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The Goal When You Send That Email or LetterTuesday, January 30th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

I ask that question regularly when I’m speaking to college admission professionals at workshops and conferences. Today, I’m asking it to you.

When your school sends a recruitment email or letter to a student or to a parent (regardless of what stage they’re at), what do you want the result to be?

The most popular answers I get are:

  • “We want to give them information about something”
  • “We want them take action” (i.e. visit, apply, make a decision)

Both those answers make sense, but I want to offer you an even more effective strategy that you should employ. It’s a simple yet highly effective approach that our team has helped numerous colleges successfully execute throughout a recruiting cycle.

Too many colleges simply send emails and letters and then cross their fingers that they are read and acted upon. Instead of just informing, I want you to inform with content and storytelling that consistently creates engagement between your staff and a student or parent.

Put another way, I want you to aim to get a response to many of the emails and letters that you send, while also having them set up, or at the very least tie in with, the next message that will be sent.

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

  • Generate a response. Don’t you want to know what the student or parent thinks about the information you’re sending them? You should because there’s massive value in discovering what’s important to them and what’s not and then using that information to help you and your school more effectively recruit that student and understand their mindset. The problem is most colleges struggle to get and keep the attention of prospective students because their emails and letters overwhelm them with a long list of statistics, facts, figures, and random talking points. That’s not what generates a response or any other sort of significant action. And it’s unrealistic to expect someone to engage without having some consistent interaction first, during which a comfort level and rapport are created. Once you have their attention, your emails and letters need to have a more conversational voice, be shorter in length, and have different calls to action that encourage specific feedback. Finally, generating a response will also allow admissions counselors to have another measure of demonstrated interest for a student and allow them to build on that feedback and cultivate that all-important recruiting relationship.
  • Set up the next message. Arguably the biggest thing our team continues to find when admissions departments ask us to review their communications plan is an overall lack of continuity. A lot of comm. flow plans contain a bunch of singular pieces instead of a continual flow, and those pieces usually come from different people instead of one consistent voice. This approach can quickly become confusing for the student or parent and create possible gaps in your messaging. When you deliver a consistent stream of impactful messages, and you let them know what’s coming next, you build trust with your audience via that consistency. I want your students and parents to be expecting the next message and the next step, not wondering if or when it will come.

If your recruiting emails and letters don’t do these two things then you’re making student recruitment harder than it needs to be…and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Do you have a question about this article? As always, I’m only an email, text, or phone call away. Scroll to the bottom of today’s newsletter for all my contact information.

And if you’d like me to offer an outside perspective on your current communications plan or even just review a few of the emails and letters that your school sends, email me at jeremy@dantudor.com You don’t have to be a client of ours, and the only thing it will cost you is time.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

5 Creative Ways to Achieve Your Daily PrioritiesMonday, January 29th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I am 100% guilty of not making my priorities a priority at times, especially while we are in season.  I would get into the office and then get busy doing other things and would tell myself that “I will do it later.”  I would fit in a few minutes in here or there on my big things, but at the end of the day, I would leave the office with a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction because I knew that I didn’t make any significant progress on things I felt would make my program better. 

Can you relate?

It is really easy to get lost in all of the details of what we have to do (or get to do depending on how you look at it) day-to-day.  No matter what level you coach or how successful you have been, we all have program changing priorities that need to get worked on and we have maintenance tasks.  As one example, obviously recruiting quality student athletes is vital to the continued or future success of your program. Recruiting is and always should be a priority, so we need to find a way to give it the time it deserves.        

As I have been reading about and applying different time management techniques over the last 8+ years, some methods have worked better than others. 

Here are 5 most effective things that I have done to make time for program changing activities.  Depending on your work hours and situation, maybe some or all of these could help.  I will use how I have made recruiting time for recruiting as an example.

