Dan Tudor

Join The Newsletter and Stay Up To Date!

Text Size Increase Decrease

20 Things Your Recruits Told Us That You Should KnowTuesday, September 29th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

When an admissions department brings us to campus to lead one of our training workshops, part of what we do is conduct extensive focus group research with their student body. The questions we ask produce honest, valuable feedback on a number of different parts of the recruitment process. In a nutshell, the institution we’re working with discovers how this generation of student wants to be recruited.

In addition to our focus group research with colleges and universities nationwide, I regularly interact with prospective students at college fairs, local high school sporting events, restaurants, and yes, even airports when I travel.

My goal is always the same: I want to hear what your “typical recruit” wants from you as they’re being recruited.

Today, in no particular order, I’m going to pass along to you the 20 most popular things that thousands of teenagers have told us over the past year as it relates to the college recruitment process. I encourage you to use some or all of this information to help you communicate more effectively with this current class of prospects.

  1. Your prospects still don’t think many schools do a good enough job of explaining why they’re the “right fit” for them. Most of the stuff schools send is really general and doesn’t spell out why that particular student should want to spend the next four years as a member of their student body.
  1. The average number of colleges/universities that prospects “seriously consider” is three.
  1. If possible, sneak on the back of one of your admissions tours to see if the tour guide actually connects with the students and shares his or her personal experiences. If your school tells its tour guides to avoid these types of discussions, just understand that you’re taking away the opportunity to answer a want/need that your prospect has.
  1. The “preferred method” for admissions counselors to contact prospects is email (almost 70%). Having said that, there is no substitute for the impact that a handwritten letter, hand addressed envelope, or both makes on your prospects.
  1. Corny messages stick with prospects the most. Remember, all good things in moderation.
  1. Making fun of yourself and your school from time to time is actually a good thing.
  1. When marketing your institution, statements from the president or a dean do not have as much value as those from an actual student or alum.
  1. If you’re not sending prospects a consistent track of messaging every 6 to 9 days, many of them believe that means they don’t matter as much to you.
  1. Even though your prospects are okay with cell phone texts and direct messages on social media, they still expect you to ask what they’re comfortable with first, and they would prefer you limit your content to “reminders.” The, “Hey how’s it going,” texts get really old, really fast.
  1. Stop using pictures from last year or five years ago in your brochures, letters, emails and on social media.  Also, not everyone smiles all the time.  Try to use real, unstaged images wherever possible.
  1. If your school doesn’t communicate with parents consistently throughout the recruitment process (especially during on-campus events), you’re making it twice as hard to get that prospect to deposit to your school. Not impossible, just much harder.
  1. If you’re going to talk about pop culture, make sure you know what you’re talking about.
  1. During the college search process, “thinking/talking about paying for college” is significantly more stressful on your prospects than filling out applications or waiting for decision letters. Over 70% said it was the most stressful thing they dealt with.
  1. Out of a list of fifteen, the top two factors that were “very important” in terms of how they influenced a student to choose that school over other colleges were “the feel of the campus,” and “more affordable than other schools.”
  1. The least important factors were consistently “history of the school,” “sitting in on a class,” and “what my high school counselors and teachers thought of the school.”
  1. When asked if the campus visit helped move the school that the prospect ultimately chose up on their list of college choices, here are a few quotes that contain common themes:

“Yes. Seeing the beautiful environment and seeing the close knit community up close made me feel like I could fit in and enjoy my time going to college here.”

“Yes, within half the visit I knew this was the school for me. Everyone was very welcoming and the visit was organized very well providing me with the information that I wanted.”

“Yes! I stepped foot on campus and turned to my mother and said I am coming here. There was a lot of information during the visit but it was presented to me from the eyes of a student.”

  1. When asked what admissions counselors need to understand about the way this generation of students wants to be recruited, here are a few quotes that contain common themes:

“I don’t think they should assume we know all of the college-level terms they use when describing the way college works.”

“Personally I absolutely hated getting endless calls and letters. And when they did call, they talked endlessly about their particular school. I understand the recruitment process, but at some points, that is exactly what drew me away from a school.”

