Dan Tudor

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Telling a Recruit Story About What You’re NotMonday, November 5th, 2018

More college coaches, athletic departments, and admissions departments need to do what the state of Nebraska is doing.

They’re owning who they are (or at least who many of think they are).

It’s their new national ad campaign promoting their state by stating a warning: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

I love it. For years, I’ve been begging coaches to tell their recruits who they’re wrong for. In other words, what type of prospect wouldn’t do well on your campus, wouldn’t fit in on your team, and wouldn’t feel completely at home on your campus. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? I mean, shouldn’t coaches want to do everything they can to only tell recruits the wonderful aspects of campus, and their program?

Actually, I think Nebraska gets it right. In an article from AdWeek reporting on the state’s new campaign, they bring up the fact that “the Nebraska Tourism Commission felt that it was essential to disruptively step out of the shadows of the previous slogan, “Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.” and work its way out of being dead last on the list of states that tourists are interested in considering for their next vacation. “To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director told the Omaha World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”

Many college recruiting campaigns could use the same jolt. Can you imagine? A college program actually poking fun at themselves a little?

Here’s why taking this approach is going to work for Nebraska, and why I feel strongly in taking a creative approach that radically defines your college, and your program for this generation of marketing-savvy teenagers.

They desperately look for differences. The goal of most colleges? To make their campuses attractive to just about everyone. Certainly, different schools have varying focuses and niches, but overall they tend to not want to push away potential applicants. According to our research, not defining your campus (or sports program) causes a lot of frustration for recruits, because they’re busy trying to figuring out which one of their options is better. As you communicate with them, how are you achieving that?

They demand that you get them to pay attention to you. It’s a competitive landscape for their attention. If you sound the same as everyone else, how is that helping you? One of the biggest questions we get from college coaches is, “how can I get these recruits to pay attention to us?” I think a better question would be, “what are you doing, as a coach, to earn the right to have their attention?” Think about it, Coach.

They want proof what you’re telling them is true. The magic of the new Nebraska campaign is that once it gets you to pay attention to what they’re saying, they prove that their good-natured ribbing is actually showcasing a lot of good stuff when it comes to erasing stereotypes, and showcasing what Nebraska has to offer. You can (and should) find ways to try the same thing for your audience.

Don’t be afraid to be different, Coach. Define yourself, tell a creative story, and watch what happens after that.

(But honestly, that proven recruiting strategy probably isn’t for everyone).

A Comprehensive Social Media Checklist for College CoachesTuesday, October 30th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

Coach, you know that having a presence on social media is an important communication tool for this generation of recruits.  Especially for those coaches that must deal with the new rule changes and are now not able to recruit so young, social media will be a huge tool you can still use to tell your story and giving your recruits the insider’s look into the personality of you and your team. 

Have you ever done a social media audit to see how you are really doing? You can learn a lot from an examination of how you manage (or don’t manage) your online brand.

Maintaining the social media presence for your program to help your recruiting really could be a full-time job.  We all know that is virtually impossible because so much of your coaching job requires your time and attention be spent elsewhere. Social media profiles can fall into disrepair quickly when left alone. An audit can help get things back on track.

On the flip side, there are those of you who actively maintain social media profiles and take great pain to keep everything updated and cohesive. Audits are helpful in these instances, too. They can serve as much-needed opportunities for reflection and growth.

Basically, audits are helpful for everyone, no matter where you’re at with your social media presence. Today, I just want you to examine how you are currently doing things.  In future newsletters, I will offer up suggestions as to what you could do to make improvements.

Social media audit checklist

1.Locate all your social media profiles and then document all of the following elements:

  • The social media network
  • The URL
  • Your profile name and/or description
  • The number of followers or fans
  • The date of your last activity
  • Who is currently responsible to post on each platform?

To keep all of this information organized and to give you a starting point for any follow-up audits you might want to perform down the road, create a spreadsheet like the one below.


 

 

 

2. Next, make sure that your presence at these places is purposeful.

You can consider asking some of the following questions to determine the necessity of certain profiles.

    • “Why are we using this social account?”
    • “Why do we want to use it?”
    • “What are our goals for this social media platform?”
    • “Are our recruits using it?”

