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Do You Have the Answer Yet?Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

“Apps are up” is something I’m hearing a lot this fall as I talk with college admission leaders. Our conversation then quickly turns to how their staff will manage a busier than usual application load.

When a student applies to your school they’re demonstrating a level of interest. They’re also giving you what I referred to in a recent article as a “little yes.” Accumulating those “little yeses” each time you communicate with a prospective student or parent is important because it will make asking for the big yes down the road (their commitment/deposit to your school) much easier and less stressful because they’ve already given you a bunch of agreements along the way.

While positive interactions are valuable and important, negative feedback can also be extremely helpful. That may sound a little confusing but stick with me here because this is a strategy that will help you keep things moving forward with a lot of your students who have applied.

It’s been proven that young people are driven by fear. And that means in many cases they continue to have very little apprehension when it comes to not exactly telling admissions counselors the whole truth during their college search process.

Because of this it’s extremely important for admissions counselors to continue to ask effective, targeted questions after a student applies. Sitting back and waiting because you either don’t want to come across as pushy or you’re convinced they know everything they want/need to know, is not a smart strategy at this stage. Do either and it’s likely you’ll lose more students later on than you anticipated because some were never telling you the whole truth to begin with.

Instead, here’s what I want you to do next. Put together and/or print a current list of all of your apps.

Now, if I asked you to tell me what the one thing is that may prevent each of those students on your list from matriculating after being admitted, do you know what the answer is? It might even be more than one thing. And please don’t assume “cost” if you aren’t sure. If a student hasn’t told you something specific, it’s time to search out that answer.

Go ahead and ask a question like, “If you were going to tell me no at the end of this process and choose another school, what do you think would be the #1 reason why you’d do that?”

If cost or financial aid is their answer, I want you to immediately ask a follow-up question like, “Help me understand that better.” You need to get them to explain the why behind that answer because I continue to find that a lot of students just default to saying cost or financial aid because it’s the easy way out.

Once you have that answer, it’s now time come up with a strategy to help the student or parent(s) overcome their objection or fear.

The sooner you can gather this information and help them overcome their objection or alleviate their fear, the greater the chance they’ll take the next step in their process.

Let me also add that depending on the size of your school, you may have to sort your list of apps further based on other measures of demonstrated interest. Start with the highest ranking students or those who have shown the most demonstrated interest to this point and then work your way backwards. This will help you manage your time effectively.

One more thing – It’s very rare for a student or parent(s) not to have an objection (big or small) or fear about every single college that’s under serious consideration. Whether they choose to tell you about it or not depends on the recruiting relationship that you have or have not created and cultivated up to this point.

If you have a question about this article or you’d like my advice on a specific situation you’re dealing with, reply back and we’ll talk.

Have a great rest of your week!

Should You Run Your Program Like Checkers, or Chess?Monday, November 26th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I’m currently reading the book The Art of Learning.  In this book, Josh Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top—twice (Chess and Tai Chi).

A good portion of the beginning of the book is about the strategy of Chess and how complicated it is to learn and master. 

That got me thinking about chess and checkers.  It is amazing to me how the 2 games that are played on the exact same board could be so different.

In checkers, all the game pieces move in the same directions: forwards or diagonally to jump. In chess, there are several different pieces and they can move about the board in various directions based upon their role in the game.

I think that the difference in the 2 games can provide a valuable lesson for how coaches should approach certain aspects of the job.

Play Chess with your Team and Recruits.

Great coaches understand that they can’t get the best out of people by playing “checkers” with them—treating them alike, expecting the same things out of each of them, handling them like some generic product on a shelf. Just as in chess, great coaches discover qualities, skills and personalities that are unique to each member and capitalize on them.

Marcus Buckingham writes about the idea that “your team will differ in how they think, how they build relationships, how they learn, how prepared they need to feel, what drives them and so on. (Most of these differences don’t ever change). The best way to connect with people is to identify how each one is different and how you can best incorporate those differences into your plan of action.” 

You know this coach, right, so let’s move on to the next point.

Play Checkers with your Day-to-Day Operations

I play chess and checkers with my 8-year-old son Jack.  When we play checkers, the game is fast and it’s easy to know where to move. When we play chess, it takes a really long time because we have to think a lot more. There’s a lot of thinking, should I go here, or should I go there. Or what if this because of that.

One big problem I see with most coaches is that they tend to run the day to day operations of their program and with recruiting a lot like the game of chess.  There is no clear strategy, principals, processes, the right environment, or execution plan to work from so there is a lot of thinking and guessing as to whether they are making the right move. 

