Creating the right feelings in the mind – and heart – of your prospect.
Is it an important factor in the recruiting process?
You bet it is.
Several national studies we’ve authored over the past two decades reveal one solid fact that every college coach should be aware of when it comes to what’s important in developing a recruiting strategy:
Your prospects are trusting their feelings as they make their decision about you and your program.
That’s the feelings you create while you recruit them, how effective your letters, emails, social media posts and phone calls are at creating the right feelings, as well as the feelings they get when they experience you and your team during a campus visit.
Psychologists have identified three main emotions that center around your prospect’s inner drive and their motivation for making their final decision. Here they are, as well as detail for any serious recruiter who wants to approach their prospects more intelligently this coming year:
When “approach motivation” kicks in, your prospect wants to experience or discover more of something. Approach motivation involves positive desire, and the perceived value of what you move toward always increases.
Approach motivation makes recruiting athletes easier if a quality offer exists, whether it be a full ride D1 offer or the chance to attend a prestigious private college. But it can also be used to sell desirable outcomes, ranging from a politician’s campaign for change, to get rich quick and get skinny now products that promise a desired result.
You want to focus on “avoid motivation” when your prospect wants to get away from something. Avoid motivation deems something unworthy of attention, and an inconvenience or annoyance that should be ignored or eliminated.
In the real world, people want to avoid paying too much on their electric bill more than any desire for features of the juice coming through the wires, unless you’re using alternative energy sources, in which case many will do business with you to avoid adverse environmental impact. Most charities play on avoidance emotions to lessen the impact of poverty, disease, and natural disasters. Rather than taking a beauty approach, Clearasil plays on motivations to avoid the stigma of acne.
In recruiting, you may help your prospect avoid a bad homelife situation. Or, you may help them avoid a lesser competitor and their sub-par facilities. Using this approach relies on your ability as a recruiter to understand if this approach will work with them, and if they have a fear you can help alleviate.
With “attack motivation”, people want to devalue, insult, criticize, or destroy something. When someone is emotionally motivated to eliminate something (rather than simply avoid it), attack motivation is the way to go.
No, I am not advocating “negative recruiting”…this has nothing to do with that topic. Think about ad campaigns for weed killer and bug spray (Raid kills bugs dead!). Likewise, we’ve seen more than our share of large-scale campaigns designed to eradicate various complicated problems by waging war against them – the war on crime, drugs, terror, etc.
A good example of “attack motivation” would be signing early to avoid the stress and unknowns of waiting until the last minute to make a decision. Or, it might be used to prompt and athlete who is dragging their feet at making a final decision by letting them know that your other top prospect is wanting to come to campus and you’ll need to go ahead and offer them the scholarship if they aren’t interested.
Those three motivating factors – approach, avoid, attack – need to be an essential part of your recruiting message. That’s one of the central approaches we use in helping our clients through our unique Total Recruiting Solution program, and it can be for you as well.
Just remember, these feelings and motivations are present in every single recruiting situation. The key for good recruiters is to figure out which motivation your prospect is most likely to respond to, and then build your recruiting message around it.
Need help determining the right approach to take with your next prospect? Dan and the staff at Tudor Collegiate Strategies works daily to make sure our clients are in the best position possible to tell a great recruiting story, and make better connections with the prospects you really need to get to the next level. Click here to get a quick summary of what the program does, and why it’s working for so many coaches around the country.