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August 6th, 2012

The “SW-9 Formula” for Recruiting Success

by John Brubaker, Author and Performance Consultant

Part 1 of 2

Whether you realize or not, as a recruiter you are in sales and the number one thing you are selling is yourself. A prospect needs to be sold on you before they are ever going to be sold on your program or university. Your sales are lost or gained long before you ever meet with the prospect to “close” them. The sale is first made to yourself.

Prospecting, qualifying, rapport building, presenting and closing are all skills that take time to develop. No one is born to sell nor can you become an overnight success after simply taking a one day sales training seminar. What you can do to become a better recruiter immediately is to apply the SW-9 formula for recruiting success. It will help you make that first sale to yourself.

Management consulting guru Peter Drucker once said “If you can’t explain what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”  There is some real wisdom in this quote for performers in any profession whether you are a college coach, an NFL quarterback, or a financial advisor. There is a tremendous amount of research which indicates that sales professionals who utilize a sales process consistently outperform their counterparts who do not. (This is regardless of the specific type of process and regardless of industry.)

I strongly believe that any good sales process begins with an understanding of the nine S.W.’s of sales.

  • Some Will: No matter how poor a sales person you are someone will buy from you. Perhaps you have a unique opportunity they see as a tremendous value or your product (institution/program) offers the best fit. Regardless of how you feel you may have botched the presentation, call or visit; there is someone who will buy what you are selling.

  • Some Won’t: You can be a world-class sales professional (recruiter) and some won’t buy from you. What matters more than the fact that some won’t is how do you respond to rejection. Is it the end of the road or a bend in the road? Do you perceive a “no” as meaning never or as meaning next?  An answer of no is not the prospect rejecting you personally, it often simply means you have not given them a compelling enough reason to “buy”. Think of no not as a word rather think of it as an acronym. No really means N.O. or next opportunity. Be willing to move on to the next opportunity, embrace the next recruiting call, the next home visit, the next meeting with a high school coach, etc. The next opportunity may be the next call with that same recruit or it may mean moving on to another on your list. These are the bends in the recruiting trail that make the job exciting. After making a bad play, don’t you counsel your athletes to focus on the next play not that last one? Take your own advice, it is the next opportunity you have control over not the last one.  Focus on the things you can control. How do the best recruiters deal with the many S.W. #2’s they face? The unreturned phone calls, the unopened emails, the unresponsive high school coach, the blue chip prospects who say no to your offer. The best of the best take an S.W. #3 approach to rejection.
  • So What: The best approach to rejection is to have what my colleague, sports psychologist Dr. Adam Naylor calls “intentional amnesia”. Great athletes have long term memories for success and very short term memories for failure. Great salespeople do the same. They don’t personalize rejection or objections. Instead they view them as feedback and an opportunity to improve.  In my role as a performance consultant, several years ago I determined that many of the best sales professionals I’ve worked with were competitive baseball players either back in high school or college. It makes perfect sense. Sales, like baseball or softball, is a game of failure and a game of averages. In baseball you will strike out way more times than you get a hit. A successful hitter will average three hits out of every ten at bats. Success is not measured by the individual at-bat, baseball is a long season and success is measured by the overall body of work or your batting average. Sales is the same way, it’s a game of failure where you are destined to face more rejection than acceptance.  You have to get a certain number of “no’s” in order to get to a yes. So why not embrace receiving a no with a so what mentality because it will move you closer to your next yes.  When asked what about what impact striking out had on him Babe Ruth responded “Every strike out brings me closer to my next home run.” You can take the same mentality in your recruiting. How? By realizing S.W. #4.

  • Someone’s Waiting: No matter what just happened, there is always another opportunity, another prospect, another appointment, another referral, another coach. When you leave the meeting, vent for a moment by letting ‘er rip with a nice big, loud four letter word….. N-E-X-T! Remember no is really an acronym for next opportunity; next prospect, next appointment, the meeting with the next coach. Psychologists have studied the power of both the primacy effect and the recency effect. It has been proven that primacy or being the first impression made, has a stronger effect than recency. Food for thought:  Are you the first coach to call that blue chip prospect on July 1st? Are you the first coach at their front doorstep to make the home visit?

Next week:  The final five  SW’s every coach needs to know when building a great recruiting approach.

John Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and author. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Brubaker helps organizations and individuals develop their competitive edge. Brubaker is the author of The Coach Approach: Success Strategies Out Of The Locker Room Into The Board Room and co-author of the book Leadership: Helping Others To Succeed.  He is also a featured speaker and consultant for Tudor Collegiate Strategies.

He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and he also earned a master’s degree in personnel psychology from FDU. Brubaker has completed his doctoral coursework in Sport Psychology at Temple University.  www.coachbru.com