If you have ever wondered why you or the other coaches who work with you are so exhausted, they’re not doing things the right way, it takes you way longer than it should to finish things, the quality of work is not great, or they are losing on the recruiting front, you may want to think about setting up a better system for how you are working in the office.

My suggestion to you is that you must take that chessboard of your program and turn it in to checkers with how you organize the day-to-day operations. You want to be able to say these are the pieces we are working with which can either move right or left, and only in this direction, which keeps it very simple for yourself and for your team.

If you give your staff and your players a too many inputs (work coming in), there will be too many options for outputs (work going out).  That’s when things become less productive because they are having to guess and think.  That’s when things become less efficient. 

There are a lot of things to do as a coach, so I know it can be stressful and overwhelming at times.  But you can set yourself up for more success by finding a better system to manage and work through all of it.   

I also see that because Coaches tend to treat the way the run their program like chess, they have to resort to treating their current team and recruits like checkers because they just don’t have enough time to give them the individual attention that they need

Making your day-today operations with recruiting more like checkers is what I will be doing for coaches who attend the 4 Step System to a Winning Recruiting System.  If you are interested in attending, go to here to register.  If you want more information or if you are interested in hosting one of these workshops on your campus, please email me at mandy@busy.coach

Two Important Recruiting Lessons From Hanging Christmas LightsMonday, November 26th, 2018

In my family growing up, the weekend after Thanksgiving meant one thing.

After waking-up from your Tryptophan coma, you headed outside to hang Christmas lights. No whining, no excuses: You went full Clark Griswold, with whatever lights you had available.

Fast forward a few decades…

I like the way our house looks after the lights are up, but I really don’t like the work involved in getting them up. Balancing on an insanely tall ladder, untangling the wads of lights we cram into a storage tub for eleven months out of the year…it’s just a grind.

Like recruiting. College coaches like the idea of how a bunch of new, sparkling recruits would look stepping onto their campus in the future. But the grind of everything involved with putting together a great recruiting class is tough. Dragging down a big box of heavy, tangles lights isn’t what I want to do following a great Thanksgiving holiday, just like many coaches don’t relish the idea of doing everything necessary for a consistently good recruiting class.

But if they just made a few simple organizational changes, and maybe a tweak or two when it comes to their attitude as they’re facing their ongoing recruiting tasks, the results can totally change the direction of a program. Like the difference between a house lit up with holiday lights, compared to the one that isn’t.

Don’t worry about making the lights twinkle.

You know that little package of mystery bulbs that always comes with a new set of lights? They’re the Christmas light equivalent of laboring over your next Snapchat creating, or what font looks best on the special New Years postcard you’re getting ready to send to recruits.

Stop, Coach.

I don’t bother making the lights twinkle because it involves ripping your thumb apart trying to wire in the little replacement bulb. And then there’s the replacement fuses (those little silver things in the picture that look like miniature nuclear reactor cores)…I’m supposed to figure out how to open up the electrical plug and use my giant thumbs to change out those little things? Forget it.

Same should go for you, Coach. Unless you have a full compliment of interns, grad assistants, or some kind of super-human Director of Operations, don’t spend too much time on the creative part of your recruiting game. Be original and showcase your personality, absolutely. But that shouldn’t be the defining aspect of your recruiting message. In all my years of conducting focus group surveys for our clients or during our recruiting training workshops, I’ve never heard a kid say, “you know what?…the fact that their postcards looked so much better than all the other colleges who were recruiting me was the deciding factor. That’s why I came here.”

Focus more of your time on message consistency, and writing it in a more conversational tone. That will have far more payoff in the long run (and you also don’t have to worry about not feeling the love for all the hard work on those Snaps or postcard fonts).

If something isn’t working, ditch it.

Experiment with your most effective recruiting messaging. There is something to be said for a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach – especially if you’re a new coach taking over a new program, and searching for the ‘right’ message. Or the ‘perfect’ message.

Stop, Coach,

It’s the recruiting equivalent to spending time trying to repair the strand that has half the lights not working (like I mine, which I discovered only after I had climbed eight feet up the ladder and risked my life getting them plugged in).

You have too much going on in your coaching life to labor over something that isn’t working. Ditch it. I’m not the homeowner who is going to check every single stupid bulb to try and find the one that’s causing the problem; instead, I’m going to run down to the hardware store to buy a replacement set of bulbs for $10.

