by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
The most important thing in the beginning of the recruiting process is to pique a prospect’s interest. You as the coach need to get their attention. Without that, the rest of the recruiting process will not happen.
In the recruiting process you are telling a story. This story shows the recruit who you are and gives them reasons why they should want to pick you in the end.
The mistake that coaches often make is that they try to jump to the middle or end of the story too quickly. There is less focus on piquing the recruit’s interest in the beginning of the story and that halts things from moving forward.
What specific mistakes should you avoid in the beginning? Here are two:
1) Giving a lot of facts and information in contact number one
Whether it is the first email or first phone call, coaches have a tendency to spew out a lot of information to prospects.
I get it, you have a lot to say about how awesome your school is. And you aren’t sure exactly what will interest the recruit, so you throw a lot out there and hope something sticks.
The problem with this is that instead of the recruit seeing or hearing something that piques their interest and gets them excited, the excess of information overwhelms them. If this is an email, letter, text, or direct message on social media, the prospect will often take a look at the giant message and decide to skim or not read it at all. If this is done over the phone, the recruit will zone out.
Instead, if that first contact can lead to the recruit wanting to know more, that will open the door to you being able to tell them all about everything you had planned to do in that first contact. And if you want to get them to want more, you can’t give them everything in that first interaction!
2) Rushing the process
Remember, throughout the recruiting process you are telling a story. If you push the recruit to skip over the middle of the book and just read the end, it doesn’t make sense to them.
What does this look like?
In your first few contacts with a recruit, do not push them to come visit campus.
For most recruits, they are not immediately looking to go to a campus to see a coach and team they do not know anything about. You need to pique their interest but then get them to take action and start to build trust. Once that happens, it will make more sense for you to ask them to visit and will allow that to happen with more success.
Rushing the process can also take the form of bombarding the recruit with texts early on.
That frequent back and forth interaction is also something that happens later in the process. When they still do not trust you and have not gone deeper into the recruiting process, it is harder for them to interact much.
Certainly, having consistent text conversations with a recruit early on can be beneficial. But, when it is happening daily or even every other day, it can feel like too much for a new prospect.
Coach, if you can avoid these mistakes early on, you will set yourself up better for a strong middle and end to the recruiting process!