If you no longer have a good reason to use the account or you find that your recruits are elsewhere, don’t hesitate to cut ties and focus your effort where it is better spent.

3. Check for completion of all details on these profiles and for consistency in imagery and message.

To check to see that your branding is consistent across your social accounts, check to make sure:

  • Are all avatars the same?
  • Do backgrounds and other images follow theme/branding?
  • Are all descriptions and URLs uniform?

You might find that it is best to have a different feel on different social networks—Twitter might lend itself more toward a laidback personality because that is where you recruits are whereas Facebook might require a more professional presence because that is where the parents mostly are. In this case, consistency doesn’t carry quite the same importance as making sure that the tone of the profile is right for the network. Think environment first and consistency second.

4. How is your social media performing?

That is likely going to be one of the top areas of interest when you perform an audit. Is your social media marketing doing as well as you hope? To follow up on this, you can check in with your past goals and the performance metrics you’ve created. Here are some common metrics you can measure:

  • Your followers and fans. See how your audience has grown over time by using tools like Facebook’s page insights and Twitter’s Followerwonk.
  • Your posting frequency. Is there any correlation to how often you post and how your audience grows?
  • Engagement. Dig into how many conversations you have on a weekly basis. Engagement can include direct contact, retweets, likes, +1s, and re-shares.

Again, this information can be organized into your main spreadsheet so you can see quickly at a glance if your profiles are performing the way they should.  (If they are not getting you the results that you want, change what you are doing!!).

One helpful part here is benchmarking. How do these numbers compare to where you were a year ago? Two years ago?

Many stats and tools will go back this far automatically, so you get these numbers with relative ease. For the rest, be sure to document the important metrics today so you will have a baseline to return to the next time you perform an audit.

Make an action plan for improvements and goals for your profiles. 

Mandy Green is a former Division I coach who now leads college coaches and programs through organizational strategies that make recruiting and coaching more efficient. To have her work with you and your program, email her at mandy@dantudor.com.

Is That the Right Recruit for You?Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

by Mike Davenport, Coaching Sports Today

Information is critical to help you decide if a recruit is a good fit for you, your team, your school.

One way to get that info is to ask questions. Clear, thoughtful questions.

Why ask recruiting questions?

You might be surprised what you learn.

A coach I was working with was exasperated because a player she had spent over a year recruiting had just quit her team. The recruit had been there for less than 2 weeks, and suddenly stopped by the office and told the coach she was quitting.

“Wait…what…why are you quitting?”

“I don’t like basketball,” the player replied.

“What do you mean you don’t like basketball? We thought you loved it. That why we recruited you,” the coach said.

“You never asked me if I wanted to play in college. I thought I MIGHT want to, but now I know I don’t. If someone has asked, I would have said something.”

In this case, a question could have saved a hassle and headache.

Are your questions ready?

Dr. Mike Davenport is a longtime college coach who is one of the premier thought leaders on the topic of coaching and career development at the college level. To contact him, email mike@dantudor.com.

The Real Goal of Your Recruiting ConversationsTuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Most coaches understand what an amazing feat it actually is when they can establish a good, ongoing dialog with a prospect.

It’s not easy: You start with dozens, if not hundreds, of prospects at the start of the process. And you work to establish some kind of communication with as many as possible, and soon find that the vast majority aren’t going to take your opportunity all that seriously.

So for the prospects who make it through those many different filters, and take the time to actually engage with you by phone, text or email, it becomes critical for coaches to foster that opportunity by leading the conversation – not just ‘having’ a conversation.

The first is action-oriented, the later is passive. Too many coaches, in our work with different programs around the country, stay satisfied with just hearing from a prospect, and spending time talking or text back and forth. “Contact”, of any kind, seems to check a box on the to-do list for most coaches, and I’m sure their thinking is “it’s personal contact, they’re getting to know me, and they’re showing interest by taking my call.”

But as many coaches are slowly discovering, settling for what I just described isn’t getting the job done. In our adult world, time spent communicating with each other yields new information, a deeper understanding of what we’re communicating, and good back and forth interaction. With many of today’s teens? Trying to communicate with them gets you two word answers and politically correct answers.

