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They’re Everywhere! More Recruiting Tips From My TravelsTuesday, May 29th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

What a way to end my spring travel. Last week started with 48 hours in Atlantic City during which I gave the keynote speech at NJACAC and presented a breakout session. Then it was home for 12 hours to sleep in my own bed and have breakfast with my wife and daughter. And then it was back to the airport to fly to the opposite coast and Spokane, WA for 36 hours to speak at PNACAC. I had so much fun connecting with many of you in person!

When I travel, my eyes and ears are always paying attention. Why? Because there are people all around you that can teach you really valuable recruiting techniques. So, when I see or hear something of note, I add it to a Word document and then eventually I pass it along to you in an article like this one.

Here are nine things to think about if you want to become a more effective recruiter and communicator:

  • Earning trust. We have a lot of options when we fly. Last week during my layover at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport I met Captain Mark and First Officer Jason who work for Delta. Prior to boarding our flight, both of them were walking around the gate area striking up conversations with many of the passengers…including me. Not having seen others do this before, I asked Captain Mark about it. He told me that in his mind it was extremely important to earn the trust of customers before they flew with him. Plus it was another way to personalize the traveler experience. Without either, he said, how was he or the airline he flew for any different than the rest? My question to you is, how are you earning the trust of your prospective students and their parents?
  • Perfecting your approach. Have you noticed that more bartenders are asking you for your name? Some like Robert in Wichita, KS and Nate in Peoria, IL, will even go so far as to describe how the food is prepared and why the food at their restaurants is better than the rest. It’s all about how they first establish contact with a new customer. That sets the tone for the customer relationship even if it’s only for a few minutes. When done correctly, it increases the likelihood of repeat business. How much time do you put into figuring out what your approach sounds like to prospective students?
  • Using compliments. It’s a simple thing with a massive ROI. Compliments help you make a connection and cultivate a relationship. They also show that you care, which is something that prospective students tell us they’re actively looking for.
  • Pay attention to body language. Are you aware that your body language reveals things to total strangers including prospective students and their parents? It’s true. Why does that matter? It might surprise you to know that research indicates over 65 percent of our communication is done nonverbally. In fact, studies show that nonverbal communication has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word. Therefore, if a prospective student’s words don’t match with their body language, you’d be wise to rely on body language as a more accurate reflection of their true feelings.
  • Prove that you can solve their problems. It’s crucial that you possess the ability to both discover problems and develop solutions. Remember, you’re dealing with young people who want to have their problems (specifically – how to pick the right college and how to pay for it) solved. It starts by asking effective questions. If you can’t do that, you’ll miss out on opportunities to solve problems and separate yourself and your school from your competitors.
  • Know what your competition has to offer. How much do you really know about the three or four schools that you constantly compete with for students? Without that knowledge it’s hard to outline the differences between your student experience and theirs. Let me clarify. I don’t want you to focus on negative recruiting. Instead, I want you to be able to passionately explain why your school is a better fit. Are you able to consistently do that in a professional way?
  • It’s how you say what you say. In other words, the “feel” of the language you use with prospective students is even more important than the facts you’re relaying to them. As I’ve said before, our research clearly shows that this generation of students is focused more on how you make them feel. That’s one of the big reasons we focus on the overall tone of the messages and recruiting strategy that we help develop for our clients.
  • Are your letters and emails speaking the right language? Stop worrying so much about everything being “on brand.” Your communications, specifically the letters and emails you send, need to be shorter, and they need to be all about them. Use language that we all speak every single day. And most of all be consistent.
  • Do they understand why, how, and when to take action? And if the answer is yes to all three but they’re still not moving forward, what’s holding them back? Your prospect is always moving in one direction (towards you) or the other (away from you). They never stay neutral.

Looking for more ideas that can help you in your day-to-day? Reply back to this email and let me know what you need help with.

P.S. I want to give one more big shout-out to NJACAC President-Elect Carlos Cano and everyone else from Jersey for their hospitality last week. What an amazing group!

6 Steps for Coaches Feeling Like They Want to QuitMonday, May 28th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

[This is an update to an article original published in 2014]

Coaching can be an emotional roller-coaster, full of surprising highs and terrifying lows.

When things go wrong and you hit one of the lows, especially the low-of-lows, a normal reaction can be “I give up.”

I’ve uttered those words more than once.

Yet here’s the thing, often the crush of the low-of-lows is only temporary. Just around the corner is a better day.

