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8 Ways You Can Evaluate Your Recruiting Phone CallsTuesday, January 10th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Phone calls to prospective students: That was one of the hot topics yesterday during my first admissions training workshop of 2017.

When it comes to recruiting phone calls, I find admissions counselors either love them or hate them…and quite often it’s the latter.

Regardless of which group you fall into, very few counselors adequately analyze the content of their recruiting phone calls and determine what they could do better the next time.

Self-evaluation is a crucial part of growth, so today I’m going to help you with that.

Let’s go ahead and assume that you’re able to connect with your prospect because you set up the call through a previous communication like we’ve recommended in the past.

When you hang up or press end on the call, I want you to ask yourself the following eight questions:

  1. At some point during the phone call, did you make your prospect feel wanted? How? Could you prove it if you had to?
  2. How much talking did you do vs. them? If you spent a lot of time bragging about different aspects of your school or telling them all the reasons you think they’d be crazy not to apply, visit, or submit their deposit, you risk boring your prospect and causing them not to remember the key details and selling points that you want them to…and there’s probably a good chance that the next time you call you’re going to get their voicemail.
  3. Did you start the phone call with a weak, non-specific phrase? In the same way that I recommend your letters and emails be original and have a strong opening sentence, the same holds true for your phone call. Last week I told you to avoid the three words “I was just…” in your recruiting conversations.  Too many counselors start out their recruiting phone calls that way. Phrases like that sound weak, they’re usually not the truth, and they do nothing to set up the rest of your call or create any sort of urgency.
  4. Did you give them the chance to ask questions? You need to create opportunities in each call that allows your prospect to open up and respond to your questions, as well as ask questions of their own.
  5. Did you make them laugh? If you didn’t, research shows that you failed to engage one of the primary ways we connect with each other.
  6. Did you ask them what they view as the next step in their process? Rather than assuming you know what they’re going to do next, I want you to ask them. What a lot of counselors tell me they find is that the prospect’s timeline doesn’t match theirs.
  7. Were you able to come away with talking points for future recruiting calls, letters and emails? If you were trying to multi-task (i.e. reply to emails) the answer is probably going to be no…which is a problem because you may have just missed out on an opportunity to strengthen your recruiting relationship. Always give your prospect your undivided attention, and furthermore, you could even repeat back to the prospect one thing you learned from them as a way to confirm you’ve been listening.
  8. Did you end your call on a positive note? Your prospects tell us that a simple “thank you for your time and input” goes a long way. And, it also increases the chances that future calls will be answered.

Questions? I’m just an email away at jeremy@dantudor.com

P.S. Here’s a picture of my descent into Chicago on Sunday that I thought you might enjoy.  Have a great rest of the week!

chicagodescent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Want You to Avoid These Three WordsTuesday, January 3rd, 2017

ncrc16convoby Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Words matter. They compel us to do things, and they also bore us to the point where we stop paying attention or listening.

Considering how hard it is to get and keep the attention of a 16 to 21 year old these days, it’s important to know which words and phrases to avoid.

In the past two years I’ve identified three words that a lot of admissions counselors use that provide little to no benefit for them.

They use these words to start a new email. And they use them even more so at the beginning of a phone call.

The problem is, when you say these three words together, you risk slowing down the recruiting process, or worse, stopping it altogether.

Those three words are:

“I was just…”

Have you ever said, “I was just calling to see if…”, or, “I was just writing to check in…”. I have many times over my professional career, and they don’t yield the results I’m looking for.

Why is that?  What is it about “I was just” that makes it so bad in a recruiting situation? When you use that phrase, your prospects all know what you want: You want information, or you want an update.  You need to find out if the student is close to completing their application, finishing the FAFSA, picking a time to visit campus, or making a decision.

And, since you don’t want to pressure that 16 to 21 year old, you play it cool and slide into the conversation by saying, “I was just…”

When you use those three words together, what you’re doing in most cases is giving your prospect the unintended message that they don’t need to take action right now.  Or, depending on the topic of the discussion, you might be telling them (believe it or not) that they aren’t all that important to you.

