by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Year after year, one of the main reasons that coaches lose recruits is because of the cost of their school. Or at least that is what the recruits tell you, right?
Either your school is too expensive, or the recruit just had some cheaper options and went in that direction.
It can be frustrating. For many of you, you have limited to no scholarship money to give. So, you are heavily relying on your school’s cost and financial aid process in order to land your top recruits.
One of the best ways to overcome this obstacle is to just have open, honest, and helpful conversations about the cost of attending your school. And specifically have those conversations early in the process.
Here are two resources that can help those conversations go really well:
1) Your recruit’s parents
If your recruit’s parents are not involved in these conversations, it is going to be much harder to truly evaluate where your recruit stands on the cost of your school.
In most situations, the parents are the ones paying the bill.
They are the ones informing the recruit as to what they can and cannot afford.
They are the ones that will be going back and forth with your financial aid department, asking questions about their package.
And ultimately, they have a huge influence over where their son or daughter ends up going to school.
So, why not involve them in your conversations around money from the get-go? It is an opportunity for you to clarify things for them early on in the process.
This could result in them realizing that they cannot pay the amount it will cost for their child to go to your school. Which in turn could save you months of your time in what will ultimately be a dead end.
Or their respect and trust in you could rise because of your transparency and helpfulness. Which might add the amount of value needed to sell them on paying more money to go to your school than the school with the coach that didn’t have the money conversation with them.
2) Your school’s net price calculator
Every school has one. And most are anywhere from somewhat accurate to very accurate. Early on in the process, ask your recruit to fill it out. Better yet, follow tip number one and ask the parents to fill it out!
After they do, set up a call so you can discuss the number they got back. Even if you are worried that the number is going to be too high and scare them off, use it as a starting point to the conversation.
Ask them something like this: “If the cost the calculator came up with was what you had to pay, give or take a few thousand, is that a number you could potentially see yourself investing in your child’s education if you felt it was a great opportunity?”
See what they say.
If they come back and tell you that even if it was the best opportunity, there is no way they could swing that much money a year, I would suggest parting ways. If it is never going to work out financially, why keep recruiting them?
If they tell you it is a little more than they were expecting but for the right opportunity they might be able to consider it, you know it will now come down to how well you can sell your school and program. It is far from a sure thing, but at least you know at the end they won’t have the excuse that they cannot afford your school.
Have the money conversation early with your recruit. Include the parents and use the net price calculator to make that conversation more productive. It will help save you time and build trust with that prospect and their family!
Dan Christensen is a former college coach who now works with clients at Tudor Collegiate Strategies, helping them craft a more effective recruiting messaging plan by utilizing the two decades of research and data we have on how prospects want to be communicated with. For more information on how we do that, and why so many college coaches team-up with our experts like Dan to become more successful recruiters, click here.