But the trick is getting around-the-cornerover-the-humpout-of-the-ditch, or whatever you call it when you fall down, pick yourself up, and move ahead.

Following are 5 actions I’ve used over the years (36 years and counting) to keep going as a coach. These are actions which have helped me get to that brighter-and-sunnier day.

#1. Remember why you coach sports

Let’s start with the most powerful step first.

Answer this question: Exactly why do you coach a sport? 

This one piece of information is immensely powerful. Knowing “why” can stop negative thoughts in their track and help re-energize low spirits.

A few years ago we had a terrible discipline problem. It turned out a majority of the team broke training rules and several athletes were asked to leave the team. It was a dark time. Knowing “why” I choose to coach (I coach to help people find their inner super powers) helped me find light in the darkness. I came back to that phrase often.

If you have not developed your why yet then check out the undisputed Master-of-Why, Simon Sinek. And here are a few thoughts I have on it.

#2. Take a brief escape from coaching

Short respites, ones less than a day, can give needed mental breaks during negative times. Even very short bursts can shore up flagging attitudes and have mental and physical benefits. Anything that engages you could work as a brief escape: movie, parade, shopping, exercise.

When I need a quick break, I juggle. Yeah, yeah, I admit it, I’m one of those guys.

I usually keep three juggling-balls in my pack and sneak away for a few minutes for a toss. I’m not very good and drop more than I keep afloat, but the juggling engages and distracts me.

Or I go find fun people to hang with. People I might not even know, but who are really enjoying themselves, like at a comedy movie, or street performer, or something silly.

I also suggest tuning out of the daily news. Today, the headlines are so divisive and extraordinary I found it a huge mental drain to read or watch the news. You might find benefit in taking a news break.

To determine what escape might work best, you need to know what type of coach you are. This might help.

#3 Stop the negative self talk

We can be our own worse critics. And it is not uncommon for us to lay on the negative self talk. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they really are, on the outside. On the inside, things are looking really dark.

When my self-talk goes sour, and I want to give up, I look into a mirror and say a few of my negative thoughts out loud. I look myself in the eyes, and slowly say the thought.

I have found that within seconds I stop myself, and replace the negative comments with positive ones. Most of the time it works, this reflection trick, for me. But when it doesn’t, I…

#4. Lean on a social-support network.

There is overwhelming evidence that screams A HUGE FACTOR IN PROFESSIONAL SUSTAINABILITY is a social-support network. In other words, when things get tough the coach who has dependable friends and family will be around longer than the solo coach.

I have several buddies I can blast anytime with the “You won’t believe this …” Or “What would you do in this case …” messages. Their non-judgmental support is priceless. A dependable social-support network is life raft worth bringing on every journey.

[Warning, a social-support network is not the same as your socialmedia audience. The former are people you can count on, the latter usually just consumers.]

This might offer some insight, The Insane Loneliness Of Coaching Sports, and so might this.

#5. Create an exit map from coaching.

Sometimes wanting to give up is caused by feeling trapped. Believing you’re stuck in quick sand and there’s no way out. Fifth grade was like that for me.

I wanted to give up. I still remember those days of despair and dreading school every morning. It was the school counselor who really helped me get over the dread. She and I sat down one day and drew a map of the rest of my fifth grade year, ending with dismissal for summer vacation. I carried that map in my little notebook, pulling it out whenever I started to feel trapped and wanted to give up. It really helped.

An exit plan is one of those coaching secrets you rarely hear about but one that might make a huge difference. Here’s my detailed take on it: 3 Ways An Exit Plan Can Make You A Better Coach.

#6. Find perspective.

I know I promised 5 steps, but this one is so powerful I couldn’t leave it out. Watch this video for a quick tweak of perspective.

If you try any, or all, of these steps and things aren’t better, then the reality might be you should give up. Quit coaching. Take a hike. But that’s a drastic step that should be taken only after some clear and deep thinking.

Here’s one final resource I’ll recommend, before you take any drastic steps. Make sure you do the homework section. Or read this book: Why Good Coaches Quit: And How You Can Stay In The Game.

“One reason people who spend a lot of time thinking about and working on a problem or a craft seem to find breakthroughs more often than everyone else is that they’ve failed more often than everyone else”. -Seth Godin

Related Reading:

Why Coaches Need to Set Deadlines For ThemselvesMonday, May 28th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

To get ahead quicker, no matter what your situation or current skill set, you would need to change your daily behavior. 