Here’s why starting a sentence with “I was just” can be so paralyzing:

  • It conveys weakness.  There isn’t much energy behind the phrase, and that communicates all the wrong things to your prospect.
  • It’s not the truth.  You weren’t “just checking in” when you called that last prospect, were you?  You were trying to extract some concrete information or a progress report so you could figure out what to do next.  You weren’t “just checking in”, and your prospect knows it.
  • It gives your prospect permission to put you off for a while longer.  You say, “I was just calling to see if you’ve finished your application”?  They say, “No, sorry, I’ve just been so busy with school, and I’m going to need a little more time”.  And since it sounds like there’s no urgency on your part, they figure they’ve got more time, and it’s no big deal.

So, what should you replace these words with?  Here are a few ideas:

  • “The deadline for that paperwork is coming up soon and I wanted to talk to you about it…”
  • “I need your feedback on…”
  • “I wanted to know if you can come visit campus next month because…”
  • “I know a lot of students are scared and overwhelmed at this point and I wanted to ask you if…”

Each of those phrases is strong, and they’re going to prompt action.  But even more importantly, they’re going to demand a reply.

Moving forward, I encourage you to really focus on how you start out your sentences when you begin conversations.  I know it sounds like a small thing, but you and I both know that it’s the small things that often make the biggest difference. That’s especially true when it comes to how your prospect (or their parents) responds to you and what information you get from them.

Want even more tips and strategies to use in your everyday recruiting?  Bring me to campus in 2017 to lead our popular admissions training workshop.  Don’t wait until your new budget kicks in to have a discussion about it. Email me now at jeremy@dantudor.com to start the conversation, or CLICK HERE for more information on why it’s a game-changer.

P.S. Here’s another three words you should avoid using – “I will try”. When you say them together it automatically makes you sound unsure.

The Secret Weapon of Your Recruitment Campaign, and Why It WorksTuesday, May 17th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

A couple of weeks ago our family added more sports equipment to the bin. The newest additions are a helmet, bat, glove, ball and cleats. Oh and a special bag of course, because how else is my almost 7-year old daughter going to carry all that stuff to softball practice.

Over the past 15 months or so my daughter has tried her hand at gymnastics, soccer, basketball, and now softball. Each time right at the start the same thing has happened. She gets frustrated because she isn’t immediately able to score every goal, make every shot, or hit a pitch that’s not sitting on a tee.

The late Jim Rohn – entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker — has said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious.  Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”

We all know the importance of building good habits. To get better at something it takes practice on a consistent basis, which is becoming harder and harder for many people to accept because we live in a society full of instant gratification.

As you shift your focus to this next class of prospective students, I can’t stress enough the importance of being consistent from start to finish with all of your recruiting communications. It sounds easy enough, but for many admissions teams this is arguably their greatest challenge.

If your office doesn’t have a clear long-term plan to consistently communicate all the different parts of your school’s story and the things that make you unique, you’re making recruiting harder. And when I say a long-term plan, I’m not referring to just the marketing materials that get sent out at various points during the recruitment process. I’ve seen some really great pieces before, but those alone are not a winning communication strategy…not with this generation of students.

Today I’m going to provide you with a more effective way to build your next recruiting plan and discuss why consistency works with this generation of students.

Let me begin by outlining the different types of communication that a solid recruiting campaign needs to consistently feature. This is what we give our clients each month as a part of their research-based custom recruiting communication plan.

