoy the rest of your week!

P.S. I thought you might enjoy this sunrise picture I took in North Dakota last week during my travels there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Key to Staying Sharpe This YearSaturday, December 9th, 2017

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

My husband and I decided that it would be a good idea to get our 2 kids and 2 dogs to my parents’ house in Minnesota. 

This little mini vacation is usually exactly what I need at this time of year. Getting out of the small town where we currently live, shutting off my phone, hanging out with family, playing a lot of board games, and drinking a few beers is exactly what I need to get refreshed, rejuvenated, and recommitted to my work with Busy Coach.

It’s the old metaphor of sharpening the saw: when you’re sharp, you work better and faster, but when you’re dull from overuse, you become slower and less efficient. For example, remember the last time you tried to read a book when you were tired. If you’re like most people, you had to read and re-read, and maybe re-read again, the same paragraph over and over.

I think most of us coaches with smartphones realize it’s easy to carry work into our evenings and weekends which, if you tracked how many hours you were working, could put you easily at a 70-80 hour work week.  The problem is, in the long run, overworking drives down our productivity. Why? Because it depletes our energy.

For me, managing my energy levels really has been key to my productivity and getting things done.  If you want a great book on the subject, read the book The Power of Full Engagement, by Tony Schwartz

The fact of the matter is that there’s an inverse relationship between how much you work and how much energy you have. When one rises, the other falls, and vice versa. You might be working 70 hours, but you’re not really getting 30 hours’ worth of productivity out of those last 30 hours, right? I think we’ve all experienced this phenomenon. It comes back to Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to the time allotted for it.” If we’re not careful, we’ll confuse busyness with productivity and wear ourselves out.

Some coaches experience this every single day. They start the day with so much energy, and they get so much accomplished in those early morning hours. Then after lunch, their energy begins to wane. Or they have great energy on Monday and Tuesday, but by Thursday and Friday your energy is down. Well, that’s the result of energy flexing the wrong way: more hours, but less accomplished.

Here’s the good news: energy is a renewable resource. It can easily be replenished. You just have a have the right recipe, which means that just because you’re currently on empty, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. Even if you have a pattern of frequently finding yourself on empty, it’s fairly simple to change. By the way, it may not be easy because it will require some change in your behavior.  But it’s not complicated. We just have to be intentional about rejuvenating ourselves.

The great news is that this is completely within your control! I have talked in previous posts about how to rejuvenate your energy through what you eat and drink, through getting more sleep and exercise. Go to www.busy.coach if you want more info about that.  

More About Phone Calls to Prospective StudentsTuesday, December 5th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Back in June I wrote an article about the value of phone calls in student recruitment. That article included some interesting statistics and direct student quotes about phone calls from incoming and current college freshmen. It’s since become the second most read newsletter article of 2017. If you missed it or you’d like a quick refresher, click that link above.

The biggest point I tried to drive home in that article was that despite how digital and social this current generation of students has become, phone calls still need to be a core piece of your recruiting communications plan. The majority of high school juniors and seniors that are on your radar right now find phone calls from admission counselors (and current students/staff) valuable when they’re done correctly (i.e. the way students want).

Today, I want to go even deeper on this topic with you. Since I published that article on June 20th, Tudor Collegiate Strategies has accumulated new survey research from more than 650 incoming and current college freshmen. On top of that, in late July we partnered with CollegeWeekLive to do even more focus group research. One of the three surveys we conducted together was with incoming college freshmen.

In both our TCS surveys and the partner survey with CollegeWeekLive, we asked students, “In terms of communication, tell us how often during the college search process you wanted colleges to contact you in each of the forms below.” Those forms are by phone, mail, email, text and on social media. And the options to choose for each are once a day, once a week, 2-4 times per week, once per month, and never.

The results in the “never” category remain noteworthy. Of the more than 1,600 incoming and current college freshmen surveyed by TCS and CollegeWeekLive between May of 2017 and December of 2017, more students told us they “never” wanted to be contacted during the college search process by text and social media than did the number who “never” wanted to receive a phone call.

