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July 28th, 2015

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3 With Your Prospects

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Throughout the summer I’ve heard from a number of admissions counselors and directors, who are trying to “crack the code” when it comes to connecting with today’s teenage prospect. Everyone wants a competitive edge as they begin to build relationships with this next class of recruits.

If you want to convince more prospects that your school is that “right fit,” then your recruiting communications better be impactful and generate a high level of interaction from prospects. Unfortunately, a large majority of those same prospects continue to declare that most of the material they receive from colleges sounds the same. It’s a primary reason why a lot of admissions departments become our clients. They want to make sure they’re employing the best communication strategies possible.

Today I’m going to offer you a piece of advice. I don’t know if it will solve all your problems, but I do know that this simple technique will increase the chances of making your points stick with your prospects.

It’s all about “the power of three.” It works in writing, and it will also work in phone conversations.  It’s a principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. There’s also evidence that our minds are more likely to remember information when it comes in threes.

Think about it for a minute. Most people have three names. We say things like, “It’s as easy as one, two, three.” In the marketplace there’s “The Three Stooges,” “The Three Musketeers,” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” All of it comes in threes.

Your prospects are no different. They want ideas about your institution grouped in threes because they’re wired just like you and I. So, if you’re interested in getting a better response than you’re used to from your prospects, I highly advise you to use this concept.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re trying to talk or write to your prospects about your school’s highly rated (insert an academic major or school of blank). You might normally talk about the major’s/school’s reputation once, and then expect your prospect to connect the dots themselves.  Instead, try this line of reasoning that groups your argument in a group of three:

“Our Business School was rated one of the strongest in the nation by Forbes this year. The return on investment achieved by our graduates continues to be on the rise. In fact, based on nationally gathered information we ranked in the top 10 in both total 5-year MBA gain, and years to payback.

One of our recent graduates, John Smith, was offered employment at a Fortune 50 company following graduation.  He told Forbes that our Business School and its experienced professors were the reason he was able to land such a high level position immediately.

The best part is those same professors continue to shape the curriculum with the changing landscape, and expand their networks. It really gives our students an edge against other Business School graduates.”

Here’s what you want to do:  Put your strongest proof at the top and devote the most time and attention to that point.  Your goal should be to get them to sit back and take you seriously.  The next paragraph should be about half the length of the first, and the third paragraph should be about half the length of the second one.

When talking to prospects or developing written recruiting communications, make sure you vary the proof that you offer them.  In the example I gave you above, I started with a strong statement that statistically told the recruit why our Business School was top notch. Next, I gave a proof of what the school and its professors did for a recent graduate. Thirdly, I offered up proof that the school is getting even better than it has been in the past.

This technique has been used for decades in business marketing strategies. It will work for you because it meets our wired need for a group of three in the reasoning you present to recruits and their parents.

If you understand “the power of three” and incorporate it in your recruiting communications, your ideas will stick, and you will increase your success rate.

Knowing how to present an idea effectively is the first step towards really connecting with today’s prospective students. Want to discuss this further? Email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

July 27th, 2015

Will your coaching experience be wonderful or hateful?

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

There are four kinds of coaching experiences. Unfortunately most of us end up with the bad kind.

The four flavors

The place we dream of being is that coveted upper-right hand corner. That is where things are positive and you’ve been constructive.

That’s where you want to be — but that’s not where most coaches end up.

Many coaches, all too often, find themselves having experiences in the negative-and-destructive zones. Even finding themselves dwelling in the cellar — that terrible lower-left hand corner.

There the lights are dim, the work hard, the rewards few, and the price of admission steep.

You have to know this

You will have an experience as a coach. You cannot NOT have one.

The big question is, which quadrant will your experience reside in? The power lies with you in determining the quality of your experience. There are many ways to disagree, but it’s true. Your experience is up to you.

Expect to have a great experience

Seth Godin, a wise fellow, wrote, “Human beings have better experiences when they expect to have a better experience.” Expect to be in that upper-right hand corner, but you will have to make it happen. Positive-and-constructive experiences take work to create.

As you must work to create a positive-and-constructive experience, and you must work equally as hard to fend off the negative-and-destructive experiences — which are a result of decay.

  • A decay of interest
  • A decay of effort
  • A decay of intent
  • A decay of caring
  • A decay of attention

The image of treading water  in the middle of the ocean comes to mind …

Your Choice

So what will it be, positive-and-constructive? Negative-and-destructive? Or somewhere between?