  • Written communication. Both mail and email matter to your recruits. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen admissions departments make in 2015-16 is thinking students don’t care about a personalized letter anymore because email is their preferred method of communication. Our ongoing focus group research on campuses across the country continues to show that students wanted to be contacted by mail every month. That same research also confirms that your students want you to send a logical, foundational message about your school every 6 to 9 days. That’s the right amount of time according to the research.
  • Phone calls. I know it’s tempting, but don’t try and skip right to verbal communication. Sacrificing letters and emails, even if you start the recruitment process a little later than usual, is not a winning strategy. A large majority of your prospects just aren’t comfortable with you starting the conversation that way. Mix in phone calls after you’ve sent letters and emails first.
  • Social media. In the age of Smartphones it’s becoming more important that you communicate with prospects through social media. While it remains unlikely to make or break your college, it can determine whether or not you form a solid connection with a recruit, or make the kind of missteps that exclude you from future communication online. Utilize social media to give them an ongoing, behind the scenes look at life inside your college a couple of times a month.

This generation reacts to a good, consistent combination of all of these facets of recruiting.  If you only focus 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.

You might have noticed that I left out text messages. As it stands today, I want you to resist the temptation to “recruit” via text message. There’s a right way and a wrong way for admissions to use text messaging during the recruitment process. Click this link for that information.

Now let’s move to “the Why” – why consistency works and can be a secret weapon for you:

  1. It gives your prospect a predictable flow of information. Pretty obvious, right? As obvious as it may be, there are still hundreds of colleges and universities whose recruiting communications are anything but consistent. For example, some schools come out of the gate strong for the first month or two and then run out of things to say before really gaining traction.  Others slam students with information at various (key) points in the funnel but provide little in-between. My recommendation for you is to use what we call the “drip, drip, drip” method of communication. From start to finish communicate small chunks of information about your institution that explain why your recruit should want to come there. When you extend your messaging out over the entire recruiting cycle, and not just when it’s convenient, you’ll win over some recruits simply because other schools fall off.
  2. Your recruits value consistent communication. It’s a proven fact – today’s prospective student appreciates and values you being there from start to finish. When we work with clients and help them develop a messaging campaign for an entire year, we often hear stories like the following one from students. When it came time to make a decision between multiple colleges they felt a little more loyal to one because that school communicated with them the most during the recruitment process. It might not seem like the smartest way to pick a college, but that’s what this generation of recruits says matters to them.
  3. Consistency prompts a response. All of your communication should focus on building the relationship between you, your prospect, and his or her parents. Everything you send out should prompt a response that creates back and forth conversation. This will lead to them feeling more connected with you. It may take you five, six, or even ten times before you get that response but remain consistent and stay the course. Believe it or not most prospects are looking for a reason and permission to reach out and contact you once a relationship has been developed. Most won’t do it on their own. Start by asking them a question or getting their opinion about something that’s being discussed in your email. When you have a call to action like this it gives them a safe, non-committal way to connect with you.
  4. It builds trust and loyalty. Building close relationships with your prospects and their families is all about communicating on a personal level. That takes time and is hard to accomplish if you’re inconsistent with your contact. When you try to understand the problems that your prospect (and his or her parents) faces, you’re sending a strong message that you care. Over time your reliability to help problem solve will build trust. It will also build loyalty and what you’ll find is the prospect continues to interact with you rather than your competitors.

Our clients achieve and exceed their enrollment goals when they provide a consistent message using a variety of communication types. Over time if you’re consistent you become hard to ignore. As other colleges peel off, you will move up your prospect’s list.

A small word of caution – schools can be consistent but with a poor message or poor phone etiquette. We see it happen all the time…in fact it’s why one university became a client of ours recently. Generating a weak message consistently can be as bad as getting a great message out randomly.

Do you have a hard time coming up with talking points for your messaging? We can help. It’s what we do. Take the next step and contact me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com We’ll set up a call to talk strategy.

Are You Able to Get (and Keep) Your Prospects Talking?Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

My Monday morning started off with a visit to the dentist. Fun times, right? After 30 minutes of scraping, polishing, and flossing, I was able to exit the building with no cavities. Thank goodness. Back again in six months.

Getting today’s typical teenager to talk in something other than one-word sentences has been described as “like pulling teeth.” Throw a cell phone into that equation, and things can go from difficult to down right exasperating.

