by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
There are two mistakes that a lot of coaches make when they get on the phone with a new recruit for the first time.
The first mistake is that coaches end up doing a lot of talking. They are excited to share a lot about the team and the school and so they do.
And hey, I don’t blame them. Coaches are passionate about the program they are building and when they come across someone who doesn’t know much about them, it presents an opportunity to share.
The problem here is it doesn’t give the coach a chance to learn much about the recruit. It can even bore the recruit too. As helpful as the info may be, if it is information overload, they might tune it out.
To get to know the recruit, coaches need to ask questions. Which leads to the second mistake which is asking poor questions. Poor questions are ones that just don’t really reveal anything helpful or get the recruit thinking.
So, to avoid these two mistakes, coaches need some good questions to ask that will get their recruits talking and sharing helpful information right away in this first call.
Here are two you should be asking on this call:
1) Who is going to be helping you make your decision?
Your recruit’s circle will have a big influence on their decision. Your ability to share your story with these people is critical. If you don’t know who is in that circle, you have no shot at doing this effectively.
Now, I can already guess that for most recruits, they will say their parents are helping them. For some there might also be a coach or two that is helping them throughout the process.
But, you never know, it could be someone else. Maybe a family friend, an aunt, a grandfather, or a teacher at school.
Whoever the recruit mentions, follow up this question by asking the recruit to send you that person’s contact info so you can introduce yourself to them. Having a conversation and starting that relationship will be critical if you want to win over your prospect.
2) What kinds of schools have you already crossed off your list?
This question is much better than the more common question, “what are you looking for in a college?”
Because if you just ask what they’re looking for, they are going to give you the answer they think you want to hear:
“A place to get a great education and compete at the next level in my sport”
Cool. That gives us nothing.
Instead let’s ask this question that gives us the opposite answer. You’ll find prospects can be more specific with what they don’t like.
“I’ve crossed off any small schools because I really want to go to a big school with at least 10,000 students. And any schools that are further than four hours away I am not even looking at because that is just too far for me.”
Now we have some helpful feedback that gets us to know they want a big school that is closer to home.
It doesn’t necessarily mean if we are a small school that is farther than four hours away that we immediately end the relationship. But, we definitely don’t ignore this. Dig into why they’re thinking this way. Get them talking and make a decision about whether or not to move forward based on that feedback sooner rather than later.
These two questions can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” that doesn’t get your recruit talking. These two questions also help coaches know some really helpful info right away that will be critical moving forward. Try these on your next first conversation with a recruit.
Dan Christensen is part of the staff at Tudor Collegiate Strategies helping college coaches better engage with their recruits. If you want some more help with ways to have better conversations with your recruits, email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a strategy call.