So, here’s my advice:

  • Have a specific reason for your call, text or email.
  • Never ever ever just “check in” with them.
  • Keep your calls to 10-minutes or less IF you are the one doing most of the talking.
  • Find ways to keep the conversation going.

And it’s that last point that I feel is becoming the most important aspect of communication for a coach during the communication process: Find ways to keep your prospects talking, and – more importantly – revealing information.

Like I said, today’s teens tend to hold back and wait. They don’t reveal. They don’t continue giving the coaches who are recruiting them feedback, new thoughts, objections, or new questions.

Unless you purposefully continue to draw out information in your conversations, you’ll struggle in your recruiting. Here are three simple ways to start that process, and begin to draw out critical information from your recruits that will allow you to recruit them more effectively, as well as get to know their true motivations and questions as they go through the process:

  1. Ask them, “And then what?” We find that today’s recruit will offer little nuggets of information out to coaches, but then stop short of fully outlining everything they may have on their mind. So, especially when they offer up insights involving their decision making process, or timeline related details, try asking “and then what?” Prompt them to reveal what would come after what they first mentioned. In a sense, you are giving them permission to continue talking. Without that, they tend to say the bare minimum, and then stop.
  2. Look for the logical follow-up question. I’ve often made the point that when you are recruiting, college coaches should think of themselves as late night talk show hosts. Your job, as host, is to get your guest to reveal interesting information and stories about themselves. That’s true in recruiting, too. So, always be thinking of what the logical follow-up question to what your prospect just said. Get them to keep talking. And, as they go deeper into the details, pay attention: They usually don’t reveal the really good stuff until late into the topic.
  3. Get the parents to confirm. Hopefully, you’re fully engaged in conversations with the parents of your recruits as you read this. If you want to get added detail to what you’re hearing from your recruit, confirm what you just heard with your prospects’ parents. The easiest and most professional way to do that is by sharing something that your prospect told you (his or her timeline, objection, question) and ask the parents if they have the same question or opinion. Often times, you’ll find that they don’t. And that’s important, because discovering that your recruit and his or her parents aren’t on the same page means you need to uncover which side is going to win out, and whether or not you have the power to help everyone come to an agreement.

Your recruiting conversations are important, but even more so is your ability to draw out that conversation, get them to reveal details that they are hiding, and then be thinking strategically as to what your next step should be with that prospect.

 

9 Signs You’re an Exceptionally Productive College CoachMonday, October 15th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I found this great article written on Inc. by Jeff Haden.  I converted parts of it from a business perspective and applied it to what we do as coaches but the majority of the article is the same.   

The most productive people do a lot more than just stay busy. Many coaches stay busy. After all, checking items off a to-do list isn’t hard.

What’s hard is checking the right things off your to-do list, completing the right projects, and getting the right stuff done. That’s when you go from busy to productive — and in the process become indispensable to your programs success.

Here are some of the things highly productive people do — and why that makes them so valuable:

1. They always start with goals.

Effort without a genuine purpose is just effort. Effective coaches don’t just know what to do–they know why. They have a long-term goal. They have short-term goals that support their long-term goals.

In short, they have purpose–and that purpose informs everything they do. That’s why remarkable people appear so dedicated and organized and consistently on-task. They’re not slaves to a routine; they’re simply driven to reach their goals and quick to eliminate roadblocks and put aside distractions that stand in their way.

Productive people always set their goals first. So decide what success means to you. You’ll find it’s easy to stay focused and be effective when you truly care about what you hope to achieve.

Even so, once they establish a goal, productive people don’t focus solely on that goal; instead …

2. Then they create systems.

As a coach, your goal is to build a successful program. Your system consists of your processes for recruiting, practices, operations, etc.

A goal is great for planning and mapping out what success looks like; a system is great for actually making progress toward that goal.

Productive people know a goal can provide direction and even push them forward in the short term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win.

Everyone has goals; committing to a system makes all the difference in achieving that goal.

3. They believe in themselves.

Diligence isn’t easy. Hard work is hard. Pushing forward when successes are few and far between takes optimism and self-belief.

That’s why busy people quickly give up and effective people keep going.

