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How to Effectively Talk About Paying for College With Your Prospects (and their parents)Monday, December 15th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

During a recent phone call with a good friend he mentioned that his daughter, a high school junior, was starting to receive a lot of mail from colleges and universities. What he said next is something that I’m sure many of you in admissions have heard a thousand times. “Most of the schools she likes are really expensive and I have no idea how we can afford any of them.”

Knowing that their family had visited a couple of those schools earlier this fall, I asked him if any of the college counselors had touched on financial aid before, during or after the visit. “Not one of them.” In the words of Tom Hanks’ character in Apollo 13, “Houston, we have a problem!”

More than ever before today’s prospects, and their parents, are limiting the college search to schools they believe they can afford. By doing this, many students sacrifice their best “fit” for an apparent lower cost option. Several do so without researching affordability or talking to an admissions or financial aid counselor at the better “fit” institution.

Studies have shown that when students were asked where they obtain information on financial aid, both admissions offices and admissions counselors ranked near the bottom of the list. Instead, your college’s website and the student’s high school counselor are the top sources. This is a trend that needs to change.

Discussing the issue of paying for college is a challenge. I won’t dispute that. It’s a frequent topic during my one-on-one counselor meetings when we conduct one of our On-Campus Workshops. How then do you approach your prospects correctly?

We have some strategies that we’ve seen work over the past few years, and we think you can use them to help overcome the “money” objection as you talk with this next class of recruits.

  • Be prepared to start the conversation early on. The “money” objection is one of the most common negatives that many schools face. We tell clients the worst thing they can do with any objection, including this one, is avoid talking about it in the hope that it will magically disappear. It won’t. If your admissions team is not prepared to talk about money with your prospects, it’s going to be hard to secure their commitment. Being able to explain the process ahead of time will lead to a greater comfort level, and a lot less questions later on when you try to convert those admits to deposits. I would also strongly recommend you have that talk with the parents, not the parents and your prospect together.  It’s a sensitive topic, and we find that your prospect’s parents will be more open with you if their son or daughter is not there.
  • Ask the parents of your prospect how this crisis is effecting them. That type of question is one of the “15 Great Questions” that author, speaker and founder of Tudor Collegiate Strategies, Dan Tudor, and I, recommend to college coaches and admissions teams during our On-Campus Workshops.  You need to understand how this crisis is effecting them, and what obstacles it creates when it comes to considering your school.  By engaging the family in that conversation, you will help them connect the dots, which is something they value. Mom and dad will also become your allies.  Considering how important their feedback is in their child’s decision, you cannot afford not to reach out to them.
  • Guide them step-by-step, and always emphasize what that next step is. We’ve talked many times in previous articles about how important transparency is with this generation of recruits. The college selection process is both confusing and stressful. You and your staff need to be their guides from start to finish. Be sure and reiterate key dates and deadlines well in advance. If you want to avoid “sticker shock,” explain to them how the bottom-line total is calculated and why that’s the important number to remember. In addition to the FAFSA, be prepared to discuss each of the three main types of financial aid – loans, grants and scholarships, and programs such as work-study. As an honest guide who makes the details easy to understand, you will gain their trust.
  • How you communicate the value your school offers matters. Especially in your letters and emails.  If you have a family who is worried about finances, your basic recruiting letter is going to have an even harder time getting through to them and grabbing their attention.  Communicating clearly, systematically and with some originality is vital. When you discuss the value or ROI that your college’s graduates have experienced, have institutional data or at worst national data at your disposal, in addition to success stories of your alumni. It’s your job to show the value of your school’s diploma, and the benefits that will come as a result of the experiences your prospect will gain during their time on your campus. When done correctly you will be able convince many of your recruits and their parents that cheaper isn’t always better.
  • Collaborate with your school’s financial aid staff. The days of directing all “money” questions to your financial aid office are coming to an end. Admissions’ collaborating with financial aid is now essential. If your college hasn’t merged the two entities, then I strongly recommend you do some cross training. Understand what financial aid officers look for and how they make their decisions. Be able to navigate your school’s financial aid website, because if you can’t do so, you can guarantee your prospects won’t either. Cultivating these relationships will make a tangible difference. Remember that both offices are working towards the same goal of enrolling the “best fit” students.
  • Understand that they might have the money, but aren’t sure they want to spend it on your school. When a family talks about not being able to afford your school, understand that in some cases they can afford it, they just haven’t decided that they want to. Ask yourself what would happen if a bigger brand name school with a perceived higher academic reputation entered the picture for your prospect and offered the exact same financial aid package. Chances are that family would find a way to “make it work” financially. Just remember that more often then not your prospect has the money, they just aren’t sure they want to spend it on your school. You then need to consistently and creatively find ways to get them to justify the expense and why it’s worth the investment.

At the end of the day there will be times when despite your best efforts, you won’t be able to overcome the reality that some families just cannot afford your school without taking on significant financial debt. Your goal is to present smart reasons why your school is the “right fit” for their child, and demonstrate greater value than your competition.

Want personalized help in creating a better recruiting strategy? CLICK HERE to learn about our Admissions Recruiting Advantage options that schools around the country are using.

Developing Successful Campus VisitsMonday, December 8th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

I recently conducted one of our effective on-campus admissions workshops for a college in the Northeast.

When it came to recapping their focus group research the most impactful discovery was that 85% of the students surveyed said the campus visit moved this particular school up, or to the top of their list. Despite those numbers, one of the school’s senior counselors wanted to discuss ways they could turn a great visit into an amazing one-of-a-kind visit, the kind that creates that “feeling” all recruits rely on to help them choose a college.

Let me ask each of you a question. “When’s the last time your admissions office took a step back and evaluated your campus visit?” Some of you might be saying to yourself, “Jeremy we haven’t had any complaints about our visits, so why spend time doing that?” A visit to your campus is number one on your prospect’s list for determining if your school is the right one for them.  Our ongoing focus group research on campuses around the country indicates the face-to-face communication you have with a prospect will determine what kind of chances you have at securing their commitment to join your student body. Unfortunately, that same research also suggests that many schools are delivering virtually identical visits, and therefore not providing prospects with strong enough proof as to why their school is the right fit.

Lets back up for a minute. First and foremost, you have to give your prospects a reason to come to campus. It starts with your recruiting message. You must be telling a compelling enough story using a mix of communication that ultimately creates anticipation in their minds. Your prospects want to buy what you’re selling, but you need to give them a reason to do so. They will anticipate coming to campus if they’ve been given exciting peeks at what awaits them when they get there. This is an opportunity for you and your admissions staff to use creative thinking and paint them that picture.

