by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
I am the poster child for the saying “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
It’s made me the brunt of a lot of jokes around my family.
“What’s Dad doing?”
“He’s rinsing out the pail that he’s going to use to wash the car.”
Why would I wash my car using water from a dirty pail! It just makes sense in my mind to make sure the pail is clean before I wash my car. I’m weird like that. I was the same way as an athlete. I wanted to be sure that I did everything possible to be in the best possible place when I stepped to the start line for a race.
Over my 18 years as an athletic director I signed hundreds of travel vouchers for coaching staff to go to this sport conference or that convention, all in the name of being better prepared to plan effective practices, develop creative game strategies, learn the nuances of their sport. I wanted my coaches to be in the best possible place when they started their seasons. Over those same 18 years I consistently saw the coaches having the most success were the ones who dove deeply into the recruiting waters. They were totally prepared to be the best recruiters they could possibly be.
At the risk of sounding self-serving, there’s simply nothing you can do to be a better recruiter than to follow Tudor Collegiate Strategies. Whether you’re a frequent visitor to our website, in our client program, or you’re enrolled in Tudor University, there’s really no better way to become a skilled recruiter whether you’ve been coaching for two years or 20. It’s what we do!
Beyond that there are things you can do to build your recruiting confidence.
- As an AD I was constantly pulling other departments into athletic department conversations because not only did I want them to know as much as possible about athletics, I wanted my coaches to be knowledgeable about the admissions process, health center operations, campus safety, residence life, student activities, etc. This is probably more important now than ever since our research is telling us that your recruits EXPECT coaches to be their one stop shop for everything they need to know about your school. If you find yourself an observer rather than a participant in conversations with all those other areas you need to coach yourself up. Reach out to those offices and learn about what they do and why.
- Every department has at least one (and hopefully a whole lot more) coach who is a terrific recruiter. They’re the one(s) who made the investment necessary to own the room when they meet with a recruit and his/her family. You can see in their body language (standing tall, immediate eye contact, an air of relaxed confidence). You can hear it in their voice (clear, steady, they use inflections in their delivery). They work the entire room and include everyone in the conversation. If you know that description isn’t you, maybe you could shadow that coach or at the very least schedule regular meetings with them to tap into the resources they used to develop their recruiting confidence.
- When my son and daughter were going through the college search process I made sure my calendar was clear so I could go on the visit with them. I wanted to get out to other schools to see how they were doing campus visits, what their open houses were like, how their staff interacted with recruits and parents. On more than one occasion I took something I liked and brought it to my campus. Those trips also validated the things we were doing really well. If you have the chance to attend an event at another school, take advantage of it. Maybe it’s your own child but it could be a sibling, niece, nephew or neighbor – try to go someplace else to see what they’re offering recruits.
- Early on in my career I struggled being in front of a group, presenting, teaching. My penchant for being prepared soothed much of that discomfort. But when I first started leading workshops, meetings, classes, I made a conscious effort to step outside my comfort zone and into this other version of myself that was going to be entertaining, assertive, and confident. Over time it simply became a task of “flipping the switch” when I had to be that guy.
- Read, Read, Read … Seek out books (or listen to podcasts…) on strategies for building confidence, how to use body language, voice inflection, etc. Books and podcasts that talk about sales are invaluable because at the end of the day great recruiting equals great sales.
Any one of these strategies will make you more confident as a recruiter. And you can’t take them all on at once. Pick one of these suggestions and focus on that. When you feel “confident” about that skill set, move on to another, and then another, etc. And if you want to fast track this entire process, there’s no better place to start than Tudor Collegiate Strategies!
Coaches who want to learn more proven approaches to connecting with their top recruits should make sure they go through the innovative Tudor University online learning academy. It’s designed specifically for college recruiters, and offers step-by-step online training on this topic and others. Hundreds of coaches have gone through the program, and you should too! Click here to take a look…