“Presentation” might be the wrong word, actually.
As a college recruiter, you don’t give recruting “presentations” in the same way that a business sales professional might give a sales presentation to a new prospective client. And if you are doing it that way, prepare to have a long, painful life as a struggling college recruiter.
There are fundamental differences in what you want to do as a college coach trying to connect with a teenage with their prospect, especially when it comes to the reasons they are making their decision on what coach – and what program – is the best fit for them.
But that being said, “presentation” is the best word that I could come up with, because it really wraps in all the elements of the process that you use to recruit a student-athlete. We’re not just talking about the opportunities you have to go into a prospect’s home and talk to them about competing for you and your program, or hosting them on campus as a part of an unofficial or official visit
“Presentations” can include a lot more:
- The letters and emails that you write…that’s part of your presentation.
- The phone calls that you make…that’s part of your presentation.
- What is said about your school or you online…that’s part of your presentation.
- When a prospect comes to visit your campus…that’s a part of your presentation.
You can’t overlook one area of your overall presentation and expect success. Especially when it comes to the top athletes you really, really want for your program.
So in looking at programs we work with, and see what they do right on a consistent basis, here’s my list of the 7 things YOU need in your recruiting presentation if you’re looking for an added degree of success with your next recruiting class:
- Develop a belief in your school and your program. It pains me when I hear a coach tell me privately that he or she doesn’t think their school can compete with others in their conference. What you absolutely need as a part of your overall recruiting presentation is a heart-felt belief that your school, your program – and you as a coach – are the best option for your recruit. Assume that you are going to sign the athlete when you first start talking to them. Today’s prospects want to compete for coaches who are confident (not cocky, confident). If you don’t display passion about you and your program, don’t expect them to be passionate about the idea of coming to compete for you.
- Focus on helping them reach their objectives. Not sell your school. Not brag about your program. Not show off your new building. Help connect the dots and show them how you (and your school, and your program, and maybe even the new building) will help them reach their athletic and academic objectives. An easy way to make sure you’re doing this is by taking a look at each facet of your recruiting process and explain how whatever you do helps your recruit reach their objective. “But Dan, what if I don’t know what their objective in college is?” Ask.
- Tell them you have some ideas on how to help them. Do you know how original you’d be if you would just come to them with tangible ideas for them instead of bullet-pointed athletic department brochures? Kids will always stay engaged if you give yourself away and get them to connect with you through ideas about them. Not you, them.
- Try to ask one amazing question at the beginning of each new type of contact.One for your first letter, your first email, your first phone call, and when you first meet. I’m talking about a question that makes them stop and really think about the answer before they give it to you. Whenever you ask a question they haven’t been presented with before, that’s a sign of a great presentation.
- Don’t “need” the recruit. Prospects and their parents have become increasingly adept at sniffing out desparation, and it’s not something that they view favorably. If you find yourself “pressing” for prospects – especially at the end of your recruiting cycle – then you need more prospects. We have a coach we’ve worked with for several years who is heading into these upcoming months with nine prospects that are “A” rated recruits. They only need to sign two this year. Two years ago, their list was 1/3 the size it is now. Do like they did and assess your needs and make adjustments in the numbers so that you aren’t begging at the end.
- Ask for the sale. If you’ve taken part in one of our famous On-Campus Workshops at your school, you know this is a familiar mantra we preach to college recruiters. You’re recruiting them for a reason: You want them to play for you. So, once you know in your heart that they’d be perfect for you – and you’re ready to hear a “yes” from them and follow-up with all the commitments that come along with possibly hearing that answer – ask them to commit. Even if they say “no, not yet,” they’ll remember you as a coach that is passionate about them and that wants them for their team. You might even be surprised when you get that immediate “yes!” from a prospect you really want….if you consistently ask.
- Be 100% focused 100% of the time. Are you smiling and confident? Your prospect is watching. Are you and your staff wearing school polo shirts? Your prospect is watching. Are you prepared for their visit and engaged with them individually, or are you thinking about what went wrong at practice yesterday? Your prospect is watching. They are judging you as much as they are judging your school and your program. Every part of your interaction with them matters, Coach. Pay attention to the details and stay focused.
Now that you have my list, here’s a quick mental homework assignment I’d love for you to invest the next five minutes in doing: What three or four things can you do right away to improve your overall recruiting presentation? Write down those changes on a card or piece of paper, and put it up on your wall in your office. Don’t take it down until you’ve followed your own advice and made those changes to your presentation.
Those seven guiding principles can help you form the basis for a really effective recruiting presentaiton, which will help you make a big impact on this next recruiting class you’re starting to contact.
Do you have questions for Dan? Email him directly at email@example.com.