O.k., back to auditing your campus visit. The first thing I encourage you to focus on has nothing to do with the tour route or your tour guide. During your walk across campus, look for things such as burnt out light bulbs, weeds, trash in stairwells and paint in need of touching up. We see little things such as these all the time when we participate in campus tours during workshops and client visits. If we see them, that means your recruits and their families notice them as well. They may seem minimal in the grand scheme of things, but I encourage you to reach out to your school’s physical plant and see if these small projects can be prioritized. The result will be more comments about your school’s “beautiful campus,” which again is something that contributes to creating that “feeling” for your recruits. The campus visit sets the tone for the rest of the recruiting process.

Now that you understand how critical every aspect of the campus visit is to successful recruiting, let’s discuss some common mistakes that colleges make when they’re hosting these visits. Keep in mind this feedback comes directly from our research with students just like those on your campus.

Too many scheduled meetings. The absolute worst thing you can do as a school is to cram as many meetings as possible into your prospect’s visit. All of that running around leads to exhaustion. Students can only take in and process so much information, so quality must be emphasized over quantity. They want to get a feel for how well they will fit in on your campus. A day full of meetings destroys that possibility. You need to carve out some down time for rest and self-exploration.

Non-Impactful meetings. I understand that certain departments at your school want to be involved in the campus visits. Here’s the problem. Students consistently tell us that sitting through a meeting with people they will likely never see again is a buzz kill. They become bored and never get a sense of how what’s being explained is beneficial to them. Most importantly, very few of these meetings factor into their final decision. One meeting I would however highly recommend you consistently block time for is with someone in your school’s career center. As the cost of higher education continues to rise, families want to know more about ROI (Return on investment).

The length of your campus tour. The average college campus tour lasts between 60 and 75 minutes. Our research, which again is feedback from students, consistently tells us this is too long. Make the time one day to join or follow a tour group and watch what happens after about 30 minutes. Students become uninterested and start to check their cell phones. Like it or not, that’s this generation of recruits. They have an extremely hard time staying focused, particularly after that first 30 minutes.

Your tour guide’s presentation. There’s two parts I want to address here. First off, your tour guides must be enthusiastic individuals who have no trouble engaging your prospects and their families. Delivering the campus tour in a dull, monotone voice is an immediate turn off. Furthermore the guide must be well educated on every part of campus, including any recent changes and additions. Finally, they must remember the importance of TMI. I’m referring to discussing social issues and personal experiences on campus that are irrelevant and inappropriate. The second key takeaway here is the worst thing your visit experience can offer a recruit is the exact same thing the last two visits they went on offered. Your tour guide’s talking points must be defined. If all they’re doing is talking about the renovation of this building, the history of that building, and so on, then that’s a problem.

Not highlighting the “why.” Every campus has the same things – dorms, a cafeteria, a place where students congregate, a library, etc. All of those things are great and they need to be highlighted, but not enough schools emphasize why each of those should matter to that specific recruit. Maybe your freshmen dorm room sizes are larger than most, or your cafeteria allows students once a week to fill up a container as full as possible with food and take it back to their dorms for later on. Wouldn’t it be worth pointing out why those things are beneficial?   Doing so allows your prospect to visualize, and as we’ve stated many times previously, that’s another part of helping create that “feeling.”

No personal touches. In a previous article we discussed how personalization is the secret to increasing enrollment. You must incorporate personal touches and create a genuine welcoming environment for families. That goes for your prospect as well as mom and dad because we all know how important a role they ultimately play in their child’s decision. Welcome signs, parking spaces with their name on it, and providing background information to others who will be involved in the campus visit are good places to start. This is another chance for your counselors to be creative.

Letting them leave campus without telling them what’s next. Here’s something we see happen all the time. A school hits a home run during the campus visit. Everyone’s excited. Mom and dad along with their son or daughter get into the car and start the long drive home or to the airport. As they finish recapping the visit, the question of what’s next always arises. Too often the admissions staff doesn’t clearly lay out that next step for the recruit before they leave campus. We also advise clients to ask the prospect if they can see him or herself as a student on your campus. Failing to do one or both of these means you’re missing a giant opportunity for your school.

If your school has recently evaluated and addressed any campus visit issues, minor or major, I applaud you. Let me challenge you now not to be afraid to re-tweak things going forward. If you’re in the majority that hasn’t done so, start dissecting your visits now. Do not wait until next year. You can make easy changes quickly and effectively that will improve the overall experience for your current group of prospects.

It’s also a great idea to ask your tour guides for their input on the campus visits. Ask them what you should do more and less of. They’ve recently gone through the process and have a better feel for what today’s student wants.

Need help creating a campus experience that will allow your school to stand out from the competition? Invite us to conduct an on-campus workshop with your school in the New Year. We can help! Contact Jeremy directly at jeremy@dantudor.com for more information.

Why You Should Recruit Non-Traditional Students DifferentlyMonday, December 1st, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

The Times They Are a-Changin’.  Bob Dylan’s legendary song would be an appropriate description if you were asked to summarize the makeup of today’s college student body.

Colleges and Universities still enroll plenty of high school graduates. However, the fastest growing segment of the higher education market is non-traditional students. Roughly 40% of all college students are older than 24, according to U.S. Education Department data.

The thing is, a 32-year old single mom wants something completely different than an 18-year old high achieving student whose most recent dilemma was what to wear to promThese two demographics have different expectations, different motivations, and different objections.

When advising clients on assembling their recruiting communications for these non-traditional prospects, we emphasize the importance of creating different messaging and using different techniques to secure their commitment.

Let’s start by defining some characteristics that today’s non-traditional student possesses.

  • Usually 24 years old and older
  • Delays enrollment
  • Attends college part-time
  • Employed (works 30 hours or more per week while enrolled)
  • Has dependents (spouse, children)
  • Is a single parent (studies show that women make up 71% of all student parents)
  • Mid career professional
  • Often looking to advance their career or achieve a personal goal
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid

Once you’ve put together a detailed profile of a typical non-traditional student that your institution believes is most likely to succeed at your school, you’re then ready to start marketing to this group.

Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between these two groups.  Furthermore, how do you use those differences to your advantage against your competition that is looking to enroll the same non-traditional recruits?  Here are three big things we think every admissions office should know:

  • Unlike their traditional counterparts, non-traditional prospects don’t rely on their parents’ opinion as they make their decision. Non-traditional students feel they are in charge of their educational career. They are largely independent and more concerned about paying bills on time and making school fit with their work schedule, than whether or not mom and dad approve of a school. What this means for you is that you won’t need to spend the same amount of time recruiting their parents as we recommend for a high school prospect.
  • Unlike their traditional counterparts, you’re going to find it much, much harder to get in touch with non-traditional prospects.  These students are juggling multiple responsibilities in addition to work. It’s going to be difficult to reach them by phone. What should you do? We have found that creating weekly standing appointments, or ones every other week, is a successful strategy. It goes on their schedule and is much more convenient, which is something they place a premium on. Social media is another easy way to connect with this demographic. They access Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in many cases more frequently than their traditional counterparts, and research shows they’re generally open to these forms of communication. Use these to show the prospect things your campus offers that will be of benefit to them. Finally, I’ll repeat something that I said earlier. Don’t forget that those increased responsibilities to their families gives non-traditional students more opportunities to procrastinate or be distracted from taking that next step in the admissions process. It’s your responsibility to make them feel wanted, help them connect the dots, and keep them on track.
  • Unlike their traditional counterparts, non-traditional prospects won’t be as concerned with your dorms, meal plan or school activities. Moving out of their parent’s home is something that’s difficult for many traditional students. Most will live on campus and thus want comfortable accommodations and a meal plan with some variety. For non-traditional students this isn’t something they generally need or want to have to pay for. They don’t go to college for socialization or fancy dorms, and have their own support systems outside of school. Besides your institution’s academic reputation, here are some things that non-traditional students value greatly.   Start with availability of evening, weekend or even distance learning courses. These are a necessity. Your school’s career center is also a valuable tool that you can highlight. Connecting them to someone in the career center early in the process is highly recommended. Lastly the flexibility to complete their degree at their own pace matters significantly. Your messaging should address topics such as these, as well as any other areas that are important to them.

Non-traditional students have also made it clear they’re more likely to use the Internet to gather research on schools, versus scheduling a campus visit. They simply don’t have enough time in their hectic schedule. This means your digital marketing needs to be strong and have a section that clearly defines your non-traditional program offerings as well as things like financial aid. They need to be able to know how they will piece it all together and ultimately fit in on your campus. You must help them connect all the dots.  

Even though non-traditional students won’t be attending college in the traditional sense, there is one big similarity between the two groups that an admissions counselor should never forget. Non-traditional students also place a high value on personalized attention prior to enrollment. Personalization at every point of contact – direct mail, online, over the phone, and on campus can make a big difference in persuading a non-traditional student to enroll.

Just remember that if your school is committed to enrolling more non-traditional students, you need to approach them differently than your high school prospects.  They are very, very different.

Jeremy and the experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop personalized messaging for all different types of recruits, including non-traditional students. Want to learn how? Email him directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

How to Effectively Handle ObjectionsMonday, November 24th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Earlier this year my wife went through the process of buying a new car. Like most, she was somewhat apprehensive of the various sales people and their pitches. After all, buying a car is a big purchase. In the end it was a salesman who listened, gained my wife’s trust, and answered her objections that got her business.

In many ways the college selection process mirrors that of buying a vehicle. Both are large financial commitments that will be met with one or more objections. Despite being inevitable, objections during the recruitment process should never be seen as a door closing in your face. Instead your admissions team needs to take time and uncover why a recruit is really objecting. From there they can help defuse the objection, which if they’ve cultivated a relationship with the student and their family, will pose less of a challenge and happen less often over time.

Overcoming objections can be done in a number of different ways.  First off, it’s important to anticipate any potential objections ahead of time. As an admissions professional you know what the common ones are. Trying to avoid discussing them is the wrong approach. Whenever we conduct one of our On-Campus Workshops we tell clients that yes, believe it or not, you want people to object to something about your campus or institution. That objection means they are listening and processing the information they are seeing themselves or hearing from you, which in turn will help them reach an informed decision about your school.

Ask yourself, “When’s the last time you recruited a student who didn’t have questions, concerns or firmly disagree with something you talked to them about?” It’s o.k, and I encourage you to embrace that fact moving forward.

For example, you should always be prepared to talk about the cost of attendance and financial aid with your prospects.  It’s going to continue to be on the minds of just about every recruit as the cost of college continues to rise. Whether you have that talk with only the parents, or the parents and the prospect together is the choice of your office. Keep in mind though it’s a sensitive topic. Our research has shown that your prospect’s parents will be more open with you if their son or daughter is not there.

Addressing any objection becomes much easier if the recruit and his or her parents are comfortable about voicing their opinions to you. Creating and maintaining good communication is essential. If you make every effort to treat objections as “normal” you will have a more productive conversation.

Here are some proven strategies to combat objections that I encourage you to employ with your current and future groups of recruits.

Listen to the Objection. When your recruit offers an objection don’t cut them off mid-sentence. Even if you’ve heard the same objection from other recruits and you already have the answer, give him or her a chance to explain why they’ve come to their conclusion. Remember each recruit’s objection is unique to him or her. By listening you will be able to pick up some helpful clues from the way a prospect expresses their objection. Also keep in mind that your body language says a lot. If you sigh while listening to an objection the prospect is likely to treat that as a sign that you feel the question is unwarranted.

Get Clarification. Rarely will someone give his or her real objection up front. That’s why clarifying the objection is extremely important. This process will require you to think quickly on your feet, but doing so should help you discover the real objection. We tell our clients that asking probing questions is the key to getting to the heart of their lack of interest. If a recruit says your school is too far from home, get them to be more specific. You’ve got the “what,” now you need the “why.” Doing this will allow you to give them a response that helps redirect their interest back towards your school. Sometimes you’ll even discover that an objection isn’t really an objection. What you’re hearing instead is someone who doesn’t want to be influenced and is stalling.

Acknowledge and Add Information. Clarifying allows you to get to the real objection; acknowledging will confirm it for you. Once you recognize and understand someone’s objection you can then add information that will redirect his or her objection. Many times an objection is due to lack of information or false perception. For example, how many times has a recruit told you that “school X” said their specific academic degree is better? Start by saying, “Thank-you for bringing that up.” Then present information that dismisses that perception. In most cases a recruit wants to see if you will confirm their current line of thinking or correct them with new reasoning. Finally remember that telling the student what you think they want to hear usually backfires. Focus on being honest and providing all of the information they need to make a sound decision.

Become a Problem Solver. The goal anytime an objection arises is to provide a solution.  Answering the objection will provide the recruit with a different perspective that may very well eliminate their objection. This is where problem solving enters the equation. We encourage our clients to approach things from a different perspective that will stand out amongst their competition. Your recruit has an objection that they want answered. This is a great opportunity for you and your staff. Using the information you’ve accumulated on a particular prospect, as well as intuition and logic, a solution can be formed. When a solution is presented make sure that the other person understands it and feels that it’s truly an answer to their objection.