  1. Start my day earlier.  Instead of waiting to do it when I got into the office, I woke up early and got at least 1 hour of pure recruiting work done before I got into the office.  It was quiet and there were no interruptions so I was able to work for a solid chunk of time and cranked out a ton of emails. It felt great walking into the office for the day knowing that I had already gotten a good amount of recruiting done. 
  2. I worked from a different location.  Depending on the week and how much there was to do, I figured out which were my least busy days and times around the office and went and worked from home or in a coffee shop for a solid block of time.  I was having a hard time making any significant progress in my recruiting when I was only doing it for a few minutes here and there in between 4,000 other things that needed to get done. Going somewhere different where I couldn’t be interrupted and was able to work for solid blocks of time was really helpful. 
  3. I made a long list of everything that had to get done with recruiting.  I figured out what I HAD to do, then I delegated the rest.  I’ve hired students through work study to do my database entry.  I have gotten my communication majors do our social media for a class project.  I have had to get creative here because my 1st 3 years here at South Dakota I didn’t have a full-time assistant.  There was a lot of work to do so I had to think outside the box and go find help with the resources I had on campus. 
  4. I created work expectations.  I think you get what you tolerate.  If you always tolerate your co-workers interrupting you, they will always interrupt you.  If you tolerate your co-workers texting you at all hours of the night and morning and you respond immediately, they will keep doing it.  I get there are things that need to get done and if you are an assistant, you are at the whim of your head coach.  BUT, and this is a BIG BUTT,  I think if you are organized and are proactively planning and getting things done in advance, you shouldn’t need to be asking your staff to do things at all hours of the night as you remember them.   
  5. I created systems or checklists for almost everything.  I have checklists for what needs to get done on on-campus visits, recruiting phone calls, game day, preseason, travel, after season meetings, the spring season, etc.  It takes longer, the work doesn’t get done as well, things get forgotten, and it is mentally exhausting when you always trying to remember things because you only have everything up in your head.  Get your standard operating procedures out of your head and down on paper.  When you can get those things running smoother, it will free up a lot more time to do recruiting as well. 

I HAD to do these things above because I was tired of being tired and stressed out about not getting enough of my high priority stuff done. As you may have noticed, doing all of these things above required me to change how I was currently working. 

It was really hard a few years ago to make changes to how I was working because I was used to doing things a certain way.  But now, I don’t think twice about it. 

My program is so much better now because I am working on my program, and not just being busy working in my program. 

How do you make time for your top priorities?  Email me at mandy@busy.coach and let me know.  Love hearing all of the ways that everybody else is staying organized and focused on the right things.

Want to work with me this year to get more organized and productive?  Click here.

Beat the Person You Were the Day BeforeTuesday, January 23rd, 2018

by Mandy Green, BusyCoach

“Evaluated reflection turns experience into insight.” John Maxwell.

I have been working hard to establish my own set of world class productivity habits. To do this, I’ve been studying what the best do. The reason? I want to try to beat the person that I was yesterday. To do that, I need to be more consistent, I need to do better with eliminating distractions to stay focused, I still procrastinate, and ultimately I don’t feel like I am making the impact that I am capable of yet. I am studying the things that the most successful people in the world do so I can reduce my learning curve.

In my studies, I am finding a pretty common theme. Basically, we are all given the same amount of hours every day. We get the same amount of time as Tony Robbins, Oprah, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, etc. They all have been able to make a tremendous impact in the world by making better use of the minutes that they are given because they have all established better habits and routines that allows them to perform at a much higher level than most people on a day by day basis.

They have chosen to do a lot of simple daily tasks that are common sense, but not common practice. These are simple tasks that are easy to do, but also easy not to do. They have made the decision that they are going to be successful so they planned, scheduled, practiced, and stayed disciplined until these daily habits became as automatic as brushing their teeth.

I have enjoyed my journey into developing my own productivity habits so much that I decided that I wanted to create a 30-day Busy Coach Productivity Challenge that could really help those coaches out there who are also not where they feel like they could be with the impact they are making in this profession. In this article, I wanted to share one of the habits that I am including in this challenge. More about this challenge coming soon.

Daily Review

Set yourself up to have a great day tomorrow by reviewing what you did today. At the end of each day, journal about your day for 5 minutes. Evaluate what you did so that you gain insight for what you should be doing more of or less of tomorrow. What did you learn? What were your accomplishments? What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? What could be improved?

While you are journaling, also take a moment to celebrate your successes from the day. When you focus on what you are doing right, you will do more things right. When your staff and team focus on and celebrate success, it will create more success. Success becomes ingrained in the culture and people naturally look for it, focus on it and expect it.

