That hint of Fall in the air means it’s getting close to the season that is becoming somewhat of a lost art in the world of college recruiting.
Of course, I’m talking about “home visit season”.
Since there are coaches just like you all over the country that are making plans to visit the homes of prospects they’ve been recruiting, I wanted to share some of the things that I discussed with coaches this past year, both on the phone and in person during our On-Campus Workshops. If you’re wanting to refine your approach to personal visits, think about using these tips as a way to boost your performance in front of your top prospects when they are playing on their “home field”.
Focus on relaxing before your meeting. Sounds so simple, yet most coaches don’t take a few minutes to do it. In the same way that your athletes might spend an hour before their athletic contest listening to music to pump them up, visualizing them making a big play, or just being quiet so that they can get ready to compete to the best of their abilities, you need to get in the zone when it comes to getting ready to recruit. But instead of getting pumped up, you need to calm down: Listen to your favorite music on your way to the appointment. Think positive thoughts. Visualize a great evening of talking. The ultimate goal is to go in relaxed, in high spirits, and with an attitude of a winner that shines through to your prospect. Great sales professionals in the business world do this before any important sales call. You should also!
Believe your program is the best. Along with relaxing before you go into an important meeting with a prospect, you need to develop a mindset that your program, your staff and your college is the best. Period. You’ve got to believe it, and believe it whole-heartedly. If you don’t, it will show. Your passion for what you’re selling to your prospect will be weak, and that will rub off on your prospect. Coaches who are passionate sell more effectively, and are able to get their prospects excited about their vision for their program better than a coach who is just going through the motions. Do you believe – really believe – that what you’re offering is the best in the world? If the answer is no, you need to get yourself to that point. Fast.
Come in to your meeting with big ideas. At least two. What I mean here is that you need to be the one to lay out ideas that can help the athlete (or even his or her parents) reach their goals. Tell them that you’ve been thinking about them, and you’ve come up with a few ideas as to how to best take advantage of what your program or college offers as it specifically relates to that individual athlete. What are those ideas? I can’t answer that for you. Just focus on things that get your prospect from where they are now to where you know they want to be athletically or academically.
Ask one amazing question at the start of your meeting. Make it a killer question. One that stops everyone in their tracks and will get them to think. Make it a question you know your competition isn’t asking them. Be original. Anytime you can come up with a question that stops your prospect in his or her tracks and gets them to think, you’ve got their attention. And, you’ve got their respect.
Don’t “need” the prospect. Don’t go in with the attitude that this athlete is a make-or-break signing. Truthfully, there’s no such thing. Don’t try too hard. Don’t pressure too much. Don’t beg, plead or press too much. That kind of thing shows through, and its not good. You’ll be telegraphing that desperation in your face, and it won’t play well with your prospect. Note the difference between “desperation” and “enthusiasm”. You can let your prospect know that you are excited about having them there, and let them know how you envision them making a big impact in your program. But don’t let that cross over to “needing” the prospect. Once you do, you lose the power that you hold and now the athlete controls you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for their commitment. That’s why you’re there, right? You won’t turn them off my asking them to give you a verbal commitment. In fact, many athletes are waiting for that question. But too many coaches leave a meeting by telling their prospect that they hope they hear back from them, or hope that their at the top of their list, blah blah blah. Don’t be a wimp. ASK FOR THEIR COMMITMENT. If they’re not ready, they’ll tell you. If they are ready, you just got the win. And all it took was asking the question that’s on everyone’s mind.
Because of budget and recruiting restrictions, the home visit is becoming more and more rare. However, if you’re going to commit to making a visit at a prospect’s home, make it count.
Looking for more insider strategies to maximize your recruiting efforts this year? Become a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies and let us work one-on-one with you and your coaching staff to help you develop a cohesive, winning recruiting plan from start to finish. Want more information? Click here for an overview, or just email Dan Tudor directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.