Dan Tudor

Join The Newsletter and Stay Up To Date!

Text Size Increase Decrease

I Want You to Assume the FollowingTuesday, January 2nd, 2018

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

“Optimistic” seems to be a popular word choice for a lot of college admission leaders over the past month.

Application numbers are up year over year and so is the number of admits in many cases.

Students are telling admissions counselors, “You’re one of my top choices” or “Yes, I’m still considering your school,” and it cements the idea that the student is being honest and up-front about what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen a lot of cases where that good-hearted optimism leads to a greater level of complacency. The final result isn’t what the college hoped for, and a lot of people are left scratching their heads as to what went wrong.

Remember, you’re dealing with young people who like to please, often change their mind in an instant, and frequently make completely illogical, irrational decisions.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you don’t have a number of prospective students or admits who have you at or near the top of their college list right now. What I’m saying is, I’ve heard a lot of stories the past few years about assumptions being wrongly made, which then leads to the wrong recruiting approach being used.

My goal today is to help you avoid many of these situations. What I want you to do is make some worst-case scenario assumptions about your prospective students.

I want you to assume the following:

  • Assume that you have a group of admitted students who are ready to commit/deposit once they receive their financial aid package from your school. My question for you is, do you know who they are? And do you also understand that some students will NOT be ready to decide the moment that package is delivered? Both are equally important.
  • Assume that just about every single prospect is extremely stressed and feeling more than a little overwhelmed. According to our research, the majority of students become increasingly tired of the college search process the longer it goes on. They get tired of the phone calls, texts, and emails from colleges as well as the questions from family members (even though they can fake it pretty well). And they have little to no idea how to truly differentiate between colleges with the same profile (ex. small, private, Liberal Arts). If you assume that they’re stressed, it will lead you to change the language you use in your messaging and conversations and how long you delay moving them forward to whatever their next step is. Choose to not assume this, and it increases the risk for letting a prospect become so stressed that they lose focus on what you want them to do.
  • Assume that most parents will vote to have their child stay close to home, go to the college that’s least expensive, or the one that has the biggest name recognition. Reverting to the “safe choice” is often what occurs when people are under stress. How are you making the parent(s) a valuable partner in this process, while at the same time discovering their fears and coming up with a plan to alleviate them? You need to clearly explain why your school is the smarter choice and then reiterate those things moving forward.
  • Assume that each student has one or more questions they want to ask you but aren’t because they don’t want to sound stupid. During your conversations try and avoid just asking them if they, “have any questions,” and instead come up with specific, targeted questions about their process, timeline, wants, needs, fears, etc.
  • Assume that it’s your job to create curiosity throughout the recruiting process. A core part of student recruitment, along with consistent contact and telling a great story, is to create curiosity. For example, how do you make students look forward to your next communication? The admissions counselors that assume they need to weave in curiosity to their overall recruiting message always seem to be the ones who hit their territory goal.
  • Assume that each of your prospects will be putting themselves first.Very few are interested in hearing why you think they’d be crazy not to choose your school. Assume that they’re looking at everything from their perspective, not yours.
  • Assume that in more cases than you want to admit, you have families that can afford to pay more for their child to be a student at your school. They just don’t understand why they should want to adjust their finances and pay more, and they’re not going to come out and tell you this. One of the questions that we asked graduating high school seniors in a survey we conducted with CollegeWeekLive last July was, “Did you choose the least expensive college?” Out of 548 responses, over 54% said no. Could you clearly explain your college’s value proposition and tie things in with a specific family if you had to?
  • Assume that you need to continue to provide specific reasons why students should be excited to attend your college after they commit/deposit. Otherwise your chances for melt will increase significantly. Your committed students will still get communications from other colleges after they decide, and some of their undecided friends will still ask them to join them on a campus visit to another school. Make sure you have a separate track of communications for this group that reminds them why they made a great decision and what they have to look forward to when they get on campus.

If you have a specific question about this article, I want you to click here and email it to me.

P.S. Have you noticed the new hashtag #TiersTalks that I created on Twitter? It’s something new for 2018 that I’ll be using on both my Twitter and Instagram (which by the way allows you to “follow” specific hashtags now).

It Doesn’t Always Make SenseTuesday, November 21st, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

Most of us use logic when we make decisions.

I think I’m a pretty rational guy, except when it comes to my inexplicable love for Starbucks coffee. It’s my drink of choice when I’m on the road working with clients or leading an admissions training workshop. It makes no logical sense for me to drive completely out of the way to pay $2.95 for an Americano or $4.35 for a mocha or a latte…but I do it all the time.