“Be different. Be the package in the mail that a student gets excited about.”

“Students want to be wanted, to be understood individually and feel that the college thinks they would be a contribution to campus.”

  1. You can’t fake authenticity.
  1. Always tell your prospects what to do next. Schools have too much generalized contact and not enough direction. Your prospects want you to outline a plan and keep them updated on what’s coming next.
  1. It’s not about your wants and your needs as a counselor. It’s about their wants and their needs from start to finish.

Hopefully these 20 things can give you some additional direction during this recruiting cycle.

Are there one or two areas in your approach that need some tweaking and adjusting? Email me at jeremy@dantudor.com OR stop by booth 114 this week at NACAC and we’ll discuss what we can do to fix the mistakes that might be hurting you or your admissions’ team in their recruiting efforts.



6 Tips for Starting a Recruiting Call the Right WayTuesday, September 22nd, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

It’s still happening a lot, and that’s not a good thing.

During each on-campus workshop that I’ve led over the past year, I’ve taken a straw poll with many of the admissions counselors. The question I ask is, “What’s the most frustrating part of your job?” The winning vote getter and to be honest it’s usually by a landslide is (drum roll please)…making recruiting calls.

There are two statements that counselors make frequently:

  • “Only one or two out of every ten students answers the phone”
  • “I feel like I’m always doing most of the talking”

Let me start by addressing the first one. It’s a classic mistake that many of those counselors, and their counterparts at other institutions, have made a hundred times before: They jump right to the phone call as their first point of contact with a new prospect. Ask yourself this question – What do you do when your phone rings and you don’t recognize the number? You let it go to voicemail. It shouldn’t come as a shock then when a majority of your prospects do the exact same thing.

Why is that?

Our research, which is feedback from your prospects, says the Natural Communication Flow for your recruits should begin with mail. A letter is easy to take in, and there’s not a lot of risk for the student. It’s a safe interaction. If they don’t like what they read, there’s no pressure to respond. Skipping right to a phone call on the other hand often leads to a very uncomfortable situation. The teenager gives one-word answers, and at the end of the call you know little if anything more than when you started.

So, what should you do as you prepare to contact a prospective student, especially if its the first time you’re talking to them?  Here are a few vital tips I want you to keep in mind:

  1. Have a purpose. There are two things our research has uncovered when it comes to how prospects decide which schools they’ll listen to at the beginning. First is the importance of being very clear on what the recruit needs to do next. Second is to clearly communicate whether or not your school has a serious interest in them. When you call a prospect, have a clear purpose that guides your conversation with him or her.  Calling them without a plan just because they’re on your call sheet is setting yourself up to fail.
  1. Communicate that purpose. Tell them the reason for your call, and make sure it’s centered around them.  If you’re doing more than 20% of the talking with your prospect on the phone, you’re talking too much.  The most effective phone calls are ones where the recruit feels comfortable to ask questions, and more questions, and even more questions.
  1. The first 10 seconds of your call should be incredible. How do you do that?  By scripting an amazing opening as to why you’re calling them, and what’s in it for them. In the same way that we recommend your letters and emails be original and have a strong opening sentence, the same holds true for your phone call.  Actually, it’s even more important because unlike letters, phone calls don’t have the visual component to help make an impact and keep your recruit’s attention. Are your first 10 seconds incredible?  Are they engaging?  Do they create curiosity and excitement?  Most importantly, do they stand out from the other calls they will be getting from counselors?  If the answer to any of those is no, it’s time to re-work the opening of your prospect call.
  1. Don’t be a salesman. When you first contact a prospect, don’t assume they’re going to automatically be interested in your school and what it can offer them.  Students tell us time and time again that they want the focus to be on them. The last thing they want is a sales pitch from you.
  1. Share a laugh, gain an advantage. Study after study tells sociologists that we love to laugh and are looking for a “connection” with the people we meet.  Your prospects are no different. If you can create a little lightheartedness in the phone call and share a laugh with your prospect, that will go a long way towards deepening your relationship and making them feel like they know you and like you.
  1. Always set up the next conversation. This tip is so important I just had to include it even though it’s got nothing to do with starting a successful recruiting call.  You MUST end the phone call with a clear idea – both in your mind and in the mind of your prospect – of what comes next.  When will the next call take place?  What needs to happen between then and now?  What is their “to do” list? For the same reason you don’t want to start the call weakly, you don’t want to end the call weakly.