Overcoming objections is one of the biggest challenges that an admissions recruiter faces. The key to remember is that the only person who can truly overcome the objection is the prospect. Your job is to create an opportunity for this to occur through effective questioning and subsequent problem solving. If you can successfully do this you will significantly improve your school’s chances to gain the prospective student’s commitment.

Want more techniques and in-depth ideas on overcoming objections?  Contact Jeremy directly at jeremy@dantudor.com to discuss a plan that we can implement in your admissions office.

How to Keep Your Admissions Team MotivatedMonday, November 17th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

During a conversation with one of my neighbors at the bus stop this morning she asked if I was ready for the change to colder weather. I reminded her that we had lived in northern Minnesota for four years, a place that by the way received their first snowfall of the season nearly two weeks ago. A 25-degree sunrise in central Indiana is a walk in the park.

Most of you reading this article are also undergoing a seasonal change. The college admissions cycle is transitioning from the “travel season” to the “reading season.” Gone are the days of driving from state-to-state executing college fairs, high school visits and other events on behalf of your school. Over the next few months staffs will review enormous piles of applications looking for those students who best fit their institutional profile. Any free moments during the selection process are likely to be spent sending emails, making phone calls and trying to meet the additional never-ending requests of what is commonly described as a grueling profession. It’s a demanding lifestyle where the pressure to achieve specific enrollment numbers increases stress and causes frequent frustration amongst the young professionals who are the face of most admissions teams.

Before we discuss different ways to motivate your team, it’s important to review the portrait of the admissions field. A July 2014 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling titled, “Career Paths for Admission Officers: A Survey Report,” offered valuable insight about the profession. Findings were based on a survey of nearly 1,500 admissions officials. Nearly 44% had less than 3 years experience in their current position and more than half (55 percent) of respondents said they planned to seek a new career opportunity within two or three years. In short, experienced help is hard to find and even harder to keep around.

Some of the most important concerns voiced by this generation’s admissions and enrollment leaders related to lack of information about a career path and work-life balance. Their list of responsibilities on campus keeps increasing despite less funding and compensation. The growing pressure to enroll students is also leading to a more sales-based approach to recruitment. Combine all of this and you have a workforce that is stressed out, tired, and ultimately searching for daily motivation.

Motivation can be the determining factor for the amount of success a team achieves. In most instances, a successful group will have been motivated from start to finish. That doesn’t mean there won’t be days when it’s harder to drum up some enthusiasm and stay focused on the institutional mission. When those days occur I encourage you to remind your colleagues that the objective they’re working towards is greater than any individual.

Here are some suggestions on how to create and keep a motivated and confident admissions team:

Be a leader that others want to follow. There are a wide variety of leadership styles.  However you choose to lead, I cannot stress enough the importance of being consistent. Your team will model your actions. Being unpredictable will lead to an unstable work environment. Keep your word if you say you’re going to do something. This cultivates an environment of trust. No matter what they think of you, it’s vital that your staff has faith that in the end you will make the right decisions. According to a study by Interaction Associates, 82% of employees say being able to trust their managers is crucial to their work performance. Successful leaders also set realistic goals. Having an achievable goal that can be measured gives people something to shoot for and allows you to rate their performance at the end of the day. Lastly we have your mood. Regardless of how crazy your daily schedule may be or what personal issues you might be dealing with, your staff shouldn’t have to walk around on eggshells because they have a moody boss. It will negatively affect productivity and staff morale.

Remember that everyone is different. The worst mistake that good managers make, in my opinion, is treating each member of their staff the same way. As a leader it’s your responsibility to understand how to effectively manage the different members of your team. Getting to know your staff on an individual basis allows you to understand how they communicate and what motivates them. It will also help you to recognize strengths and provide high potential people with more freedom and decision-making opportunities. As a young college coach I learned this valuable life lesson rather quickly. Some of my players responded well to direct criticism, while others felt they were being attacked and as a result began to lose focus. Realizing this I created a personalized management style to address my players’ varying personalities. You can do the same thing with your counselors. Developing different strategies will result in your entire staff working smarter and more confidently.

Communicate clearly. Communication is essential to any relationship. If your staff is receiving mixed messages when it comes to expectations and performance, it will result in confusion and undesirable results. You can gauge whether or not your messages are being received clearly by asking specific questions during both staff and individual meetings. The responses will let you know if your directions or messages need to be conveyed thru a different approach, or even redesigned.

Create a career path. As I previously mentioned, many admissions counselors enter the field and quickly discover there’s a lack of information about possible career paths.  As a manager it’s beneficial to designate time during the year to discuss professional goals, both short and long term. Talk to them about the admissions career pyramid. Staff members who have a path set before them that may lead to promotion will create internal motivation. Plus, when an employee knows their boss has a genuine interest in them and their professional development, they’re more likely to perform well.

Mentoring. Setting up a mentoring program for your staff members who are new to the admissions field, or those recently promoted to a leadership position, is a great way to show you care about their well being. Mentors can transfer knowledge and help their mentees set and achieve career goals, while also introducing them to different networks of people in the admissions field. Additionally you will be giving the mentors ownership of something, which demonstrates confidence in them.

Ask for input and listen to new ideas. One of the easiest ways to develop trust with your staff is to ask for their input when it comes to making decisions that will affect them. Your team is the boots on the ground for your office and their insight is invaluable. Even if you choose not to implement their suggestions, simply listening will make your team happy and is a sign of mutual respect. Remember that when a staff member comes to you with an idea or a solution to a problem, it’s a sign that they care.

Ownership. Motivation comes through ownership, and ownership comes from engagement. The most effective workers are those who take ownership of their work. If they feel that an assignment or task is theirs they are more likely to demonstrate responsibility. Make sure that you delegate effectively. Clearly communicate who is the decision maker on a project. Giving your team ownership will create a more positive working environment.

Recognize professional achievements. Your team wants to feel that you as their boss value and appreciate their efforts. Talk is great, but public recognition is better. Numerous studies show that employees who don’t feel valued are unhappy and less productive.  Having a reward program in place or acknowledging them at a group setting is an easy way to show your gratitude. It doesn’t have to be a major achievement. Focus on even the small victories. We all enjoy receiving compliments.

Team building activities. Organizing a team outing particularly after a hard week is a great way for everyone to relax and let off some steam. It helps with work-life balance, which is something your staff wants and needs. You will be amazed at how something as simple as a nice dinner will recharge their batteries and build team camaraderie.