Your time is too valuable, Coach, Search for efficiency and predictability in your recruiting efforts, and be very careful not to ignore the core work you need to do as a coach who has their career success largely dependent on how well you convince teenagers to say yes to you, and not one of your competitors. Search for the stuff that works, and actively search for the things that deserve to be trimmed from your weekly recruiting routine.

Me? The lights are up. It looks pretty good, if you ask me. Not perfect, but the imperfections won’t be noticed by the average person walking by…they’ll see the big picture of an above average Christmas light display. The same principal will hold true for you in your recruiting.

What do you need to stop spending time on, or eliminate altogether, when it comes to your program’s recruiting, Coach.

 

How to Persuade Them Through Small WinsTuesday, November 13th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

It’s important to take your time and lead prospective students through the process of understanding all the different reasons why they should want to choose your school over the other colleges on their list.

That involves persuasion and patience…sometimes a lot of patience. Always remember though that the college search process for a student is exactly that, a process.

Too many colleges right now are trying to skip steps and accelerate a student’s decision-making process. They’re pushing them to visit campus and/or complete their school’s application before the student feels ready to do so. Sometimes that works, but typically those students struggle after they’re admitted to understand what really makes that school different from their other finalists. They end up being the students who tell you things like, “I need some more time to think about it,” or “I’m not sure yet.”

Along with persuasion, you need to begin to lay the groundwork for agreement in the early stages. Consistent messaging and personalized communication are one of the most effective ways to do that. Another is by asking effective, targeted questions each time and then listening closely. Both involve patience.

Patience is also at the heart of this next strategy that I want you to adopt if you’re not doing it already – Gaining agreement through small wins, or as I refer to them in workshops, “little yeses”.

When you get a prospective student (or their parent) to offer agreement to something and give you that “little yes”, versus you telling them what they should do/think, they’re more likely to move forward in the process and complete their next step.

Here are some examples:

  • You get the student to reply back to an email with the answer to a question you asked
  • You get the student to agree to set up a phone call with you
  • You get the student to agree to talk to their parents about visiting campus
  • You get the parent and student to agree to have the cost/paying for college talk
  • You get the student to agree that your college’s location is going to be a plus
  • You get the student to agree that filling out the FAFSA now can be beneficial
  • You get the parents to agree that your campus is a safe environment, and you have programs in place to help their child successfully transition to college life
  • You get the student to agree on what the next step in their process will be

I would classify each of those things as small wins.

Think about how you can gain at least one “win” every time you interact with a prospective student (or parent). If you do, it will make asking for the big yes (their commitment/deposit) much easier and less stressful because they’ve already given you a bunch of agreements along the way. In some cases they may even be persuaded to pay more.

There’s proven research behind this idea. Develop a plan to implement it, or let me know if you need help. This is another way for you to stand out from your competition.

The 4 Step Process to a Winning Recruiting MessageMonday, November 12th, 2018

I am excited to announce that Busy Coach is partnering with Tudor Collegiate Strategies to bring “Organize Your Recruiting” seminars to the coaching community. 

My sole purpose for doing these workshops is to be able to be face-to-face and in person with coaches to help reduce their stress and get their recruiting better organized.

Today I wanted to share with you one small piece of what will be covered in these half day seminars. 

After hearing from dozens of coaches I speak with each week about how overwhelming social media can be, especially having to come up with new content that is relevant, I’ve created this information to help simplify social media for coaches. 

These coaches typically tell me that they just react to social media.  As things come up day to day, and if they remember, they will post something.  They are very reactive, live post-to-post with no intention or purpose.  Usually they are posting just because they feel they have to post just to keep up with everybody else.  Or they don’t want to bother with it so they just delegate to their Sports Info people (which I think is a HUGE mistake). 

Can you relate to this? 

In these calls with coaches, this is who I have seen this process I am about to map out to be the most helpful for:

  • Coaches who struggle to get out-of-state recruits to come and visit campus because the recruit thinks you’re too far from home. 
  • Coaches who struggle to get local recruits come to campus because they in their mind have already defined what you are about based on what they have heard.
  • Coaches looking for a way to stand out from their competitors (I talked to a D3 coach in the MA area last week who has 80 other schools around him that he is competing against.  Yikes!)