The phone remains one of the main recruiting tools that every admissions counselor uses. It’s also becoming one of the most challenging communication methods because of some of the unique, ever-changing traits of today’s teenager.

Want to be even more prepared when it comes to making recruiting phone calls? Each month we give our clients specific talking points that build on the recruiting messages their prospects are currently receiving. Email me  for more details, or stop by BOOTH 114 next week at NACAC in San Diego and we’ll talk strategy.

How to Use This Winning Strategy in Your Recruiting MessagesTuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

During a recent discussion about our letter and email creation work that we do with clients, an admissions counselor said the following – “Why do I need to send recruits that many letters and emails after they visit campus? Once they’ve been here they already know pretty much everything they need to know.” (Insert Family Feud “X” sound effect)

My response to that counselor was the same thing that I’ve told other admissions professionals who feel they don’t need to communicate as consistently with a prospect after the campus visit. Your prospects tend to forget a lot of what they’ve heard before (if you have a teenager you know what I mean), and they retain only a small percentage of what they hear and see on a visit to your school. You need to repeat things over and over if you want your prospect to retain it.

How is it that my 6-year old daughter can recite the GEICO slogan or tell you that Lily is the name of the AT&T store manager in their television ads? There’s psychology behind it. Advertisers have done studies about the use of repetition. Mark Young, the Chairman of Jekyll & Hyde Advertising, a firm that creates and places much national advertising said this about repetition and advertising, “We know that we need 3.7 impressions before a viewer will really “get” the message. We also know that you can deliver up to 15 impressions with continuing good results.”

The moral of the story is pretty simple: Repetition in advertising works.

Now let’s get back to you and your recruiting message. The trend we see most often when it comes to how college admissions tends to communicate with their prospects involves cramming as much information as possible about their school into one email or letter. That’s the wrong way to do it – and deep down, most counselors, directors and VP’s know it.  It’s just always been done that way, or they’re worried modifying their approach will be a massive undertaking.

Today I’m going to change that.

There are several rules we follow when we work with an admissions department one-on-one as clients in helping them create a consistent, interesting recruiting campaign for their prospects. I encourage you to use them to develop your own brand of repetition and consistent messaging with this next recruiting class:

  • Make sure you are communicating foundational, logical facts to your prospect every six to nine days.  Without this first point in place you risk inconsistent recruiting results.  Our research solidly indicates that when a prospect sees ongoing, regular contact from you, not only do they engage with the messaging on a more regular basis, but they also make the judgment that your school is interested in them and values them.  Those feelings are what you should want your recruits to feel.
  • If you have negatives associated with your school or big objections that many prospects bring up in the recruiting process, address it early and often.  Don’t run from it, and don’t wait for them to bring it up (or sit back and hope they don’t bring it up).  Consistent, early discussion about a perceived negative gives you the chance to redefine that objection. “So Jeremy, you want me to address our school being expensive or in a small town even if the student doesn’t bring it up?” You got it! Doing so early on will give you a greater chance to change their mindset and also demonstrate that you understand it’s a concern they may have.
  • Short, logical, fact-based, repetitive messages.  That’s what your prospect needs in order to get to the point of being able to choose you over your competitors.  Instead of cramming all that information about campus life and housing into one message, address each from many different angles.  Spend a few weeks talking about just one topic, and take your time in repetitively making your point to your recruit.
  • Repeat your recruit’s name and the name of your institution often. This is a small tip that we’ve seen make a big difference. It’s part of “branding.” Advertisers have followed this psychological principle for decades. Why? Repetition of who you are and associating that with positive connotations produces results. For example, during a campus visit use the recruit’s name a lot during conversation. In your messaging when you ask them to envision themselves living in your dorms or eating in your cafeteria, use both their name and your school’s name.
  • Mix it up.  Your recruiting campaign needs to feature a regular flow of mail, email, phone, in-person contact and social media.  This generation reacts to a good combination of all of these facets of recruiting.  If you focus only on one or two communication methods with your recruits, you’re leaving the door open for a competitor that will utilize all of their communication resources.  Our studies show that this generation of students wants, and needs, a variety of communication types.

