We all do that.
News comes along that either confirms our worst fears, or validates our deeply held beliefs.
And, we are actively looking for that news: With our favorite political candidate, the coach of our favorite NFL team we want to see fired, or the next coaching job we are chomping at the bit to apply for. We are always evaluating news, and seeking see how it confirms our natural personal biases.
What I’m saying is, we all want to be able to say, “I knew it!”
Your prospects are the same way. At the start, in the middle, and towards the end of the recruiting process, we’re looking for evidence that we were right in our initial assumptions. Nobody likes to be proven wrong: I don’t, you don’t, your prospects don’t, and your prospect’s parents REALLY don’t.
How does all of this affect you and your recruiting results? Through one simple concept:
The story you tell your recruit will either reenforce your prospect’s trust, or amplify their skepticism. You, as the coach and chief marketing executive of your program, are ultimately responsible for what that story is.
Want to know what our research shows as what the top three enforcers of each possibility? Here you go, Coach:
- How you showcase your negatives. It could be your locker room, your field, your recent history, or where you’re located. Whatever your program’s recruiting hurdle appears to be, how you define it – and even showcase it – to your prospects is going to go a long way towards either confirming their negative assumptions, or amplify their feelings that there might be another way of looking at your traditional negative. If you don’t make your case, who will? If you don’t re-define the way they look at your negative, who will? Lead with your negatives. That’ll give you the chance to define it for your prospect, and it will earn more trust with your prospect. Our research shows that this is highly effective, and something your prospects look for as a sign they can trust you.
- How early you offer. This one is interesting, and kind of complex to take apart. As your prospects decide whether or not you should be one of the programs you visit, they’re looking for evidence you’re serious about them. As we discuss all the time in our famous on-campus recruiting workshops, parents and athletes use two primary criteria when they are telling themselves, “I knew it!” when it comes to if they should visit (or skip) a certain program: They’ll look whether the head coach is in contact with them, and they’ll look for an offer – either athletically, through other funding on campus, or even a roster spot. They need a reason to come to visit, and we find that the earlier that happens, the more ‘obligated’ they feel towards making you one of your visits.
- How (and when) you ask them to commit. The greatest evidence you’re serious about a prospect? Asking them if they’re ready to commit. There’s a right way, and a wrong way, to do it. But the bottom line is this: When you do it, there are all sorts of good signals it triggers that tells an athlete, “I knew it!” in a good way. It’s proof you want them, and even if they aren’t quite ready to answer ‘yes’ to that question you ask, it verifies that there is good reason to be serious about you. Oh, and by the way: If you don’t do it, it also sends an “I knew it” signal…just not the kind of signal you want.
We are all constantly looking for evidence that our gut feelings are true. Take this approach if you want to send the right signals that move the recruiting process onto the next phase.
Looking for more unique strategies to up your recruiting game? be a part of this Summer’s upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference! It’s a one-of-a-kind event designed around the needs of coaches looking to become next-level college recruiters. Click here for all the information.