This is the general process I will take coaches through at this seminar:

  1. Establish your social media strategy.  Why are you going to be posting? What is the goal for your social media accounts?  In the research gathered working with Dan Tudor, it’s been found that the connection a recruit feels towards your team is the #1 reason a recruit uses to ultimately choose a school.  You can create that connection before they even come to campus by pulling back the curtain and giving them an inside look as to what your team is like through social media.
  2. Decide what platform you will use and the purpose.  For example, I would recommend you focus your content on twitter and/or Instagram directly toward recruits.  Use Facebook to target the parents.   
  3. Create your content 1 month at a time.
    1. Decide on a theme for the month to simplify the process. For example, your team, academics, location, your facilities, etc.
    2. Brainstorm all the areas that you could cover in 1 month talking about the theme you decided on. Also, make a list of all the questions that recruits tend to ask you throughout the recruiting process. 
    3. Look to see what your competitors are doing and borrow their best ideas. 
    4. Get help from your team. Give them the theme, all possible topic areas, and the list of recruit questions that you came up with.  Ask them what you should be talking about, what they love about their experience so far.  It is also helpful to give them some ideas of possible ways they can showcase the them (see below for some ideas). Then put them in charge of coming up with ways to showcase your team, school, or whatever through video, pics, quotes, etc.
    5. If you don’t want to do all of this, delegate it! Assign who will be responsible for collecting the information, posting the information, and storing them all in 1 file that you will have.  Keep in mind that you could have your players take charge of posting pictures and videos. 
  4. Bring up whenever you can in conversation with recruits to check out your social media accounts, so you keep connecting them to what it would be like to be on your team.
  5. At the end of the month, look at your numbers.  How many likes, shares, or comments did you get?  What method of delivery got the best results?  What time of day created the most engagement?  Etc.  Based on those numbers, you can decide what to improve on for the following month.
  6. Repeat the content creation procedure every single month and make all necessary improvements.

Here are some different Social Media Post Ideas to give to your team

  • Promo for a camp
  • Ask your audience to answer a fun question
  • Inspirational words / quote
  • Share what books you’re currently into
  • Share a piece of advice or fun life hack
  • “A day in the life of…”
  • Gather questions from your team or recruits and dedicate a post to your expert answers
  • Expose a new training method, or new service offered at your school
  • Offer audience a free resource you love
  • Take a poll
  • Offer a tip or a DIY. You take for granted all your knowledge and may think everyone knows what you know. But in reality, a simple tip can be very interesting content.
  • Breaking news
  • Behind the scenes photos during a fun event
  • Contest / Giveaway
  • Holiday post (if you’re near one in the schedule)
  • Re-post a fan photo
  • Offer a fun fact or stat
  • “This or That” comparison question, and ask audience for their engagement
  • An “ICYMI” (in case you missed it) post (referring to a preview post)
  • A meme!
  • Share the business of a friend/affiliate (good networking)
  • Brief video tutorial

At the end of the year after you have done this month by month, as you keep tweaking your content and method of delivery (video, picture, quote) for the best results, not only will you have significantly improved your social media engagement, but you now have a years’ worth of social media messages in a file for you to use again the next year. Now you don’t have to recreate the wheel and react to your social media ever again.

Keeping your social media content fresh, and consistent could be a never-ending challenge. Use the process I outlines above to tell the story of your program and it can really help to connect your recruits to your team and it will give them a reason to come and check out your campus.

At the seminars, we will actually go through the process and I will have a lot of examples, templates, and checklists already done for you so you can apply this to your program quickly. 

We will also at these seminars:

  • Map out your recruiting strategy and process from identification to commitment.
  • Figure out what can be improved, eliminated, delegated, and automated with your recruiting process.
  • Create a 52-week social media, email, and phone communication plan.
  • Put the most effective resources and processes in place to increase work efficiency and quality.
  • You will learn how to create conditions in your office environment that will make your success inevitable.
  • 4 things you can do to 10x how productive you are day by day with recruiting.

Join your fellow coaches for a great training experience!  For more information and details, you can e-mail me at mandy@dantudor.com with the subject line “Send me more workshop info!” If you want to register for a workshop, go to The 4 Step Process to a Winning Recruiting Strategy.

Stop Trying to Become a Better College Coach!Monday, November 12th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

Why is it that coaches are rarely formally taught?

  • Drivers are taught
  • Doctors are taught
  • Teachers are taught

But college coaches?

Nope.

Coaches are rarely formally taught — especially in the US. (Did you know that the United States is one of the few developed countries that does NOT have a national coaching education program?)

So what’s a coach to do, to get better?

Here are a few suggestions:

A) Find a dang good mentor. One who will care and feed your improvement-hunger.