Repetition is one of the least used and most effective strategies that you can utilize in your recruiting message.

The counselors who produce and execute a consistent, ongoing message before, during, and after the all-important campus visit will get more consistent high level recruiting results.

Jeremy and the team of experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can help you develop a consistent, research-based message for your recruits. It’s not too late to see results during this recruiting cycle. Contact me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com for more information.

Try This During Fall Travel Season and Watch What HappensMonday, September 7th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Many of today’s prospects are doing one of two things at college fairs. First, you have the group that stands or in some cases walks around socializing with each other and never approaches a single college or university representative. Then you have those who will sneak past a table and grab a brochure hoping to avoid eye contact or saying anything.

School visits also come with their own set of obstacles. Will anyone show up? If you’re responsible for a territory outside of your school’s state, will the students have heard of your institution? The most difficult one however according to many counselors that I’ve recently spoken with is the lunchroom visit. (Food 1, Counselor 0)

Getting your prospect’s attention, specifically during fall travel season, has never been more challenging. Why is that? The harsh truth is all schools are starting to look and sound the same. At your typical college fair or school visit, aside from the color of the banner or the layout on the table, what’s really different at first glance between institutions A, B, and C? Nothing.

If I told you that today I was going to offer you a solution to this problem, would that be something you’d be interested in? It’s a strategy that we discuss in detail with admissions staffs when we come to their campus and lead a training workshop.

Simply put, I want you to ask an unexpected, amazing question. I mean a doozy! One that makes your prospect stop in his or her tracks, not say anything, and really think about what the answer is. The response that you should be aiming for is, “Wow, nobody’s asked me that before.”

So, what are they?

What are some unexpected, amazing questions that you can ask your prospect when you begin your recruiting relationship with him or her?

To begin with, I can tell you that such a question should never yield a simple yes or no answer. Instead, the question needs to be open ended. Be original. Don’t be afraid to make it a little more off the wall (within reason of course). The question doesn’t have to have anything to do with your school. It might be something to do with pop culture or the college search process in general.

It’s probably going to take you a few minutes to come up with “the one.” When you think you’ve got a winner, I would encourage you to test it out on one of your current students, maybe say one of your campus tour guides, before you determine that it’s in fact “the one.”

Here’s the type of questioning that I’m talking about. Instead of asking a prospect, “Are you ready to move on to college?”, you might ask them “What scares you the most about moving on to college?” A counselor at a college that’s a client of ours asked that exact question for the first time a couple of weeks ago. His email to me the next day said, “The results were awesome.  The student was far more engaged in conversation, and I felt it created a better connection.”

There are many other examples that counselors we work with have shared with me that I could share with you that are “worth their weight in gold.” Here’s the thing though. They wouldn’t be as valuable if I just gave them away.

Many times the type of questions you ask when you first talk to a prospect will determine how the recruiting relationship will end up. Unexpected, amazing questions are important – vitally important – to the whole recruiting process.

The biggest benefit to asking this type of question (other than getting a prospect to stop and actually conduct a conversation with you) is that you’ll sound smarter and more interested in your prospect compared to other counselors who ask the same “yes, no” mundane questions that recruits have heard before.

One more thing – Once you’ve asked an unexpected, amazing question, remember the importance of listening. Doing so will allow you to find ways to begin telling your school’s story and why they should want to be a part of it.

If you want the next couple of months to be the most effective fall travel season you’ve ever had, use this simple yet extremely effective strategy.

