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8 Keys for Your Admitted Student Day EventTuesday, February 27th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Application and admit numbers are up over last year. That’s what I’ve been getting told this winter from a lot of admissions/EM leaders.

The excitement seems to quickly get replaced, though, with cautious optimism.

At the end of the day, they know what you and I both know. Conversion (yield) is the number that matters the most.

So, what’s your school’s plan as we enter the home stretch with this next class of students? More specifically, how are you going to make sure your admitted student day (ASD) events pay off?

More and more I’m hearing admitted students describe these events just like they describe a lot of college communications and campus visits – they all look and sound very similar. Admitted students get to sit through a bunch of meetings, namely ones about academics, financial aid, and orientation; they meet a few staff members and current students; they tour campus; they eat lunch; and then they go home and try to make sense of what was a six to eight-hour whirlwind.

A growing problem students and parents tell us is many of these events have become so big that it unfortunately leads to a less personalized feel.

So, let me ask you the same question again but in a different way. What’s your school’s plan to make sure that your admitted student day event doesn’t mirror everybody else’s, AND doesn’t feel so big that students (some of whom are still undecided) walk away feeling frustrated and/or confused? This generation wants and needs to see, hear, and feel something different. And they want the focus to be more on them as an individual student/family.

Armed with that knowledge, today I want to offer you eight key things to think about as you and your admissions staff colleagues discuss upcoming on-campus ASD events.

  • The first 30 minutes. The start of your event can make or break the rest of the day. What kind of initial feeling is your school creating from the time a student/family parks their vehicle, to when they check-in, to when your welcome session or first block begins? It needs to be a smooth, low-pressure process that’s welcoming and gets them excited about what they’re about to experience.
  • Weekends are fine, but what about weekdays? Most colleges have their admitted student day events on a Saturday. How many students and families are you missing an opportunity with because that doesn’t fit their schedule? Consider adding a weekday offering. It won’t appeal to everyone, but if I told you that making this option available could result in another 3, 5, or even 10 students enrolling, what would you say?
  • Figure out your biggest problem. Building on the last bullet point, have you ever asked yourself what the most annoying/frustrating part of your admitted student day event is for your admits and their families? Maybe it’s your parking situation, or lack thereof. Maybe your campus is hard to navigate. Whatever “it” is, become a problem solver on behalf of your audience. And if you’re not sure what “it” is, I would argue that trying to get that information via a post-event survey isn’t a great strategy. Instead, consider social listening (i.e. searching social media to see what students and others said/thought). Social listening can provide actionable insight. If you’re looking for help in that area, check out what our friends over at Campus Sonar are doing.
  • Give them information sessions that are different. Academic breakout sessions, talking about financial aid, and learning how to register for housing/classes are important. I’m not arguing any of that. However, when you have admitted students who still don’t know if it will be easy or hard to “fit” into your campus community, I strongly encourage you to go a little deeper in these sessions. For example, when it comes to those academic meetings, what kind of opportunities for true engagement are you creating between your admits and your faculty? Developing a level of comfort with a faculty member who may actually teach them at some point is a big positive. And what about offering a session for students that focuses on the freshmen experience (or transfer experience) and what your school does to help new students acclimate both academically and socially. A topic like that one is on the minds of most students, so why not alleviate some of their fears and take the mystery away.
  • Separate the student and their parent(s). I’ve talked in previous articles about the importance of doing this at some point during the campus visit. The same value exists during an admitted student day. You need to create an unforgettable experience for everybody. Again, one of the biggest things that every single student wants is a “feeling” of fitting in. It’s hard to make that happen if the only student interaction they have is with their tour guide or with a student panel. The more current students they meet and have an actual conversation with (outside of a scheduled session), the greater the chance that they’ll connect on a personal level. Being able to ask questions of current students without mom, dad or an admission staffer around can give them that. I’ll even go so far as to tell you that allocating some time during your event where your admitted students literally do nothing but “hang out” with your current students will be a positive. On the parent side, make sure financial aid isn’t the only topic you cover in detail. Consider more in-depth discussions on topics like safety, academic advising, and outcomes.
  • Create an emotional moment or connection. When it happens, that moment or connection is something that a student will remember when they make their final decision. Are you creating an atmosphere during your ASD that makes an emotional moment or connection possible? Here are three quick examples that I’ve seen work on different campuses. The school President has the students and families over to his or her house to play games and socialize not only with him or her, but other people in the community such as recent graduates and influential business leaders; A carnival type party with various activities and competitions, food trucks, a DJ, and more; An interactive family feud type event.
  • Strategic 1-on-1 time with an admissions counselor. Allotting specific time for an individual meeting between a student/family (especially any undecided students) and their admissions counselor (or at worst an admissions staff member) is critical. And just to be clear, I’m not referring to small talk that occurs throughout the day. Now, from a time standpoint I understand that it’s highly unlikely you’ll meet 1-on-1 with every student/family that attends your ASD. It’s about being strategic. Some need extra love and attention from you more than others. Do you know who they are?
  • Remind them they’re a priority, and ask them if they’re ready to commit/deposit. In my article last week I talked about “closing” and how you can make it less stressful. Click that link if you missed it or want a quick refresher. A lot of counselors continue to assume that once a student has been admitted it’s obvious how much their school wants them. That isn’t always the case. They need to hear it again…now more than ever, actually. If you’ve built a relationship with a student/parent(s) and you know that the student has all the information they need (both from your school and other colleges still being considered) to make an informed decision, go ahead and ask them if they’re ready to submit their deposit/commit/become a (insert your school mascot’s name). How you ask is up to you. I just want to make sure that you ask. Please keep in mind, though, that if you haven’t consistently communicated with the student, and you don’t have a feel for their timeline, then the student may not be ready to be asked.

