One obstacle a lot of coaches face is convincing prospects to come to a program that has a history of losing.
Maybe just the past two years have been rough. Or maybe for the last thirty years!
For some coaches it is their own program that has had struggles but for others, it is the program they inherited in their new job.
Regardless, it is something that absolutely needs to be addressed in recruiting. You need to be optimistic. And you need to tell a recruiting story that details where your program is going and how that specific recruit will be part of that future.
For every coach, that message will be a little different. But, here are two tips for how you should go about delivering this message:
1) Bring it up early
If you have had a losing history, it takes seconds for a recruit to figure that out with your previous records a few taps away on their phone. Do not assume the recruit has no idea about it.
If you wait to talk about it, your recruit may make up their mind on their own that a program with a losing history is not for them. Or if you wait too long, other influencers (like your competitors) will tell the prospect they should choose a program that has won in the past.
So, instead of trying to skip around it and avoid the discussion, bring it up early! If you can shape how your recruit thinks about your program before naysayers can make them dismiss you as an option, your prospect will instead be skeptical of others when they contradict you. Instead of the other way around!
2) Discuss this plan with your recruit’s coach
Many club and high school coaches want their athletes to go play for college programs that play at a high level but also can provide an opportunity for the athlete to win. Part of it is wanting the best for that athlete. But for some coaches there is some selfish gain by being able to say they sent their athlete to “so and so college.”
Part of your job as a recruiter is to show these coaches that you are going to provide an incredible experience for their athletes. If you have a losing history, this is even more important because it won’t be obvious for that coach.
Being able to talk with the recruit and their coach about why your program is going to be a place where the athlete will excel is important. And I suggest following tip number one with the coaches too. Have that conversation early before they further develop a negative opinion of your program.
Dan Christensen is part of the Tudor Collegiate Strategies who advises college coaches around the country, developing their recruiting strategies and messaging. The process works, and it’s helped hundreds of programs bring in their top classes for two decades. For an overview of how the process works, and if it might be right for you, click here.