That’s why certain coaches and business leaders are always successful. They implement systems and principals that create a culture that celebrates and expects success and this drives behavior and habits that create successful outcomes. Write down your success of the day. Do this for 30 days and you’ll see amazing results.

Reflection is a huge part of the learning process. It’s how you acquire knowledge about yourself and your work. Reflection is a tool you can use to try to beat the person you were the day before. And the more knowledge you have, the more likely you are to get to where you want to go. This knowledge will allow to stop the cycle of working harder and harder until you collapse, and you can begin to work smarter.

If you want more ideas or want to share how this goes for you, please email me at mandy@busy.coach. To see my 30-day Busy Coach Productivity Challenge, click here.

Establishing a Timeline With Prospective StudentsTuesday, January 23rd, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails and phone calls from Directors and Associate Directors who describe the following scenario. Their school is getting ready to deliver financial aid awards, and call campaigns are about to commence. In many cases, there’s been minimal or inconsistent contact between the admissions counselor and an admitted student/family up to this point. As a result, the Director or AD is worried that these phone calls will come off as transactional instead of personal.

On top of that, I’ve also heard from a number of admissions counselors who tell me they’re lacking confidence to make financial aid phone calls because they don’t have a good feel for where those admitted but undecided students are at in their college search process.

The end result is usually one of the following:

  • Because they don’t know which students are ready to end the process (I promise you that every counselor has one or more students who are ready to do just that once they get their FA package) the admissions counselor misses a huge opportunity to “close” those students. Oftentimes simply reiterating to a student that they’re a priority for your school and then asking them if they’re ready to commit/deposit is all it takes to get the student to take action.

OR

  • If the admissions counselor does ask an admitted student if they’re ready to commit/deposit and the student/family isn’t ready to decide just yet, there’s a chance the counselor will come across as pushy and overly aggressive. In many cases that makes future conversations between that counselor and student/family more difficult. And if the student does happen commit because they feel pressured, I would argue there’s a greater chance for that student to melt later on because in their mind that decision wasn’t made on their terms.

The easiest way to avoid a situation like this is to ask each student as early as possible in the process what their timeline is for making their college decision.

As I explain when I lead an admissions training workshop, establishing a timeline that your prospect or their parents have set in their mind for making that final decision is critical for you to effectively manage the entire recruiting process (and all those names that a counselor has in their territory). It also gives your prospect a checklist to follow early on which we’ve found helps to alleviate some of the stress they’re feeling during the early stages of the college search.

Furthermore, this strategy will establish you as the person that will be guiding them through the college search process. Note that I said guide –  not trick, force, or pressure. You do that through consistent communication, effective questioning, establishing logical “next steps” throughout the process, and continually providing them with smart reasons (i.e. storytelling) that prove your school is the “best fit” based on their wants and needs.

Now, if you ask them about their timeline and their response makes it clear that they have little to no idea how to navigate this process, that again provides an opportunity for you to insert yourself as the expert guide who has helped countless families who were in the same situation as they are.

As you’re walking the student/family through all the key steps and stages of the college search process, make sure the timeline you’re establishing is a mutually agreed upon one and not one that you’re telling them they have to follow. I can’t emphasize that point enough!

Let me also add that if you establish a timeline with your prospect during their junior year of high school (or even their sophomore year), ask about their timeline again every six months because there’s a good chance that their answer will change. If this were the start of their senior year, ask at least every three months moving forward just to make sure that everyone remains on the same page…which brings me back to where I started this article.

If you haven’t established a mutually agreed upon timeline with your admitted, but undecided students yet, during that next phone call I want you to ask a question like, “Jeremy, have you and your parents talked about when you’re going to make your college decision?” The response you receive will not only tell you where they’re at in the process (and probably reveal any objections/concerns they have about your school), but also what your next step with that student/family needs to be.

Do you have a question about this article? Email me right now by clicking this link. I’m happy to discuss it further with you.

P.S. If you want even more tips and strategies like this one that you can use in your everyday recruiting, bring me to campus this spring or summer to lead our popular admissions workshop. You can get in touch with me here to check on available dates, or click here for all the workshop details.