Admitted student day events are a key component of the college recruitment cycle. Consider having a discussion in your office about one or more of these ideas today.

If you have a question about today’s article, go ahead and email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Are You Doing the Work That Really Matters, Coach?Monday, February 26th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

A lot of coaches come to me who are struggling getting home on time, they are overwhelmed with their to-do lists, and want to know some strategies for getting all of their work done.

Most of the time, to their surprise, my answer is that you can’t get it all done.  What you can and should do though is make sure that no matter what you choose to do during the day, that you choose to do work that matters. 

A mistake that a lot of coaches make is that they prioritize easy.  Sure, they may get a lot of things checked off of their list, but at the end of the day, they just did busy work that didn’t make their program better.   

We then start setting up their 80/20 as a coach.

The 80/20, or another name is the Pareto principle, states that 20% of a person’s effort generates 80% of the person’s results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one’s results absorb 80% of one’s resources or efforts. For the effective use of resources, the coach’s challenge is to distinguish the right 20% from the trivial many.

Identify the high-payoff activities within your program.  High-payoff activities are the things you do that bring the greatest value to your program, team, or staff.  They are the three to five activities that lie in your “sweet spot.”  You do them with excellence.  These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc.  They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members. 

Being able to prioritize your personnel, time, and energy will allow you the freedom to produce more efficient results. 

Here are a few exercises taken from John Maxwell’s book Developing the Leader within You that should get you started:

Task Priorities

Determine what 20% of the work gives 80% of the return. These activities could be building relationships with recruits, making phone calls to parents, sending emails to recruits, managing your current team, etc.  They are your unique discipline or distinctive skills and abilities that distinguish you from other staff members. 

Make a list of the tasks that you are working on today, this week, and in the near future. 

Place each task next to the appropriate category below.

  • List of things to do now (High Importance/High Urgency). Tackle these tasks first;
  • List of things to do (High Importance/Low Urgency). Set deadlines for completion and get these tasks worked into your daily routine
  • List of things to delegate (Low Importance/High Urgency). Find quick, efficient ways to get this work done without much personal involvement.  Delegate it.
  • Low Importance/Low Urgency: Busy or repetitious work.  Delegate it. 

Staff/Team Oversight and Leadership Development

  • Determine which people are the top 20% producers.  Start by making a list of everyone on your team.
  • For each individual, ask yourself, if this person takes a negative action against me or withdraws his or her support from me, how big will the impact be?”
  • If their absence would hinder your ability to function, put a check mark next to that name.
  • When you finish making the check marks, you will have marked between 15 and 20 percent of the names.  These are the vital relationships that need to be developed and given the proper amount of resources to grow your program.
  • Meet one-on-one with the people you checked above. 
  • Spend 80 percent of your “people time” with the top 20%
  • Spend 80 percent of your personal development dollars on the 20%

Sit down and spend the time to find out how this principle applies within almost every aspect of your program, and you have the power to set the vital priorities which will mean the difference between failure, survival, and success. This principle will save you time, effort, money and resources, and take you further down the road to success.

