by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
One question I get a lot is, “what should I do when a recruit doesn’t respond to my initial contact?”
Should you send one follow up message? Two?
Or do you take their lack of response as a sign that they’re not worth your time? I mean you want to make sure they want to be part of your team and if they did, they would have responded, right?
A recruit won’t respond for a variety of reasons. They may not have seen your message. Or maybe they saw it but couldn’t respond right away and forgot. The prospect could have seen your message but simply is not interested and did not want to reject you and make you mad at them.
The reality is that a lot of coaches will give up pretty quickly when a recruit is not immediately responsive. This opens the door for the more determined coaches to connect with them. So, what should you do to give yourself a better shot at getting them to eventually reply?
1) Keep reaching out
Consistency will get a recruit’s attention. If you are showing up in their email inbox or phone messages on a consistent basis, they’ll be much more likely to respond.
The reality is they might not be interested right away. In fact, if it is a solid prospect that you might be reaching for a little, they probably are not interested. Right away at least.
Your job is to show them why they should be interested. If they don’t reply to your initial message and maybe a follow up after that, continue to reach out. Say something like this:
“Hey recruit! I am still very excited to be recruiting you here to Tudor University. I know I haven’t heard back from you yet, probably because you’re not bought in on the idea of being on our team. And why should you be? I haven’t had the chance to tell you about our program yet. I know we’re going to be the best option for you in the end. And so, keep an eye out for a message from me every week as I explain why you should choose our school!”
And then execute that plan. Give that recruit a series of reasons why they should choose you. Every week. For as long as it takes.
Encourage a response in your messages to make it easier for them to reply. It might take 2, 5, 10, or 20 messages. But, eventually some of those unresponsive recruits will give you their attention because you were consistent and persistent in your approach to recruiting them!
2) Connect with the prospect’s parents
I know not every recruit’s parents contact info is made readily available. But, on a lot of recruiting sites it is. And a lot of the time, at recruiting events, it is the parent’s contact info that is given instead of or along with the prospect’s.
Now I get it, you want to recruit the athlete and talking to them is your number one priority. But, if you are having trouble getting a response, why not find another avenue to that recruit?
Mom and dad are generally not getting contacted as much as the athlete is and so they might be more likely to notice your message in the mix of messages from other coaches.
And if you can have an opportunity to express to mom and dad how excited you are to recruit their son or daughter, as well as explain to them what you like you about their child, it can go a long way in getting them interested. Then when they talk to the athlete back at home, they’ll be more likely to encourage them to reply to you.
Building a relationship with the parents is an important part of the recruiting process. Why not start there?
Have a plan for the long haul and involve the parents. If you can do this, those initially unresponsive recruits will start to get back to you!
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