Instead of just drinking the coffee that’s available with the hotel breakfast or finding a local gas station or cheaper competitor, I order my Starbucks drink via the mobile app or sometimes stand in line and fork over my $2.95 or $4.35, fully knowing that I just made a completely illogical, irrational, totally emotional buying decision.

And so do you.

And so do prospective students.

Here’s the important point I’m trying to make: Whatever your recruiting message is, if it’s always focused entirely on the logical argument that your college and/or your academic program are the best choice, you may be making a huge mistake. Not because your prospect doesn’t need that. They do. It just might not be the right time for you to use that approach.

Why? Because, like all of us, this current group of students considering your school trusts their feelings as they make decisions on how to proceed in the college search process.

So, before deciding that you’re going to lay out a logical course of action for your prospect, you should consider whether a logical argument is what’s needed right now.

  • Dan (Tudor) and I have found that a lot of prospects have an irrational love of the status quo. They’ve become comfortable, and they don’t like or want change. They don’t want to leave home, and they don’t want to be faced with making a lot of changes, despite what your school can offer them.
  • Many of your prospects are emotionally connected to the symbol of a particular college name. It happens a lot. And prospects don’t talk about it with you because they know it’s illogical and doesn’t make sense, but it’s really hard for them to break away from those feelings (it’s hard for mom and/or dad too).
  • Our ongoing research on campuses across the country continues to show that fear is driving most of the decisions that prospects make during their college search. How are your recruiting messages helping to alleviate that fear?

Despite being armed with knowledge like this, I continue to see admissions and marketing professionals approach a logical process in very logical ways.

And I would argue that’s not very logical.

Instead, let me suggest that there will be times with most prospective students when you need to make a completely illogical argument as to why they belong at your school. As I said earlier, breaking out of the status quo is hard for this generation. They’re scared of leaving home, scared of what those around them will think if they choose a “lesser-known” college, or scared of picking a school that costs a little more.

I want you to consider making a passionate, mostly emotional case as to why going away to college, not choosing one of the popular or more well-known schools, or possibly paying a little more out of pocket is not only the smart thing to do, but the choice that is going to make them feel good about themselves and benefit them the most in the long run.

If you don’t do it then who’s going to?

Just because it doesn’t make logical sense in your mind doesn’t mean it’s the wrong strategy. You’re not recruiting you you’re recruiting them. And, over the past couple of years I’ve seen more examples of irrational, emotional decisions than ever before in our ongoing work with college admission departments.

Again, understand that at certain points in the college search process (especially early on) you need to feed their emotions and make a personal connection rather than a logical case. What you’ll find when you do that is they’ll listen more intently to your logical case whenever you do choose to make it.

Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends!

BY THE WAY, if you find yourself with an extra 10-15 minutes during the break and you’re interested in sharpening your skills as a recruiter or as a leader, click here for access to over 160 FREE articles I’ve written. The articles are broken down into categories on the right hand side.

I’ve Got Two Creative Student Recruitment Strategies for YouTuesday, July 18th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Some call it “the grind.” Others say they feel like a robot.

It’s a conversation I have a lot each recruiting cycle with college admission professionals across the country. Once a new year begins they quickly feel like they’re doing and saying the same thing(s) over and over to every prospect and parent.

A big part of the frustration, I’m often told, centers on how this generation of teenage prospects communicates and ultimately makes their college decision. As I’ve told you before, it’s often completely illogical and irrational. You can choose to accept that as fact and change your approach, or you can continue to recruit the same way every year and cross your fingers.

The bottom line is this next class of prospective students is looking for “different,” “original,” and “about them” when you communicate with each one.

If you feel like you’re repeating the same worn out recruiting script, and you’re looking for something different, I urge you to consider using one or both of the strategies below. These tips coupled with our admissions training workshop helped multiple clients of ours increase their yield this year, and in one case, bring in the largest freshman class in more than 20 years.

  • Recruiting messaging straight from your counselors. Most schools send singular emails and letters throughout a typical recruiting cycle that aren’t tied together and have different people’s names on them. All of our focus group research continues to show that how the admissions staff treats a prospect throughout the college search process is one of the two most important factors when it comes time for that prospect to make a final decision. If you want to differentiate yourself and create engagement, this is an effective way to do both.  Our clients know that when you create and cultivate a recruiting relationship between a counselor and a prospect/family, you build trust and loyalty. Your prospects will want to continue to interact with you rather than your competitors, and your counselors will have a much better feel for what that prospect is looking for and how they plan to come to a final decision.
  • Plant questions you’d like your competitors to address. Attacking or criticizing your competition directly comes off as petty and unprofessional. But during a conversation with your prospect, it’s okay to bring up issues, facts, questions or topics that would raise doubts about your competitors.  This is a good, subtle way of planting questions in the mind of your prospect that they’ll want to raise if and when they talk to another school they’re considering.  Done correctly, this is a great technique for raising your stock in the mind of your prospect.