B) Create a positive learning environment. You won’t learn or develop in a negative place. That stifles growth, and development. So work in a positive place, or create a positive place, or go find a positive place if yours is negative.

C) Take charge of your learning. If you want to get better, you are in charge of making that happen. The great coaches did not get that way by hanging around on their phone. They took charge and went after their development. Be self-directed. Every-Single-Day dedicate time to developing your skills.

D) Take action. This is different than taking charge, in that you have to actually do things, hard things, difficult things to get better. Learning to be a better coach can be a dirty road to run. My first years of coaching were long hours in a poorly-light mosquito-filled boathouse learning how to adjust rowing equipment. Hours-of-it. That was action, and it paid off.

E) Get over not being born a coach. Straight-up, you were not born a coach. Bill George, in his book Authentic Leadership, wrote, “. . . leaders are not born that way. Many people have natural leadership gifts, but they have to develop them fully to become outstanding leaders.” So get over losing, making mistakes, dumb decisions, wrong calls, bad substitutions, blah, blah, blah. And go back to B, C, D.

F) Read books. Yes read books. Make notes. Kindle or hard copy, who cares. Reach for books and read them. Somebody is sharing their gift with you, their knowledge. Grab it and go (see L below).

G) Watch videos. See F.

H) Ask countless questions. Be annoying as heck with your questions. Ask, ask, ask. You will know when to stop asking, or you will be told to stop asking. That’s usually when you most need to ask questions.

I) Teach others (sounds counterintuitive but teaching is a great way to learn). Really, it is.

J) Dedicate yourself. Point blank:

  • When you are tired – develop.
  • When you are hunger – develop.
  • When you lose – develop
  • When you win – develop
  • When you are “whatever” – develop
  • And when you have developed your skills – develop even more.

K) Go Way Deep. Deep-learning makes all the difference when you want to be a better coach. Here’s what I mean. You buy a book from Amazon. Pick it up one day, skim through it. Then file it. That is shallow learning. Deep learning is different.

Years ago there was a copy of Napoleon Hill’s Think And Get Rich on my desk. You might have one kicking around, and you might even have read it. But I went deeper than just reading it:

  • I made notes all through the book
  • I reread the book focusing specifically on those notes
  • I copied those notes onto two pages of paper
  • I distilled those notes down into one sentence, “You CAN become what you think you CAN become.”
  • I put together a quick idea for a college course based on that premise
  • I pitched it to a dean at my college
  • He accepted it, and it become a college course entitled, A World of Wisdom from Mistakes and Failures.

That might not be your cuppa tea. I get that. But can you see how deep that went? Even now, years later, I can still see pages from that book in my mind, and I revert back to Hill’s ideas quite often.

Could you do something deeper with a book you picked up about your sport? Or about coaching? Teaching? How about from that recent YouTuber you just watched (forget the screaming sheep one, how about the latest from Sir Ken Robinson. Oh, please, if you have 18 minutes go watch this. Your future-self will thank you!) Or your favorite podcast.

With a laser-like focus on deeper learning you could become a better coach. Caution — you’ll get strange looks, and questions, and statements like, “What the heck are you doing?” Ignore all of that.

Let them go back to their shallow-learning while you’re putting a dent in your Universe.

L) Stop trying to become a better sports coach. Why would I tell you that? Oh, I’m NOT.

I heard an AD say that once — to a coach who was asking tons of questions, and pushing the improvement envelop. He told him, “Stop trying to become a better sports coach. And then I’ll fire you. And hire someone else.” Reverse psychology.

This is not an exhaustive list, there’s many more things you can do. I rattled this off in 30 minutes. But here’s the catch…will you, do you, do any of them?

If so, YES! If not, why not?

PS: I’m trying to help 1000 coaches improve their experience. If you enjoyed this blast are you brave enough to share it with one person? I bet you are ; )

We Need to Talk About Those Emails and LettersTuesday, November 6th, 2018

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

 

We need to talk about them because words like confusing, overwhelming, and boring continue to show up in our surveys way too often when we ask students about the emails and letters they receive, and the conversations they have, with colleges during their search.

Too many colleges still don’t appreciate the need for using the right language in their recruiting communications. The result is lower levels of engagement and less action being taken.

I’m not just referring to what your marketing and communications staff might send out either. I’m also talking about the emails, letters, hand-written notes, and text messages that admissions counselors send out on any given day, as well as the phone calls that they make.