How Should You Convince Your Prospect to Choose You?Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

In the quest to inform their prospects, many coaches paralyze them.

And they have help. When the typical high school student-athlete begins to explore college options, takes the SAT or ACT, or is identified by a college coach and the recruiting process begins, that teenager – and his or her parents – are bombarded by information. Letters, emails, brochures…from athletics, as well as admissions. Not to deep into the process, that student-athlete achieves information-overload status.

Now, the result of all of that attention at the start of the process kind be kind of exhilarating. After all, this is why they’ve worked as hard as they have in their sport or in the classroom, right? And it’s always fun to be “wanted” by a new college or coach. The attention is great when the possibilities seem endless.

But like I said, that’s during the first part of the process. As it gets deeper into the process, our research shows that an athlete is apt to stop reading what a coach or college is sending. Is it because they get tired of reading, or have some kind of aversion to it? That’s a myth that a lot of college coaches buy in to – and it’s false. This generation of prospects actually reads more than previous generations…all the texting and social media attention, as well as easier ways to access books through technology, prompts them to want to read as a primary way of taking in new information.

The problem is the information seldom leads them anywhere. It states facts, it cites statistics, but it seldom compels. The emails, letters and conversations you’re having with recruits never leads them down the path towards a specific conclusion that they’re looking for, and are accustomed to finding in movies, books and social media content.

In other words, Coach, telling your recruiting story needs an ending. But unlike the movie or book ending that they might be used to experiencing, this one is going to affect them personally.

So, if you find yourself trying to convince an athlete to pick your program over someone else’s program towards the end of the recruiting process, I want you to do just that:

Convince them to pick your program over someone else’s program.

Of all the methodologies and strategies we’ve seen tried in our one-on-one work with clients around the country, here are the best ways to do that:

It’s incredibly important for you to tell them what to think about you and your program. You need to offer a clear, simple definition of who you are and what you’re all about as a coach. They need to understand what makes you different than the other programs they may be considering.

Explain why you’re better. I can’t emphasize enough how vital this part of the overall strategy is down the stretch. After they’ve collected all of the information from you and your admissions department, and they slip in to ‘analysis paralysis‘, they need you to explain why you’re better. Not just a ‘good choice’, but the better choice. That’s not to say I would advise you to engage in negative recruiting; it does mean you need to make your case as to why he or she should choose you, and why you are better than their other options (if you choose to skip this step, your competitor will often be glad to fill that void you’ve left).

Tell them you want them. Sounds simple, and you probably think they already know you want them, but as the process nears the end they need to be reminded.

Tell them you’re ready to hear them say yes. They need you to open the door frequently, of course, but at the end of the process it becomes critical. Why? Because even when they feel like you’re program is the right choice, and they are ready to tell you ‘yes’, it’s incredible hard for most of them to take the initiative to get in touch with you and voice it themselves. Telling them “I’m ready” makes it easier for them to reply with their intentions.

Repeat everything you’re telling recruits to their parents. Ignoring the parents, and not involving them deeply in the conversation as the process draws to a close, will result in a loss the majority of the time. They don’t have to be on the same call, email, or text exchange that you have with a recruit, but they do need to be brought up to speed as to what you’re discussing with them.

The thing many coaches tend to want to do at the end of the process is to back away, and not put any pressure on their recruit. From their perspective, we find that he or she reads that as declining interest in them as a potential member of your roster.

Is that the signal you want to send?

My Answer to This Important QuestionTuesday, January 16th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Last week I received an email with the question, “What do the best admissions counselors do so well?”

My response was something that I thought you might find helpful, so I’m going to share it with you today. I’m also going to expand on it a little because I know most admissions counselors are dealing with a long list of admitted but undecided students right now.

Successful admissions counselors are able to get prospective students (and parents) to communicate more with them than they do their competition…not just once or twice, but consistently throughout the college search process. This happens when a comfort level and trust have been created, and you consistently ask effective questions.

If you decide to wait because you’re convinced that students will ask you questions when they have them because you’ve told them something like, “I’m here to help, call or email me if you have any questions”, I think you’re going to be disappointed.