There are steps you can take to successfully land in the positive-and-constructive corner. I’ll write more about those in upcoming blasts, but you know many of them already. (Yes — you do.)

Action you can (and should) take

Want to get insight into the quality of your coaching experiences? (Hint, you do.) Click here for a simple worksheet.

More soon and may a great coaching experience be awaiting you,

– Mike

PS. If you have a moment to share this post, it might help another coach expect to have a better experience — and then have one. And for that, we all thank you.

July 21st, 2015

And the Winner Is…

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Raise your hand if you watch award shows such as The Academy Awards, The Grammys and The Golden Globes. For my wife, it’s can’t miss television (although I’m convinced she just likes to see who’s wearing what outfit/jewelry).

Last week I watched the ESPYs (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards). ESPN assembles some of the greatest athletes in the world all under one roof and then celebrates and relives the best moments of 2015.

Unlike my wife, I don’t tune in to see what suit LeBron is wearing, or whether or not Russell Wilson’s jacket color will match his girlfriend Ciara’s belt (which it did by the way). Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Award shows highlight the amazing work of people in any given industry or profession.  In addition to that, they bring about healthy competition and allow for both personal and team growth.

In honor of the ESPYs, I’ve come up with the TCS awards for college admissions. There is one small difference. I’m not actually handing out trophies to specific people today. Instead, a detailed reminder or strategy that will help you as you begin to recruit this next class of students accompanies each award.

Courage Award – This award goes to the counselor who isn’t afraid to take an already great campus visit, re-evaluate it, and implement strategies to turn great into flat out awesome. Just because your campus visits have been successful in the past doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tweaks here and there. Let’s start with meetings. Even though you think it’s important to have prospects meet with all kinds of different people on campus, our research shows that very few of those meetings actually factor into the prospect’s final decision. The same thing goes for having them sit in on a class. Almost all your prospects tell us that it’s one of the least effective, least important parts of their visit.

Best Breakthrough Counselor – This award goes to the counselor who made a significant breakthrough in their recruiting techniques. For example, they understand that different kinds of recruits have different problems. Traditional, non-traditional, and international prospects all need different things from you. In some cases that means developing separate messaging.   Speaking of your letters and emails, stop trying to follow “letter writing rules” of the past. Your goal should always be to get your prospect’s attention. That means less formal and more conversational. Finally, don’t forget to involve the parents (and do it early). Once contact has been made, understand that parents, just like your prospects, expect you to be consistent with your communication.

Best Championship Performance – This award goes to the counselor, new or veteran, who has delivered the best performance turning admits into deposits. They create an emotional tie with their prospects early in the process because prospects trust those feelings as they make their final decision about your college or university. Those are the feelings you create through the various methods of recruiting communication as well as the feelings they get when they visit your campus.

Best Director/VP of Enrollment – This award goes to the director or VP who creates and maintains a motivated and confident admissions team. They understand that just like today’s recruit, each of their staff members is different and has different motivations. As a leader, they are consistent with their message, ask for input and new ideas, and understand the importance of both ownership and recognition. This year’s winner also values collaborating with other offices on campus, specifically financial aid. They set up cross training between their counselors and those in financial aid so that skill sets are expanded and time is used more efficiently.

Best Upset Award – This award goes to the counselor who isn’t afraid to go up against the big name competition because they know they have a winning strategy. That strategy uses multiple communication channels to deliver a consistent series of short, logical, fact based messages as to why your school is the “right fit.” It also contains an explanation of why being the smaller name is the smarter choice. The academic reputation at your school, the smaller class sizes and individual attention…whatever makes the most sense for you to stress to your recruit. It needs to be something.

Best Comeback Award – This award goes to the counselor who doesn’t avoid talking about objections and instead confronts negatives that they consistently hear about their school early on. They anticipate the common ones (like financial aid), get clarification, acknowledge and add information, and become a problem solver for their prospect.

Thanks for being a part of the inaugural TCS admissions awards, and enjoy the rest of your day. We’ll see you next year with more awards for admissions professionals.

This is the time of year when some admissions staffs know they need to change their recruiting approach but aren’t sure how to do so. We can help. We offer multiple plan options that will best fit your needs and your department’s budget. You will start to see a difference immediately! Email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com to learn more.

July 20th, 2015

Multitasking Makes You Dumber Than Being Stoned!

by Mandy Green, University of South Dakota Women’s Soccer

The speech that I gave at Dan Tudor’s NCRC was called “Multitasking Makes You Dumber than Being Stoned.”

