Dan Tudor

Join The Newsletter and Stay Up To Date!

Text Size Increase Decrease

Developing Your Recruiting RelationshipTuesday, July 26th, 2016

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

At a time when colleges and universities are looking especially hard at the bottom line, admissions professionals must be able to consistently market and sell their school to prospective students and their parents. That’s the bottom line.

One of the biggest challenges we’re often asked to address during our On-Campus Training Workshops is how to get and keep the attention of today’s prospects. It’s an on-going battle that’s for sure. If the teenager or twenty something on the other end wants to ignore your recruiting message, you can’t stop him or her. What you can do however is provide them with compelling reasons to choose your school over the competition.

Here’s even better news! You don’t need to have a big time budget to successfully communicate your message and cultivate a positive relationship. You just need a few easy strategies that savvy business professionals use on a daily basis.

Think about how you develop relationships in your personal life. Any good relationship is built on trust. When there’s trust, there’s loyalty. When a relationship has those two characteristics that means there’s a genuine concern for each others’ well being.

Your recruiting relationships should be developed the same way. You cannot expect your recruit and his or her parents to commit to your institution if they don’t trust you. When you build trust, loyalty will follow. Your recruits will want to continue to interact with you rather than your competitors.

It’s important to start establishing those real, caring, long-term relationships with your prospects early in the recruitment process. If you do, you’ll have an easy time proving to your recruits (and their parents and others around them) that you’re concerned about them, and want to help solve their problems. You’re not just there trying to sell a college. You’re there to help.

If you want to differentiate yourself from admissions counselors who will read this and then forget about it later today, try these four proven strategies for establishing those all-important prospect relationships:

  1. Be specific when telling your recruiting story. Are you currently developing a story that tells your prospects something very specific or very memorable about your institution? Sometimes a specific focus can help you tell your school’s story in a much more compelling way, and give recruits a reason to listen to what you’re saying.
  2. Understand that different recruits have different problems. If you’re an avid reader of this newsletter, you know that your recruits all have worries, fears and hopes. Here’s the thing. Those of a traditional student (teenager) are going to be very different from those of a non-traditional student (single parent, mid-career professional). If you don’t believe that then you’ll rarely connect with prospects the way you need to if they’re going to enroll at your school. It’s your job to try and put yourself in each recruit’s shoes and develop separate messaging that will truly help them. When you do that you’re sending a strong message that you care.
  3. Make your recruiting messages personal. When you effectively use personalization during the recruitment process you stand out from the crowd. To build a close relationship with your prospect and his or her family you must communicate on a personal level no matter the type of contact. That includes mail, email, phone calls, social media and face-to-face contact. I understand doing this will take up more time and involve some creative thinking. The end result will be a feeling of being wanted. That’s something that every single prospective student is looking for.
  4. Commit to utilizing social media. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about your admissions Facebook page (although that’s not a bad idea either). I want you to invest more in your personal SM accounts. If you don’t you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to reveal the “real you,” as well as offer a behind the scenes look at what makes life at your school so great. As always, no matter what type of communication you use, you must be consistent if you expect favorable results.

A quick word of caution. Don’t ever pretend to be someone you’re not. Your sincerity, or lack thereof, will always shine through.  Teenagers today are smart.  They know when you’re telling them the truth and when you’ve embellished a little too much.

These four strategies will help you quickly establish real rapport with your prospects, and in the end increase your school’s chances of enrolling them.

We help colleges and universities improve their recruiting relationships year-round. If you have a specific question or want help developing a winning strategy call me at 612-386-0854…or just send me an email.

 

How This Approach Will Help You Increase Your EnrollmentTuesday, November 10th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

During a recent layover at O’Hare airport in Chicago while on my way to lead one of our staff training workshops, I did what I usually do between flights – pay a visit to Starbucks. While waiting to pick up my order I heard the barista say “Germany.” Obviously that’s a country and not my name, but I headed to the counter nonetheless to see if that was my latte. Sure enough, Jeremy had somehow become Germany. It was an honest mistake and one that caused me to chuckle.

Starbucks doesn’t have to hand write names on their customers’ orders, but they do. Ever wonder why? It’s the same reason that Coca-Cola launched the “Share a Coke” campaign and Bud Light is rolling out NFL team-themed cans: Taking a more personalized approach creates a stronger connection with consumers.