I’ll even help you! E-mail me your unexpected, amazing question to jeremy@dantudor.com and I’ll provide you with some feedback. You heard me right. Free help, no strings attached. I think it’s that important. Every counselor needs to have those questions embedded in their heads and know why they’re asking them.

4 Things American Pickers Can Teach You About RecruitingMonday, August 31st, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

TV shows, and movies for that matter, affect our lives more than you might think.

Each time you turn on your television to relax and unwind, there’s a pretty good chance that you, the admissions professional, can either learn a valuable lesson or stumble upon an important reminder that will make you a better recruiter.

Don’t believe me? Start by reading this article that I wrote earlier this summer about Johnny Shelton, a contestant on America’s Got Talent. It’s one of the most read admissions pieces on our website.

The latest recruiting tips come courtesy of “the pickers,” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. They travel the back roads of America looking for amazing things buried in people’s garages and barns. Each item they pick has a history all its own.

Here are four things that you can take away from their recent “picks” in New Hampshire:

Be honest and authentic. During most of their trips Mike and Frank usually come across somebody who’s trying to get rid of all the stuff that they’ve inherited from a family member who has passed away. Typically those people don’t know how much some of that “rusty gold” might be worth. If Mike and Frank find something that they know is worth more than what the person asks them for, they’re consistently honest with them and tell them they will pay a higher price because the item is worth more. This generation of recruits is looking for that same type of honesty from college and university representatives. Too often counselors get so caught up in “sell, sell, sell,” that they forgot what resonates with their prospects – an authentic discussion where you listen, let them get to know the real you, and prove you have their best interests in mind.

Good stories impact buying decisions. When I lead an on-campus workshop, I encourage admissions counselors to become a master storyteller. Stories are a big component of how each one of us makes buying decisions. Frequently, Mike and Frank will pay more for an item when the seller shares a great story about it.  You have to give your listener (your prospect) a story to buy into. The best recruiters take time to create stories about their institution that their prospects can visualize and understand.  Are you doing this right now?

Don’t despair if your prospect says “no” to something. One of the people that Mike and Frank met in the Granite State was Walter. He had been collecting for over 30 years and from the start made it clear to “the pickers” that he rarely sold anything. Despite hearing “no that’s not for sale” more than once, Mike and Frank didn’t give up. Instead they worked on cultivating their relationship with Walter. They proved to him that many of his passions were also their passions. In doing so, they established a comfort level. Subsequently, as Mike put it, “the deals got easier.” If your prospect tells you, “I need more time,” that’s probably code for you not making a strong enough case. Just like Mike and Frank, don’t get discouraged. At the same time, however, you may need to analyze the situation and move on. Mike and Frank do this all the time with items that they really want because the seller believes it’s worth more than what the market says.

Being different and unique is a good thing. There are two scenarios I see play out way too often every recruiting cycle. First, you have the admissions director who’s frustrated that their recruiting communications aren’t producing high response rates. Second is the counselor who doesn’t understand why their recruits don’t answer the phone when they call. The reason behind both of these situations is almost always identical – it all sounds and/or looks the same. Mike and Frank are always looking for stuff that’s different and unique when they go “picking.” Your prospects are the same way during the college search process. If your emails and letters look and sound the same as most other schools, and your counselors ask the same early questions as everyone else, don’t be shocked when it’s a struggle to consistently turn prospects into applicants. I encourage you to get creative and try something new with your letters, emails, phone calls and even your interactions at college fairs. I think you’ll be surprised with the results.

Do these four things throughout the recruiting cycle with this next class of prospects and watch what happens.

If you like the advice you’re getting in our newsletter and blog, you’ll love the one-on-one access you have to our staff and the extra training you and your colleagues will get as one of our clients. Click here for all the information!

Your Recruiting Letters and Emails Must Do These 3 ThingsMonday, August 24th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

When we work with an admissions department to adjust their recruiting strategies some of the advice we give goes against what their institution has been doing for years.