You and I both know that student recruitment is stressful, competitive, and at times confusing.  Being more persuasive is a great equalizer.  It doesn’t cost more and it doesn’t discriminate based on your school’s name or size.

Learning to be persuasive is an important tool that all college admissions professionals need to develop.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we create a yearly recruiting communication plan (emails and letters) that comes straight from your counselors, email me and we’ll start a conversation about how and why this approach works.

I’ll talk to you again next week!

Why You Need to Get “Little Yeses” From Prospects and ParentsTuesday, December 13th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

It’s vitally important to take your time and lead prospective students, and their parents, through the process of understanding why they should want to come to your school, and why they’ll feel proud to put on that sweatshirt.

That involves persuasion, and another “P word” that I’ll get to in a minute.

Way too often I see admissions counselors try and skip steps and accelerate a prospect’s college decision-making process. Sometimes it actually works, but almost always the end result is either not in their favor, or it increases the length of time for the result.

Along with persuasion you need to lay the groundwork for agreement. Consistent messaging is a big part of the equation as our clients discover on a regular basis.  That takes the other “P word” – Patience.  It’s the idea of building something great brick by brick. Patience is also at the heart of this next strategy that I want you to adopt, if you’re not doing it already:

Gaining agreement through small wins or as I like to call them, “little yeses”.

That means rather than trying to jump to the end of your argument (“You should pick our school and submit your deposit now”), focus on earning as many “little yeses” as you can throughout the process.

When you get a prospect or parent to offer agreement to something and give you that “little yes”, versus you telling them what they should do/think, they’re more likely to move forward because they were the architect. For example:

  • Get them to agree that your location or school size (big or small) is actually a positive
  • Get them to agree to follow you on social media
  • Get them to agree to set up a follow-up phone call with you
  • Get them to agree to talk to their parent(s) about visiting campus
  • Get them to tell you that they can see themselves living in your dorms, eating in your cafeteria, attending events on your campus, or enjoying all that your surrounding community has to offer
  • Get them to agree that filling out the FAFSA now can benefit them
  • Get the parent(s) to agree that your campus is a safe environment and you have programs in place to help their son/daughter successfully transition to college
  • Get them to agree on what the next step in the process will be
  • Get them to agree when they’ll make their final decision, and how

I would classify all of those things as small wins. Once you get enough of those small wins or “little yeses”, it makes asking for the big yes (their intention to enroll at your school) a hundred times easier. You won’t have to worry about being pushy or scared to “ask for the sale”, because they’ve already given you a bunch of “little yeses” along the way.

Remember though, for you to get one of those “little yeses” you need to cultivate those relationships and consistently ask the right questions (sometimes more than once) in the right way at the right time. Don’t ever assume you know what their answer to a question is going to be, or that the answer won’t change over time.

Getting those “little yeses” will be a real difference-maker for you, and it’s another way to stand out from your competition!

Follow Jeremy Tiers and TCS Admissions on Social Media:

twitter-logo-final

@CoachTiers

 

  instagram-logo-vector-download

@tcsadmissions

He’s Got the Keys to Helping You Become a Better RecruiterTuesday, September 6th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

If you just looked at that picture and have no idea who that guy is, I think student recruitment is probably harder for you than it needs to be…especially if you happen to be an admissions counselor who is under the age of 30.

During recent client visits I had admissions counselors refer to him as “Major Key”, “That Rapper”, and “Oh that’s the Fan Luv Guy”. His name is Khaled Mohamed Khaled, also known as DJ Khaled. He’s an American record producer, radio personality, DJ, and record label executive. And he’s also been referred to as the “King of Snapchat” having racked up over 6 million Snapchat followers in just under a year.

If his name still doesn’t ring a bell and now you’re thinking you don’t need to read the rest of this article, I’m here to tell you that you’re going to miss out on some major lessons about effective recruiting.