Productive people embrace the fact (and it is a fact) that the only way to get to where they want to go is to try … and keep on trying.

They know that eventually they will succeed, because …

4. They believe they are in control of their lives.

Many people feel luck — or outside forces — has a lot to do with success or failure. If they succeed, luck favored them; if they fail, luck was against them.

Luck certainly does play a part, but productive people don’t hope for good luck or worry about bad luck. They assume success is totally within their control. If they succeed, they caused it; if they fail, they caused that, too.

Productive people waste zero mental energy worrying about what might happen to them — they put all their effort into making things happen.

They know they can never control luck … but they can always control themselves.

5. And yet they also embrace “random.”

When your nose is to the grindstone, all you can see is the grindstone. And that means you miss opportunities to spot something new, try something different, or go off on a fruitful tangent.

Busy people stay on-task. So do productive people, but productive people also build in time and opportunity to experience new things, try new methods, and benefit from happy accidents.

They’re not always trying to reinvent the wheel. But they’re more than happy to adopt someone else’s perfectly functioning wheel.

6. They find success in the success of others.

Great teams win because their most talented members are willing to sacrifice to help others succeed.

That’s why great companies are made up of employees who help each other, know their roles, set aside their personal goals, and value team success over everything else.

Where does that attitude come from?

You.

Focus only on yourself and ultimately you’ll be by yourself. To be productive, find fulfillment in helping other people succeed. In the process you will succeed, too — in more ways than one.

7. They let their goals make their decisions almost automatic.

Tim Ferriss described in a podcast how Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, makes so many decisions every day. Kelleher applies a simple framework to every issue: Will this help Southwest be the low-cost provider? If so, the answer is yes. If not, no.

Productive people apply the same framework to the decisions they make. “Will this help me reach my goal? If not, I won’t do it.”

If you feel like you’re constantly struggling to make decisions, take a step back. Think about your goals; your goals will help you make decisions.

That’s why productive people are so decisive. Indecision is born of a lack of purpose: When you know what you truly want, most of your decisions can — and should — be almost automatic.

8. They rarely multitask.

Plenty of research says multitasking doesn’t work. (Some research says multitasking actually makes you stupid.)

Maybe you don’t agree.

Maybe you’re wrong. Try to do two things at once and you’ll do both half-assed.

Productive people focus on one thing at a time. They do that one thing incredibly well … and then they move on to whatever is next. And they do that incredibly well.

9. They often ask for help.

Busy people ask for help getting something done. Productive people ask for help not just because they need help but also because by asking they show respect for the other person and trust his or her experience, skill, or insight.

Mutual respect is the foundation of every solid relationship–and the best way to create mutual respect is to first show respect.

Want to be more productive? Surround yourself with people who trust and motivate and inspire you — and in turn are inspired by you.

Again, I loved this article and the advice it shared.  I hope that it gets you thinking about how you are currently working and encourages you to tweak and keep tweaking until you find that magic zone where you crush every work day.

Have questions about being more productive as a college coach? Mandy Green can help! Contact her to find out how she works with college coaching staffs around the country at mandy@dantudor.com

Build a Brand Message Your Recruits Will Connect WithMonday, September 10th, 2018

You and I, just like the teenage prospects that you are recruiting, love to align themselves with good brands.

Coaches talk to me all the time about the idea of establishing their own unique brand, and telling the story that’s effective in the eyes of their recruiting audience. It’s hard to do, but they know it’s important, and so they make every effort to tell a great brand story, and to develop a unique overall brand message that differentiates their program from their competitors

In the world of Internet travel resources, TripAdvisor is a great brand. I myself use their rating system and reviews for hotels I’m considering, and I often look up fun things to do on family vacations if we’re in an area for the first time. TripAdvisor is one of our go to resources, as it is for many people.

I even have an added reason to align myself with trip advisor: Our favorite local burger place here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Al’s Burger Shack, just got named by TripAdvisor as having the best hamburger in America, according to an average of all the reviews of their hamburgers compared to other restaurants around the country.

And yet, I would never even think for a second of buying this TripAdvisor coffee mug that was advertised prominently inside of a Charlotte International Airport gift shop.