Knowing what your high-payoff activities are and actually doing them, however, are two very different things.  Many surveys that I have read over the past several years have shown that the average American worker spends only 50-60 percent of the workday on activities specified in her or her job description.  That means that workers waste 40-50 percent of their time on low-payoff activities, tackling things that others with less skill or training should be doing.  Are you in this category coach?

By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more productive things done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.   

The more time you spend doing the high-payoff activities, the more value you will bring to your team, program, and staff.  By disciplining yourself to clearly identify your high-payoff activities, and then by filling your calendar with those things and appropriately delegating, delaying, or dropping the low-payoff activities, you can and will get more high-payoff activities done everyday, reduce your stress, and increase your happiness.    

If you are interested in working with me to set up your 80/20, email me at mandy@busy.coach. Or visit www.busy.coach for more resources.

Why Being Their Perfect Fit is Far From Perfect RecruitingMonday, February 26th, 2018

When we think of things that are perfect in our lives, its a pretty short list. 

Even something simple like finding clothes that fit just right can be a challenge, much less finding the “perfect” college to spend four years at as a student-athlete.

To rise to the level of “perfection”, several things usually need to happen:

We need to figure out if it’s even a possibility that it might be “perfect”, we need to take time to make sure all of our questions and fears have been answered, and then we have to be ready to own the “perfection” after we decide that it is, indeed, a perfect fit for us.

But to read some messaging from colleges and coaches, you’d believe that declaring a university was a “perfect fit” for a given student-athlete would be the secret to untold success. The number initial messages that declare that, from both coaches and the admissions departments at the colleges where they work, are actually hurting their chances of initiating a serious conversation with those prospects.

Why?

It’s too big of a jump. It doesn’t make sense. By making that claim, a coach or college communicates that they aren’t interested in making their case to their prospects; instead, they are demanding those same prospects rush to the decision that they want them to come to as soon as humanly possible.

And the prospects see right through it, according to our research. That shouldn’t be a surprise:

    • They need to figure out, on their own, the merits of a particular college or athletic program.
    • They need to take their time in determining whether all of their questions and fears have been answered adequately, Rushing that process only makes a coach or college look insincere, or at the best, clueless.
    • Because of those first two factors, they are unlikely to be ready to “own” that perfection. In short, they haven’t decided that it is indeed a perfect fit.

Hopefully that makes sense. In case it does, here are three out of the seven strategies that we typically will use with our college coach clients when we want to denote a connection with a new prospect, without trying to make the case that a particular program is “the perfect fit”:

Tell them one specific thing you want them to know about you. That’s one of the most effective ways to get them curious about what you and your program are all about without trying to make the ridiculous case that you are “the perfect fit”. Detail one special thing about your program or campus, let them know that you can’t wait for them to see it for themselves soon, and then ask them if they feel like it’s something that would be a factor in them choosing a college.

Give them some reasons you might NOT be a good fit. These don’t have to be actual negatives about your program or campus…I’m not suggesting that you throw your program under it’s own bus for not winning too many games during the last two seasons, or point out that prospects would hate your on-campus housing because the rooms are run down. I’m talking about personality traits (“lazy kids who don’t want to work towards a championship aren’t going to be a good fit here”), the size of your campus (“if you’re looking for a campus where people don’t know your name, and it’s not personalized, then this place won’t be a good fit”) or what your team is like (“we’re looking for prospects who want to join a group of guys that love hanging out together off the court as best friends”).

Ask them to give you their top two or three factors in choosing the right program, coach and college. If they reply and are honest and open with you, they’ll give you a beginning roadmap to winning their attention, and they’ll be more likely to listen to the case that you make.

Describing your campus as “the perfect fit” is just one of the verbal miscues we see well-intentioned college coaches making on a regular basis. The fixes are actually pretty easy, and the results can be significant.

The lesson I want you to remember: Be careful choosing the terms you use to describe where you coach!

Advanced uses of language in recruiting is just one of the next-level topics you’ll learn about at the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference this summer! Register now to save your seat…it’s a fantastic event by coaches, for coaches. And, it’s one of the only places you’ll go to learn how advanced recruiting is really executed by creative coaches from around the country.