  • 44.51% never wanted colleges to contact them on social media
  • 34.58% never wanted colleges to contact them by text
  • 33.68% never wanted colleges to contact them by phone

I’m sharing these numbers with you not to try and say that text messaging and social media aren’t important communication tools, because without question they are. Instead, I really want to debunk this idea that students don’t answer their phone because they think phone calls are a waste of time. Sure, that is the case for some, and many of those students would much rather receive a text message from a college admissions counselor. But that group is not the majority in 2017.

As I’ve explained before, the problem isn’t the phone per say, it’s what you’re doing (and not doing) with phone calls that has created this disconnect.

So where do we go from here?

In each of the surveys I referenced earlier, we also asked those same students to tell us how college admission counselors could be more helpful and improve the phone calls they make to prospective students.

The responses below highlight the biggest themes. Here are your answers straight from the source:

“They could have been better by giving notification about the call a few days prior so students can have questions prepared.”

“Phone calls are good if they are pre-planned via email. If they are spontaneous they can be inconvenient and put students on the spot.”

“Sending a text prior to a phone call would definitely be more effective.”

“Alert them when they are calling via email. I get so many spam calls that I naturally ignore unrecognized numbers.”

“I would tell the counselors to just become like a friend to the students and make them feel comfortable. We always have questions even when we say no, we just don’t feel comfortable asking them sometimes with a stranger!

“Be less formal. When I say that I mean be like a friend that makes the student more comfortable and be a good listener so you know what concerns the student has.”

“Less structure, more flow of conversation.”

“They could have been more helpful if they started the call with the reason because the counselor was ready to help but I didn’t know what I was supposed to talk or ask about.”

“They should explain in detail the reason for the call.”

“Have a specific purpose. Don’t just call asking if we have any questions.”

“Throw out example questions or general questions for the students because they don’t really know what to ask but the examples could give them ideas.”

“Make sure the phone calls come at convenient times.”

“Please do not call during school/class time!”

“Try and put yourself in the student’s shoes: It’s a very stressful time and all we want is for someone to tell us that it’ll be okay. A nice tone and some encouragement work excellently. Don’t be so scary to talk to.”

“Be friendly and enthusiastic and make them more personal.”

“When we ask questions be ready to answer them with more detail and not just the same information we’ve already seen on your website.”

“Much of the phone calls I received from numerous colleges are people who are paid by the school to call me but aren’t affiliated with the school or know much about me or the school. I believe callers representing the school should be actually affiliated with the school.”

“Don’t bombard potential students with your personal opinions about the school and pay more attention to the questions being asked.”

“I think that they need to find ways to be more personal and connect with the students because it always seemed like the calls were the same. No one is going to buy a car from someone who says the same thing every time, so why am I going to spend about the same amount of money to go to a college that can’t find a way to stand out?”

“They should make sure that they ask about the prospective student’s situation and values. This way they can tailor the call to the student and help them learn more about the school.”

My goal in sharing all of this information with you today is to:

1) Reiterate that phone calls are valuable and they aren’t going away anytime soon

2) Give you ideas that you can use immediately to increase your call answer rate and the effectiveness of your phone calls

If you have a specific question about phone call strategy, send me an email right now and let’s start a conversation.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: December 5, 2017Tuesday, December 5th, 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 Associate Director asks:

“This year I started managing some of the admission counselors. We have weekly staff meetings but most of the counselors don’t say much. This sounds silly but how I can get them to talk to me more? Thank you.”

A.  Thank you for your question! What you just described is a common leadership problem. Without having additional context it’s hard for me to give you a really specific answer. Email me if you want to go even deeper on this.

The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to have fewer meetings as a group, and more 1-on-1 meetings. I’ve found that fear, or a lack of confidence, knowledge, or trust oftentimes prevents people from speaking up in group settings.

I even battle this from time to time when I lead a staff training workshop. It’s why I spend a half or a whole day meeting 1-on-1 with each admissions staff member after the group training. Everybody has questions or something to say, I promise you that.

The key to making those 1-on-1 meetings productive is to develop rapport and trust first. If they don’t know or don’t believe that you truly care, it’s going to be hard to generate any sort of real conversation. If you haven’t done it yet, ask yourself how much you really know about each counselor you manage…their wants, needs, fears, and motivations. And if the answer is “not enough” with any or all of those counselors, that’s where you need to start.

During those 1-on-1 conversations make sure you’re asking questions that will allow you to sit back, listen, and better understand their mindset.

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