It’s odd, out of place, and probably is being featured just because somebody in the corporate office at TripAdvisor figured it was good to put their brand name on some sort of items that the general public might want take with them on their way to the next flight. Except that’s not what the general public is usually looking for when they are on their way to their next flight. Honestly, I can’t think of any compelling reason anyone would want to buy a TripAdvisor coffee mug.

So, what does and oddly placed Internet travel website coffee mug have to do with recruiting, and your college marketing message efforts?

Glad you asked. It’s largely up to you to define your brand to your recruiting class. When it comes to branding, which every coach these days seems to be concerned about, I want to offer up some advice  to follow when you and your staff are trying to craft your brand message for your next batch of potential recruits:

Decide what you are, and what you aren’t. And when you do that, be specific and as discriminating as possible. By ‘discriminating’ I mean this: Define some things that would potentially turn prospective student athletes off of your program, essentially explaining who isn’t right for you as a coach and for your program. There are things that aren’t right for every prospect on your campus. The more you explain what those things are, along with the aspects of the college or your program that would be right for recruits, you’ll begin to establish the basis for a good, solid brand a message that stands out when compared to other programs who are trying to get the same attention of the same prospect.

Making an outrageous claim, and then work to prove it to your prospect. If you want a good example of  being on the edge when it comes to ideas of brand development that really become successful in the marketplace, grab a copy of the outstanding book, Marketing Outrageously. You’ll know it when you see it, because it’s the one of a with a picture of the sumo wrestler dunking a basketball on the cover. It’s the story Joel Spoelstra, the man in charge of season ticket sales and marketing for the lowly New Jersey Nets of the NBA many years ago. He describes how the used outrageously creative branding and marketing ideas to go from the bottom of the pack in season ticket sales, to the top team that was getting sellouts every night – even when their team was still really bad on the court.  He describes the mandate he gave to his marketing staff when it came to creative ideas they would use to market their brand: It has to be an idea so out rages and on the edge, that eventually they would say to themselves “I’m not sure if the owner will let us do that“. That, he said, was when he knew they were getting close to a great idea that would actually work. For most college coaches, they could use a dose of outrageous, creative, one of a kind marketing and branding ideas that set them selves apart and really define their program in a compelling way to recruits.

How are you different than everyone else they’re looking at? For a detailed explanation on this important point in the branding process, listen to this recent podcast episode we did on the topic. In summary, it’s vital that you explain why you were different then other programs they were also looking at. Because of that short timeline that I just mentioned in the previous point, they are trying to assess differences, and whittle their list down as quickly and as efficiently as possible, the best they know how. Understanding who’s different, and why, is one of the big ways they do that. Like I said, we go into a lot of detail on that topic in the podcast episode. Devote a few minutes of your day listening to it if you have the time. (Listen on iTunesGoogle Play, or Sticher)

Branding with out measurable action is worthless. The one difference between you and the marketers at Ford, Kellogg‘s, or TripAdvisor, is that you don’t have a long time to let your brand image sink in for most recruiting classes. You have a 6 to 18 month window, in most cases, to attract the attention of your retreat through whatever branding message you choose to put forward. That means you are aiming for them to become a buyer in one to two years, tops,  like many companies do. You need action quickly. So, your branding message should consistently be asking for action on the part of your prospect. That interaction, coupled with the introduction of the brand that is justifying why they should take action, because its is the ‘secret sauce’ that a select few coaches have discovered is one of the secrets to attracting good recruits on a consistent basis.

Branding is your responsibility, Coach. The faster you establish you brand, and then go about the daily business of putting that message in front of recruits, the faster you’ll see your prospects being able to define who you are, and what your team is all about.

Why Smart Recruiters Should Stop Combining Their Restaurant FoodMonday, July 2nd, 2018

I like Mexican food.

I also like Italian food.

So why is it, when I see a sign like this one, do I automatically discount it as something ‘less than special’?

Or, maybe it’s just me. Maybe you like businesses that combine two completely separate categories into one convenient location. Perhaps the chef, showing off his or her versatility in the culinary arts, would be a draw. After all, going to eat a Mexican-Italian restaurant would mean an almost endless variety of food options. You could dine there every night for a year, and you may never repeat the same combination twice.