I started referencing DJ Khaled during our On-Campus Workshops earlier this summer after speaking with different groups of high school students during my travels who told me that, in their opinion, too many admissions counselors couldn’t relate to this generation of students.  Therein lies the first of eight valuable lessons for those of you that want to become (or want your admissions team to become) more dominant recruiters:

  • Be current on pop culture. In the focus group research surveys we do on campuses across the country, I’m beginning to see more quotes like, “This generation wants to be related to”, and “Don’t try and sound like you know what we’re into when you don’t. We want to be taken seriously and we can tell when you’re just saying something you just read on the internet.” Knowing trends and being current on pop culture isn’t an option anymore if you truly want to connect with teenagers and those in their early 20’s. In addition to being familiar with people like DJ Khaled, how much do you know about what’s popular right now on Netflix and Spotify? Have you ever heard of After School or WhatsApp? It’s hard to be relatable if you don’t know what your clientele is into. And just in case you were wondering how popular DJ Khaled is among viewers ages 12-34, according to a recent article, his videos attract 3 million to 4 million viewers from that age range. To put this in perspective, Nielson reports that roughly 3 million people age 12–34 watch The Big Bang Theory. Yes, on an average video, DJ Khaled has more views than an acclaimed television show.
  • Keep your recruiting message consistent. If you knew who DJ Khaled was before you read this article then you’re probably familiar with themes like “We the Best” and “They don’t want you to (insert whatever verb you want) …” People know what DJ Khaled represents because it’s the same all the time. Consistency is such an important part of any effective recruiting plan.  You must have consistent weekly content that’s interesting, focused on your prospect, and demands interaction.  Those three aspects of an effective recruiting plan have helped our clients grow enrollment over the years.
  • Always tell a compelling story. In last week’s newsletter I walked you through how to begin telling your school’s story. Storytelling will help you achieve emotional engagement which is a critical part in your student’s decision-making process. DJ Khaled tells compelling stories every single day on Snapchat. Here’s the key though — his stories, or snaps, consistently get and keep people’s attention. They keep coming back day after day, and they spread the word to the masses. Khaled gives his viewers a behind the scenes look into an average day of his life. His stories have recurring themes and include a variety of celebrities and other characters. They include things like breakfast with his personal chef, taking care of his flowers, and inviting his fans to meet him at various locations across the country. His stories create curiosity, they engage, and they help create feelings. Do your admissions recruiting communications do that right now for your prospects?
  • Make sure you’re providing value. After watching a few of DJ Khaled’s snaps on Snapchat, it quickly becomes clear there’s a lot of branding/selling taking place. Here’s the thing. It doesn’t feel like he’s forcing product on you every second because his content provides value at every turn. By providing content that his viewers value, he quickly builds credibility and rapport with them. If you do the same thing with your prospects when you finally ask them to take action on something they’ll be more likely to do so. Khaled understands this. Do you?
  • Social Media is extremely powerful with this generation (and most colleges don’t use it effectively). That’s not me telling you that, that’s your students. The biggest piece of advice your students continue to offer in terms of what they think college admissions needs to do better or differently as you communicate with this next class is…use more social media.   Your students want real and raw, and right now most of them think the content you provide on social media is forced and fake. Here’s a great, detailed student quote from a recent survey, “I think it would be neat to see more social media things…Showing something like a Snapchat story of the school and how beautiful and interesting it would get more people interested. Two other things would be telling what things normal students do on a daily basis for classes or just living up there.” I’ll say it again – real and raw, not forced and fake. The content you provide also needs to appeal to the heart and be shareable if you want to get a maximum return on your investment.
  • Genuine wins. How many of you are comfortable showing your real side? If you’re trying to cultivate trust and become the go-to person for your prospects and their parents, being genuine is a must. DJ Khaled is not afraid to be himself – a hilarious and honest guy. For example, he doesn’t hide the fact that he needs to be in better shape. He talks about it and uses it as motivation. He’s also more than happy to show what kind of lifestyle his hard work has afforded him, like hanging out with celebrities and swimming in pools and riding jet-skis in exotic locations around the world. He even goes out of his way to connect with his fans during his travels often times including them in his snaps. It’s just Khaled being Khaled. That honesty is a big reason why his audience feels they can relate to him and why his fans are constantly coming back to see more.
  • Your recruiting messages need to feature repetition. Repetition is one of the least used and most effective strategies that you can utilize in your recruiting message. DJ Khaled uses repetition just about every single day. Whenever he’s getting ready to release an album, highlight a product, or encourage “Fan Luv” to come out and meet him, he’ll post multiple snaps on Snapchat with the same message done in a variety of ways and locations. He even gets help from his celebrity friends and his fans in many instances. Today’s generation of students counts on repetition.
  • Passion will make you stand out. I’ve talked about it many times before. Those who have passion will create meaningful long-term relationships with prospects, parents, and virtually everyone else they come in contact with. You can’t buy it, it’s hard to teach, and most counselors don’t use it to their advantage. DJ Khaled puts so much passion and excitement into every aspect of his life, it becomes infectious. For you, the college admissions professional, it’s the same thing. It’s about how you say what you say. Have you put in the hard work that it takes to truly get to know your prospects’ wants and needs? When you do that, it’s much easier to be excited about a particular aspect of your college because you know it matters to your prospect…instead of just assuming, guessing, or hoping.