What makes people change more than anything else?  It is setting and sticking to deadlines!  A deadline gives us personal accountability.

In fact, in our accountability-lacking work culture…one of the biggest mistakes made is not setting deadlines.  Why?  People do not want to be held accountable to them.

Without a deadline there is no urgency.  Have you ever had a task on your to-do list with no deadline, no urgency?  What happens?  Usually nothing.  It sits on your list for months.

A deadline is a budget for your time. Just like a budget for your spending can help keep you out of debt, keeping budgets for your time can keep you productive.

Management guru Peter Drucker said “you cannot build performance on weaknesses.” That’s why it is essential for you to hone your skills as a first step towards boosting your own productivity, as well as the performance of those you manage or work with. How well you manage yourself is the keystone for accomplishing the outcomes that will make you successful, and crucial to managing yourself is the positive, productive use of deadlines. 

Using deadlines can give you the edge you need to set yourself apart as a coach in your sport, to give you an extra boost of energy or creativity.

  • When you have only a defined amount of time to do a task, you are almost always more focused than you would be if time didn‘t matter.
  • Most of us work faster and more effectively when we are committed to meeting an important deadline.
  • Deadlines give extra meaning to our activities by providing a basis for measuring our accomplishments.

Deadlines can help you become more productive if:

You’re worried about feature creep. If your project has the tendency to expand and become larger, deadlines force you to focus on what’s most important.

You might procrastinate. Deadlines can push you through work you don’t enjoy. Without deadlines, some work would always be pushed until tomorrow.

You’re outside your comfort zone. Keeping a time limit can force you to push through fears. There’s a point when you are prepared enough and just need to move forward. Deadlines can help you find that point.

You need to build experience quickly. Sometimes trial and error is the best solution. It might not be pretty, but it works. Setting short deadlines force you to put your ideas to the test instead of endlessly polishing them.

Those four characteristics are all good reasons to use deadlines.

If you don’t have deadlines, do you have goals?  Goals are also just accountability measures.  Goals are there to say I want this, by this date, in this way.  And just by deciding that, you are taking accountability for today. It is saying I want to change today, so I am going to set up this goal or this deadline that is going to help me change today.  That is the process of personal accountability.

Coach, if I came to your office and we opened up and looked at your digital or paper planner, how many self-imposed deadlines are there that I would be able to see?

Personally, I have found that by setting more deadlines, it has helped me reduce working and acting by the whim of the moment.

The more deadlines you have, the more self-initiative you will have.  The more deadlines and self-initiative you have, the more likely it is that you will move forward faster.  You are taking control of your coaching life and your designing where you want to go and how fast you are going to get there.

How Do You Aim for Excellence in Your Recruiting?Monday, May 28th, 2018

 

Author and widely respected marketing guru Seth Godin poses this question:

If you knew, and you could see the world through the eyes of the customer, and you really cared…

What would you do?

That’s a simple test of creating excellence.

Can I ask you – as a college coach who needs to recruit young student-athletes in order to stay employed – to answer these questions about how you achieve excellence in your program through excellence in your recruiting?

There are only six of them. But if you’re looking for a way to recalibrate your recruiting results, and want to center those new methods around excellence through the eyes of your recruits, here are the questions I’d want you to think about:

  1. As we talk about frequently in the on-campus recruiting workshops we conduct at athletic departments around the country, your primary job in beginning the recruiting process with a new prospect, is to get his or her attention. Simple as that. But as many coaches find, it’s harder than it sounds. So my first question: How are you produce an excellent first contact that not only gets their attention, but causes them to respond? Our advice on how to do this is plentiful on our blog, but start with the simple idea that if whatever you’re doing now isn’t working as well as you want (or need) it to, shouldn’t you do something different? Shouldn’t you try something new and different?
  2. As you communicate with those prospects, knowing what you would have been looking for in a coach who was recruiting you, what’s excellent about it? One coach recently admitted that he knew his communication with new recruits was boring and way too fact-filled, and yet he found it really challenging to communicate normally…in the same way he would with his neighbor, new assistant coach, or someone outside of the recruiting world. Why is that? Coach, is your communication style genuine, to the point, and engaging? You know how to do it. And yet, many coaches fall into the same old trap of the same old questions. That’s not excellence.
  3. Do you really care? That’s the central idea in the statement above. If you could see the world through the eyes of your recruit, and you really cared, what would you do? The question doesn’t suggest I think that most coaches ‘don’t care’ about their recruits. Not at all. But how do your actions come across to the recruits you’re starting a relationship with? It’s a serious question. Why? Because your recruits are actively looking for that very thing. What if you were the coach that gave it to them?
  4. How are you forming excellent relationships with your prospect’s parents? Building a relationship with those parents early on is incredibly important if the goal of your program is to get an early edge in getting your recruits to visit campus, apply or take final steps towards committing to your program. The good news is this: Very few coaches are excellent at forming good working relationships with parents. Yet those that do find it makes the rest of the process much, much easier. Excellence has it’s benefits, it appears.
  5. Are you excellent at the way you manage your recruiting list? Maybe I’ll ask the question like I did at the start, but with a twist: If you knew, and you could see the future of your next recruiting class, and you really cared about how the results were going to affect you and your program for years to come…What would you do?  That’s a simple test of creating excellence in the way you manage your recruiting list. Let the list manage you, and you create chaos. You managing the list – deleting, adding, assessing – is the way you create excellence with the end results.
  6. As you get deep into the process with a recruit you really want, are you evolving your recruiting message? Here’s what they’re looking for: They want you to tell them why you’re better (more excellent) than the other schools they’re considering. Simple as that. Want to be excellent in the eyes of your recruits? Make your case. Make it passionately. Make them prove you wrong.

You rarely get time to sit back and evaluate your recruiting. I mean your big picture, grand plan, recruiting view. So can you take a few minutes and answer those questions honestly?

Looking at yourself critically, with the goal of building excellence in your recruiting and coaching life, is one of the keys to making yourself better. And in this world, dealing with the recruits, that’s essential.

Essential, but not required. It’s your choice.

Same is true for excellence.

Looking for more creative ideas that will fuel more productive recruiting? Consider attending this summer’s National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. It’s the only place on the planet where coaches come to teach each other their techniques, share ideas, and hear experts from around the country explain successful recruiting. Sign-up now, and take your recruiting to another level as we approach another year of recruiting.

What’s Your Answer to This Important Question?Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

Delivering better, more consistent customer service continues to be one of the biggest concerns that college admission and enrollment management leaders voice to me.

Ten years ago if a prospective student had a really bad campus visit, or if a parent received the runaround from someone at your school, they’d vent to a few family members or friends and that was that.

Social Media has completely flipped the script, and with it, word of mouth has exploded like never before. Its impact can be extremely beneficial for both you and your school, or it can be devastatingly negative.

Three years ago I wrote an article where I referenced a conversation I had with a guy named Bill. That article, parts of which I’m going to share with you today, has become one of the most read and most referenced articles I’ve ever written. The conversation Bill and I had generated a very important question that I’m going to pose to you today. Your answer is even more important given the current recruiting landscape of 2018.

Let me start by telling you who Bill is. He runs a decorative/stamped concrete business in the Indianapolis area, which as you may or may not already know, is where I live. Bill is one of the most genuine and down to earth people I’ve ever met. When we built our house, his team created our stamped concrete patio.

A year or so after our patio went in, Bill happened to be in the area and chose to knock on my door and thank me. I’ll get to why in a minute. Bill had just come from our new neighbors’ house across the street. After seeing our patio when they moved in, my neighbors told me that they wanted to do something similar in their backyard. Without hesitation I whipped out my cell phone, told them they needed to call or text Bill, and I gave them his cell number. I had done the same thing for a half dozen other neighbors before, and I’ve done the same thing multiple times since.

Bill’s knock on my door that day was to thank me for all the word-of-mouth recommendations. To date, his company has created and installed 19 different patios in my subdivision.

Why did I offer up Bill’s information so quickly then, and why do I keep doing the same thing now when people ask about our patio? The answer is easy. It’s not because Bill asked me to, and it’s not because he offered me a referral reward of some kind. It’s because so many people in 2018 don’t act like Bill. Too many people, especially those in customer service industries, only care about getting “the sale.” You never hear from them again after that point unless they need something from you of course.

So, here’s my question for you: How many people that barely know you and have had only minimal contact with you (like I had with Bill) would, without hesitation, recommend your school to a prospective student (or their parents) if asked about different colleges?

