I’m talking about your recruits, Coach.
In over a decade of research, focus groups, and personal recruiting stories, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to. Your prospects aren’t making logical decisions; they’re making illogical, emotional decisions, and then justifying that decision with just enough facts to justify their choice.
Understanding this simple fact will make recruiting a whole lot easier.
And yet, college coaches make it more complicated:
Fixing this is simple, and reformulating your core approach before it’s time to recruit your next class of prospect. But first, you need to define a few things:
What is the big thing that you and your program can offer as something for a recruit to fall in love with? You need something to give a recruit to become emotionally attached to: Your team, your plan for them, what their role on your team will be, joining the fight to win back-to-back championships, or signing-on to help rebuild the program, for a few examples. You need to connect with the heart of your recruit. What are you leading with?
What is the big objection you see as something you’re going to have to overcome? My suggestion is to address it right away as part of what they should love about you. We worked with a football coach several years ago who used to apologize for, and avoid, their old outdated locker room. Then, we came up with research on why his players loved the place, and how they viewed it with a lot of positive emotion. Now, that coach makes his old locker room a center-piece of the story they tell a recruit.
(If you choose to use this approach, defining both the attractions – and the negatives – of your program is essential. It’s one of the most least defined aspects of most coaches’ programs, and it ends up hurting them terribly.)
So, what aspects of their decision making revolve around their “hearts”?…What aspects of their decision to come to a program usually center around the emotional part of the equation? Here’s a Top 5 checklist of what we’ve found to be the most impactful:
On the other side of the coin, when it comes to the logical side of their decision, here’s what our research shows them relying upon:
Now the important part (the thing that most coaches miss):
You have to do both.
You see, with this generation of recruits, we find that they will first “fall in love” with a team, a coach and a school. There’s an emotional connection that needs to happen first in their hearts. Once that happens, however, we find that there’s a definitive point where they lurch back in the other direction…almost realizing that it’s not smart to make a final decision based solely on how they feel about things. They will then search for the logical reasons why they should trust their heart; they’ll look to justify their emotional connection with a coach/team/school by coming up with solid, logical reasons why it’s a smart choice, validating why their emotional reasoning. They decide with their heart, and then justify with their head.
Most coaches do one, but not the other. They assume that by being more logical, and providing more “stuff” than other colleges, they’ll get the prospect. Or, others will assume that by stealing their recruits’ hearts and creating only an emotional appeal, they will win the competition for their talents.
The truth is, if the goal is consistent, high-impact recruiting, both categories have to be addressed. The more consistently you do it, and the earlier in the recruiting process that you start, the better chance you have of establishing yourself as one of the top choices in the mind of your recruit.
Start here: Define each of those points within both categories for your program, and then prove to yourself that you are showing your prospects how you address each point. For any program, that should be a priority within the overall task of creating your program’s story.
They decide with their heart, and then justify with their head. That’s the case with virtually all of your prospects, so make it a priority for you and your program.
These are the same kind of advanced skills that we teach coaches who go through our popular Tudor University online recruiting training and certification. If you’re a client, the course is free. If you aren’t, click here to start the training process today.
One of the great things about college football at the start of a new year is that right after bowl season, we immediately prepare for national letter of intent day. Unlike the regular season, we don’t have to wait for months to see who will be a future star of our favorite team, it comes just a few weeks after the National Championship. It’s a time when fans get an idea of what their favorite team is going to look like in the future.
For college football fans, and the media that follows them, it’s an exciting time of year.
But all of this hype begs the obvious question: Does a Division I football team’s recruiting class really determine their actual on-the-field success?
Download our fascinating new research study, which compares a college program’s recruiting rankings with their actual on-field performance in 2014.
Dan Tudor, founder of Tudor Collegiate Strategies, released this statement regarding this year’s findings:
“This research study is fascinating, as it really accentuates which college coaching staffs are doing the most with the talent they recruit”, said Tudor. “Matt Boyles, Director of Research for Tudor Collegiate Strategies, has put together a very measurable look at the recruiting results of Division I college football programs over an extended four year period, accounting for he impact on the field of different classes.”