For some of you these eight bullet points may have been timely reminders. That’s great! For everyone else, I encourage you to take one or more of them and consider how it or they can help you become a better recruiter.

 

 

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 this newsletter and in my blog, you’ll love the one-on-one access you have to me and the extra training you and your colleagues will get as one of our clients. Email me and we’ll start a conversation.

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

The 7-Letter Word That Can Help You Win Over RecruitsMonday, March 16th, 2015

ncrc3By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Today I want to introduce you to what I consider to be the most underrated tool in admissions recruiting. You can’t buy it, it’s hard to teach, and most counselors don’t use it to their advantage.

When you’re trying to secure a commitment and obtain those deposits, one of the worst things you can do is give your recruit the feeling that they’re being pressured. I hear stories all the time regarding counselors who are so stressed out about increasing yield, that they push and push until they get the answer they want from their prospect. Here’s the problem with that scenario. Pressure might lead to an initial commitment, but that prospect will be a strong candidate to flip-flop at the last minute, or at the very least talk negatively to others about the way your institution recruited him or her.

Our ongoing focus group research with thousands of current college students reveals that when making their college choice, pressure from you is bad. On the other hand if you consistently demonstrate passion, it’s very likely you’ll achieve the same results that you would hope to attain by pressuring them.

Passion is an effective sales tool because it isn’t artificial. People can tell when you truly enjoy what you do and genuinely believe what you’re selling. A passionate recruiter sincerely cares about, and takes the time to understand, the wants and needs of their prospect and his or her family members. When you do this it creates a more enjoyable experience and generates excitement and other emotions that a recruit relies on to make their decision.

So, which approach are you using – the passionate pitch or the pressure sell? There’s a big difference between the two. Let me provide you with a few contrasting examples of “passion” versus “pressure” when recruiting your students:

Passion is when you tell your recruit why you like him or her, and what value you see them having as a member of your school’s student body. Pressure is when you bluntly tell your recruit what they will lose out on if they don’t hurry up and make a decision.

Passion is when you smile, speak with enthusiasm, and display pride because you’re that excited to explain to your prospect why your school is the “right fit.” Pressure is when you rarely make eye contact and look at your cell phone every five minutes, because you’ve got some other place you’d rather be.

Passion is surprising your recruit with a quick visit to the Office of the President or the faculty leader of the program they hope to get into. When you enter the office, the President or faculty leader already knows their name because you’ve been raving about them and the impact they could have as a student on your campus. Pressure is sitting with your prospect cooped-up in your admissions office talking only about your school’s history and why they’d be crazy not to come here.

Passion is when you consistently communicate with your prospect from the beginning to the end of the recruitment cycle. You use different methods of communication, make your messages interesting, and always keep in mind how your messaging is important to that prospect. Pressure is when you infrequently touch base after a recruit submits their application, and then when admitted, call and ask if they’ve chosen where they want to go.

Passion is being prepared to start the conversation about paying for college early in the process. You understand it’s a stressful subject and you want to ease everyone’s minds as much as possible. You effectively communicate how the process works and the value your school offers. Pressure is the feeling that parents have when their son or daughter really likes a school with a high cost of attendance, and they have no idea how they will be able to afford it.

Passion is when you listen to your recruit reveal an objection, get clarification, and become a problem solver. Pressure is when you try to move the recruitment process forward without acknowledging a problem or concern exists.

Passion means you never make a recruit feel bad for questioning something you say or indicating that they’ve heard something that’s causing them to have concerns about your institution. On the other hand, if you rely on pressure as part of your pitch, you seem to always make a recruit feel bad when they seem to be leaning towards picking another school. In short, you turn up the pressure.

Passion is involving the parents in all aspects of the recruiting message, which is what most prospects want according to our research.  Pressure is what that recruit feels back at home when you don’t do that, and they want to pick your college but don’t feel like they can because mom and dad never really got to know you as well as a competing school that they’re going to settle on.

That’s a short list, but an important list.

Those who have passion are able to create meaningful long-term relationships with their recruits. If you don’t display that 7-letter word during the process, your recruits won’t either.

So, I have two questions for you now. What are you going to do with this information? And, how will it change the way you recruit this current class of prospects?

  • Not a member? Click here to signup.

Categories

Archives