I’ll even take it one step further. How many of those same people would recommend you to a friend who needed help with something in your area of expertise? If you’ve never thought about either of those things, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Word-of-mouth is the most powerful selling tool you have available. It stems naturally from an unmatched customer experience or interaction. Prospective students, just like my neighbors, are relying on others to help them make decisions.

Our ongoing research with incoming and current freshmen shows that they’ll often go against what their own gut is telling them and side with other influential outside decision makers. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what’s happening. It’s actually happening all across society. Just look at Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, etc.

So, I’ll ask the same question again in a different way. “Who’s recruiting for you when you’re not recruiting?”

How many different people do you come in contact with or pass in the halls during a school visit, college fair, or professional development conference? How about the hotel that you stay at or the restaurant on the road where you eat? Think long and hard about that for a minute. If you don’t think investing in relationships will pay a lifetime of dividends, I’m here to tell you it does. I believe in that statement so much that it was the focus of my keynote speech at this week’s NJACAC conference.

Your goal should be to generate positive interactions that get passed along from one person to the next, just like Bill did with me. You control the narrative that is written and communicated about you. That means more smiling, listening, and talking with passion when you discuss your school and what you do.

Start spending a couple of extra minutes and really concentrate on creating a positive relationship with this next class of prospects, their parents, and others around them. The same thing goes for other industry and business professionals that you come in contact with.

The personal and professional R.O.I. when you invest in relationships is astronomical, both short term and long term. I used the word “invest” for a reason because great relationships take time.  There is no shortcut!

Got a question about student recruitment, leadership, or professional/personal development? I’m here to help if you’re willing to reach out and ask.

Have a great week!

Four College Coaching Mistakes You Might Be Making – And, How to StopTuesday, May 22nd, 2018

by Mike Davenport, PhD, Coaching Sports Today

Every well intentioned, good, respectable coach makes coaching mistakes. It comes with the territory.

Following are four common coaching mistakes. Are you making them, and can you stop?

Coaching Mistake #1. You yell like your shoes are five sizes too small

Coaches should yell. They should scream.

And if their point is falling on deaf ears—they should yell LOUDER. Scream HARDER. Spray spit. Flail arms. That works really, really well. . . to drive an athlete away. To destroy trust. To crush an ego. To develop a rep you don’t want.

Athletes don’t respond to LOUD demeaning communication like the communicator hopes they will.

Ninety percent (or more) of athletes who are screamed at are motivated to do one thing and one thing only—make the screaming stop. Yelling and screaming won’t earn you respect. Throw in a few cuss words and you might lose a whole lot more than respect. Possibly the coaching gig.

Seriously.

There are some darn-good coaches who currently unemployed because they could not communicate in a positive, constructive manner. But that won’t be you. Right? How to stop? Try this or this.

Coaching Mistake #2. You have the wrong good-to-bad-critique ratio

At my desk, I was coloring a picture. My second-grade substitute-teacher had just given us an assignment. Crayons. Paper.

I was having a great day.

Until . . .The substitute walked up behind me, looked at my work. “This isn’t right,” she said. Then, for what seemed like a life-time, she criticized and corrected my drawing. Not-a-single-positive-comment in the whole lot.

I was crushed.

If I was in art school, chasing an MFA, I would have expected that criticism. Probably would have demanded it. But not as a second grade goofball with crayon in hand. Coaches, like my substitute, make this mistake all the time. Their positive-critique (You are doing this really well) to negative-critique (This part here, it needs to be improved) ratio is wrong for the age group they are coaching:

Here’s a scale I suggest you try on for size (This is my theory. May not fit your style or program.) How well are you doing? Try this…have someone record your comments in a practice.

  • Take a piece of paper
  • Divide it into two columns
  • One column is “positive.” The other “negative.”
  • The “recorder” follows you around and puts a hashmark into either column
  • Do a grand total after practice

Crazy you say! John Wooden did it. Why not you?

Coaching Mistake #3. You care more about winning than is appropriate

We were sooo late. About 10 minutes late.

I hated it.

When I go to a movie I love seeing the previews. It gets me in the mood for the movie. And I was going to miss the previews this night. I was frustrated as the traffic crept along. I turned to my wife, and groaned, “This is going to suck.” She smiled. “Ah, no worries,” she said. “We’ll just miss the previews. No biggie. Relax.”

I cared. She didn’t. And she was right (it really didn’t matter).