“Closing” Doesn’t Have to Be So StressfulTuesday, February 20th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

The last thing I do when I lead a training workshop is have the admissions staff come up with four or five action points. Having them define the next steps (as individuals and as a group) is extremely important if the growth process is going to continue.

Becoming a better closer or becoming more comfortable asking for the commitment has been an action point in just about every single workshop I’ve led over the past year.

I’ve found that a lot of admissions counselors stress themselves out about the pending decisions of their admitted students because they don’t have a good feel for the mindset or the timeline of many of the students/families that they’re working with.

Managing the volume of names that make up most territories these days is without a doubt a big challenge. So, what’s the solution? I would argue it’s a lot of hard work (and I mean a lot!) along with a lot of teamwork and some very defined recruitment strategies, many of which I will continue to provide you with in this newsletter each Tuesday.

It starts with recognizing that the college search process for a student is exactly that…a process. Your goal should be to take your time and lead prospective students and parents through the process of understanding the value your school offers, how your student experience is different, and how it ties in to what each student is looking for in their college experience. Trying to skip steps or trying to explain those things in one meeting or during one admitted student day event is not an effective strategy. The end result will almost always be, “I need some more time to think about it,” or “I’m not sure yet.”

Your students know what you too should know. You’re not asking for “a decision,” you’re asking for “a set of decisions.” If you look at student recruitment as a process rather than an event, you will have less stress, specifically when it comes time to ask a student if they’re ready to make their decision. It’s about providing opportunities for a student to say yes to each step along the way. When you gain agreement through small wins or as I like to call them, “little yeses,” your job immediately becomes less challenging. More on what those “little yeses” look like in just a minute.

If you want to create opportunities to get a string of incremental yeses, consistently do these four things:

  • Ask specific, targeted questions throughout the entire process
  • Involve parents in the process much earlier
  • Provide personalized messaging for students and parents with different calls to action that encourage engagement
  • Show them you’re a resource (not a salesperson) who understands this process is about them and not your school

All four of those things are interrelated, and together they form the core of an effective recruitment strategy. They also require patience.

Consistent, personalized messaging in particular has proven to be an instant game changer for our clients. During a phone call last week with a Director of Admissions at a school we partner with, the DOA was excited to share that apps, admits, and deposits year/year were all up! When I asked him for some feedback he expressed that having a consistent message that creates engagement and provides information his counselors can then build upon has made a major difference. Again, it’s the idea of building a relationship brick by brick.

Now let’s dive into those “little yeses” further. When you get a student or parent to offer agreement to something versus you telling them what they should do/think, they’re more likely to move forward because they were the architect. For example:

  • Get them to reply back to an email with the answer to a question you asked
  • Get them to agree to set up a phone call with you
  • Get them to agree to talk to their parent(s) about visiting campus (or visiting again for your ASD)
  • Get them to agree that your college’s location is actually a positive
  • Get them to tell you that they can see themselves living in your dorms, attending events on your campus, or working closely with your dedicated faculty
  • Get them to agree that they understand the VALUE of a degree from your school
  • Get them to agree that filling out the FAFSA can be beneficial for them
  • Get the parent(s) to agree that your campus is a safe environment and you have programs in place to help their son/daughter successfully transition to college life
  • Get them to agree on what the next step in their process will be
  • Get them to agree when they’ll make their final decision and how

Each one of those things can be classified as small wins. Once you get enough of those small wins or “little yeses”, it makes asking for the big yes (their intention to enroll at your school) less stressful and much easier…but you still have to ask. When you do, you won’t have to worry about being pushy because you’ve consistently recruited them the right way (i.e. the way they want) and they’ve already given you a bunch of “little yeses” along the way that clearly indicate your school is a serious contender.

The other major benefit of taking the approach I just shared with you is you’ll discover much quicker just how serious (or not serious) a student is about your school.

If you have a specific question about this article or any other part of student recruitment, click this link and send me an email right now. I’m ready to listen and offer advice if you’re willing to share.

6 Ways to Make Time for Your Daily Recruiting DutiesMonday, February 19th, 2018

I was 100% guilty of not making recruiting a priority at times.  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 but at the end of the day, I would leave the office feeling guilty because I knew that I didn’t make any significant progress.   

Can you relate?

