Dan Tudor

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April 30th, 2007

Failing at Landing Recruits? Here’s 9 Reasons Why It Might Be Happening

The great thing about the approach of summer is that its a chance to start thinking about new beginnings for college coaches around the country.  That’s right…the 2007-2008 recruiting season is just around the corner.

You might be at a new school.  Or, you have new athletes coming in to your program.  Maybe you have some new coaches in your program…or, perhaps everything around you is the same, except for the fact that its going to be a new year full of new and promising possibilities.

Now, let me snap you back to reality, coach.  Many of you are worried.  Real worried.  You don’t want the upcoming year to be as bad as the this year – I know, because you’ve talked with me about it.  When it comes to recruiting (which is really selling, remember…) the same thing holds true for a lot of you: You’re worried.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college sports program.  If you don’t recruit well, you don’t win.  If you don’t win, you might not have a job.  And even if they let you keep your job, its not as much fun walking around campus as it is when you’re winning.

So today, let’s not focus on what to do to be successful at selling and recruiting.  Instead, lets look at the reasons you might be failing when it comes to recruiting high school and junior college athletes.  See if any of these struggles plague your recruiting efforts:

  • You don’t believe in your ability to recruit.  Believe it or not, a lot of coaches struggle with this.  They know they’re great coaches, but they hate recruiting and feel like they can’t get the job done.  If you don’t think you have the ability to recruit, get help.  Learn to sell.  Read our recruiting guide for college coaches.  Do things that will raise your ability level when it comes to selling and recruiting.
  • You are lazy and unprepared.  Sound harsh?  It isn’t in the case of some coaches.  Many coaches I meet with don’t take recruiting seriously, and don’t prepare for it going into a new season.  No preparation will equal mediocrity every single time.  Is it hard to be more prepared than your competition to recruit?  Your darn right it is.  Start now to prepare yourself for the upcoming recruiting battles.
  • You don’t know how to accept rejection.  Coaches tend to get down on themselves when an athlete rejects their offer.  Many develop a negative attitude and a defeatist outlook when it comes to recruiting.  Remember, coach:  They are not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your offer.  There’s a difference.  Don’t become bitter, and don’t lose your optimism.  Maintaining your confidence and belief in your ability in the face of rejection is key to succeeding.
  • You fail to master the fundamentals of sales.  I’ve said it many times: Like it or not, coach, you’re a salesperson.  Recruiting is selling.  Have you mastered selling skills?  Are you reading sales training materials?  Are you serious about developing this crucial aspect of your professional career?  If you answered "no" to any one of these things, that should be a red flag.  Take matters into your own hands and train yourself to become a great salesperson, or let Selling for Coaches help you become that great salesperson.  The resources are out there…they are yours for the taking.
  • You fail to overcome the objections of your prospects.  This is huge.  We talk about it frequently here at Selling for Coaches, as you may already know.  This is the number one reason coaches fail when it comes to recruiting.  Why?  Because no prospect is going to say "yes" when you have failed to answer each one of their concerns.  Learn our techniques to overcome objections, and you’ll find that recruiting will get a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.
  • You blame others for your mistakes or shortcomings.  Recruiting isn’t easy, there’s no doubt about it.  But when you start blaming others for your recruiting failures, you’ve lost the psychological battle in selling.  Don’t blame your athletic director, your fellow coach, your facilities, your school’s academic standards, the prospect’s parents…stop it.  The buck stops with you when it comes to your area of recruiting oversight.  Make it your goal to be the best recruiter in your athletic department instead of looking for the next scapegoat for your lackluster performance.
  • You can’t cope with change.  Some coaches are creatures of habit.  And, they like it that way.  But change is constant in the NCAA and at your institution…new policies and procedures, new recruiting limits, new rules, new guidelines, new restrictions.  You know the drill.  To be the best, you have to embrace change and learn to succeed under new and changing circumstances.  Maintain your positive attitude – it’s essential to being successful in recruiting, and in life.
  • You fail to develop long term relationships.  How many high school and junior college coaches did you really work at developing relationships with last season?  Did you expand your recruiting network?  Failure to develop enthusiastic advocates at the high school level is a common problem we see when we come in to help develop a winning recruiting strategy at colleges around the country.  Why is it so important to develop long term relationships?  Because you’ll have more eyes and ears out there eager to give you tips on who to watch and recruit.  Prep coaches are eager to give you that information…if they feel you’re partnering with them for the good of their program and their athlete’s lives.  Take the time to develop GREAT long term relationships this year with as many high school coaches as you can. 
  • You aren’t persistent.  "I’ll only recruit a kid if they call me first."  Or, "I’ve already sent them enough information…if that’s not good enough, then we don’t want them."  Those types of "take it or leave it, kid" statements from college coaches are foolish.  And the coaches who hold those attitudes won’t be coaching for very long in most cases.  Being professional persistent is a key to selling in the business world, and a big key to success in the college recruiting world.  Don’t give up.  Ever.  But remember to be professional.  And, as we talk about in our recruiting book, "Selling for Coaches", if an athlete picks another program over yours be professional in how you respond to them (those of you who have already read the book know the secret – and some of you have already e-mailed me to tell me how it has worked for you!).

Hopefully, none of these apply to you.  For many of you, some will apply.  Here’s the next step: Determine how to erase any of these bad habits from your work life as a recruiter and a coach.  Even one of these can cripple your coaching career, and make recruiting more of a chore than it needs to be.

Need help?  Have a question?  Contact me via e-mail at dan@sellingforcoaches.com or call my office at 661-746-4554.  We thrive on working with coaches who need help formulating a winning strategy when it comes to recruiting, marketing and communication.  We’d love to hear from you.