They all have a structure to them. And there’s a right way to construct and deliver your message if the goal is to get a response, have the reader take another specific action, or get a back-and-forth conversation going. That’s what I’m going to help you with today, because many of the students considering your school right now will engage with you throughout their college search process if you follow these best practices.

  • Don’t try and “sell” your school at the start. There are all kinds of studies out there that suggest we’re more likely to reply to something that doesn’t sound like an advertising message. Many initial messages that colleges construct jump right in to “selling” their school. My recommendation is that you be patient and take a long-term approach. Start by getting them comfortable enough to engage with you, and then ask them questions that allow you to discover their wants, needs, fears, etc. Very few inquiries or prospects (especially high school students) are ready to take in sales-related messaging from a school right away.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. As I’ve explained many times before, students are scared and confused during their college search…about a lot of things. Before you send them any sort of communication, read it and ask yourself if you would find this both helpful and easy to read. The answer needs to be yes to both. And if you want to be extra sure then go ahead and show it to one of your current students or student workers and ask them for their thoughts. It’s okay to do that. Understanding your audience helps you to determine how you should arrange your information and what kind of details will be important for a specific segment of your population. It also influences the tone of the text, which is something I’ll get into more about in a just a minute.
  • Let them know that you want and value their feedback. It might surprise you but students tell us in surveys that they wish colleges would ask their opinion on things. Many of those same students also want you to tell them that it’s both okay for them to offer feedback, and that you appreciate their willingness to share.
  • Less is always better. I’m probably not the first, second, or even third person to tell you that your messages and conversations need to be shorter. Less really is more with this generation of students. Instead of trying to cram a bunch of different points on a specific topic into one email or one letter, break them up into sequential communications that connect and hammer home the big point you’re trying to make. And limit your paragraphs to one idea for clarity. When you don’t, it’s not only confusing, but it also can be downright overwhelming to your prospects (and their parents).
  • Word choice matters. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to increase your engagement levels, focus more on the words that you use. The solution is to take a less formal and more conversational approach. That approach won’t make you sound unprofessional. Instead, you’ll become more relatable, believable, and more authentic. Also, make it a goal to have your emails, letters, and texts flow just like a regular conversation, meaning don’t talk at the other person and give them orders, talk with them. Lastly, it’s okay to start the occasional sentence with the word “and,” “but,” or “because.” And it’s okay to use a … to continue a thought.
  • Tone matters. When you have a face-to-face conversation with someone you use their body language, specifically their tone and facial expressions, to assess how they feel. Letters, emails, and even text messages don’t allow for such a determination. That means you can’t tell when the other person misunderstands something. In addition to your word choices being important, both punctuation and capitalization matter. The tone you use will help you create excitement and anticipation.
  • Consistency matters. Make sure you’re communicating foundational, logical facts to prospective students about every six to nine days. That’s how often they want communication from a college according to our research. Along with your emails and letters mix in the occasional phone call and text message depending on the student’s preferences and the stage they’re at. Our research solidly indicates that when a student sees ongoing, regular contact from a college that follows the other points I’ve outlined so far, not only do they engage on a more regular basis, but they also make the judgment that the school is more interested in them, and values them. Those feelings are what every college should want prospective students to feel.
  • Establish a “go-to person.” I’ve talked about this at length in previous articles but it needs to be mentioned again. Have one consistent voice in your recruiting communications (emails, letters, phone calls, text messages). Eliminate the admissions.edu email address and/or the 1-800 number/general admissions office phone number. Students are less likely to engage with you when you take that approach for a number of reasons, namely fear. Establish a “go-to person” for all of their questions and concerns. That person, who I recommend should be their admissions counselor, should be doing the bulk of the communicating with a student/family from start to finish. We use this strategy in the messaging we create for colleges and it’s extremely effective.
  • One call to action, that’s it. I’ve been asked to review and offer feedback on a lot of recruiting emails this year, and almost every single one has had multiple calls to action. When you include more than one CTA you increase the chance for confusion and you decrease the chances that the student will do any of what you ask. Choose one thing and be clear. As a by-product of doing this you’ll also have shorter emails/letters.

Change is hard, I get it. But if you’re not getting engagement or you’re struggling to get students to take action I want you try one, two, or all nine of these things. They continue to work for our clients and other colleges I’ve recommended them to and I’m confident that they’ll work for you.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your colleagues.

P.S. I’m happy to review one of your current emails or a letter and offer an outside perspective if you’d like. No strings attached. All you have to do is email me and ask.

What Is Your College Coaching Legacy Going to Be?Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

Have you thought about it—your legacy? And what it will be??