It is easy to get lost in all of the details of what you have to do day-to-day.  But for all of us, obviously recruiting quality student athletes is vital to the continued or future success of your program. Recruiting is and 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 6 most effective things that I have done to make time for recruiting.  Depending on your work hours and situation, maybe some or all of these could help.

  1. Do it first. Absolute first thing you do is recruiting.  Get it out of the way.  When you prioritize it and work on it when your mental energy is the best, you will find that it actually takes you less time to get through it and the quality of your messages goes up as well.  Devote your first 30 minutes to 1 hour on just recruiting. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. I made a long list of everything that had to get done with recruiting.  I figured out what I HAD to do, then I found people to delegate the rest to.  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.
  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.
  6. I time tracked what I was actually doing during the day.  From when I started working to when I finished for the day, I wrote down everything I did and for how long I did it.  It was annoying to do for the 2 days that I did it but I was shocked at how much time I was wasting doing unnecessary things and how little time I was allowing for things I know would help grow my program. I tweaked a lot of things from that one exercise and made myself take control of my day better.

I did all of these things above because I was tired of being tired and stressed out about not getting enough recruiting 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 to make changes at first because I was used to doing things a certain way.  But now, I don’t think twice about it. 

There really are a lot of simple ways to tweak what you are currently doing to squeeze just a little bit more productivity out of you and your staff.  Check out www.busy.coach for more information or email me at mandy@busy.coach to get more information.   

If You’re Getting the Silent TreatmentTuesday, February 13th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

You’re not alone.

Winter seems to be the popular time of year for radio silence from students, namely inquiries and admitted (but undecided) students.

A lot of admissions counselors tell me their state of mind when this happens is a combination of frustration and urgency. And when an admissions counselor is frustrated and feeling the pressure to move students to the next stage of the process, I’ve found that bad things often follow. I’m talking about things like becoming way pushier during conversations or questioning their own ability to recruit students successfully.

Today I’m going to take you inside your student’s head and give you an idea of what they might be thinking or feeling. There’s a reason for the silence, and it’s important that you understand the “why” behind it. That understanding will give you the road map you’ll need to continue or reignite effective communication. I’ll also give you some strategies on how to do that as well.

Let’s start with five common things that could be behind your prospect’s silence:

  1. You’re school isn’t a good fit and they just don’t want to tell you. As you probably guessed, this is one of the most common reasons for getting the silent treatment. Why don’t they just tell you that they’re not interested, right? If only it were that simple. This generation of students has a very hard time telling others “no.” Our research says that they’re afraid you’ll get mad at them. Right or wrong, this is who you’re dealing with. By being silent, they hope you just fade away so that they don’t have to have that uncomfortable conversation with you.
  2. They aren’t sure how serious your school is about them so they don’t want to invest extra time with you. They know they’re not the only student being recruited by your college, and because so many recruitment emails and letters continue to look and sound the same, they struggle to differentiate who’s more serious about them. Combine that with an inconsistent flow of messages (i.e. send a lot early, then slow down, then send a lot more around financial aid season), and you’ve got students who are completely confused and ultimately default to just ignoring it all.
  3. They’re interested, but they don’t know what to do or say next (and most are afraid to ask). This usually results from admissions counselors who make their conversations and messages all about their school and taking action, sprinkled in with some, “How did your day go?” phone calls or text messages that end up going nowhere. No matter what stage a student is at in their college search, they’re always looking for the next step, and you need to consistently give it to them.
  4. They don’t like talking on the phone. It could be as simple as that. Make sure you’re communicating with your students they way they want to be communicated with.
  5. They’re busy and overwhelmed. When Dan (Tudor) and I look at our research data, both with prospective students and student-athletes, the two most common reasons they give us for not being prompt in returning a school’s call is that they’re busy with high school life as well as being overwhelmed with the college search process in general. Many students also aren’t sure what they should (and shouldn’t) say during a conversation with an admissions counselor or student caller. How are you easing their stress level and making this process easier on them?

Alright, I’ve given you some of the “why.” Now let’s discuss some things you can do to regenerate the conversation. By the way, keep in mind that at this point (mid-February) you’re going to have to pick up the phone and make a lot of calls. Like it or not, that’s going to be your best option in almost every case.