And that’s where this coaching mistake comes into play, when your focus on something is too intense for the situation. I have a theory about winning—yep, it is fun. But depending on the level of your coaching there is an appropriate importance to put on winning.

For example, an eight-year old soccer’s team priority should be athlete/team development and enjoyment. Not winning. While an Olympic effort has really one focus—winning.

Are you making the coaching mistake of caring more about winning than you should? (Or not caring as much as you should)?

Coaching Mistake #4. You don’t watch the watch 

Let me be blunt—coaches stink at telling time.

The boss at my gas-station expected us to be exactly on time and to leave exactly when the shift was over. During that window we were “his people” (he used to say) and outside of that time we were someone else’s people. We always pitied the fellow who was 2 minutes late, or tried to leave 1 minute early. But why do coaches think things are different for them?

Oh yeah, we expect people to be on time, yet I see coaches continually keep their athletes late. Five minutes, ten minutes, 30 minutes late. We encroach on other people’s time when we do that.

It’s screwing up. Get a watch. Use it. Because other people certainly do.

Who cares if we make these coaching mistakes?

Relationships are at the core of coaching a team. And when you make any of these four mistakes you can easily strain or damage a relationship:

  • No one likes being yelled at
  • To improve, the proper amount and type of feedback makes or breaks the learning
  • Inappropriate focus on winning can discourage (too much focus) or bore (too little focus)
  • People’s time is valuable, and if you waste it they will resent you

We screw up. It’s part of human nature. There are no perfect coaches. Just coaches who try hard, make mistakes, and learn from them.

For more insights on successful college coaching, subscribe to Mike’s free Coaching Sports Today newsletter here. Or, email him at mike@dantudor.com

My 4 Favorite Productivity Tips I Learned from Brian TracyTuesday, May 22nd, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

When I first started out on my journey of finding better ways to be more effective and efficient in the office as a coach, one of the productivity experts that I studied a lot was Brian Tracy.

Brian Tracy is one of America’s leading authorities on the enhancement of personal effectiveness, leadership, time management, goals, motivation, and success.

Brian’s stuff spoke to me.  It was so simple and incredibly applicable to everything we do as college coaches.   

I really have gotten hundreds of amazing productivity tips from Brian Tracy, but here are four of my favorites:

  1. Be open to new ideas. Because I was so overwhelmed with work, I made the mistake when I first got into coaching 18 years ago of thinking that I had no time to learn about time management or even maybe that I already knew everything I needed to know.  I knew that the way that I was working wasn’t working, so opening up to new productivity ideas and then applying them has been a game changer for how I now am able to get work done in the office.
  2. Develop a plan. Tracy is always saying that successful men and women are both effective and efficient. They do the right things, and they do them in the right way. They are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of their output. Develop a plan, then decide what is the most important thing to do, and then decide how to do it.  Love it. This piece of advice was instrumental in me developing my Busy Coach Time Management System for Coaches.
  3. Set priorities. As a coach, we will never have enough time to do everything that needs to be done, so we must choose.  Tracy’s advice on this is that you must continually set priorities on your activities. He wants you to constantly be asking yourself, what is the most valuable use of my time right now?
  4. Start with your top tasks. The natural tendency is to spend a lot of valuable time clearing up smaller and easier things first. Tracy believe though that the self-discipline of organizing your work and focusing on your highest-value tasks is the starting point of getting your time under control and lowering your stress levels.

Another great tip from Tracy is that If you want to be a big success in any area, find out what other successful people in that area are doing—and do the same things until you get the same results.  Brian Tracy has been one of the many successful people that I have studied on time management principals. 

If you are interested in seeing how I have taken what all of the successful experts on time management out there have done with the business world and see how I have applied it to what we do as college coaches, go to www.busy.coach.  Email me at mandy@busy.coach if you ever have questions or run an idea by me.  You can ever schedule a free call with me by going to http://www.meetme.so/mandygreen If you want more productivity advice delivered into your inbox every few weeks, sign up for my free newsletter!  Have a great week!

Are You Giving Them Enough Context?Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

I’m asking because context plays an important role in the student recruitment process. And, too often admissions professionals, namely counselors, don’t give prospective students enough of it when telling their school’s story.

Here’s what I mean:

You start a conversation with a prospect, and you say something like, “We have professors that care and a welcoming community that will quickly feel like home.” You also talk about class sizes and the fact that a high percentage of your recent graduates are employed or continuing their education within six months or a year of graduating. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

But if you dig deeper, context is missing. Without it, you’re going to sound a lot like every other school that you’re competing against.

