Coach, think back to your last recruiting class that you wrapped up. How many recruits in your pool did you really like and feel good about but they never visited campus? And ultimately, never committed.
You felt that if you could have just gotten them to campus, that would have been what they needed to at least consider you more seriously if not actually commit.
Hopefully, you don’t have too many examples of this, but the reality is, not every prospect that you want to visit will actually come to campus. There are some effective strategies for increasing your chances that they do come visit though. Here are two:
1) Build a relationship with the parents BEFORE you even bring up a campus visit
The parents of a recruit are often very underutilized by coaches. Based on my conversations with coaches, the majority of them are in one of two categories.
Many coaches never communicate with the parents. And there are a variety of reasons why they might do that, but we won’t get into that here.
The other category of coaches does communicate with the parents but usually not until after they visit campus and actually get to meet those parents.
The third, much smaller category of coaches is the one where a relationship is established with the parents early on in the process. It is done before the campus visit is even discussed. And this group of coaches get a high percentage of recruits to visit campus. Many of these coaches are TCS clients or have attended a TCS on-campus workshop.
Why is this third category of coaches so much better at getting prospects to visit? They understand that the parents play a huge role in the decision of where a recruit visits. Even though mom or dad might not directly tell a recruit that they can or can’t visit a school, they have a lot of influence.
Who knows the family’s schedule? Who needs to drive the recruit to the campus? Who will book the flight and hotel for that visit? Who is taking time off of work to make the trip? And in some cases, who is paying for the visit? The answer is mom or dad. And sometimes both!
If you as the coach have built a relationship and some trust with those parents, when it comes time to visit, they will be much more likely to pull the trigger and make it happen than if you rely on the athlete to take care of it all and convince mom and dad that they should visit your school.
2) Talk about your plan for that recruit
Pitching your prospect the plan that you have for them is a very important part of the recruiting process. If you do it before they visit campus, it will highly increase the chances they visit.
When you lay out your plan for that recruit, they’ll start to have a clearer picture of what it will be like if they choose you. Psychologically that will create a lot of curiosity and get them to want the full picture. And visiting campus is what they feel will do that.
If instead, your recruit doesn’t really see themselves on your team because you have not talked about your plan for them, it is much less likely they’ll be eager to make that visit.
So, Coach, for this next class, build relationships with the parents of these recruits early on. And then make sure you lay out a clear plan for each recruit, before they visit. I promise, you’ll start to have more prospects wanting to come see you, your team, and the school!