If assessing what’s really damaging your recruiting efforts is one of the key aspects of becoming a successful program builder, finding out what the real truth of an objection is key.
The challenge, of course, is getting good information out of your teenage prospects – many of whom, in case you haven’t noticed, aren’t that great at communicating what’s really going on in their mind, and what might really be behind the decision they’re making. Especially if that decision involves something negative about your school and the idea of competing for you. Like most of us, they’ll wiggle out of a potentially uncomfortable situation with as little potentially provocative information as possible…which is fine for them, but bad for you as a coach in the sense that you aren’t getting a complete picture of what the real objections probably are.
One of the most common mysteries coaches are trying to solve during the recruiting process has to do with decision timelines on the part of the prospect, and what they see as their timeline for making their decision. Yes, coaches should still control the timeline and deadline process, but it’s always good to hear what their thinking is and what they see as their goal in the decision making process. Just because they have trouble communicating it to you doesn’t mean you can’t find out what they’re really thinking.
The key to overcoming this hurdle?
“And then what?”
When your prospect gives you incomplete information, you need to guide them back to the main question. In this case, a timing related question. So, we want to have them take us down their timeline. That doesn’t happen naturally, we need to coach them down that line. So, when they say something vague in response to us asking us when they see themselves making a final decision, maybe sounding something like “I don’t know, we have to finish looking at all our college options first”, I want you to say:
And then what?
“Well then my mom and I will sit down and see what we think the best option is.”
O.K., and then what?
“I think after that, we’ll probably want to go back and visit my top two schools one last time again.”
And then what after that?
“Well after that, I’m pretty sure like around late April or so, I’ll want to make my decision.”
Notice the progression:
- It starts with a vague statement that has no defined timeline or process to it. (Most coaches just accept that vague answer, by the way. So, don’t be like most coaches).
- Then we find out who is helping with that evaluation process and decision.
- And then, we find out the extra step of her process at the end.
- And then, finally, we find out a date the prospect sees herself making a decision. Which may or may not work with your timeline, but now we know what her perspective is as the prospect, which you can now use as context for making an agreed upon timeline for your final decision.
Without these steps, most coaches settle for vague information disguised as pertinent information. If a prospect’s feedback doesn’t go towards answer the key questions of who, what, why, where or when, it isn’t real information. Don’t settle for it.
Looking for more helpful strategies that will make an immediate difference in your recruiting technique? Join Dan Tudor and other experts and coaches from around the country at this summer’s National Collegiate Recruiting Conference! It’s one of the only experiences you get as a college coach to really sit down, share notes with your peers, hear new information and design a brand new recruiting plan for your upcoming classes. Click here to see the line-up, get information, and reserve your seats.