by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
One of the most under-utilized strategies in recruiting is the approach a coach takes when it comes to post-commitment activities.
You worked so hard to get that recruit to commit. You spent hours watching them compete, hours on the phone with them, and hours sending out strategic messages to sell your school to that athlete.
And it worked! You got the commit. Check off that box, focus on the rest of your recruiting class, and see that athlete next fall. Right?
What is one of the first things a recruit will do when they make a verbal commitment to a coach? Second-guess themselves.
They might be very excited to go to your school and play for your program, but what if they made the wrong choice? What if the experience doesn’t turn out to be what they are hoping for?
Especially if you did a great job and got the commitment early, there NEEDS to be a post-commitment strategy in your recruiting plan in order to hold that commitment. It could be months or years before they actually step on campus. A lot can happen in that time.
Here are two strategies you should be implementing in your post-commitment strategy:
1) Maintain consistency
Coach, I am confident that one of the reasons you landed that recruit was because you did a great job of communicating with them consistently. Probably more consistently than any other coach!
The recruit enjoyed that consistency and so if you stop it after they commit, they will be very confused.
“What happened? Coach was messaging me every week with some awesome info about the team and the school. And now it stopped? Maybe I made the wrong choice if Coach isn’t communicating with me much anymore.”
We do NOT want this, Coach!
Continue to give that recruit consistent reasons why they chose your program. Instead of telling them why they SHOULD choose you, remind them why they DID choose you.
If you got an early commitment, there is a very good chance you didn’t even get the opportunity to tell your whole recruiting story to that prospect. Just because they bought it early, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to talk about other aspects of your team and campus that they don’t know about yet!
Also, if you haven’t realized this yet, prospects tend to forget most of the details you gave them over the course of the decision process. Be repetitive! It will help things stick in their mind. And if they had forgotten that detail you gave them six, twelve, or eighteen months ago, it will seem like new info to them!
2) Continue to recruit the parents
Just like your recruit appreciates your consistency, the parents do too!
If you start to leave them out of the conversation, they might start to worry about their child’s decision, and we don’t want them expressing that and changing the mind of your commit.
Do you know who parents also have a big influence over, besides their own student? Other parents!
If you get an early commitment from an athlete, that parent will be excited and ready to brag about their child’s future college career at your school. The more you continue to communicate with them, the more they will talk about you and potentially pique the interest of other parents in their community.
Both of these strategies require a plan though! If you decide to just wing it and check in with the commit and their parents every once in a while, you do not have an effective strategy in place to set yourself up for success and retention.