I’m used to hearing feedback like, “It doesn’t feel right,“ and “Jeremy, I haven’t heard of other schools doing it this way.”

Change is hard, but I think we can all agree it’s essential for growth and development. If your current recruiting methods aren’t producing the results you know they should be, now is the perfect time (early in the recruiting cycle) to modify your approach.

One of the topics I’m asked to speak on most often when I lead a workshop is communication flow. During those discussions I often pose this important question to the admissions staff – “What do you want a letter or email that you send to a prospective student to do?”

Here are the answers I hear most often:

  • “I want to know if the student is interested in us.”
  • “I want to tell them why we’re such a great school.”
  • “I want to tell them how much we like them.”

Those are all good answers. However, there’s an even better strategy that we’ve found over the years to be very effective.  For those admissions staffs that have signed on as clients, they see this strategy being used on a regular basis with great success.

The strategy is simple: When we create a message that will go to a prospective student, we want them to reply to that message,  leave some questions unanswered, and to have that communication to set up the next message. Let’s break down each of those strategies and why they’re vital to any effective recruiting campaign through the mail or e-mail:

  • Generate a response. The point of any letter or email that you send should not be to sell your school or convince a prospect to choose your school based on what’s written in one letter.  The focus of each of your written communications should be to generate a reply from your prospect.  Usually that will be in the form of an email or a phone call.  Why should getting a reply be your primary goal?  That’s easy.  You aren’t going to be able to effectively “sell” your college or university until a prospect feels like he or she can be comfortable interacting with you.
  • Leave some questions unanswered.  If your school is still trying to cram every single fact and statistic about, for example, housing into one letter or email, stop it! Your recruits tell us this is the wrong approach. They don’t want you to try to answer everything in one letter.  Instead, leave some details and answers out so that they have a reason to listen to you the next time.
  • Set up the next message.  One of the biggest findings that resulted from our research study on how today’s prospect makes their final decision was the importance of the prospect knowing what to do next in the process.  When you send a prospect a letter or email, make sure that you let them know what’s coming next.  In other words, a letter that goes out next week should set up an expectation that another message is following in the coming days.  Your recruit should be expecting the next step, not wondering when it will come.  The only way to do that is to very clearly spell out the steps that you’re taking in the process.

It’s imperative to establish this system as early in the recruiting process as possible.  As many of you begin written contact with this next class of recruits, I encourage you to make sure your letters and emails include these three important elements.

If you include them, and they are structured correctly, you’ll get results and responses that exceed your expectations.

Our team of experts at Tudor Collegiate Strategies can revise your current recruiting messages, develop a new plan and messaging, and assist you with your top prospects on an ongoing basis. If you’d like to learn more, the NEXT STEP is to email me at jeremy@dantudor.com

Answering Your Prospect’s FearsMonday, August 17th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Last week I kicked off my 2015-16 campus workshop tour with a trip to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” (Aka Minnesota). Right now I’m currently leading a workshop for an admissions client in the Northeast. The next two weeks I’ll be visiting and working with colleges in the Great Plains.

Each of those trips involves a visit to my local airport (IND). That means I’ll be submitting to multiple security checks from the wonderful folks at the TSA. I’ve been patted, scanned and questioned. I’ve been scolded when I put more than one item in a bin before sliding it into the x-ray machine. During last week’s trip they asked if I remembered to remove my belt before entering the body scanner.

Do you have an insurance policy?  Do you get an annual check-up?  Do you get a little nervous when a Friday the 13th rolls around?

It’s all about our fear of fear.

Now let’s apply this to your prospects who in many cases have not one but multiple fears when it comes to the college search process.

If you’ve had us on your campus you know that the biggest fear this generation of students has is the fear of making the wrong decision. They’re scared to answer your phone call, scared of saying the wrong thing to you during said call, and scared to ask you for help solving their problems.

They, like you perhaps, have a fear of fear.  They’ll avoid an honest conversation with you to avoid the fear of saying something wrong.  Sounds crazy, right? That’s whom you’re recruiting. That’s why your prospect avoids fear, and why it’s sometimes so hard for you to do your job as a recruiter.

