by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Coaches that prepare better than other coaches, often beat those other coaches.
And so, Coach, I want to make sure you have a solid plan for these two situations. They are situations that almost every single program will come up against.
If you’re unprepared to show recruits why they should choose you even in these situations, you’re leaving a lot of your results up to chance. Outside influences will overtake your prospect’s beliefs and you’ll end up losing a lot of the recruits that fall into these categories.
So, here they are, Coach:
1) When you are not the cheapest option
Affordability is a huge concern for athletes and their families.
And so often, at the end of the process, that final number is what they say their decision came down to.
The school that gave them a better financial aid package wins out. For many of you, you either cannot offer any athletic aid or you’re just limited in how much you can offer and so the final cost of attendance just is what it is.
Frustrating, right? Of course.
But, in our research at Tudor Collegiate Strategies, we find it isn’t necessarily the final dollar amount that is the deciding factor. Instead, it is what they are getting for that dollar amount that matters.
The problem is many coaches do a poor job of explaining the value of their experience and so recruits have trouble differentiating between their options.
If that is the case, of course they’re going to choose the cheapest option!
What I want you to do, Coach, is tell a consistent story that explains the return on your prospect’s (and their family’s) investment in your school.
How will you, their coach, treat them and prepare them to be a better human after they graduate?
How will your team provide them with a group of friends to support them better than at other schools?
How will their education at your school benefit them after they graduate and are looking to start their career?
You need to have multiple ways of answering these questions. And you need to go and do that consistently throughout the recruiting process.
This way, when the final numbers come in and you’re not the most affordable option, your prospect sees where the value is in that gap in cost.
2) When you’re competing against a “better” program
“Better” can mean a lot of different things. That is why I put it in quotes.
It might mean the other school is in a higher division level. Or they are in a stronger conference than you. Maybe the other program just simply has a better winning history than your team.
This situation will almost always be a problem for most programs. And that is because even if your program is getting better, that means you need to recruit better athletes. Better athletes are going to be recruited by better programs.
So, knowing that you’ll always face this kind of situation, you need a plan.
If your team hasn’t been winning much recently, how are you planning to fix it? And how does that recruit fit that plan? Make this very clear.
If your team is in a perceived lower level, either division or conference, how will that recruit have a better experience playing at your level? What will be different and how might that appeal to them?
Figure out what strengths you have and be ready to make the case for why those strengths should be valued by your prospect. Even when they might have some “better” schools considering them.
If you don’t, reputation will overtake that recruit’s understanding of what is better for them, instead of what you might know to be the reality. Stay in control of the perception of your program!
Every program has a different story to tell. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to tell yours, or are looking to offload some of the grunt work involved in putting out effective messaging, our team can help! Email Dan Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions about his article or how he and the rest of the staff at TCS can help you this year.