Reflection Time. Each member of your admissions team has impacted the lives of young people. It’s useful every once in a while to take some time to reflect on both the successes and the failures, because each can teach you about what works and what does not. It also allows people to see the fruits of their labor, and may even result in some great ideas for the future.

The admissions profession is full of challenges and frustrations. Finding ways to keep your staff motivated and engaged is an ongoing battle. If you follow these suggestions you could have a team that will be more self-driven and motivated to continually make every effort to achieve the enrollment goals of your institution.

Our Admissions Recruiting Advantage program focuses on what other admissions consulting groups often fail to address: Training your admissions representatives how to be effective, consistent sales professionals who can effectively communicate with your prospective students and help guide them towards a commitment to your college.  We identify your staff’s strengths and weaknesses and then develop training to specifically meet their needs in conjunction with your admission department goals.  Are you ready to let us help you?  Email Jeremy Tiers directly at jeremy@dantudor.com to start a conversation about how we would do that for you and your office.

10 Ways to Improve Phone Calls to Prospective StudentsMonday, November 10th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

I’m a frequent channel surfer. It’s a bad habit I know. During halftime of a recent college football game I came across the sports movie classic, Jerry Maguire. For me the 1996 film is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again. The key message in the film centers on personal relationships. At its core, the college admissions process is about making those same types of connections.

As college admissions professionals you are continually counseling prospective students on the admissions process and opportunities available at your institution. In this day and age a bulk of that guidance will occur primarily through phone calls and emails. I’m sure each of you has a preference, but remember that a well-balanced mix of communication is key.

One of the questions I always ask a college-bound student is whether they would rather receive an email or a phone call from a college that they’re interested in. Regardless of where the student is at in the process nearly all choose a phone call. Their reasoning is simple. It’s more personal and to them demonstrates genuine interest.

In talking with numerous admissions counselors and enrollment managers, engaging with prospective students on the phone is an all too frequent frustration. Most secretly admit they don’t enjoy it, particularly if it’s the first time in the admissions process that they’re interacting with the student. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that they’re not alone. The teenager on the other end often feels disconnected, in large part due to poor communication and lack of enthusiasm during the call. Too often admissions counselors become so focused on selling their school that they fail to display any personal attributes that would separate them from their competition.

Where do we go from here then? Just like in the movie it starts with forming that connection and showing a more likeable human side to your recruits. Here are 10 areas that you and your staff can target to help improve phone conversations and yield the results you’re looking for.

Etiquette. Eating, chewing gum, having music on, hearing other phones ringing in the background, or worse, other people yelling on their phone while you’re on a call are all impolite. Find a quiet area to make your phone calls from where you can be totally focused. Another common etiquette issue is speaking volume. Some people just don’t know how loud they are. Finally if you’re going to put the other person on speakerphone let them know.

Slow down and speak clearly. I’ve done my share of public speaking over the years. Early on I received some great advice. Speaking slower doesn’t make you boring but just the opposite. Slowing down makes you appear more articulate and knowledgeable, but be mindful that low energy will bore the other person. This is a skill that takes time to master so don’t get frustrated. Enunciating is also critical in conversation. You want to make sure there’s no chance that the other person didn’t understand the information you’re sharing.

Put them at ease right away. It’s a documented fact that speaking to an admissions counselor is a stressful experience for most prospective students. They really want to attend your school and are fearful that one wrong sentence could jeopardize their chances. Remind him or her that your job is to help them manage the college selection process. Your goal needs to be to get the other person comfortable enough to open up, ask questions, and then maintain a steady dialogue. One way to accomplish this is to have talking points prepared ahead of time. These need to be questions that focus on the student – not your institution. Showing genuine interest in them is more important long term than trying to get an answer to where your school ranks.

Questions, questions, questions. Most students who indicate that phone calls are helpful as part of the college selection process have similar reasoning. It allows them to ask questions, and more questions.  In short it personalizes the call.  Your counselors can also get a feel for the other person’s comfort zone by introducing a topic they want to discuss in a neutral way. Then it’s time to sit back, listen, and take notes. You will be amazed at the volume of information students are willing to share if they feel in control of the conversation.

Avoid information overload. Research shows that although our minds can amass limitless amount of information in our long-term memory, we can only focus on a small amount of information at any given time. The worst thing you can do is start spouting off facts about your school. This will overwhelm the other person, and as we just mentioned, students won’t remember everything they’re told anyways.

Short vs. long. As a college basketball coach I always found it helpful to ask a recruit about their recruiting experience once they had committed. What I consistently discovered was that prospects got bored with recruiting calls that dragged out. A few recruits even went so far as to tell me that with some colleges they found themselves putting their phone on speaker and playing video games or watching television while the coach continued to chatter on. So, how do avoid the boredom and that lull? Feel things out. If a recruit is asking questions there’s nothing wrong with letting them dictate how long. Asking questions means they’re intellectually involved in the conversation, so don’t cut them off. If you sense that the other person is no longer engaged, be willing to wrap things up even if you haven’t had a chance to convey your selling points.

Handling objections. Objections are inevitable. Always remain calm and don’t become defensive. Students can tell when your tone changes during a phone call. Even if you have facts and figures to prove your school’s business degree is better than that of college “X,” if a recruit says they believe the opposite, meet that objection with a question to find out why. Once you’ve done that, listen to their entire reasoning and then you can present a solution and lay out facts to support your point of view.

Stop trying to be a mind reader. I’ll admit it. I’m guilty of doing this more then I should, especially with my wife. We’ll be having a conversation and I assume to know what point she’s trying to convey. More often than not, I’m wrong. When your recruit makes a statement you infer to be negative or questionable, don’t jump to conclusions. Instead write it down and gather information to determine if the statement is sound and justifiable. You can then determine if reasoning exists to support your assumption.

If you don’t know, just say so. There’s no shame in telling someone that you don’t know the answer to a question. Convey that you will get an answer as soon as possible. As I’ve said in previous posts, the last thing you want to do is exaggerate the facts only to have the recruit discover you did so.

Parents. When mom or dad answers the phone and says their son or daughter isn’t home, what do you do? Believe it or not this presents a great opportunity. Parents are not only more involved in every aspect of the college admissions process today, but in many cases their child wants and even values their input. Therefore, my advice is you must be comfortable talking to your prospect’s parents. Mom and dad can provide you with useful information, and studies are showing that more parents are actually doing a bulk of the work for their child during the admissions process.

 Near the conclusion of Jerry Maguire, Jerry and Rod Tidwell embrace and show how their relationship has progressed from a strictly business one to a close personal one. For your office to secure enrollment, that same relationship needs to be cultivated between prospective students and your staff. It’s imperative that phone calls are more about the student and less about the college.