When I lead a staff training workshop I explain that prospective students often need the WHY behind what a counselor, coach, faculty, or another staff member is telling them or asking them to do. When you provide the “why,” you educate, motivate, and empower. And when the student feels like an active participant in something that involves them, and they understand the value and benefit, they’re more likely to take action.

I would also add that sometimes you will need to tell your prospect what they should think about a certain topic, fact, or something you might show them during their visit to campus. If you don’t supply that context you’re opening the door for someone else to define parts of your school’s story…will it be accurate?

Context also does the following:

  • It gives them a reason to listen to you.
  • It accelerates their understanding of your school and why it might be a good fit for them.
  • If done regularly, it helps to personalize the recruitment process.

So, as you create your story for this next class of students, consider implementing these three strategies that have worked well for our clients:

Start any big conversation with an explanation. For example, “Here’s why I want to talk to you now about financial aid and paying for college…” Doing so sets up a reason that they should listen to what you’re about to say. And when you give them that explanation, make it about them as much as possible.

Or, end a big conversation with definition. After you show your prospect something, or talk to them (or their parents) about a topic that’s important, define it for them by saying something simple like, “Here’s why all of this should matter to you…” Tell them why what you just talked about is important, and how they should define what they just heard you say, or what you’ve just shown them.

Anticipate and address potential negatives from your competitors. If you know that other colleges consistently point out a negative about some aspect of your school (ex. location, size, outdated buildings), warn your prospect ahead of time. Give them context about what they’re likely to hear, and do it in a way that combats and eliminates their intentions. For example, if you know that a direct competitor is likely to mention your school’s outdated buildings and facilities, give your prospect context. Not about the buildings and facilities, but about your competitor’s intentions. You could say something like, “So now that you’ve seen campus, let me warn you about something that might happen. There are some schools out there who are going to tell you that our buildings and facilities won’t allow you to excel here as a student. That’s just not true, and here’s why that should be a huge red flag for you…”

Remember, it’s up to you to define what your prospects should think about something and why that something should be important to them. And in some cases, you’ll also need to explain how that something is different at your school.

Context is one of the hidden secrets of effective recruiting. Do it correctly, and you’ll not only notice an immediate difference in the conversations you have, but it will also allow you to move a student/family through the recruitment process more efficiently.

Have a great day!

P.S. I’ll be speaking at NJACAC in Atlantic City, NJ next Monday and Tuesday. If you’re going to be there, be sure and say hello.

P.P.S. And next Thursday and Friday I’ll be in Spokane, WA speaking at PNACAC. My session which is titled, “The value of phone calls in student recruitment” will be presented on Thursday at 2:15pm in Room 201.

How Decluttering My Office Increased My Focus and ProductivityMonday, May 14th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

A few years ago at the school I was working at, our new basketball arena just opened up so we had a massive reorganization of offices. 

Being the proactive planner that I am, I made sure to plan in advance and I started the packing process about 3 weeks before I was actually going to be allowed to move because I didn’t want to have to be stressed doing it last minute right before our preseason started.

As I was packing up my old office to get ready to move into my new one, I took the time to go through everything piece by piece, little by little every day.  I had been in that office for almost 7 years so I had accumulated a lot of stuff.  Needless to say, I threw out a lot of things that I didn’t need anymore, or scanned and filed electronically some of the paper files that I had. 

As a result of cleaning up my office for my move, I found that I could think better and focus more than when I was surrounded by clutter.  It was a pleasant surprise to see how liberating it felt to have an open desk and half full desk drawers that are not jammed full of files and old soccer equipment that I didn’t need.

So I did a little research on the affect that clutter has on workplace productivity.     

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published the results of a study they conducted in the January issue of The Journal of Neuroscience that relates directly to uncluttered and organized living. From their report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex”:

When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

No matter what article or study I read, they all seem to say that when you sit down at the beginning of the day at a clean, neat, and tidy office and desk, your mind will move straight to work; when you sit a messy desk and office, you’ll find it difficult to focus at all.  Every piece of clutter-from desktop documents to stacks of books and magazines-has a negative effect on your productivity.

“Clutter overloads your senses, just like multitasking overloads your brain.”

