by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter then you know I’m always looking for ways to help you with your professional development. If you’re a new reader, welcome, and now you know too.
Over the past few months I’ve told you why you should be a resource and not a salesperson, how you can be more interesting to prospects, and I’ve given you reasons why your recruitment efforts might be falling short.
Today I want to ask you some critical recruiting strategy questions. They aren’t optional – you have to answer them.
Why? Because I want you to be successful and dominate what has become an increasingly challenging recruiting landscape.
The four questions I’m about to ask you are going to require some thought and should be answered in some detail.
Each of these questions pertains to your central approach to your recruiting message. Many college admissions staffs haven’t truly answered them before, which will give you an automatic advantage if you take a few minutes to answer them for your institution. Doing so will also allow you and your admissions team to recruit more logically and effectively.
Here are the questions that I want to see you develop answers for as you head into another busy and eventful recruitment season:
- Who are the prospective students you’re trying to connect with? I’m not looking for actual names. I’m looking for traits. Things such as demographics, geographical information, and personality type. Once you define the characteristics of the prospects you’re going after, you’ll be surprised at how well you focus on those recruits. That’s a major problem we find with many admissions counselors – No definition of what their school is all about. If you try to sell your school to everyone, you’ll end up selling it effectively to no one. So let me ask you, “How do you answer that question right now”?
- Why are they going to choose your institution? For many of you reading this, you aren’t coming off a year where you significantly increased your enrollment. In fact, many of you may have experienced a drop. Chances are there’s a direct competitor of yours that has better campus dining, newer dorms/buildings, offers more merit aid, and maybe a better location. So the big question is also a simple one: How are you going to change their (your prospects and their parents) perspective? How do you change your story? And once you change their minds, what then? You need to know what your end game is before you enter a serious recruitment battle for a high achieving student. So let me ask you, “How do you answer that question right now”?
- What tools are you lacking? Most admissions leaders can easily define what their team is good at doing when it comes to recruiting. Conversely, many aren’t aware of the skill set(s) their team lacks. So, if you’re being honest with yourself and the counselors on your staff, what three things do you need to get better at right away? What are the things you do poorly, or wrong, as a leader? Honest, ongoing self-evaluation is important if you want to achieve long-term success in the college recruitment world. Many schools are tasked to “get more done with less”. Are you using that as your excuse when you don’t reach your goals, or are you digging deeper to find an alternative solution? So let me ask you, “How do you answer that question right now”?
- What do you need to make successful recruiting happen more often? Think about the time(s) when everything fell into place and you reached, or even exceeded, your enrollment goals. What went right? What happened that time that didn’t happen all the other times? I recommend you develop a prototype of the ideal recruiting process, the ideal campus visit, and the ideal sales message. If you need help with one or all of these things I encourage you to reach out and connect with me. It’s what we do. You should also be asking yourself what some of the common mistakes in your ongoing recruiting efforts are (again, be honest!). What do you need to do in order to duplicate the big successes in the past? So let me ask you, “How do you answer that question right now”?
More than ever before, you and your institution need to define what you’re all about. Tell a great story (it’s one of the things that separates an average recruiter from a superstar recruiter).
Coming up with answers to those four questions will go a long away towards helping you build a firm foundation that you can recruit effectively and efficiently from.
We’re starting work with multiple new clients this month. Each school understands they need a different approach to student recruitment, and we understand that each school is different and unique. Find out how our research-based approach can work for you and your team. All you have to do is email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org