One of the key pieces of data that we’ve uncovered from our focus group research with colleges and universities around the country is that most of today’s teenagers don’t know what they’re supposed to ask a college admissions counselor or how they’re supposed to ask it. Without your help some will never take initiative, making it much harder for you to gain a true understanding of their mindset and decision-making process.

Effective questions are absolutely the core of every good recruiting effort! They get you an explanation of something, and oftentimes the student (or parent) will open up and provide you with additional insights and useful information that lead to further conversation and ultimately aid you in their recruitment.

Why is it then that so many counselors don’t ask enough effective questions? I would argue it’s because they’re either worried about being too pushy, or they’re too busy selling their school with facts and figures.

Before I provide you with some effective questions that you can use right now with admitted students who remain undecided, let me first touch on the four key parts that I believe go into asking any effective question.

  1. You need to figure out WHAT questions to ask. Believe it or not, bad questions do exist. If you don’t know what to ask prospective students and parents then all you’re doing is relationship building, which is very important, but it can also prevent you from helping keep the process moving forward.
  2. You need to define WHY you’re asking a particular question. Are you doing it to get actual, useable information or to help a student become comfortable talking to you?
  3. HOW do you ask a question? Some questions are better over the phone or in-person (ones that are more personal and require more detail). Others can be done in an email or via text (more conversational type questions).
  4. WHEN do you ask a particular question? There are definitely right times and wrong times. You need to be mindful in terms of the way you bring up topics. For example, if in the first letter or email you ask a new inquiry or prospect to start the application process or sign up for a campus visit, our research says that’s way too soon. Most students are not ready to take that big a step yet.

I want you to keep those four things in mind during your recruiting conversations with prospective students (and parents) regardless of stage.

Now, here are the aforementioned questions:

  • If it comes down to us and one other school, what things will help you break that tie?
  • <Student’s Name>, when do you see yourself making your college decision?
  • What do you see as the next step in this process?
  • What’s the most confusing part about this process right now?
  • What are your parents telling you to do at this point in the process?
  • Who are you going to rely on to help you make your decision? OR Besides your parents, is there anyone else you’re going to ask for help making your decision?
  • How are you going to know when you’ve found the college that’s the right fit for you?
  • Have you and your parents talked about the idea of paying more for a college?
  • What scares you the most about making your college decision?
  • If you could change one thing about our school, what would it be?
  • What do you like the most about <Your College’s Name> so far?
  • What can I do to make things less stressful for you and your family?

In my years of working with a lot of different admissions professionals, I’ve found that successful questioning can make all the difference in the world.

Consider asking one, two or all twelve of these questions to get your admitted but undecided students talking during this crucial period in the recruiting cycle. And don’t forget that some of these questions can and should be asked more than once during the recruitment process.

Evaluating All Those Phone CallsTuesday, January 9th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

It’s official: Making phone calls to prospective students (and parents) continues to be a hot topic, and we’re not even two weeks into 2018. Last week my inbox had a handful of emails from admissions counselors and Directors seeking advice on the subject.

When it comes to student recruitment calls, counselors tell me they either love them or loathe them…typically it’s the latter.

As I’ve explained before, I believe that phone calls are still a core part of any successful recruiting communications plan. They’re not going away anytime soon.

The majority of high school juniors and seniors in your funnel right now find phone calls from admission counselors valuable when they’re done correctly (i.e. after some relationship building and not just out of the blue). Students continue to tell us via surveys that those phone calls make them feel like your school truly cares about their opinions, and they also appreciate having the opportunity to ask questions.

Regardless of which group you fall into (love or loathe them), I continue to find that not enough counselors adequately analyze the content of those recruiting calls and determine what they could do better the next time.

Self-evaluation is a crucial part of growth, and in case you’re not a frequent reader of my newsletter, personal growth is something I’m extremely passionate about, regardless of your job title. So, today I want to help you when it comes to evaluating all those phone calls.