 Try following these simple but proven communication strategies the next time you or your staff picks up the phone to talk to a prospect. They will help deepen your connection.

 Our clients get even more advice and direction on an ongoing basis.  Want to have access to one-on-one expertise as you approach this next recruiting class?  We’re ready to help.  Click on the link for all the details, or email Jeremy directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

How Collaboration Can Increase Efficiency and EnrollmentMonday, November 3rd, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Last year a good friend of mine became a college head coach for the first time. My initial words of wisdom for him were simple. Immediately get to know your athletic secretary, and make sure you find at least two good team managers. Creating a partnership with those people are vital for success, largely in part because each, whether they know it or not, can have a huge impact on recruiting and player development. Likewise, colleges and universities will find it hard to achieve their enrollment goals if the offices of admissions and financial aid cannot or choose not to function as a team.

Helping a prospect overcome sticker shock remains arguably the biggest issue for admissions offices. In the 2014 Inside Higher Ed survey of college and university admissions directors, 77% said they believe their institution is losing applicants due to concerns about student debt. For private schools that number jumped to 89%. As you well know, how your office addresses the anxiety that is paying for college will largely determine whether or not that prospective student chooses your institution.

Let me start by asking you a couple of questions. Can you and your staff each name three people that work in your school’s financial aid office? For those of you that passed, I offer my congratulations. Now, when is the last time you stopped by their offices and said hello? To those still thinking, don’t worry you’re not alone. Here’s why that needs to change, though. Financial aid officers have knowledge and data that can empower you and have a large impact on enrollment. For that reason alone, nurturing a positive relationship between admissions and financial aid throughout the recruiting cycle is imperative. The result will be the ability to provide students with all the information they need to make an informed decision about the fit of your school.

Here are a few keys to collaborating with your financial aid teammates that will be mutually beneficial. Even though both offices have different goals, at the end of the day each is trying to provide excellent customer service and meet the changing needs of its students.

Cross training. Start by having the financial aid office identify commonly asked questions that admissions counselors can address when they meet with families. Topics could include an explanation of the FAFSA and other financial aid programs offered, as well as payment options. Have them also teach admissions how to give financial aid estimates. Conversely, your counselors could train those in financial aid with regards to conducting prospective-student visits as well as highlighting key dates in the application process. Taking things a step further, why not have members of both offices shadow each other for a day. Cross training such as this will ensure a smooth campus visit no matter which counselor a recruit meets with. It will also provide an opportunity for counselors to expand their skill sets and use their time more efficiently.

Face to face problem solving. Alliances look great on paper and in name, but many fail to achieve measurable results due to a lack of follow through. Creating a committee and assigning duties is only the beginning. It has to be more than just lip service. Sitting down and talking face to face to effectively solve problems is a tool that many of us need most and are trained in the least. During meetings there must be a shared respect even though both offices have different goals and report to different people. Each department leader needs to be present and reinforce the expectations and the value of this collaboration. Meeting face to face also provides an opportunity for both parties to practice listening.

Sharing data. The offices of admissions and financial aid collect data and typically analyze it each year. Imagine what could be learned if both departments shared this information. For starters, schools could determine how the amount of aid they award positively or negatively effects enrollment. Also, think how much easier it would be if your admissions counselors could check on the FAFSA status of a prospective student themselves rather than pointing a family towards the financial aid office. Being able to address how a recruit will finance their education and what debt they may incur would give that student and his or her family a better idea of affordability as it relates to your institution.

Build that trust. This is a building block of any successful collaboration. Without trust it’s hard to have productive working relationships. Having said that, remember that developing and earning trust takes time. You must first understand the goals and position of each department. There has to be willingness for give-and-take, particularly from the managerial component.  A good example is the sharing of resources. Once trust is established and success occurs, celebrate your achievements together. Failures also provide an opportunity for growth if everyone is willing to identify the problem and focus on creating a solution rather then assigning blame. Trust can make the difference between an employee who is engaged and all in, and one who is unmotivated or even destructive.

Each of these four concepts has a common foundational element – communication.  Both sides can be on board with collaboration, but to achieve the desired goals communication must always be clear. It begins with listening, a skill that all of us constantly need to hone.

Collaborating with financial aid will lead to greater efficiency and produce a more confident group of employees. Counselors in both departments will be able to share their knowledge with one another and thus enhance the student recruitment experience. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to reach out to your financial aid counterparts and begin the process of collaborating to build a stronger enrollment team.

Need help in creating a strategic game plan for your next class of students?   You can bring Jeremy to campus to work with your admissions department this year.  If you have questions, email Jeremy Tiers directly at jeremy@dantudor.com.  

Making Sure the Admissions Travel Season Doesn’t Turn Into Groundhog DayMonday, October 27th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

My first introduction to life on the road occurred as a 22 year-old Recruiting Analyst working for a basketball scouting service.

Over a four-month span known as the “AAU season,” I traveled from state to state attending events where I would spend between 12 and 14 hours a day in high school gymnasiums. My goal was to evaluate as many of the nation’s top high school boys recruits as I could, and compete with other media entities for information from these teenagers on their college recruitment. I moved from hotel to hotel, ate way too much fast food, drank way too much Red Bull, and a couple of times even slept in my rental car.

By this point you may be asking, “What does this have to do with admissions?” It’s Fall, and that means we’re currently in the midst of “travel season” for college recruiters. My question is, “Are your admission counselors learning how to become road warriors or reliving the same day (Groundhog Day) over, and over again like Bill Murray’s character did in the movie?”

I’ve heard many of you describe the “travel season” in admissions as Groundhog Day. You wake up, drive to several high schools to meet with prospective students, or sit in a chair and man a booth better known as a folding table at a local college fair. The day essentially consists of trying to show recruits, counselors and parents the unique educational experience your school offers while also evaluating the high school and its students to see if they’re a good fit. You then return to your hotel and get ready to do it all over again the next day. I’m curious, though. At the end of the day, do you or your staff sit back and spend a few minutes evaluating how the day went and whether or not you worked towards accomplishing the goals of your institution’s recruitment strategy?

In 2013, studies showed that the average four-year private institution spent nearly $2,500 to recruit each new student. As you all know, a large portion of that cost is dedicated to travel. That means it’s vital for recruiters to make the best use of their time.

It starts with when and where travel should occur. This should be decided based on your aforementioned recruitment strategy in conjunction with data that has been collected including which students scheduled a campus tour and who applied to and ultimately enrolled at your school. This will ensure recruiters’ time on the road is well spent.