With that in mind, here are a few strategies we see working well for schools around the country that are TCS clients.

  • Focus on their feeling of being fearful.  It’s not actual facts that your prospect is scared about, it’s the feeling of being scared that they’re trying to avoid. For example, if you’re focusing on selling last year’s ranking by publication ABC as a way of overcoming the fear that’s ingrained in the mind of your prospect, you’re going to struggle.  Instead, address the question of why they’re feeling scared about something – leaving home, visiting campus, or returning your phone call. That’s the secret. Focus on the feeling that’s creating the fear.
  • Ask them what scares them most about the whole recruiting process. Logically, if they have an irrational fear that needs to be discussed as a part of the recruiting process, who is more equipped to lead that conversation: You, or the teenage recruit?  (If you chose the teenage recruit, go back to the beginning of the article).  Of course you have to be the one to lead that conversation!  It starts by asking them the question that most counselors don’t think to bring up – “What scares you the most about the idea of choosing a college?”
  • Tell them what you think they’re thinking.  Tell your prospective student what you see them being scared about, and see if they agree with you or not.  It’s easier for them to react to a statement about what you think they’re thinking than it is for them to tell you what they’re thinking.  Is it confusing and a little sad?  Yes.  Regardless, it’s what we find to be true, so use it to your advantage.

These three approaches are meant to merely be a starting point.

Just remember, fear is driving almost everything that your prospects do during the recruiting process. If you can help calm their fears (which is one of the biggest things your prospects really want you to do), you will win their trust.

Are your early recruiting letters and emails generating a high response rate from this next class of prospects? They need to be if you’re going to deliver on your prospects’ wants and needs. We can help. Call me directly at 612-386-0854 to learn more.

A Vital Question and A Valuable Piece of AdviceMonday, August 10th, 2015

patioby Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

I had it all ready to go – an article on handling your prospect’s fear.

Then I ran into Bill…and by the time we were done catching up, I had made the decision to bump the article about fear to next week’s newsletter. Why? I’m always trying to come up with things that can give our clients a competitive edge.  My conversation with Bill generated a very important question that I want to ask each of you today.  I’d also like to offer you a valuable piece of advice that I believe will help you be a more effective recruiter.

First off, I should explain who Bill is. He runs a stamped concrete business in the Indianapolis area. The guy is as genuine and down to earth as they come. Last summer Bill and his team created our stamped concrete patio (it’s the one in the picture). He just happened to be in the area and chose to knock on my door and thank me (I’ll get to why in a minute).

Bill had just come from our new neighbors’ house across the street. After seeing our patio when they moved in, the new neighbors commented that they wanted to do something similar in their backyard. Without hesitation I whipped out my cell phone, told them Bill was their guy, and passed along his number…just like I had done for three other friends in our community over the past year.

Long story short, Bill and his team will be doing their fifth patio in our neighborhood in the coming weeks. His knock on my door was to thank me for all the word-of-mouth recommendations.

Here’s my question for you: “How many people that barely know you and have had only minimal contact with you (like I had with Bill) would, without hesitation, advocate your school to a prospective student (or their parents) if asked about colleges?”

Word-of-mouth is arguably the most powerful selling tool you have available. It stems naturally from an unmatched customer experience or interaction. Your prospects, just like my neighbors, are relying on others to help them make their decision. Our research shows that recruits will often go against what their own gut is telling them and side with other influential outside decision makers. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what is happening.

So…I’ll ask the same question again in a different way. “Who’s recruiting for you when you’re not recruiting?”

Think about how many different people you come in contact with or pass in the halls during a school visit. The high school counselor is only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got the principal, a dean, the secretaries, the librarian, coaches, teachers, the lunch lady, and even the custodians. That’s just at one school. I didn’t even mention the people you interact with at college fairs, hotels, and restaurants. If you don’t think your communication with those people matters, I’m here to tell you it does.