So what’s my problem?

It’s this: We are a culture that is geared towards specialties. Precise definition.

Online dating sites, like eHarmony? Not precise enough. We needed FarmersOnly.com and ChristianMingle.com. Want to buy a mattress? You don’t go to a department store, you go to Casper.com or get a Sleep Number bed (because we need our own personalized “sleep number”, of course).

So, when we run into businesses that have weird combinations, we pump our brakes a little, right?

It works the same way with recruiting. Your recruiting message, specifically. When you, or your college, tries to present itself as all things to all people, it increasingly fails as a marketing strategy. Coaches that send out information to their recruits which presents everything at once, or makes the case that their college is perfect for every student-athlete, are finding that it’s a message which struggles to gain traction.

What I’m suggesting is simple:

Define yourself as specifically as possible.

In fact, define you, your program, and your college so well that you actually are able to verbalize who isn’t right for you. That’s right, explain to your prospect who isn’t a good fit.

If you do this, at the same time you define yourself out of one prospect’s picture of their ‘perfect school’, you define yourself into another prospect’s picture of their perfect school. In contrast, when you try to describe yourself as perfect for every potential student-athlete, you sound like everyone else. You look like everyone else. And, you are compared to everyone else.

When that happens, how is your recruit left to decide between multiple schools that all sound, look and feel like all their other choices? They’ll gravitate towards the least expensive. Or, the closet to home. Or, the farthest from home. Or, the school at the highest division level.

(Note: This concept also applies to your actual messaging that you’re sending to recruits. Coincidentally, in an earlier article, we used a restaurant comparison to make our point, too!)

They’ll break their own tie, somehow, and experience tells me it doesn’t work out well for most schools.

Unfortunately, that’s where my advice stops. It’s impossible to determine what approach, story or definition is the “right” one for you (shameless plug: we can do that if you’re a client). But you can do it on your own, by answering these four key questions – and then using those answers to craft the core part of your story.

  1. What is our one sentence definition for the perfect student-athlete for our program?
  2. How would I describe a student-athlete who would be completely wrong for me, as their coach, and our program?
  3. What are the three biggest distinctions about our college, location, campus or program that is completely different than most of their other choices?
  4. How can we describe these three distinctions in a way that sounds confident, inspiring and positive?

If you choose to continue to present a bland message which sounds like everyone else they’re hearing from, it’s going to become harder and harder to get their attention. Simple as that. This generation needs a reason to reply to you and take you seriously; the mere fact that you offer degrees and have a sports program isn’t enough any longer.

Begin to find ways to separate yourself from your competition way, way before you get your prospect on campus. You’ll notice much more interest sooner, with better yield results in the end.

We focus on unique ways to tell your program’s story every year at the popular National Collegiate Recruiting Conference. The next conference is happening this summer, so if you’re looking for fresh ideas presented by fellow coaches, make sure you attend! All the details are right here.

When Your Prospects Say, “I Knew It!”Monday, April 23rd, 2018

We all do that.

News comes along that either confirms our worst fears, or validates our deeply held beliefs.

And, we are actively looking for that news: With our favorite political candidate, the coach of our favorite NFL team we want to see fired, or the next coaching job we are chomping at the bit to apply for. We are always evaluating news, and seeking see how it confirms our natural personal biases.

What I’m saying is, we all want to be able to say, “I knew it!”

Your prospects are the same way. At the start, in the middle, and towards the end of the recruiting process, we’re looking for evidence that we were right in our initial assumptions. Nobody likes to be proven wrong: I don’t, you don’t, your prospects don’t, and your prospect’s parents REALLY don’t.

How does all of this affect you and your recruiting results? Through one simple concept:

The story you tell your recruit will either reenforce your prospect’s trust, or amplify their skepticism. You, as the coach and chief marketing executive of your program, are ultimately responsible for what that story is.