Once travel begins, it’s time execute the game plan. Along with hard work and positive thinking, here are 7 additional tips that I believe will help the representatives of your college work smarter, more confidently, and not look at tomorrow as Groundhog Day.

  1. Know your school, not just admissions. How much do your admissions’ counselors really know about their school? It’s important to be current on new developments or recent policy changes not just in admissions, but other offices throughout campus. Cultivating relationships with other departments, in addition to attending sporting and art events, will also allow counselors to use more specific personalized examples when discussing something with a recruit. Ask yourself which sounds better. “Our business major is very popular,” or “A lot of freshmen really enjoy the first-year Business Ethics class that Dr. Leif teaches as part of the Business major.” Finally, if your counselor doesn’t know the answer to a question, just say so. The last thing you want them to do is stretch the truth, only to have that student make a campus visit and see something different.
  1. Get prospects to visualize. Last week I wrote an article on why personalization is the secret to increasing enrollment. High school visits and college fairs provide many opportunities for your staff to paint a picture that will lead prospects to visualize themselves as part of your campus community. Start with unique traditions. Indiana University has Little 500. Occidental College has the Birthday dunk. Every school has something. Your staff can also provide stories about dorm life or popular activities off campus.
  1. Be the early bird. Getting on the calendar early at high schools can be beneficial. Students won’t be into the “meat” of their academic course-load yet, which means they’ll be more attentive and less stressed out. Plus, as a counselor you will be fresher.
  1. Speak to the guidance counselor ahead of time. Doing legwork prior to your visit is time consuming. We’re all busy I get that. However, working with the school counselor(s) to communicate your upcoming visit and interest to prospective students needs to be a common occurrence. The school counselor is also a great resource in terms of gathering more behind-the-scenes information about recruits, their social activities and course selections. That knowledge will be helpful later on when admissions counselors are reading the prospects’ application.
  1. Take notes. As a College and Career Advisor I was always amazed at the lack of note taking on the part of college counselors when I sat in on school visits. Yes your staff member is there to make a presentation and answer questions about your school, and yes students will ask dumb questions that lead to frustration and the desire to speed up the visit. Still, the opportunity to have 5, 10 or even 20+ prospective students all in a room at once is a goldmine. Throughout the visit those students will convey information both verbally and with body language that needs to jotted down.  Posing a couple of questions during a school visit is also a great way to get feedback on students’ values and beliefs.
  1. Coordinate with your colleagues. Across campus coaches from your colleges’ athletic department are also driving and flying to conduct school visits at this time of the year. Check with them to see if you have similar stops and more importantly if a coach is traveling to a region which admissions doesn’t currently cover. Coordinate and ask if your colleague could deliver information packets to a few key high schools.
  1. Don’t forget to follow-up. While getting out and meeting new students is important, it’s just as imperative to solidify your connection with students you meet who demonstrate interest or may have already applied for admission. Counselors need to block time in their schedule for emails, phone calls, and hand-written notes. Maintaining communication is a key piece of securing that commitment you’re looking for.

With budgets tight and competition for new students increasing, I believe implementing some or all of these ideas will translate to your staff being extremely productive anytime they travel to visit with recruits.

One final thought. With plenty of travel comes fatigue. Taking care of your body is paramount not only for good health, but also productivity. Find time to take breaks. This also goes for your brain. Long days with a jam-packed schedule often result in mental exhaustion. While relaxing, remind yourself of your goals and if you feel adjustments need to be made to your presentations, don’t be afraid to do so.

Need more specific ideas for your admissions department?  We’d love to conduct an On-Campus Workshop at your school.  We conduct specific focus group research on campus, present a dynamic interactive discussion of effective recruiting strategies, and answer specific questions from your staff on how to address the challenges you’re currently facing.  Click here for more information, or email Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services, at jeremy@dantudor.com

Personalization – The Secret to Increasing EnrollmentMonday, October 20th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You pull up your list of prospective students. How are you going to convince each one that your school is the right choice for them? Will you start by sending out a few of the old generic form letters, follow that up with emails as well as a phone call, and then cross your fingers? That’s one approach, but I think we both know that in the competitive market of college admissions recruiting you’ve got to do more. You have to convince each recruit that his or her name is not just a number. You have to personalize!

Personalization was one of the most valuable lessons I learned as a College Advisor. Each student had individual needs and goals, and some were more ambitious than others. One of the first questions I used to ask them when discussing post-secondary planning was, “If you were given $100,000 dollars right now, what would you do with it?” The answers were wide ranging to say the least. The bottom line, however, became clear. Not everyone would take the money and produce the same results.

College admissions’ recruiting is no different. Today’s student is busier then ever. If they’re going to spend the next 4-6 years on your campus, and in most cases make a significant financial investment to do so, they want to feel that the messages they receive are relevant to their interests and needs. This mindset however is not limited to just your messaging. Prospective students want the entire process to be personalized.

The first step is to understand your audience: what makes them tick, what motivates them, and what content about your college they will find most helpful. As you ask questions, it’s important to know the right amount of information to ask for. Doing so will allow you to create personalized content. Keep in mind, though, that you can also overwhelm the prospective student if you ask for too much information, especially early on. For example, you may discover that a higher income student cares more about lifestyle and the academic reputation of your college. Conversely, a lower income recruit might be more concerned about the surroundings, friendliness and what your school will do to make it affordable. There’s no doubt that listening is a challenging task for many of us, but it’s essential to form that connection and create a personal experience if your school is committed to increasing enrollment.

Here are a few ways that you can effectively use personalization during the recruitment process:

  • Direct Mail. When students narrow down their list of potential schools, they’ve told us that direct mail plays a big part. As a college coach, every one of my recruiting mailers had two things: A hand written note or comment on the bottom that was related to the message in that specific mailer and a hand written mailing address. Teenagers are constantly looking for something that sets your college apart, and this is a simple and effective way to stand out.
  • Creative and Relevant Content. If you’ve started to build a relationship with your prospects, you will have discovered things they like and things they don’t. Use this to your advantage when sending mail. It’s much more successful than the patch and blast approach. If you have a student who wants to major in Music, figure out who some of their favorite artists are. Then create a unique mailer that incorporates something about that artist, the prospective student and your school. Make sure the message is clear, concise and not too drawn out. This will grab their attention, especially if it’s tailored to their interests.
  • Tell a Story. Today’s admissions recruiting cycle starts a lot earlier. Because of this it’s important to develop a long-term strategy. Storytelling is a powerful method for building relationships with your recruits. Start by picking a key message. Then, break that down into bullet points and over time create individual letters that build toward your ultimate message. Make sure that your letters are relevant to the prospect’s needs and it will keep him or her engaged. It also shows them that you took the time and effort to craft a unique message.
  • The Campus Tour. Simply put, this one can make or break your school’s chances. When surveyed, prospective students consistently state that the campus visit is a top 3 or 4 factor in influencing their college choice. It starts as soon as your recruit checks in at the admissions office. Whoever greets them and conducts the tour needs to be friendly, extremely knowledgeable about your school, and have some basic information about the recruit and anyone accompanying them. At the very least this includes first names, where they’re from, and what the prospect’s interests are. Like it or not,  students and parents often make the mistake of discounting a great school because the person or people involved in the campus tour turned them off. It’s also important that at some point during the visit, the prospect spends some time with the admissions counselor involved with their recruitment.   This creates continuity and shows them your staff is committed to helping them find the right fit. If your visits are already getting high marks, then I encourage you to raise the bar. For example, if the student is a big football fan, why not take them on a personal tour of your team’s locker room. This makes them feel special and is an easy way to create a lasting memory.
  • Social Media. Social media and technology have changed the recruiting game. Let’s start with email. Over 140 billion of them are sent each day, and this remains the most utilized method for delivering personalized content. Your subject line is the key. According to our research, students will judge whether or not your message is worth opening by that subject line. Keep it short, don’t make it formal, and do something to create curiosity like asking a question. Next we have your apps. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram remain popular with the high school crowd. Your school can organize a private Facebook group for prospective students, or use Twitter to create virtual information sessions on a particular topic assigned with a hashtag. Now, let me touch on the next big things – Snapchat and Vine. Snapchat is image based and allows you to take pictures, record video and even video chat. “Vines”, as they’re known, are short video clips that can be used in many different ways including congratulating students on getting accepted to your school. It is also very easy to embed your “Vines” on websites. Regardless of which method of social media you use, remember that recruits want you to show the personal, behind-the-scenes personality of you and your program.

The common theme with each of these methods is they’re more time intensive and involve some extra creative thinking. It remains a proven fact – students make decisions based on the level of personalized attention and immediate service they get. If you want to stand out amongst the crowd, I encourage you to make them a part of your next recruitment plan. Use personalization correctly, and your staff will be able to deliver effective communications that entice recruits to choose your institution.

Jeremy and the experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop research-based personalized messaging for both your current class and your future recruits. Want to learn how? Email him directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Creating a Good First Impression for Your SchoolMonday, October 13th, 2014

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

You meet someone for the first time. Immediately after that stranger sees you, his or her brain makes a thousand computations: Are you someone to approach or to avoid? Are you trustworthy, competent or likeable? Studies say all of this happens in the first seven seconds of meeting.

With the competition to attract prospective students at an all time high, colleges and universities across the country have been forced to brainstorm new ways to improve student recruitment.  It’s also a fact that recruits are starting the process earlier and they now apply to an average of a dozen schools to assure acceptance.

In most instances, the first contact a prospective student has with a school is through an Admissions Counselor. Believe it or not, many of those students are hesitant to reach out to your staff because as one high school senior put it, “it’s scary.” Being approachable and memorable then, whether it’s at a college fair or during a high school or on-campus visit, is vital for admissions staffs.

It takes both verbal and non-verbal skills to make a great first impression. Here are some tips that will help separate you from the competition.

  1. Greet people by name.

Research indicates that people like to hear their own name. Instead of saying “Nice to meet you,” or “Good to see you again,” include the person’s name. If someone begins a conversation and doesn’t tell you their name, simply ask them. It will make a favorable impression.

  1. Listen more then you talk.

It’s a fact – people like to talk about themselves. By listening you will pick up pieces of information that allow you to expand the conversation and begin to build a relationship. Listening also shows that you’re genuinely interested in the other person’s well being.

  1. Smile.

It seems easy, but for some it’s also potentially uncomfortable. However, any successful business person will tell you, when you are willing to put a smile on your face, you become more engaging, likable and it helps put the other person at ease.

  1. Eyes on the prize (literally).

Eye contact is extremely important during the first meeting with anyone. Too often people look away and that creates the impression that they’re either not listening or they really don’t care about what’s being said.

  1. Say it like you mean it.

The power of positive thinking. Speak with confidence. It’s not just the words you say that matters it’s the clarity and tone with which you say them. If you’re excited about something, it shows.

  1. Put the phone away.

It was estimated this past year that there are now more mobile devices than people on the planet. The problem – respect has gone out the door. Think about how many times you’ve been in a conversation with someone only to have it halted when the other person answers his or her cell phone. Turn it off, or put it on vibrate. Voicemail will get it. Giving your undivided attention goes a long way.

  1. Thank you.

Two simple words that people often forget. Not only are you ending the conversation on a positive note, you’re also demonstrating that you appreciate the time and effort of the other person.

As the old expression goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Being memorable and likeable will go a long way in peaking the interest of prospective students, and subsequently result in them wanting to learn more about your institution.

Next time you sit down with a recruit or their parents, implement these proven techniques into your conversation and I’m convinced you will come out a winner.

Communicating effectively is a key factor in successful recruiting. That’s why we’re making sure our clients get one-on-one attention and the best training possible during our On-Campus Workshops. Our Admissions Recruiting Advantage (ARA) program will provide your staff with the tools to recruit more effectively – and more confidently – than they ever have before, because they will know the right messages and strategies to use based on our proprietary research and training techniques. 

Want to learn more?  Schedule a time to speak to Jeremy by emailing him at jeremy@dantudor.com It’s more affordable than you may think, and the results are turning heads on campuses across the country. 

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  • Tudor University

    LEVEL 1 - Recruiting Foundations
    Through Level 1, you will learn some of the foundational skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful college athletic recruiter. At the end of each module there will be a quiz that must be passed with 85% or higher. In addition to the quiz, you must complete the Module Competency outlined at the end of each module. Both the quiz and module must be completed in order to move on to the next module.
    Module 1 Recruiting Letter Format-
    Unit 1 Recruiting Letter Format
    Module 2 How To Find Out What Your Prospect Isn't Telling You-
    Unit 1 How To Find Out What Your Prospect Isn't Telling You
    Module 3 Utilizing Social Media-
    Unit 1 Utilizing Social Media
    Module 4 Involving A Prospect's Parents-
    Unit 1 Involving A Prospect's Parents
    Module 5 Setting Fair And Firm Deadlines-
    Unit 1 Setting Fair And Firm Deadlines
    Module 6 Revising Your On-Campus Visits-
    Unit 1 Revising Your On-Campus Visits
    Module 7 Your First Contact-
    Unit 1 Your First Contact

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