For most coaches at this time of year as you are wrapping up the spring, reorganizing your whole office is not in the cards.  I suggest to just commit to doing something small every day.  Start by picking a single drawer.  Clean up and clear out every drawer, closet, cabinet, and trunk that doesn’t give me a sense of calm and peace when you see it.

I have found for me that getting physically and mentally organized has allowed me to focus at a level I would have never believed possible. What I love most about it, is that it has left my energy to go nowhere to go except to what matters.

Start Now
Whether you are responsible for creating your own information management system or if those higher up are in charge, it’s still up to you to take action and make it happen. Here are some steps:

  • Set aside time weekly to manage and organize information. Adhere to that commitment like an appointment and you will stay ahead of the game.
  • Always organize your desk at the end of the day, so at least 80 percent of the desktop is visible. This will make going to work each morning a joy because desk stress and mental overload will decrease while your productivity increases.
  • Eliminate anything on top of your desk that is not used often. Put everything else into drawers, cubicles or containers that are easily accessible. Your efficiency will double and your fatigue will decrease.

What to Ask After You Lose Your Next RecruitMonday, May 14th, 2018

You’re going to lose prospects. All the time.

Read most of our advice, listen to our podcast, do a great job of following a recruit, make friends with his parents, knock it out of the park on his campus visit…you’ll still lose more than you win.

The important thing to do is what most college coaches don’t do:

Ask the prospect you just lost why you just lost them.

Of course, coaches try to do that once in a while. But as many are finding, they most often get a series of wishy-washy, vanilla, ‘saying something without really saying something’ answers from their prospect that doesn’t give them workable information to use in the future with their next recruit.

And that’s the problem. Bad information is actually worse than no information, in this instance. Why? Because we’ve seen coaches make adjustments to their approach based on the false feedback they get from recruits, the same recruits who just want to end the relationship with a coach without getting yelled at, criticized, or made to feel guilty.

How do you know if you’re getting bland, unusable feedback? It sounds a lot like this:

“It just felt better at the other school.”

“My mom just really wanted me to stay closer to home, so I decided to play for the other program.”

“Their facilities were just nicer than anyone else’s I saw.”

There’s not much coaches can do with that information, truthfully. And your recruits know it (which is why they tell that to you). It gets them off the hook painlessly, and lets them move on.

They get closure, you don’t.

What I’d like to suggest is a better, more probing series of questions that will not only get you better, more truthful feedback, but also give you a shot at saving the relationship – and maybe, just maybe, change their mind.

Here are some questions we have seen work with coaches who try them with recruits they end up losing:

    • If you would have ended up choosing us, what would you be telling other coaches the reasons were? “What if” scenarios are a great way to get the truth out of your recruits after it’s all said and done.
    • What was one thing you immediately loved about their campus compared to ours when you visited? Spoiler alert: It’s likely to be something they’ve already told you was not a major factor in their final decision as they were looking at your school and your competitor’s. Turns out, it often time is a major factor.
    • What were two or three things your parents told you about each of your final choices as you were trying to decide? It’s a great question to ask if you’re wondering what was going on behind the scenes. It’ll also give you good ideas for how to connect with parents the next time around, and focus on the topics that are truly important to them.
    • What was the number one thing they liked most about the program you chose? It may be completely different than the answers to the previous question. That’s why it’s a good follow-up question to ask.
    • When did you know in your heart that we probably weren’t going to be your first choice? Play it cool and try not to lash out when they tell you it was several months ago, even though they told you last week that you were ‘still in my Top Five’.
    • Give me the non-sports reason you ended up choosing the other school. Their answer is going to be incredibly valuable, because you can use that answer to figure out what you should be focusing on in your messaging and campus visit with your next round of recruits. It’s never all about their sport; they’re looking at multiple factors, most of the time, when it comes to their final decision.
    • If you ended up changing your mind about the school/program you just chose, whether that was next week or next year, would you see us as a program you’d contact to see if we still had a place for you? This question is your opportunity to express how much you liked getting to know them, and that you still want them. Tell them that’s not going to change. Get a read on whether or not they would feel the same way down the road.

The finishing touch to the conversation? You take a minute of your busy day to pull out a notecard, tell them congratulations on their great decision, and how they’re going to have a great career, and let them know if they ever change their mind, to make you their first phone call.

Your job as a recruiter doesn’t end with their answer. If you get a no, there’s incredibly valuable intel that you can get to make you a more effective recruiter the next time around.

Don’t pass up that opportunity.

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