In the world of college admissions where your livelihood is impacted greatly by the decisions of 17 and 18 year olds, having the right communication strategies is crucial. If your prospects aren’t talking and engaging with you consistently and you haven’t been able to find that “sweet spot” to connecting with them, things need to change and fast. Even if your application numbers are up, you cannot expect to increase enrollment without consistent, back-and-forth conversations with prospects (and parents).

The first step is understanding that a large majority of your recruits don’t want to start the conversation. This is a key piece of data that Tudor Collegiate Strategies has uncovered from the focus group research we do as a part of our on-campus workshops. Some recruits are shy. Others are down right afraid. The bottom line is most of today’s teenagers don’t know what they’re supposed to ask you or how they’re supposed to ask it. Without your help, they may never take the lead and talk to you about your institution.

Here are a handful of strategies you can use to better connect with your prospects both now and in the coming weeks:

Make sure your phone skills are up to par. If you’re nervous or unprepared when you get on the phone, your prospects will sense it, and it will make cultivating your recruiting relationship harder. One solution is to write out talking points ahead of time (like we do for our clients). Try and align those talking points with the subject matter in your recent emails and letters. Also, remember that your prospects are looking for someone who possesses confidence. The reason they need confidence from you is quite simple.  When you begin developing 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.

Supply information in small doses. We all know that a teenager’s attention span tends to be short, so keep it simple. Don’t overload your prospect with multiple topics or questions at once. Regular dialogue about specific aspects of your school’s “story” is much more valuable.

Offer value in the conversation. Your prospects, no matter their age, have no interest in being on the receiving end of an aggressive sales pitch during every conversation no matter how great or prestigious your school is. In fact, it’s a major reason why counselors struggle to get prospects to answer that second, third or fourth phone call. We hear stories all the time from prospects who tell us they won’t answer the phone even if they know it’s a college representative calling because the previous talk was boring. You’ll eventually provide more value when you position yourself as a resource instead of a salesperson.

Figure out their passions. Studies show that young people are learning new ways of thinking and relating.  An outcome of this developmental process is that they are very focused on themselves. What I find works best is when you can connect with their passion. If you can start a conversation with a topic that is of special interest to your prospect, you can then easily introduce other topics that you want or need to discuss.

Ask open-ended questions. Stay away from questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” When you ask open-ended questions, you allow your recruit to provide you with insights that will aid you in their recruitment.

Get their opinion about specific issues. In a recruiting situation, if you ask them, “So, what did you think of our campus when you visited?” you’re going to get an indecisive answer.  For most kids of this generation, that’s too big of a question and one that they may not have had time to form an opinion about.  On the other hand, if you ask them, “So, when you were inside the dorm room, did it seem like a place where you could enjoy living?”  That’s a much better question because it gives your prospect a chance to zero in on a specific opinion, plus it allows them to visualize. Smaller, more specific questions tend to get the best and most detailed responses.

Bring pop culture into play. Teenagers love to talk about the latest movie release, video game, music album or celebrity scandal.  When in doubt, begin the conversation with a statement or question about something from the current pop culture landscape. You don’t need to offer an opinion or even appreciate whomever or whatever it is you are discussing. Your recruit will gladly do that for you.

When it’s over, don’t linger. Another big complaint that our research with your prospects has revealed centers around recruiting calls that drag on. There’s a recruiting call rule we tell our clients to follow. Click here for those specifics.   Regardless of how much useful information you feel you still have to provide, when a call drags on you will lose your prospect’s interest and may even damage future interactions.

Follow up quickly. How often after a phone call with a prospective student or a visit by that student to your campus do you send out an email or a hand written note? This generation wants to know that you’re interested in hearing from them. The best way to do that is to immediately reach out, tell them you enjoyed your recent conversation, and ask him or her if they have any follow-up questions and understand the next steps. When you do this, you open the door for more communication.

