Contacting a new class of recruits, as many coaches find themselves constantly doing, is the first chance to set yourself apart from your competition.
But what many college recruiters are unaware of is that most of the time, the wrong way to do that is to overload them with a lot of information they don’t care about (yet), or bombard them with a bunch of communication at the start of the process only to have your contacts trail off as the recruiting process wears on.
Want to know what our research consistently shows as the most important factor with your prospect determining whether or not you’re giving them that “wanted” feeling? It’s whether or not you have “staying power” in their eyes.
Basically, we’re talking about the importance of a consistent message. One that makes sense. And, I’ve got a pretty interesting study to back up my assertions that I’m going to try and prove to you today:
The study was done by psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who studied how we as individuals communicate their individual purchases to others, and – more importantly for you as coaches – why.
For example, the study showed younger males will often display aggressive behavior to young females in order to establish social dominance in the initial stages of a relationship. Later, however, those same males need to move from being aggressive to being agreeable in order to show that they have “staying power”…that they will be a good long-term mate.
So if the study is true – as I think it is – products that appeal to a younger males aggressive side are going to do great. For example, if you were manufacturing a body spray for guys and named it “Sweet”, it probably wouldn’t sell. That doesn’t match their natural personalities. However, the people who manufacture “Axe” nailed it. They’ve got a runaway best seller because they’ve marketed it well to the audience they want as consumers.
An example of a wrongly aimed message? Chevrolet has had a few bad marketing messages, the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid SUV from a few years ago and, more recently, the Chevy Volt . Both were marketed with a strong message of environmental sensitivity and high fuel savings. For the people who wanted to buy a massive SUV, this message didn’t make sense: If I want to drive an SUV, would the extra 4 miles per gallon really matter to me? Probably not. Sales never took off, and most experts point to muddled advertising as the big reason why. The same mixed messaging is also dooming the Chevy Volt, who find it difficult to woo buyers away from the popular Toyota Prius.
Here’s my point as it relates to the phone calls and messages you are about to begin with your new class or recruits:
Make sure you and your program develops a message that very clearly matches your actual environment on campus, and the philosophy of you and your program, that are true selling points to your intended prospects.
- Figure out who your audience is, and communicate clearly and directly to them. Simple beats long and wordy every time, especially at the start of the recruiting process.
- Don’t try to be something that you aren’t. Proudly tell your story of exactly who you are, and why you should be their top choice.
- Focus in on two or three big things that define you and your program. Look for the edges…the things that will radically define you and set you apart from other programs and coaches.
- Determine the best language for you to use with your audience (your prospects) based on those big things that you find as positives about your program. By the way, this extends to the way you construct your campus visits (get our book on the topic for more ideas on using these principles to create a better feel with your visits).
- Don’t blur your central messages with things that your competitors offer in an attempt to be “just like them”. Be O.K. with being unique and different from your competition.
The phone calls, emails and social media messages that many of you make to new recruits are your first opportunity to define yourself to those new prospects who are waiting to be told your story.
Make that story you tell simple and effective as you start telling it to them over the phone, and then prove that you have “staying power” by giving them a consistent message that is simple, focused and compelling.
Need help with that consistent message, Coach? We’re preparing to launch our Total Recruiting Solution program with several new programs preparing to recruit a new class or prospects. Want to get information on how we work with programs to help them develop and execute a winning recruiting plan? Email Dan Tudor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.