I asked the 100+ coaches who were there in Nashville this question and I will ask it of you now. How many of the following common multitasking activities do you engage in?

  • Writing e-mails while speaking on the telephone
  • Abandon writing an email while in mid-sentence to check new email
  • Texting while watching game film
  • Surfing the internet while talking to a colleague
  • Processing email while in a meeting
  • Tweeting while instant messaging while

To boost productivity, many of us multitask like this to some degree. We have so many things to do, it seems to make sense that to get everything done that we should do more than one thing at a time right?

Here is the thing. Multitasking is a myth. You cannot mentally and effectively multitask.

You can do something physical and mental at the same time. You can walk and chew gum, run and listen to music, or drive and talk.

But you cannot use same part of brain simultaneously. You cannot have a conversation and write an email at the same time. You cannot tweet something and listen to somebody in a meeting. Our brain’s are not wired like a computer. We only have one channel for language.

And in fact, you are actually not multitasking at all, you are simply just switching between tasks. And according to CNN, switching makes you dumber than being stoned. CNN reported that when you are stoned your IQ drops by 5 points. When you try to multitask, your IQ drops by 10 points.

So those who are multitasking all day are basically walking through the day totally stoned. And you wonder why you are requiring more effort, your work is less accurate or creative, you’re getting less done, and you are not getting the outcomes that you want.  

Multitasking reduces your efficiency (your ability to do the right things) and your effectiveness (your ability to do things right) because it forces you to keep changing your mental focus. During the switchover time (less than a second, in most cases), your concentration diminishes and the number of mistakes you make dramatically increases.

Research consistently finds that 28% of productive focus or 1/3rd of our day basically is wasted or flushed down the toilet because we are trying to multitask.

So my suggestion would be to Single task. Do just ONE thing at a time. Give that task your full attention and complete it before moving on to the next thing. You don’t stop working to check a new email that just came in, you don’t even answer your phone during this time. This means you may need to change your voice mail and e-mail message so you can let all would-be interrupters know when you’ll be returning calls and getting back to them.

Give the tasks you work on the attention they deserve and you will find that the quality of your work will go up, and the time spent doing each task will go down, therefore increasing your productivity in the office.

You will find when you refuse to stop or turn aside until the job is done, you develop energy, enthusiasm and motivation. You get better and better and more productive. You work faster and more effectively.

By disciplining yourself to concentrate single-mindedly on the most important thing you could possibly be doing, and then by completing that task, you increase the quantity, quality, and value of your output substantially.

For you habitual multitaskers, you will find this difficult when you start this but if you stick with it, you will find it to be the most productive thing you can do.

Mandy Green has been a College Coach for over 16 years now and has created a company called Coaching Productivity Strategies. She is trying to revolutionize the way coaches are working in the office by helping coaches develop the disciplines of time management by teaching coaches through seminars and one on one coaching more practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques for getting more done faster. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. The Green Time Management Workbook and Calendar for Coaches are designed to give you hundreds of valuable ideas you can use immediately to organize your coaching life and tasks so that you can get more done in less time. For more information, contact mandy@mandygreencps.com or visit www.mandygreencps.com.  

July 20th, 2015

Who’s Your Pluto?

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Dealing with groups of humans means you have a Pluto.

Big group. Small group. Doesn’t matter.

There is a Pluto in there — somewhere.

And you need to find him (or her) because it could be the secret to your success.

Space Trucking

The celestial object Pluto is small, hangs in the back of the pack, has an orbit like no other.

And poor Pluto gets no respect. In fact, in 2006 Pluto was dropped from planet status, and is now officially a “dwarf-planet.”

Pluto has it tough.

Yet …

Pluto could hold untold secrets of our solar system. After 9 years of waiting, the spacecraft New Horizon has reached Pluto. Data is trickling in to NASA about how special Pluto really is.

And Pluto has fans —as The Guardian posted on their website, “Pluto: the splendid semi-planet with a special place in our hearts.”

Back to Earth, and to you

So what?

Well … on your team, in your pile of recruits, at your work, in your family — there is a Pluto.

There is that person:

who isn’t understood
gets little respect
is smaller than the rest

Yet, he:

might be an impact player
could hold secrets that opens eyes
possibly a giant just waiting to be called
may be different, but does what is asked

It took us 9 years and almost a billion dollars to get a better understanding of Pluto. Could you afford to spend a little time & energy to find and understand your Pluto?