Want to know what our research shows as what the top three enforcers of each possibility? Here you go, Coach:

  • How you showcase your negatives. It could be your locker room, your field, your recent history, or where you’re located. Whatever your program’s recruiting hurdle appears to be, how you define it – and even showcase it – to your prospects is going to go a long way towards either confirming their negative assumptions, or amplify their feelings that there might be another way of looking at your traditional negative. If you don’t make your case, who will? If you don’t re-define the way they look at your negative, who will? Lead with your negatives. That’ll give you the chance to define it for your prospect, and it will earn more trust with your prospect. Our research shows that this is highly effective, and something your prospects look for as a sign they can trust you.
  • How early you offer. This one is interesting, and kind of complex to take apart. As your prospects decide whether or not you should be one of the programs you visit, they’re looking for evidence you’re serious about them. As we discuss all the time in our famous on-campus recruiting workshops, parents and athletes use two primary criteria when they are telling themselves, “I knew it!” when it comes to if they should visit (or skip) a certain program: They’ll look whether the head coach is in contact with them, and they’ll look for an offer – either athletically, through other funding on campus, or even a roster spot. They need a reason to come to visit, and we find that the earlier that happens, the more ‘obligated’ they feel towards making you one of your visits.
  • How (and when) you ask them to commit. The greatest evidence you’re serious about a prospect? Asking them if they’re ready to commit. There’s a right way, and a wrong way, to do it. But the bottom line is this: When you do it, there are all sorts of good signals it triggers that tells an athlete, “I knew it!” in a good way. It’s proof you want them, and even if they aren’t quite ready to answer ‘yes’ to that question you ask, it verifies that there is good reason to be serious about you. Oh, and by the way: If you don’t do it, it also sends an “I knew it” signal…just not the kind of signal you want.

We are all constantly looking for evidence that our gut feelings are true. Take this approach if you want to send the right signals that move the recruiting process onto the next phase.

Looking for more unique strategies to up your recruiting game? be a part of this Summer’s upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference! It’s a one-of-a-kind event designed around the needs of coaches looking to become next-level college recruiters. Click here for all the information.

5 Creative Ways to Achieve Your Daily PrioritiesMonday, January 29th, 2018

by Mandy Green, Busy Coach

I am 100% guilty of not making my priorities a priority at times, especially while we are in season.  I would get into the office and then get busy doing other things and would tell myself that “I will do it later.”  I would fit in a few minutes in here or there on my big things, but at the end of the day, I would leave the office with a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction because I knew that I didn’t make any significant progress on things I felt would make my program better. 

Can you relate?

It is really easy to get lost in all of the details of what we have to do (or get to do depending on how you look at it) day-to-day.  No matter what level you coach or how successful you have been, we all have program changing priorities that need to get worked on and we have maintenance tasks.  As one example, obviously recruiting quality student athletes is vital to the continued or future success of your program. Recruiting is and always should be a priority, so we need to find a way to give it the time it deserves.        

As I have been reading about and applying different time management techniques over the last 8+ years, some methods have worked better than others. 

Here are 5 most effective things that I have done to make time for program changing activities.  Depending on your work hours and situation, maybe some or all of these could help.  I will use how I have made recruiting time for recruiting as an example.

  1. Start my day earlier.  Instead of waiting to do it when I got into the office, I woke up early and got at least 1 hour of pure recruiting work done before I got into the office.  It was quiet and there were no interruptions so I was able to work for a solid chunk of time and cranked out a ton of emails. It felt great walking into the office for the day knowing that I had already gotten a good amount of recruiting done. 
  2. I worked from a different location.  Depending on the week and how much there was to do, I figured out which were my least busy days and times around the office and went and worked from home or in a coffee shop for a solid block of time.  I was having a hard time making any significant progress in my recruiting when I was only doing it for a few minutes here and there in between 4,000 other things that needed to get done. Going somewhere different where I couldn’t be interrupted and was able to work for solid blocks of time was really helpful. 
  3. I made a long list of everything that had to get done with recruiting.  I figured out what I HAD to do, then I delegated the rest.  I’ve hired students through work study to do my database entry.  I have gotten my communication majors do our social media for a class project.  I have had to get creative here because my 1st 3 years here at South Dakota I didn’t have a full-time assistant.  There was a lot of work to do so I had to think outside the box and go find help with the resources I had on campus. 
  4. I created work expectations.  I think you get what you tolerate.  If you always tolerate your co-workers interrupting you, they will always interrupt you.  If you tolerate your co-workers texting you at all hours of the night and morning and you respond immediately, they will keep doing it.  I get there are things that need to get done and if you are an assistant, you are at the whim of your head coach.  BUT, and this is a BIG BUTT,  I think if you are organized and are proactively planning and getting things done in advance, you shouldn’t need to be asking your staff to do things at all hours of the night as you remember them.   
  5. I created systems or checklists for almost everything.  I have checklists for what needs to get done on on-campus visits, recruiting phone calls, game day, preseason, travel, after season meetings, the spring season, etc.  It takes longer, the work doesn’t get done as well, things get forgotten, and it is mentally exhausting when you always trying to remember things because you only have everything up in your head.  Get your standard operating procedures out of your head and down on paper.  When you can get those things running smoother, it will free up a lot more time to do recruiting as well. 