  • Stop acting like a robot on the phone. Students can quickly tell when a call from a counselor or a student caller is scripted. It drives them nuts, and they lose focus fast. You can still focus on the same talking points, but do it in a natural, conversational tone so it doesn’t feel forced and robotic.
  • Take responsibility for your inconsistent communication. If you and/or your school have been inconsistent, ease their concerns/fears right away by apologizing and taking ownership (even if it’s not completely your fault). Tell them you could have done a better job making this process more about them, and ask them if your school is still under consideration. If it is, reassure them that going forward you will improve, and you could even go so far as to ask them for feedback on what you can do to be a helpful partner.
  • Give them an “out”. Specifically with “cold inquiries,” in a voicemail or email (or even if they answer the phone), ask them if they’re okay with telling you “no” if they get to a point where they feel your school isn’t the right fit. Counselors who have done this tell me one of two things typically happens – the student calls back and says that they’ve chosen another college, or they’ll say they haven’t made a decision yet and are struggling with some aspect of the process. Either way, you get the information you’re looking for, and you now know the truth about what’s going on.
  • Tell them they’re a priority. It’s a couple simple words that make a huge impact! If you’re talking to an admitted (but undecided) student, remind them at some point that they are a priority.
  • Send the student a handwritten note. A personalized gesture like this not only increases your likeability, but it also signals that the student is a priority and encourages them to take your call the next time you reach out.
  • Call the student’s parent(s). If you’ve left multiple voicemails and/or reached out through multiple channels, call the parent(s) with the goal of discovering if a decision has been made. And if it hasn’t, your goal now should be to find out where they’re at in the process, and come up with something you can do to help them.
  • Ask them an effective question. For example, “What do you see as the next step in your process?” or “What’s the biggest thing you’re struggling with right now when it comes to picking a college?” or “Why did we end up being one of the schools that made your final cut?” Keep in the mind that the question you’re asking needs to align with the stage they’re at in the process.

I’ll end by reiterating a very important point! Once a conversation has been renewed or started, please make sure there’s a plan moving forward for how you will consistently communicate with that student/family the rest of the way. Without that, you’ll quickly be back to square one again.

If you have a specific question, problem, or concern…or maybe you’re just looking for reassurance that the approach you’re considering is a good strategy, I’m here to listen if you’re willing to share. The next step is to call, text, or email me at jeremy@dantudor.com. You’ll get a response within 24 hours (probably less). That’s my promise to you.

Are You Spinning Your Coaching Wheels Making These Two Mistakes?Monday, February 12th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Coach, have you ever come back from lunch, checked your email, fiddled around on the web, and realized that two or three hours had just slipped away from you?   Every day, so many coaches engage themselves in activities that are not relevant to their goals, recruiting, or their vision for their program. These coaches waste an enormous amount of time every day and they aren’t even aware that they are doing it.

I wrote a report called 11 Mistakes That Stop Coaches from Being Successful.  There are a lot of mistakes that coaches are making in the office that are costing a lot of time and wasted energy.

Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and best-selling author, says most people can waste up to one and a half hours per day because of time-management mistakes. That’s seven and a half hours per week… almost an entire work day!  It’s not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute here and a minute there, like a leaky hot water faucet…drip, drip, drip…it doesn’t seem like a major loss, but at the end the day, we’re dumping gallons of hot water down the drain.

The simple truth is that if you could just avoid or properly manage these 2 time-wasters I talk about below, you would be free to accomplish your goals and grow your program in profound ways.

Each one has the potential to really eat your time and heighten your stress levels. Even if you’re doing O.K. with one of the two areas I’m going to talk about, that one area you’re failing at can short-circuit your entire day.

  • Multi-Tasking

Every coach likes to think they’re great at multi-tasking, and some of them actually do ok. But there is a limit to how many things you can do at once without taking away from the quality of your work…and it almost always greatly increases the time it takes to finish each project. Experts estimate that the tendency to start and stop a task, to pick it up, put it down and come back to it can increase the time necessary to complete the task by as much as 500%. That means that a task that should take 10 minutes to complete now takes almost an hour.

That’s why it is very important to absorb yourself with one thing at a time. Give that task your full attention and complete it before moving on to the next thing. By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more. Do your most important task first. Do it until it’s completed. Then, and only then, move on to the next most important task.

  • Meetings

We have all been in meetings that don’t start on time, seem to have no purpose, are way too long, or don’t end when they should. Those terrible meetings should tell you something about how your meetings should go.