Your goal should be to generate positive interactions that will help develop buzz about your institution from one person to the next, just like Bill did with me. That means more smiling, listening, and talking with passion when you discuss your school. Concern yourself with the wants and needs of others as well as helping solve their problems. Less “sell, sell, and sell.” You want the other person to feel like a valued partner.

My advice as you prepare for the fall travel season and beyond is to take a couple of extra minutes and really concentrate on creating a positive relationship with not only your prospects, but everyone else around them.

We’re beginning our planning sessions with new clients for this next recruiting cycle.  Want to talk to us about working one-on-one with you and your staff to develop a rock-solid recruiting plan?  Contact me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com, so we can set up a time to discuss how we do it and why it works.

Why Confidence is a Key Part of Your Recruiting SuccessTuesday, August 4th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Have you ever gone to a restaurant where you’ve asked the waiter or waitress for a recommendation? If you travel frequently and like to sample the local cuisine instead of the national chains like I do, you probably do this a lot.

Why is that? Is it because you have absolutely no idea what to order, or is it because you’ve heard great things about the restaurant and you want to know what your server (who’s likely sampled most if not all of the menu) thinks is good?

If you’re like me, it’s the latter.

We’re looking for reassurance that we’ve chosen the best spot in town to get a meal, and we also want help making our decision.

In a nutshell, we’re looking for some confidence from someone we deem as credible as we attempt to make a smart choice.

This same idea applies to your prospects as they navigate through the college search process. Your prospect is you, and the restaurant is your college or university. How you react to their requests (as well as that of their parents) will play a major part in what they think of you and your school as well as how they choose to move forward.

At the core, your prospects are looking for you to possess confidence. In the early stages of the recruiting cycle they don’t have it yet. I can assure you however that they’re looking for it. They need you to be confident.

For many prospective students we find that it’s one of the key links in the recruiting process – especially if your school isn’t starting out as one of their early favorites.

The reason they need confidence from you is quite simple.  When you begin cultivating your recruiting relationship, your confidence may be the thing that helps separate you from the competition, or it may be the only thing that keeps you in the conversation.  Your prospect needs a reason to move to the next step of the relationship.  Time and time again we’ve seen our clients keep prospects engaged by showing confidence and passion in their emails, letters, phone calls and face-to-face interactions.

Confidence can come about in many different ways. Here are a few.

  • When you consistently keep in touch with your prospects. We’ve talked to lots of students on college campuses during our workshops who tell us that a major reason they ended up choosing their school was the fact that the counselor there was the most consistent in terms of keeping in touch with them. They equated that commitment, when it came to recruiting letters and emails, to a confidence in their institution.
  • When you speak with enthusiasm during recruiting phone calls. We’re finding that prospects are paying close attention to the tone and pace of admissions counselors when they converse with them on the phone. Do you speak with enthusiasm and exude pride because you’re genuinely excited to explain to the prospect why your school is that “right fit?” Or, do you stumble around, not really sure of what to talk about thus leaving your recruit feeling like you’d rather be doing something else? It may seem small, but things such as these accentuate your confidence on the phone.
  • During the campus visit you prove you’re knowledgeable about how your school can deliver on your prospect’s wants and needs. When recruits visit your campus they’re most likely nervous and searching for things that differentiate you from the other schools they’ve already visited. You, your admissions colleagues, and even your student hosts need to demonstrate confidence by speaking positively and passionately about your campus (even the parts that you’ve talked about hundreds of time before). You need to make it clear why you value him or her as a member of your school’s student body and how you and others on campus will help them achieve their long-term goals once they arrive. Those repeated little moments of confident assurance will add up in your favor in the mind of your recruit – especially late in the process when a decision is looming.

The examples I’ve given have only scratched the surface.  There are many unique instances of confidence-boosting acts and statements based on your circumstance and your personality. It’s up to you to identify those situations.

This is the ideal time of year to look into becoming a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Our Admissions Recruiting Advantage program provides yearlong assistance.  For an overview of what the program does and how it works, email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3 With Your ProspectsTuesday, July 28th, 2015

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

  • Not a member? Click here to signup.