I HAD to do these things above because I was tired of being tired and stressed out about not getting enough of my high priority stuff done. As you may have noticed, doing all of these things above required me to change how I was currently working. 

It was really hard a few years ago to make changes to how I was working because I was used to doing things a certain way.  But now, I don’t think twice about it. 

My program is so much better now because I am working on my program, and not just being busy working in my program. 

How do you make time for your top priorities?  Email me at mandy@busy.coach and let me know.  Love hearing all of the ways that everybody else is staying organized and focused on the right things.

Want to work with me this year to get more organized and productive?  Click here.

The Case for Getting Your Prospect to Talk Negative About YouMonday, January 8th, 2018

From a really young age, we are taught to earn the trust of those around us.

We want them to like us, and say only good things about us to anyone they might meet. We want positive words, positive vibes, and positive results.

Positive, positive, positive.

Here’s why that might not be such a good thing when it comes to your recruits, and the effort to attract them to your program:

If you can’t get them to reveal what they view as negative about you, your program, and the opportunity to come to your campus, they probably aren’t going to tell you the truth about some of the things that they really feel about the idea of coming there.

The reason? According to the research and focus groups we conduct during our campus workshops and work with our clients, today’s prospects talk to us about the hesitancy in telling a coach what they don’t like about the program, or the objections that they are holding quietly against you.

Don’t feel badly, Coach. It’s not just you, it’s virtually every coach they get to know while getting recruited. So, how do you separate yourself in the mind of your prospect so that you don’t endure the same fate awaiting your competitors who aren’t reading this article?

Get them to talk negative about you and your program. It might be tough to hear, but it’s essential if you want to dig down to the truth and get them to reveal his or her real feelings. Here’s how:

  • Ask them what the two or three biggest question marks are in their mind, now that they’ve gotten to know you and your program. Hear what I’m saying: Don’t ask them “if” they have any questions about the idea of committing to you, ask them what the questions and objections are about you and your program.
  • When they tell you, and seem to be done, don’t stop. Ask them, “I’m really glad you opened up and told me about those questions you’re still trying to figure out…what else would you add to the list?” Don’t assume that they’re done. They will often add to the list, and you need to know everything they are thinking and feeling.
  • Once you feel they are done, thank them again for sharing that honest feedback. It’s vital that they feel like there are no penalties for being honest with you, because you want them to keep being honest with you moving forward. Keep the door open for future revelations from your prospect.
  • Finally, let them know that you are going to spend time talking to them about their concerns, and that you feel after you are done, you’re going to be the program that they end up putting at the top of their list. You don’t have to use those words exactly, but you do need to convey that thought in it’s entirety.

Understand, this isn’t a fool-proof solution for winning every prospect. In fact, it may reveal that you are going to lose a prospect much earlier than you would have normally. But that’s part of dealing with the truth in recruiting accurately, and in a timely manner.

Getting your prospect to talk negatively about you is actually the way you get them to tell you the truth. If you feel like there are things going on behind the scenes that aren’t getting revealed to you in a recruiting situation, try this four step strategy we have seen work consistently over the years.

Want to hear more on this strategy, plus three other unique approaches to jump-starting your recruiting efforts that seem to be stalled, listen to this special College Recruiting Weekly podcast episode. CLICK HERE.

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