The next time you hang up or press end on a recruitment call, I want you to ask yourself the following ten questions:

  1. Was your prospect comfortable during your phone call? One easy way to determine this is did they ask you any questions without you prompting them? Trust me when I say that just about every student has one or more questions regardless of where they’re at in the process. If they don’t ask you something, you need to establish more rapport before your next call.
  2. At some point during the phone call, did you tell your prospect how important they are to your school? They know you’re calling other students, so what are you doing to make it clear that they’re a priority? This is especially important with admitted (but still undecided) students.
  3. Who talked more – you or them? The more they talk and you listen, the better chance you have of moving them to the next stage in the process. Conversely, if you do most of the talking and brag about different aspects of your college or recite countless facts and figures, not only do you risk boring your prospect, but there’s probably a good chance that the next time you call you’re going to get their voicemail.
  4. Did you start the phone call with a weak, non-specific phrase? In the same way that I recommend your letters and emails be original and have a strong opening sentence, the same holds true for your phone calls. Do you remember the three words I told you to avoid in your recruiting conversations? If not, click that link. Too many counselors start out their recruiting phone calls that way. Phrases like that sound weak, they’re usually not the truth, and they do nothing to set up the rest of your call or create any sort of urgency.
  5. Did you give them the chance to ask questions? You need to create opportunities during each call that allow your prospect to open up and not only respond to your questions but ask questions of their own.
  6. Did you ask them one or more specific, targeted questions at some point? Building off point #5, are you constantly speaking in generalities or do you find ways to ask a targeted question that ties in with the big reason for your call? For example, if you’re about to start making financial aid calls, instead of just diving into the award letter and asking if they have questions, consider first asking, “Have you and your family talked about how you’re going to pay for college yet?”
  7. Did you ask them what they view as the next step in their process? Rather than assuming you know what they’re going to do next, I want you to ask them. What a lot of counselors tell me they find is that the prospect’s timeline doesn’t match theirs.
  8. Were you able to come away with talking points for future calls, letters and emails? The biggest goal of any phone call should be to set up the next communication (email, letter, another call). If you didn’t come away with anything to help you do that, then you likely either talked too much or didn’t ask the right kinds of questions.
  9. Did you get them to take action? Unless you’re just calling to check in with a committed/deposited student, how are you going to help keep the process moving forward, and in your school’s favor? Whatever the action is (filling out your application, setting up a campus visit, starting the FAFSA, getting the answer to a specific question and then contacting you, etc.) don’t assume they’ll figure it out on their own. Ask them to take that action and make sure they understand the WHY behind your ask.
  10. Did you enter your call notes into your CRM? If you didn’t, not only do you risk confusing student A with student B down the line, but you’re also making life a lot more difficult for your colleagues if and when that student or family reaches out and you’re unavailable. Simply uploading a sentence or two (or a few bullet points) about the call makes everyone’s life easier.

Questions? I’m just an email away at jeremy@dantudor.com

P.S. Here’s one more – Did you end your call on a positive note? A simple, “Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with me” goes a long way!

The Case for Getting Your Prospect to Talk Negative About YouMonday, January 8th, 2018

From a really young age, we are taught to earn the trust of those around us.

We want them to like us, and say only good things about us to anyone they might meet. We want positive words, positive vibes, and positive results.

Positive, positive, positive.

Here’s why that might not be such a good thing when it comes to your recruits, and the effort to attract them to your program:

If you can’t get them to reveal what they view as negative about you, your program, and the opportunity to come to your campus, they probably aren’t going to tell you the truth about some of the things that they really feel about the idea of coming there.

The reason? According to the research and focus groups we conduct during our campus workshops and work with our clients, today’s prospects talk to us about the hesitancy in telling a coach what they don’t like about the program, or the objections that they are holding quietly against you.

Don’t feel badly, Coach. It’s not just you, it’s virtually every coach they get to know while getting recruited. So, how do you separate yourself in the mind of your prospect so that you don’t endure the same fate awaiting your competitors who aren’t reading this article?

