by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
A couple weeks ago my son, a young high school math teacher, was lamenting a disagreement he was having with his principal about how to handle a particular situation involving a parent and their child.
He went through both perspectives and after listening to his portrayal my question to him was “So, what would you like to see happen next?”
For those of you who work with me as a client those words surely resonate as you know how often I encourage you to apply them to conversations you are having with recruits AND their parents. When I asked my son that question it was totally unrehearsed. I unconsciously went into my “Tudor Collegiate Strategies” self. Then I started to reflect on how so many of the practices we teach/coach on have application to the lives we lead away from recruiting. Here are just a few examples of what:
Involving Others – We know that successful recruiting requires your building relationships. You need to construct the ties that bind your recruits with your current players as well as the recruits’ parents and coaches. If you are looking for something to benefit your program there’s deep value in taking this same strategy. If you are not a client of TCS but would like to be, maybe this means you meet with your enrollment manager to share thoughts about your roster and potential benefits from an enrollment standpoint (expanding geographic thumbprint, increasing roster size, changing the academic profile of recruits, etc.) Having his/her support could be a huge help getting the resources necessary to become a TCS client.
Storytelling – At the core of TCS practices lies our commitment to storytelling. We want our clients to always be committed to telling the compelling story about their program which will make it impossible for your recruits to consider another program. So how can you use storytelling to get the things you want? Here’s a real example. When I was an AD I really wanted our department to partner with Tudor Collegiate Strategies. So I told my direct report the stories of several head coaches within the program who he knew personally. In each case they were outstanding individuals, people of character, committed to doing the right thing and highly knowledgeable in their sport. But they had zero sales skills, zero experience in recruiting. I told the story of the potential these individuals had for great things if we offered them some help through TCS. Even if they left after we trained them our candidate pool would improve because of the success the previous coach had which resulted from of our commitment to his/her professional development in the area of recruiting. Within a year each of those coaches was filling their rosters and moving up in the conference standings. Our retention rates also improved because we were competing at a high level, students (athletes and non-athletes) were happy, and we were getting a more academically and athletically committed student. It all started by telling the personal story of each coach.
Communicating Consistently Across Platforms: I used to work with a vice president for administration who never responded to matters she didn’t want to address. Email after email seemed to vanish into some black hole. I would try phone calls, leave messages and still, she would always be unavailable or never return the call (it didn’t help that I was always the guy with an “idea”!). One morning out of frustration I walked across campus and stationed myself outside her office waiting for her to arrive. She arrived but had a meeting. I told her I’d wait. Then she had to make a call after the meeting. I told her I’d wait. Eventually, we met, talked, and I came away with approval for the purchase and a standing meeting time with her each month on her calendar. If there is something you want and you’re not getting results from one form of interaction find the platform that works best. For my VPA it was in person meetings.
Ask More and Sell Less: I’ve never seen myself as a salesman. My parents were always the ones who bought the candy, wrapping paper, raffle tickets, etc. because I hated going door to door selling them. Instead, I approach the “sale” aspect of recruiting from a problem solving perspective. If you ask the right questions you will find out what your recruit and their family are looking for and then you simply explain to them why your program resolves the problem of what school to choose. You’re not selling your program but simply helping them find a solution. The same strategy can work to get the things you’re looking for. Staying with the example of TCS clients status , if you ask your AD (or if you’re an AD your direct report) what challenges they’re facing you’ll likely hear “budget reductions.” You can then describe how working with TCS actually saves your program money because your recruiting is more targeted resulting in less travel, less wasted effort, better retention, and improved competitive results because our messaging practices have proven results that get you the recruits you really want.
There’s no shortage of things on most coaches’ wish lists. Better facilities, more money for equipment, better meal allowance. The list is endless. As you think about how to best position yourself to get those things try to find a way to incorporate the same practices you used to land your last big recruit!
The skills that make recruiting work at high levels are learned, and the one of the best places for college coaches to add to their skillsets is Tudor University. It’s our highly rated, online learning academy for recruiters who want to understand what new techniques and methodologies are being used around college athletics, and how to incorporate them into their own daily approach with prospects. To learn more, click here.