Words are powerful.
When you create great recruiting messages, the right words – at the right time – can make the difference between a great response and a lackluster response from your prospect list.
This much we know: A truly persuasive coach can be a recruiting force that’s tough to beat.
So, what’s one copywriting secret that can help make any coach more persuasive? Actually, its not a “secret”. It’s a word. A little psychological trick that can make all the difference when you are trying to get someone to do what you want: Just say “because.”
Here’s a quick story behind the theory…one that I usually explain when we conduct one of our On-Campus Workshops for an athletic department or coaching staff: Robert Cialdini, in his book “The Art of Influence”, describes an experiment he conducted where a student with a stack of papers approaches a line of other students all waiting to use the copy machine at a large university and asks them if they would not mind letting him cut in line.
In one variation of the experiment, the student approaches the people waiting in line and says, “Excuse me, I’ve got five pages. May I jump in and use the machine?”
In another variation, the student does the same exact thing, except this time he says, “May I jump in and use the machine, because I’m in a rush…”
Seems like such a subtle difference, doesn’t it? However, the differences between results were anything but subtle.
* Only 30% of the students waiting in line agreed to let the student cut in front of them in the first variation of the experiment.
* However, a whopping 96% of the students, however, let the student cut ahead of them in the second variation when they were given a short “because” reason.
What Cialdini’s experiment sought to prove, coach, is something psychologists call a “trigger effect.” Certain actions, certain gestures, certain words – for whatever reason – have a profound persuasive effect on us. Often, we do not even know we are responding to the trigger. As soon as it registers, we react. Cialdini calls this a “click & whirr” response, and compares it to the way some animals react instinctively to the markings of predators in the wild.
In this particular experiment, though, the trigger being tested was the word “because.” Think about it: “Because” is a word we use all the time to justify our actions or reasons to other people. What the Cialdini experiment succeeded in revealing, however, is that the reasons we give are really not as important as the word itself.
Cialdini repeated the second variation of the experiment with the student using different reasons for cutting in line. Some of them were simply ridiculous, such as “Because I need to make copies.” In all cases, the people waiting in line responded with the same degree of compliance.
Why? Because of “because.”
So, coach, how does this apply to your recruiting efforts? Simple. There comes a time with every athlete that you want more information, or want them to see things your way. The next time that situation arises, make sure you add a “because” to your request.
It works, and could give you exactly the information that you need to win over the recruit.