College admissions recruiting is no different. Today’s prospective student is busier than ever. If they’re going to spend the next four years on your campus, and in most cases make a significant financial investment to do so, they want the recruitment process to be personalized. For them to seriously consider your school, your admissions team needs to understand, and then deliver on, their wants and their needs. According to Brian Rafferty, Global Director of Research Insights for branding firm Siegel+Gale, the younger generations embrace individuality. “It makes people feel like the brand is more about them than about the brand,” he noted.

So, what’s the first step? As I just said, it starts by understanding your audience: what makes them tick, what motivates them, and what content about your institution they will find most helpful. As you ask questions, it’s important to know the right amount of information to ask for. Doing so will allow you to create personalized content. For example, you may discover that a higher income student cares more about lifestyle and the academic reputation of your school. Conversely, a lower income recruit might be more concerned about the surroundings, friendliness and what your school will do to make it affordable for them. You can then take that information and create a more personalized experience.

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

  • Your letters and emails. When students narrow down their list of potential schools they’ve told us that personalized letters and emails play a big part. Let me ask you then, how often do you include a hand-written note or comment in your letters? It could just be one sentence related to the message in that specific mailer. What about hand writing the mailing address? Again, a simple yet effective technique in the minds of your recruits, who are constantly looking for something that sets your school apart. Here’s one more – How often do you repeat the prospect’s name in your messaging? If you’re a client of ours you see this all the time in the recruiting communications we craft. It’s like Dale Carnegie’s sixth principle says: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Creative and relevant content. Taking the first bullet point one step further, if you’ve started to build a relationship with your prospects, you’ll have discovered things they like and things they don’t. Use this to your advantage in your recruiting communications. It’s much more successful than the patch and blast approach. If you have a student who wants to major in Music, figure out who some of their favorite artists are. Then create a unique mailer that incorporates something about that artist, the prospective student, and your school. Make sure the message is clear, concise and not too drawn out. This will grab their attention, especially if it’s tailored to their interests.
  • The campus tour. It starts as soon as your prospect checks in at the admissions office. If the first person to greet them isn’t their counselor, that person should know the prospect’s name along with anyone else who might be accompanying him or her. If you have student led tours, that individual, in addition to being friendly and knowledgeable about your school, should be given some basic information about the prospect. At the very least, this includes where they’re from and what the prospect’s interests are. Like it or not, students and parents often make the mistake of discounting a great school because the person or people involved in the campus tour turned them off. If your visits are already getting high marks, then I encourage you to raise the bar. For example, if the student is a big volleyball fan, why not take them on a personal tour of the team’s locker room. This is an easy way to create a lasting memory.
  • For parents. You know they’re your prospect’s biggest “influencer,” so what can you do to personalize the process for them? What about a quick video in collaboration with your school’s financial aid office that breaks down the financial aid process and all the jargon associated with it. Add the video to your school’s website or social media platform.
  • Social Media. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook remain popular with teenagers. We’ve seen a number of colleges create a private Facebook group for prospective students to interact with current students and professors. Another popular strategy is using Twitter to create virtual information sessions on a particular topic assigned with a hashtag. Both are great ideas, but I want you think bigger! Let me touch on two up and coming SM platforms – Snapchat and Vine. Snapchat can be used to provide prospects with a behind-the-scenes look at various aspects of life on your campus. For example, you could have a series of snaps that chronicles the dorm life experience. We’ve also encouraged our clients to get lots of video at places both on and off campus that they see as being big pluses for their students and posting it on Vine. You could also create Vines that congratulate individual prospects on being admitted to your school.

Throughout every recruiting cycle there are numerous opportunities to personalize the prospect experience. By personalizing you will stand out among the crowd, not to mention the fact that you will create deeper relationships, trust, and a comfort level where your prospects feel at home. In turn, that will entice more recruits to choose your institution.

Is your recruiting communication flow not producing the application numbers you had hoped for? Campus visit numbers a little lower than expected? We can help you change both of those right now. It’s not too late. Email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com to set up a phone call and discuss how it’s done.

  • Not a member? Click here to signup.

Categories

Archives