First: Have a purpose and stick only to that purpose.

Second: Your meeting should start on time.

Third: Your meeting should have a time limit

Fourth: Your meeting should end on time.

To sum up, if you say you are going to have a meeting from 11:30 to 12:00 to discuss the practice for the day, you better start your meeting at 11:30, it better be about the practice for the day and nothing else, and it better be over by 12:00.

No matter what sport you coach, time is valuable and work is interconnected. If you fail to start meetings on time or fail to meet commitments, you affect the work of the rest of your staff. Schedule blocks of time for each item to be discussed and then keep track of the time. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all staff members involved are updated.

The key point here with both of these time wasters is to STAY FOCUSED That’s all that really matters. Refuse to let other things distract you from the task at hand and you can triple your productivity in the office. It may be difficult at first but the more you practice it, the easier it will get. If you want the rest of my list of time wasters that coaches tend to be guilty of, go here to get my 11 Mistakes That Stop Coaches from Being Successful free report.

Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 18 years and is the founder of Busy Coach, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more effective collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.busy.coach.

Getting Prospects to Reply to Your First Recruiting MessageMonday, February 12th, 2018

What gets you to respond to a text message from someone you don’t know?

What gets you to take a chance on a new restaurant you’ve heard about near campus?

Why do you engage with a stranger who comes up to you and asks for directions?

And, why do those cheesy informercials offer you two of their product at the end of their pitch, instead of just one?

All of the answers to those questions relate directly to the simple things any coach can do if they want to increase their response rates with their initial recruiting messages that they send to their recruits.

In each of the every day examples I just outlined, there are two critical elements: An interaction, and a response. Those same to critical elements exist with every first recruiting message that a coach send out to a new recruit. And yet, a coach usually breaks the rules that his or her marketing counterparts follows almost religiously. If you want to get more responses from your initial batch of new recruits, do the same things that each one of the people in those examples do.

Here’s how:

  • When you get a text message from someone – or an email, or a voicemail, or any other incoming message – what prompts you to respond? Studies suggest that we are more apt to reply to something that doesn’t sound like an advertising message. Many, many initial messages that coaches construct jump right in to ‘selling’ their school. What I’m going to suggest is that you be patient and take a long-term approach to selling your school to a prospect. Most aren’t ready to take in sales-related messaging from a coach right away.
  • We all like a little mystery. When things are too well defined right away, we get the feeling that there’s nothing else we need to engage with the sender. Our immediate questions have been answered, so there’s no reason to pay attention any longer. Of course, I’m being a little dramatic…I’m not suggesting that applies to every one of your prospects. However, it does apply to enough. So, how do you include a little mystery in your messaging? Hold back. Don’t tell them everything about you, your program, or your school. You can also hint at things to come in the future that you want to talk with them about, which will stand a good chance of keeping them engaged with you as things move forward.
  • Do a quick one-two punch to disrupt their expectations. Most coaches your prospect will hear from are going to get an email, letter or phone call that states all the basics about their program, and then they back off. I’d suggest sending two back-to-back messages to your prospects initially, each one of them different than the other. So if you send out a letter first, send a follow up email that quickly continues the narrative that you had in the first message. The key is to link the first two messages so that your recruit understands you’re actually talking with them, not just at them. It makes a difference, Coach.
  • Pay attention to the way you construct your messages. That includes your letters, emails – even your phone calls. They all have a structure to them…an “architecture”. And there’s a right way to construct that message if the goal is to get a response from a new prospect that you want to communicate with after the initial contact.  To learn about the four primary ways you should structure your messages in order to get immediate responses, listen to our special podcast message right now that outlines the strategy that we see work for coaches all over the country.

Getting more responses from your new prospects isn’t rocket science. But it is recruiting science. And if you want to have that science works for you as much as possible, start by implementing these simple yet effective strategies right away.

Want to learn more insider strategies that are working for college coaches all over the country? Make plans to be a part of our upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference this Summer. It’s for serious college recruiters only, and will change the way you approach recruiting. Register to save your seat, or bring your whole staff!

It Happened Again Last WeekTuesday, February 6th, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

The “it” I’m referring to is poor customer service. On the plus side my bad experience provides the perfect opportunity to offer an important reminder as you continue to assemble your next class of students.

