Dan Tudor

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January 11th, 2011

Auburn Wins! Now, How Do You Beat Them in Recruiting? Easy…

O.K., maybe it won’t be “easy”. 

And, yes, maybe they’ll have a big advantage over you right out of the gate.

But it is definitely something you can do, if you happen to be recruiting against them. 

Heck, even if you aren’t a Division I coach from a BCS conference, you can still go up against better programs and win recruits.  True, it’s a little more challenging, and you have to make sure that you’re on your A-game, but it can be done.  We’ve seen it happen over and over when coaches use a systematic approach with a compelling storyline.

So, wanna take on the 400 pound gorilla in your recruiting world?  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Focus on the rivalry.  By rivalry, I mean building-out a recruiting storyline that involves “us vs. them”.  That does not mean I’m suggesting you use negative recruiting against a rival.  First of all, using that strategy against a successful program will probably backfire.  Secondly, you don’t need to resort to that.  You can achieve the same results by focusing on a positive, true statement.  For more on this principle, read this terrific outline I uncovered for you on how to use this succesfully in recruiting.  
  • Relish the underdog role.  Sometimes, that’s all you’ve got.  If your program has struggled, or if there is a consistent behemoth in your conference that you end up battling year in and year out, build a storyline around the challenge of knocking them off and becoming tops in your conference.  A lot of teenage prospects we survey talk about the attraction of coming to a program that is struggling, getting a chance to make a difference earlier than they would at the big-time winner, and sign-on to compete for the underdog.  The key to getting them to connect with that idea?  You have to state your case with both logic and passion, and give them a reason to say no to a more consistent winner and “yes” to your program that may still have a big part of the mountain to climb.  Do you have an underdog story to tell?  Start telling it!
  • Focus on the non-sports attributes of what you can offer.  Can’t sell a winning record and conference championships yet?  No problem, really.  67% of the athletes we conduct research with during our On-Campus Workshops at colleges around the country say that some other factor about the college – location, academic major, relationships with the team or coach – were more important than a team’s record or history of success.  The problem I see quite often is coaches who lead a program that has yet to achieve it’s goals are so focused on what they haven’t done, and are so convinced that everyone else on the outside see’s things the same as they do, they don’t make a point of adjusting their recruiting campaigns to reflect those other strengths.  Take a good look at your current recruiting campaign message content, and see if there are areas that you need to change (or contact us for help doing it).

So whether you were on the losing side in last night’s national championship game, or if you’re just a middle-of-the-pack program in one of the dozens of small conferences that dot the college sports landscape, take heart!  There is a way to tell an effective recruiting story and connect with the prospects that will change the game – and your program’s fortunes – for years to come.

Looking for more great strategies to use in your daily recruiting life?  We’ll gather the best experts on the planet to teach you one-on-one during one fast paced, exciting weekend. 

We invite you to attend the 2011 National Collegiate Recruiting Conference in Nashville, Tennessee this coming Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th.  There is a HUGE early registration discount, and a limited number of on-site hotel rooms for under $70 per night!  For all the details, click here!