Dan Tudor

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August 13th, 2012

Getting Your Prospect Ready to Be Asked

The headline may have caused you to do a double-take.

What do I mean “getting your prospect ready” to be asked?  Asked for what?

A commitment.  You may not have realized it, but the more you prepare your recruit to be asked or a commitment to your program, the more likely you’re going to get a favorable response.

There is actually a lot of psychological research to back-up the idea.

Coaches focus on preparing their athletes for all of the different phases of the recruiting process, so this concept is really no different than any other strategy we’ve suggested in the past.  However, I don’t think many coaches have thought about getting their prospect ready to say “yes” in the way we’re suggesting here.

The latest research on how best to accomplish the idea successfully was conducted by Polish professor Dariusz Dolinski, as reported in the latest issue of Neuromarketing:

The concept of asking for a small, easy to grant, favor in advance of a bigger request is often called the “foot in the door” technique. Past research has shown that when the initial request is more demanding, if a subject agrees to it then the probability of fufilling the second even more difficult request is higher. Of course, more complex or time consuming initial requests are likely to have a lower initial success rate.

Dolinksi used the “favor on the street” experiment often used in past research of this type. But, instead of a merely simple request, the experimenter asked the unwitting subjects to perform a task that was simple but unusual: to tie his shoe (offering the explanation of an injured back). The unusual tasks, even though simple and quick, had the same lift on on subsequent requests as more complex ones.

So, to persuade a customer to do something, consider starting off with a very simple but unusual request. You could try the same “tie-my-shoe” technique used in the research, but I’ll leave it to your imagination to come up with an approach that fits the individual situation.

If you buy into Dolinksi’s research, make the task as quick and simple as you can, just be sure it’s unusual or even a little startling. Then, some time after your prospect complies,ask for what you really want.

Here’s the take-away for recruiters who want to take this rather creative approach to getting their prospects ready to say “yes”:

  • Since it all revolves around getting your prospect to say yes to something you’re looking for them to do – a phone call, agreeing on a date to visit campus, or even – you don’t need to ask them for a favor in person.  Ask them to do something for you by email, or over the phone.
  • Ask for small favors often.
  • Use it as an indicator that they might be ready to respond to you positively.

While this might be a new technique for college recruiters to get their mind around, it’s a proven strategy in the business world.  Now, with new research that backs-up it’s effectiveness, you should feel comfortable trying it with your next group of recruits (when you’re ready to hear a “yes”, that is).

As you begin to recruit this next class of prospects, utilize the resources at www.dantudor.com.  Our resources – many of them free for college coaches – have helped guide recruiters towards their best classes ever, and make the recruiting process more manageable.  Let us help you be a better recruiter, coach!

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