He or she is there, waiting to be discovered.

July 14th, 2015

We All Need to Be Better At This and Here’s How

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Have you ever watched the TV show “House Hunters?” Thanks to all the rain we’ve been getting in central Indiana this summer, last week was a great opportunity for my wife and I to view the backlog of episodes on our DVR.

During a house tour in the suburbs of Chicago, something that the homebuyer said to her realtor caught my attention. To make a long story short, this particular homebuyer had a unique wish list. When it came to the kitchen, she had to have white appliances and a corner pantry. It didn’t matter how perfect the location was, if the home didn’t have both of those characteristics then she wasn’t buying.

House number one had white appliances, but no corner pantry. House number two was the exact opposite. Both seemed like great options, but this homebuyer wasn’t budging. When they got to the third and final home, the realtor had found a match (which was over budget of course). Immediately after walking into the kitchen and seeing that both of her needs had been met, the homebuyer turned to her realtor and said, “You actually listened to me.”

Studies say that humans’ listening skills are poor on average. We retain less than half of what we hear, and evidence shows that these skills are getting worse.

Here’s why that should be cause for concern for you, the college admissions professional. Being a good listener is one of the key principles we stress with our Admissions Recruiting Advantage clients. Doing so is often the difference between developing a superior relationship with your prospect and being just another college representative in their eyes.

When you do most of the talking you make it nearly impossible to discover what’s really motivating your prospect to consider your institution.  You‘re also cheating yourself out of valuable information that you can discover from the comments your recruit gives when they feel like they’re a part of an informal conversation.

A good rule to follow is to try and let your prospect do 80% of the talking during any conversation.  That means asking great questions and then giving them ample opportunity to talk afterwards.  You should also be ready to ask a lot of follow-up questions.

In my on-going effort to equip you with the skills that every elite recruiter and sales professional that I’ve ever met possesses, today I’m going to give you some effective ways to improve your listening skills.

  • Stop doing other things. Easy and obvious, right? In a world that loves to multi-task (myself included), the ability to stop everything you are doing and give 100% of your attention to your prospect (or their parents) is going to be a challenge for most. When you’re on a phone call this fall don’t try and also answer an email or input notes into a file. You may tell yourself you can do both effectively, but here’s proof to the contrary. Focus on your prospect and nothing else when he or she is speaking to you.
  • Listen without a hidden agenda. The college search process is not about you and your wants and needs, it’s about your prospect. When you have a hidden agenda or become so caught up thinking about yield you tend to push too hard and that affects your ability to listen clearly. Stop trying to sell to them. Instead focus on connecting with them.
  • Become an active listener. Most people begin thinking about how they’re going to reply while the other person is talking. Next time that happens to you I encourage you to try something that a good friend of mine who’s a successful small business owner taught me. Imagine that at the end of the conversation you’ll have to take a test to see how much of what your prospect said you truly heard and understood. Becoming an active listener also goes hand-in-hand with asking really good questions.
  • Acknowledge your prospect. Acknowledging what your prospect is saying is another way to listen more effectively. Using phrases such as “Good point,” “I understand,” and “That’s interesting” will show your prospect that you are tuned in and paying attention.
  • Listen and look for emphasis. We all use tone and other facial expressions to convey likes and dislikes. It’s difficult to discover what your prospect is placing emphasis on if you’re not listening intently during a phone call. Both pace and volume can give you clues about a prospect and their feelings. Body language is just as important to conveying meaning. If you’re face-to-face with a prospect and listen but don’t look, you’ll miss half the message.
  • Ask great questions. Earlier in this article I mentioned you need to ask great questions. By great I mean open-ended. Those types of questions get you an explanation from your prospect and provide you with insights that will aid in your recruitment of them.
  • Don’t interrupt. If you don’t understand something that a prospect is communicating to you there’s nothing wrong with asking for clarification. Don’t interrupt, and instead wait until the person pauses. At that point, you could say something like, “Earlier you mentioned (blank). Can you help me understand that a little better?” Not only are you being respectful by not interrupting, but you will also come across as someone who genuinely cares and wants to form a deeper connection.

Becoming a good listener takes time. It’s a skill that can be honed each and every day. When you improve your ability to listen, you immediately become more effective. You will also earn trust and grow those recruiting relationships faster. (Oh, in case you were wondering the homebuyer picked house number three)

Are you being an effective recruiter? If you have questions or need help, e-mail me at jeremy@dantudor.com.

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