Last week I had an appointment set up with an auto glass company to replace the windshield on my wife’s car. As you can see in the picture to the left, those pesky rocks got her again during a recent drive in to work.

The company had given me a window of 8am-12pm to do the repair. A little after 9:00 on the day of, I got a call telling me that they’d have to reschedule for later in the week because the windshield was still in Kentucky…annoying, right. Unfortunately, it gets worse.

Three days later the technician arrived to finally do the repair, and within minutes he gave me a look that I knew wasn’t good. My wife’s car has rain sensor wipers and the replacement windshield in his truck was the wrong one.

At this point I was 0 for 2, but what really frustrated me was the fact that less than a year ago the same company had replaced the same windshield on my wife’s car for the same reason…meaning they knew the exact specs, and this was a clear case of poor communication somewhere along the line.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the company (including the technician) has yet to apologize for their mistake. They’ve rescheduled me (again) for tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll show up with the correct part, although I have yet to receive any sort of confirmation or reminder of tomorrow’s appointment.

Situations like this happen all the time in business. They also happen during the college search process with poor (or lack of) communication almost always being the reason. I’m sure you could give me a personal example if I asked you for one. Think for just a quick second about how you felt in that situation and how it affected your view of that company, a specific person, or a particular store location. You might have even voiced your anger to family, friends, or through one of the oh-so-public social media platforms.

Now I want you to think about the miscommunications and mistakes (even the little ones) that occur with students and families during a typical recruiting cycle. They’re going to happen because none of us is perfect. But how many of them could be avoided with better communication or collaboration within not only your admissions team but also other departments and colleagues on campus? I think we can both agree that the answer is “a lot!”

Here are some common communication mistakes that I continue to hear/read about in my travels. Some can be embarrassing while others can have more serious consequences:

  • Sending an email, letter, or text message without checking it
  • Assuming that a message has been understood
  • Assuming that a student/family knows all the different steps to take during the college search process
  • Assuming that when a conversation happens between an admissions counselor and a student (ex. financial aid), the student will immediately relay all that information to their parent(s)
  • Admissions counselors and coaches spending time on the same task because both assume the other won’t do it correctly
  • Student tour guides or ambassadors bringing up talking points (and questions) during a tour that have already been discussed or answered by their admissions counselor
  • Not asking the parent(s) how their child’s college search process is affecting them
  • Doing more talking when you should be listening

When a mistake or miscommunication occurs, here are three important things I would recommend you do:

  • Admit your mistake
  • Apologize sincerely
  • Come up with a solution (and make sure the other person is in agreement)

If you’re still questioning whether or not all of this is really that important, let me remind you that Dan (Tudor) and I have massive amounts of student survey data which continue to show that superior customer service by a college’s admissions staff (and other departments on campus) significantly impacts a student’s final decision in a positive way.

Let me know if today’s article was helpful. And if you did enjoy it, please share it with your colleagues or consider bringing this topic up at your next staff meeting. It really is that important!

If It’s On Your Desk, and Disrupts Productivity, It’s Got to GoMonday, February 5th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Whether you’re working in your own office, a shared office, or your home office, your productivity depends a lot on the environment.

A well-organized office has huge benefits. In the first place, it provides a feeling of control and competence, which leads to higher levels of productivity. Second, the very fact that it’s organized defends against distractions. Your organized office can absorb the incoming work and position you for success.

On the other hand, working in a cluttered, messy, or distracting environment could affect your work in a negative way.  I say could because there are those that thrive and have a secret love of disorder.  If this describes you and this is the environment where you work best, keep doing what you are doing and more power to you. 

But, there have been a number of studies which have attempted to prove that working in a cluttered and unorganized workspace have a negative impact on our work.

A 2011 study by Princeton neuroscientists, for instance, found that clutter directly causes stress – a problem which, if left unchecked, can quickly lead to employee burnout in the workplace.

Now, rearranging or moving piles occasionally doesn’t count coach. Neither does clearing off your desk by swiping the mess into a desk drawer (I tried that and it didn’t work well because there was too much to fit so I couldn’t close the door).

So, if you’re ready to get started, the following tips on this infographic will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace. This was created by a UK-based business savings company Make It Cheaper.

Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way. Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working. Good luck.

What methods do you use to create an organized office space? Email me at mandy@busy.coach and let me know.

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