(Hint–if you’re like most coaches you have NOT.)

What will people say about you when you stop coaching?

(Another hint–if you’re like most coaches you will say “I don’t care! But you WILL care.)

I’ve recently retired from full-time coaching, after 36 years. And during that time, I can’t remember ever thinking of my “coaching legacy.”

And if I did, I’m sure I dismissed it as a fantasy of the egotistical.

I was wrong.

Now that I’m mostly done coaching, that legacy has value to me.

Y’know, it IS an egotistical thing.

But deep down, thinking about your coaching legacy can help you be a better coach.

To make better decisions.

Even be a better human being.

What Are They Saying

If you were a fly on the wall, and people were talking about you, would they be saying:

  • Well, Coach tried hard
  • He cared
  • Coach was a magician
  • He understood what I went through
  • My life so much better because of Coach 

Or comments like these:

  • Coach was lazy
  • He cared only about winning
  • Coach never tried new stuff
  • He never understood me
  • My health/life is worse because of him

Here’s a truth you need to hear

You are going to leave a coaching legacy. One way or another.

Things will be said about you.

After one day or after thirty years—the length of time you coach does not matter.

What do you want them to say?

How do you want to be remembered?

It’s a long road to a good coaching legacy

Coaching is hard.

Okay, it’s not working-in-a-coal-mine hard, or teaching-quantum-physics hard…

But coaching does have a level of difficulty that can sway a coach toward a bad legacy.

And leaving a legacy you and your family are happy with takes hard work.

A great car chase won’t atone for two hours of a lousy movie.

Just as one big win for a coach does NOT erase a season of abusive, negative behavior.

Your legacy is a comprehensive exam in the making.

Every interaction as a coach matters.

Right now—grab paper, write your legacy down, and start building.

It will (and does) matter.

Want more of Dr. Davenport’s insights and tips for developing your coaching career the right way? Visit www.coachingsportstoday.com, or email Mike at mike@dantudor.com

Evernote: A Great Tool for College CoachesTuesday, November 6th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Information abounds these days, and most coaches are feeling the brunt of not just paper overload but also digital overload. With the popularity of smart phones and apps, it has become even more confusing as to where and how to store, organize and find the information we want to keep and need to run our programs efficiently.

Enter Evernote!

If you’re like most coaches, you have heard of Evernote, but aren’t sure what to do with it.

For years, I kept hearing how awesome Evernote was: how it could store everything you possibly needed, make it available everywhere, and how scores of people couldn’t live without it.

You might even have the app on your phone, but haven’t used it because you aren’t sure what to use it for. I have heard this from literally hundreds of coaches in the last year, and I was there too, until I heard Theresa Beekman’s talk about how she uses it as a College Coach at NCRC.  Plus, I got sick of just looking at the app so decided to dig in.

Evernote has become a daily tool that I use to manage my coaching and personal life.  As a coach, Evernote allows me to use notebooks, notebook stacks, optical character recognition in search, cloud storage, document management and so much more. I am going to cover some of my favorite features below.

I find myself clicking on that elephant nearly every day of my life and here is why you should too.

1. Access Everywhere – Evernote is available for iOS, Mac OS, Android, Windows, Chromebook and an available web interface. It also syncs with the cloud so that you can have access to anything, anywhere, anytime. Knowing that all of these notes are safely tucked away in the cloud where I can access whenever and wherever I need is a great feeling.

2. Travel – Anytime I travel, I create a new notebook in Evernote with the title of the trip. Then I just add my airline tickets to that notebook along with any hotel/rental car info, any addresses or other travel info. When I arrive, I have all of the information I need at my fingertips and don’t have to go searching through my phone for the reservation email or pull out the paperwork.

3. Recruiting – I put the schedule of games and players I need to watch in a notebook. I put my top 5 recruits at each position in a recruiting notebooks as well. When I send a top recruit an email, I Bcc myself. That adds the email to their notebook so I can keep track of what has been talked about. I also have all of our recruiting topics and the templates we use all saved in Evernote.

4. Pictures –Evernote has a fantastic feature that allows you to take a photo of recruiting receipts, team food receipts when you are on the road, funny team pictures, cool quotes … and puts it in the notebook you want.  It is so much easier to find the pictures we need for highlight videos at the end of the year.

5. Dictation – with Evernote, you have the ability to audio dictate right to notes. I use this while driving to capture ideas and thoughts, while out at the field recruiting, or even when I am on a walk and think of something that I want to remember later.

