by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Your job as a recruiter is to guide your prospects to their decision.
Why? Because your prospect needs help.
With the exception of transfers, these athletes have never gone through the college recruiting process before. Their lack of experience and often lack of guidance back at home from parents who have maybe also never been through the recruiting process, create some obstacles.
If you as a recruiter assume they will take the right steps and know exactly how the process works, you’ll face a lot of frustration and honestly, minimal success.
So, what are some ways you can better guide your recruits? Here are two:
1) Talk about the end
This whole recruiting process leads to that athlete making a final decision.
But, a lot of coaches avoid talking about the end of the process because they are worried it will put pressure on a recruit.
I would actually argue that talking about their final decision, early on, can help relieve the pressure that a recruit feels.
Remember, Coach, they have not done this before. So, in a prospect’s mind, they are agonizing over this decision. They are wondering, “when should I make my decision? Is it too early? Should I wait for Coach to ask me? How do I know I am ready? What if I make the wrong choice?”
They are desperate for guidance!
I encourage coaches to ask recruits on that first phone call, “when do you plan on making your decision?”
A lot of recruits will not know, when you ask this question. That is fine!
If they haven’t thought about it and don’t have a timeline of their own, this is your chance to guide!
Let them know when YOU will be wrapping recruiting. If you can get them to agree to your program’s timeline, it will help you out so much as a recruiter.
Walk them through their year. Explain why they should look to make a decision at a certain time of the year. Before their senior season starts, perhaps. Or maybe before the holidays so they can tell their family where they are going to school.
Whatever you feel is good advice that will help ease their nerves and allow them to have a more defined timeline, will be helpful. They will be less likely to delay their decision and will feel more confident in their ability to make that decision.
And if you do a good job of guiding them, that will certainly go in your favor come decision time!
2) Explain WHY
Why should they reply to your email?
Why should they apply to your school by a certain deadline?
Why should they want to come visit this fall?
Why should they be interested in your unique academic program?
Why should they be excited about your athletic facility?
Recruits want to know what is in it for them. If you just tell them to do things but don’t explain why, you’re not being as effective as you could be at guiding them.
A lot of coaches push a campus visit. Early and often. The problem is, recruits don’t always know why they should visit, other than getting a chance to see their future school in person.
Also, prospects usually start with a big list of schools and then choose to only visit some of those schools. So, they are looking for reasons why they should visit one school over another. Badgering them over and over to visit without those reasons why, will not be helpful.
You need to provide them those answers. Explain why, early on and consistently throughout the process. It will guide your recruit better and help you work through your recruiting pool more efficiently.