by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
It’s the worst, Coach. I know.
You’re reaching out to a recruit, and maybe they have some initial response. But, then seemingly out of nowhere, they ghost you. No replies to emails, no texting back, and no returning phone calls.
Why do they do this? What happened?
It could be a variety of reasons. But, here are two of the top ones that you need to be aware of.
1) Your messages sounded insincere
Don’t get me wrong, mass mailing can be a fantastic tool. And a necessary one, especially for programs with larger rosters.
The problem is that mass mailed messages tend to be very general. And when the communication sounds vague, prospects find it insincere.
The other problem that coaches have is writing overly formal emails and letters. A lot of you have a masters or even doctorate degree and might be fantastic writers.
But, recruiting messages shouldn’t be written the same way as a paper you’d submit for class. Instead, recruiting messages should be written in a conversational way. It comes across more sincere that way.
Take a look at the messages you are sending your prospects. Especially early on. Do they sound like how you’d talk? Or do they look like something you’d write for your master’s class?
2) No clear call to action
Coaches get frustrated when their 16 or 17 year old prospect doesn’t reply to their messages. But, a lot of the time, the message doesn’t indicate to the recruit that they should respond or how to respond.
Many of your recruits are going to be nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing in the recruiting process. And so, you need to be very clear as you outline the steps of the process. That includes their response to your messaging.
Do you have information that you want them to share with you? A question you want feedback on? Ask for the response. But, also clarify how you want them to respond.
For example, maybe you want to know how they feel about going to school on the other side of the country because you are a school in California and the prospect is from Virginia.
A weaker message would look something like this:
“Alex, our school is located in southern California. About half an hour from LAX. It is a great location to go to school. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about it.”
This brief message gives information and then vaguely opens the door to questions, only if the recruit has any. If they don’t, there really is no reason to respond.
A better version of this message would look something like this:
“Alex, going to school in southern California would be a big leap from growing up in Virginia. What do you feel are some things that would excite you about that new experience? Reply back here with your thoughts. I am curious to hear them.”
Nothing mind-blowing. But, we made it clear that we want a response from Alex and that is the next step in the process.
Be as personal and conversational as you can in your messaging. And be clear with what you want your prospect to do with the message. If you do, you’ll notice a much better response rate and less ghosting from your prospects.
Want help putting together more effective messaging? Our team of experts are helping coaches do this every month. You can email Dan Christensen with questions about what this looks like at firstname.lastname@example.org.