Get them to talk negative about you and your program. It might be tough to hear, but it’s essential if you want to dig down to the truth and get them to reveal his or her real feelings. Here’s how:

  • Ask them what the two or three biggest question marks are in their mind, now that they’ve gotten to know you and your program. Hear what I’m saying: Don’t ask them “if” they have any questions about the idea of committing to you, ask them what the questions and objections are about you and your program.
  • When they tell you, and seem to be done, don’t stop. Ask them, “I’m really glad you opened up and told me about those questions you’re still trying to figure out…what else would you add to the list?” Don’t assume that they’re done. They will often add to the list, and you need to know everything they are thinking and feeling.
  • Once you feel they are done, thank them again for sharing that honest feedback. It’s vital that they feel like there are no penalties for being honest with you, because you want them to keep being honest with you moving forward. Keep the door open for future revelations from your prospect.
  • Finally, let them know that you are going to spend time talking to them about their concerns, and that you feel after you are done, you’re going to be the program that they end up putting at the top of their list. You don’t have to use those words exactly, but you do need to convey that thought in it’s entirety.

Understand, this isn’t a fool-proof solution for winning every prospect. In fact, it may reveal that you are going to lose a prospect much earlier than you would have normally. But that’s part of dealing with the truth in recruiting accurately, and in a timely manner.

Getting your prospect to talk negatively about you is actually the way you get them to tell you the truth. If you feel like there are things going on behind the scenes that aren’t getting revealed to you in a recruiting situation, try this four step strategy we have seen work consistently over the years.

Want to hear more on this strategy, plus three other unique approaches to jump-starting your recruiting efforts that seem to be stalled, listen to this special College Recruiting Weekly podcast episode. CLICK HERE.

Coach, Does Your Phone Own You?Sunday, January 7th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Everyone hates email. Almost everyone I talk to feels that email takes up too much of their time. And yet we can’t stop checking it.

Checking your email over and over is a huge time waster and I honestly feel it is what could prevent you from reaching your goals this year.

How many times have you checked your email today?  Be honest. 2, 5, 10, or too many to keep track of?

For most of the coaches who have contacted me, I hear that they have their email open from the moment they get into the office until the moment they shut down their computer at the end of the day. 

And if you are like most other coaches out there, you’re probably guilty of checking email when you get home, while on the toilet, while waiting in lines, and even on the weekends.  You might find yourself worrying about emails during dinner, or when you’re supposed to be having some family time.

The problem isn’t knowing what to do. You’ve read plenty of advice telling you to close the inbox, to avoid checking emails first thing in the day, and to get on with your key tasks first. But are you doing it?

I think most coaches would agree that they check their phone a lot.  But I think very few realize how many times they actually check it and how much time they are wasting because of it. 

I have heard a few different stats on this but, the average person picks up their phone 85x a day.  If you calculate that, in a 12-hour waking and working stint, that means checking your phone 7 times for every hour.  (I mentioned that stat to my team when we were delayed in the Chicago airport yesterday and they all said that the number would be much higher for them. Yikes!)

There is just no way to make significant progress with your program, with recruiting, or with anything you are trying to accomplish if you are only allowing yourself to focus on your work for 5-6 minutes at a time because you are getting distracted and checking your phone 8-9 times per hour. 

There are a million different apps out there that can help you keep track of how many times you have checked your phone, how many minutes you are on your phone, what app you are spending the most time on, etc. Here are a few:

Checky-The phone-habit tracker tallies how many times a day you check your phone.  It compares today’s number to yesterdays for a progress comparison.

Moment-Records minutes instead of “checks,” this app totals how many minutes you’ve spent on your phone, and lets you set a self-imposed limit for how much time you want to be spending.

RescueTime– gives you an accurate picture of how you spend your time to help you become more productive every day.

For your college athletes-

Pocket points-This mobile app awards students who don’t use their phones in class with gift cards to local restaurants, shops, and online stores.  You need to check to see if your school is on the list of programs it works with.  Currently, it looks like there are only about 200 schools on there.  If it is not, just go to the website and submit the name of your school to see if you can get on the list.  https://pocketpoints.com/

Personally, I think the best productivity tool is paper and pen.  But, if I had to go with an app, it would be an app that limits the amount of time that coaches waste on distractions. 

Most people don’t realize how much time they are wasting.  Once I realized how bad I was at it, I changed how I was thinking and realized that each time I allowed myself to get lost in distractions on my phone, it gave me less time to work on my goals, recruit the talent I need, build relationships with my team, and spend quality time with my kids.

My challenge to you this week, download one of those apps and do an honest assessment of how much time you are wasting on your phone.  Eliminate checking your phone even just a few times each hour and repurpose that time and focus it towards something that really matters to you. 