Be yourself and not who you think they want you to be. Despite evidence to the contrary, there remains a myth that says adults need to be cool in order to connect with teenagers. The reality is they want you to be genuine. If you try too hard to get them to like you, don’t be surprised if you achieve the exact opposite. Focus on being yourself and letting them see the real you when you’re recruiting them.  I’ll even go so far as to tell you that it’s okay from time to time to poke fun at yourself.

Often times I find that admissions counselors make communicating with their prospects far more complicated than it needs to be.

Keep these simple strategies handy, and use them consistently. They work and will let you enjoy more productive conversations with prospective students no matter what stage they’re at in the recruitment process.

Want more in-depth training and lessons on how to develop a creative and effective recruiting communications plan? All you have to do is email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Are You Following This Recruiting Call Rule?Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

The next time you make a recruiting phone call I want you to check your watch.

Once you hit the 10-minute mark when talking to a prospect, you’ve crossed a line in terms of the effectiveness of connecting with him or her.  The source of that information is several hundred survey responses we’ve collected from students around the nation. Their answers to our questions can give college admissions staffs some key insights regarding the importance of keeping recruiting calls short and sweet.

The basic rule I’m recommending that you follow is easy:

Keep your recruiting phone calls to ten minutes or less.

Here’s why. Those same survey responses revealed that prospects get bored with recruiting calls that go past that mark.  They’ve even told us that they will put their phones on speaker so they can do other things while you’re talking.

Your prospects’ biggest complaints centered around long recruiting calls taking them away from studying, delaying their ability to respond to text messages from friends, and being too “sales” driven and pressuring.

So, how can you get the most out of those ten minutes? Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • For starters, make sure you’ve been following the flow. As we’ve explained before, the natural communication flow for your recruits begins with letters and emails. Both are easy to take in and low risk in the mind of your prospect. One student’s survey response summed things up perfectly. “Being called on the phone is good after having an email or letter because it gives the student time to do their own research on the school before talking to an admission counselor. With doing this, the student knows what exactly to ask and what to say. Without their own research, the student will not know exactly what to ask, think, or say via phone.”
  • Make the phone call 100% about them, and 0% about your school. Come up with a list of great questions that are original and all about them. For example, ask them about their approach to the process or what they want to see and hear from you as they learn more about your institution.
  • Go ahead and talk about your school IF…they ask you about it. If your prospect asks you about something specific, then talk about it and “sell” all you want. According to our surveys, the time limit goes out the window as long as your prospect is the one driving the conversation.

Observing the ten-minute rule can completely change the way your recruits view you.

By the way if you’re reading this and worrying that the length of the phone call is going to hurt your chances of enrolling that prospect, fear not. A large majority of students confided in us that the length of the phone call made no difference in their overall interest level. However, they did rate regular frequency in phone calls as a sign that a school was serious about them. (Our research over the past year indicates that during the college search process over 75% of recruits wanted to receive a phone call only once per month.)

Confusing?  Sure, a little.  Just understand that there’s a definite right way and a wrong way to execute successful recruiting phone calls with this generation of recruits.

Did you know that each month we give our clients talking points for counselors that not only build on the messaging their prospects are currently receiving but also work to strengthen the counselor-prospect bond? If you’re wondering what being a client is all about, email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com  

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!

Recruiting Calls: How to Make Sure Your Prospects Remember YouMonday, May 18th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Spring yard work. That’s what I’ve spent the past two weekends doing. Trimming, planting, burying my down spouts, and mulch…lots of mulch. Does this sound familiar?

I’m clearly a bad judge when it comes to mulch because I ended up making not one, not two, but three trips to the local garden center in the same weekend. As I was checking out with the last round of mulch, the cashier (same one as the previous two times) asked to see my card so she could verify the signature. Upon doing so she says, “Oh I remember you…you’re the guy with that ugly signature.”

