Dan Tudor

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February 14th, 2011

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The First 5 Steps to Telling Your Story

Whenever we go to lead one of our On-Campus Workshops for a college coach or athletic director, a big part of our job is helping them to develop their “story”.

I think effective stories are vital to the recruiting process.  And by the way, when I say “story”, I’m not talking about something that has been made-up to try and trick a teenager into choosing your program.  I am not talking about telling lies, making up statistics to bolster the prestige of your school, or anything associated with negative recruiting against an opponent.

What I am talking about is giving your recruit something to reach out and touch, and feel, and connect with when it comes to what your program is all about.  What is your “story” that you want them to buy into?  Have you sat back and considered what kind of picture you are painting for your prospect in their head through your recruiting materials, phone calls and even on-campus visits?

If you have never seriously thought about “your story” before, and need help in creating it so that you can be a more effective recruiter starting immediately, I want to pass along five questions that you can ask yourself – and your fellow coaches on your staff – to see what you can find that is unique about your program, and how to present it as a compelling story that your recruit will want to hear more of:

  1. What are your prospects demanding?  Here’s a hint: It’s not always about the money, so don’t make that the focus.  If you’ve read our study how high school athletes tell us they will make their final college decision, it usually revolves around personal relationships with your team and you as a coach.  They demand attention, and they demand benefits that revolve around them.  What can you do to “meet their demand”?
  2. What do your prospects need?  Money?  Sometimes.  A degree?  Yes.  A chance to succeed?  All the time.  Ask yourself what your prospects need, and you will go a long way towards reaching them with a message – a story – that they will identify with.  Remember: “Needs” are different than “demands”.  Their needs revolve around the realities that they are facing, and are necessary for them to overcome those hurdles.  Figure out a way to meet their needs (that’s what they care about, anyway…their needs, not yours).
  3. What are they willing to pay for?  This is actually a fairly in-depth question.  What is it that they view as being a “premium” feature of your school that if they had to pay for it, they would gladly do so.  For example, if you are at a school that doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, the premium might be a great education…or the brand new dorms…or the chance to compete in the best athletic conference in the country.  All of those things are tangible “premium” items that your prospects may be willing to pay for if they had to.  Understanding what the most valuable parts of your offering are in the eyes of your prospects is a big key in developing a great recruiting story.
  4. What athletic niches are underserved by other colleges?  Next week, I’m working at a university that is developing a specialized niche in the way they educate their incoming Freshmen athletes.  I give them credit for looking at what their school wants to do regarding enrollment, identifying its most likely student-athletes, and building a story around the focus that they have.  Taking a look at what kind of “specialty” niche you can put together for your prospects, whether it be a unique training approach, training trips to exotic locations, or what you offer them on your campus that most of your competitors don’t.  Find an area that your competitors are failing to focusing on and build out that unique brand for your prospect.
  5. What special credentials to you bring to your athlete as a coach?  Most college coaches we work with on a personal level have an admirable personal quality and, at the same time, a flaw that prevents them from connecting with recruits:  They don’t like talking about themselves.  Humility is a great quality, but it can hamper recruiting efforts.  Why?  Because your recruits desperately want to find a coach who has a strong vision for where he or she is taking their program, and is able to verbalize why they are the best choice as a future coach.  Telling that part of your story effectively requires a coach to be able to talk about themselves in a confident manner.

Just asking those five probing questions about you and your program can help you develop the beginnings to a great recruiting strategy…a strategy that will give your prospect the story they can get behind, believe in, and respond to.

Want to take the next step?  Here are two ideas:

    1. Become a client of Tudor Collegiate Strategies.  Let us help you develop and execute your story, saving you time and increasing your bottom line recruiting results.  Click here for more details.Our system works, and we’d love to tell you why. 
    2. Attend the annual National Collegiate Recruiting Conference.  Join us this summer for the most powerful three days of recruiting available for college coaches who want to take a serious approach to their most important job as a college coach: Effective recruiting.  Get all the details and take advantage of our early registration discount…click here!

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