Good luck.  Let me know how it goes or if you need any more help managing your email at mandy@busy.coach.

I Want You to Assume the FollowingTuesday, January 2nd, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

“Optimistic” seems to be a popular word choice for a lot of college admission leaders over the past month.

Application numbers are up year over year and so is the number of admits in many cases.

Students are telling admissions counselors, “You’re one of my top choices” or “Yes, I’m still considering your school,” and it cements the idea that the student is being honest and up-front about what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen a lot of cases where that good-hearted optimism leads to a greater level of complacency. The final result isn’t what the college hoped for, and a lot of people are left scratching their heads as to what went wrong.

Remember, you’re dealing with young people who like to please, often change their mind in an instant, and frequently make completely illogical, irrational decisions.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you don’t have a number of prospective students or admits who have you at or near the top of their college list right now. What I’m saying is, I’ve heard a lot of stories the past few years about assumptions being wrongly made, which then leads to the wrong recruiting approach being used.

My goal today is to help you avoid many of these situations. What I want you to do is make some worst-case scenario assumptions about your prospective students.

I want you to assume the following:

  • Assume that you have a group of admitted students who are ready to commit/deposit once they receive their financial aid package from your school. My question for you is, do you know who they are? And do you also understand that some students will NOT be ready to decide the moment that package is delivered? Both are equally important.
  • Assume that just about every single prospect is extremely stressed and feeling more than a little overwhelmed. According to our research, the majority of students become increasingly tired of the college search process the longer it goes on. They get tired of the phone calls, texts, and emails from colleges as well as the questions from family members (even though they can fake it pretty well). And they have little to no idea how to truly differentiate between colleges with the same profile (ex. small, private, Liberal Arts). If you assume that they’re stressed, it will lead you to change the language you use in your messaging and conversations and how long you delay moving them forward to whatever their next step is. Choose to not assume this, and it increases the risk for letting a prospect become so stressed that they lose focus on what you want them to do.
  • Assume that most parents will vote to have their child stay close to home, go to the college that’s least expensive, or the one that has the biggest name recognition. Reverting to the “safe choice” is often what occurs when people are under stress. How are you making the parent(s) a valuable partner in this process, while at the same time discovering their fears and coming up with a plan to alleviate them? You need to clearly explain why your school is the smarter choice and then reiterate those things moving forward.
  • Assume that each student has one or more questions they want to ask you but aren’t because they don’t want to sound stupid. During your conversations try and avoid just asking them if they, “have any questions,” and instead come up with specific, targeted questions about their process, timeline, wants, needs, fears, etc.
  • Assume that it’s your job to create curiosity throughout the recruiting process. A core part of student recruitment, along with consistent contact and telling a great story, is to create curiosity. For example, how do you make students look forward to your next communication? The admissions counselors that assume they need to weave in curiosity to their overall recruiting message always seem to be the ones who hit their territory goal.
  • Assume that each of your prospects will be putting themselves first.Very few are interested in hearing why you think they’d be crazy not to choose your school. Assume that they’re looking at everything from their perspective, not yours.
  • Assume that in more cases than you want to admit, you have families that can afford to pay more for their child to be a student at your school. They just don’t understand why they should want to adjust their finances and pay more, and they’re not going to come out and tell you this. One of the questions that we asked graduating high school seniors in a survey we conducted with CollegeWeekLive last July was, “Did you choose the least expensive college?” Out of 548 responses, over 54% said no. Could you clearly explain your college’s value proposition and tie things in with a specific family if you had to?
  • Assume that you need to continue to provide specific reasons why students should be excited to attend your college after they commit/deposit. Otherwise your chances for melt will increase significantly. Your committed students will still get communications from other colleges after they decide, and some of their undecided friends will still ask them to join them on a campus visit to another school. Make sure you have a separate track of communications for this group that reminds them why they made a great decision and what they have to look forward to when they get on campus.

If you have a specific question about this article, I want you to click here and email it to me.

P.S. Have you noticed the new hashtag #TiersTalks that I created on Twitter? It’s something new for 2018 that I’ll be using on both my Twitter and Instagram (which by the way allows you to “follow” specific hashtags now).

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