I’ll be the first to admit that my signature is a little messy and hard to read. Truth be told this isn’t the first time either that a store employee somewhere has pointed those facts out. The point I’m trying to make is simple. My ugly signature gets me remembered.

In this age of smartphones and social media, it’s amazing that so much of the recruiting relationship with prospective students still hinges on making a great old-fashioned phone call.

Making effective phone calls is a challenge for many admissions professionals, particularly those early recruiting calls. Instead of trying to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the nervous teenager on the other end, many counselors end up focusing on one thing – selling their school. As I’ve touched on before, that’s the wrong approach. You risk your prospect becoming annoyed, bored, or even worse, both.

Your goal during those early recruiting phone calls should be to “plant the seed,” grow the relationship and find ways to be memorable. When you accomplish that your prospects will look forward to that next recruiting communication. If you do it over time your school will be the one on their mind when they’re ready to make a decision.

Here are 5 strategies that will get your prospects to remember you:

  1. Eliminate their fears early in the conversation. One of the things we discuss during our on-campus training workshops is just how present your prospect’s “fear” is throughout the recruiting process. As a result, you should expect them to have their guard up during the onset of any initial conversation. One of the easiest ways to remove that fear is to demonstrate right out of the gate that you’re a passionate recruiter. Passion is both hard to fake and contagious. Tell your prospects why you think they’ll be a good fit at your school. Ask him or her questions that will reveal things that excite them. You can then use those in future recruiting communications. Demonstrating passion will remove any doubts and provide a level of comfort for your prospects.
  1. Be authentic. I know it can be tempting to list every single reason why your institution is the “right fit” during those early conversations with prospects. The problem is most of your prospects tell us that method of selling comes across as pushy and doesn’t make for an enjoyable conversation. What resonates with today’s recruit is an authentic discussion where you let them get to know the real you, and you really listen to what they have to say. Be honest, open and direct about the recruitment process. It sounds easy enough, but the reality is few counselors have completely mastered this skill.
  1. Stay current. Pop quiz. Do you know who Calvin Harris is? Are you familiar with ‘Pitch Perfect 2’? (If you answered “no” to either I recommend you click on the links after you’re done with this article) Effective recruiters who want to be remembered are “students of the game.” They keep up on trends and what’s popular with their target demographic. That knowledge then allows them to engage in and develop deeper connections with their prospects, who by the way love to talk about movies, music and celebrities. Make a statement or ask a question about something from the current pop culture landscape. You might be surprised by the response you get.
  1. Listen and then prove that you were listening. Your prospects have a lot of questions they want answered. Will you allow them to have control of the conversation? (Hint: It’s okay to do so). Assuming that you’re on board with me, sit back, listen, and take notes…lots of notes. You can then use that information in future letters and emails. For example let’s say your prospect shares who their favorite music artist is. Why not take one of that artists’ current songs and change a verse or two to contain lyrics about your prospect and your college. Cheesy, right? You’re exactly right, and it works! The lyrics you come up with are insignificant. The fact that you took time to listen to your prospect and come up with something unique about them immediately differentiates you and will be remembered.
  1. End your conversation with something impactful. Pick your favorite television drama. There’s a reason at the end of every episode something big happens or a question is left unanswered. It causes you the viewer to feel something and/or create anticipation for next week’s episode. That same rule can and should be applied to your recruiting contacts. You should always set up your next communication. Ask yourself, “What can I get them to anticipate next?” If you’re a client of ours you know how important it is to have the flow of the recruiting process move as efficiently as possible toward securing a campus visit. What about telling them a story or making an impactful statement. Those are the kinds of things that are committed to memory.

Try putting one or all of these strategies into practice with this next class of recruits during those early communications. Doing so will make your prospects take notice and achieve more positive results for your recruiting efforts moving forward!

Need help formulating a strategy and putting proven ideas to work for you and your admissions team?  Become a client of ours. We work with you one-on-one to create and execute a recruiting plan that will get results.   Email me directly for more information.

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