6. Documents – I have all of my SOP’s and email templates for my program all save in notebooks. I also have our Master To-Do Lists saved in Evernote.  You also can create shared notebooks, allowing you a repository for ideas, projects and anything else you want to share with your coaching staff.

7. Receipts – All coaches have to keep copies of receipts when we are out recruiting or traveling with our team. Evernote offers a streamlined solution to this ever growing challenge. Simply take a picture of the recruiting or team expense receipt and save it to the year notebook created (maybe titled something like 2017 Recruiting Expenses or Team Expenses). Voila! Less paper and less stress.

8. Notebooks – Evernote allows me to create an unlimited amount of notebooks to store my content. I can then organize notebooks into stacks if they are similar. I have a work stack that includes notebooks for recruiting, my coaching philosophy, standard operating procedures, soccer drills and strategies, and more. These layers of organization give structure and order to my content. which allows me to find things rapidly when I need them.

9. Security – Evernote has taken every measure to keep your notes, emails and documents safe. They employ every security measure possible to keep your stuff from being lost, stolen or hijacked.

10. Evernote Web Clipper- This has become one of my favorite features lately. When I am reading a good blog post, coaching tip or other online content that I want to have at my fingertips for later then I use the Web Clipper to cleanly clip it into Evernote for future reference. I can put any article that I want to read in a “read later” notebook and then I set that notebook for offline viewing so that I can read them while traveling with the team on the bus or while I am waiting to get in for an appointment. This is a really handy feature that Evernote has added.

Think of Evernote as a way to bring together all the loose ends lurking in your brain or on your desk. This is a fast, efficient and easy way to streamline multiple areas of your life and free up bandwidth in your mind so you can focus, rather than try to remember everything.

The More You Add, the More Useful Evernote Becomes

I hope that this encourages you to checkout Evernote and find it as useful as I have. I have really found a love of this app and use it to keep documents, organize files, write notes and plan out nearly everything in my life. Enjoy!

If you want more ideas of how you can use Evernote as a College Coach, check out the e-book that Theresa Beeckman wrote on how she uses it.

Telling a Recruit Story About What You’re NotMonday, November 5th, 2018

More college coaches, athletic departments, and admissions departments need to do what the state of Nebraska is doing.

They’re owning who they are (or at least who many of think they are).

It’s their new national ad campaign promoting their state by stating a warning: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

I love it. For years, I’ve been begging coaches to tell their recruits who they’re wrong for. In other words, what type of prospect wouldn’t do well on your campus, wouldn’t fit in on your team, and wouldn’t feel completely at home on your campus. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? I mean, shouldn’t coaches want to do everything they can to only tell recruits the wonderful aspects of campus, and their program?

Actually, I think Nebraska gets it right. In an article from AdWeek reporting on the state’s new campaign, they bring up the fact that “the Nebraska Tourism Commission felt that it was essential to disruptively step out of the shadows of the previous slogan, “Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.” and work its way out of being dead last on the list of states that tourists are interested in considering for their next vacation. “To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director told the Omaha World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”

Many college recruiting campaigns could use the same jolt. Can you imagine? A college program actually poking fun at themselves a little?

Here’s why taking this approach is going to work for Nebraska, and why I feel strongly in taking a creative approach that radically defines your college, and your program for this generation of marketing-savvy teenagers.

They desperately look for differences. The goal of most colleges? To make their campuses attractive to just about everyone. Certainly, different schools have varying focuses and niches, but overall they tend to not want to push away potential applicants. According to our research, not defining your campus (or sports program) causes a lot of frustration for recruits, because they’re busy trying to figuring out which one of their options is better. As you communicate with them, how are you achieving that?

They demand that you get them to pay attention to you. It’s a competitive landscape for their attention. If you sound the same as everyone else, how is that helping you? One of the biggest questions we get from college coaches is, “how can I get these recruits to pay attention to us?” I think a better question would be, “what are you doing, as a coach, to earn the right to have their attention?” Think about it, Coach.

They want proof what you’re telling them is true. The magic of the new Nebraska campaign is that once it gets you to pay attention to what they’re saying, they prove that their good-natured ribbing is actually showcasing a lot of good stuff when it comes to erasing stereotypes, and showcasing what Nebraska has to offer. You can (and should) find ways to try the same thing for your audience.

Don’t be afraid to be different, Coach. Define yourself, tell a creative story, and watch what happens after that.

(But honestly, that proven recruiting strategy probably isn’t for everyone).

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