by Greg Carroll, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
Can you even remember what it was like before taking a picture was as simple as pulling out your phone, pointing, and taking the shot?
I won’t even begin to talk about loading film, getting it “developed” and all that goes with that storyline because now we can create a lasting memory that winds up as the screensaver on our laptop or phone with the blink of an eye. That same picture is also on our “Google Nest”, Alexa, or whatever other device sitting on your nightstand. And you can print out as many as you want (no need to get it “developed”) from the printer on your desk. We want to keep these visual memories around because they connect us with the things that make us happy – family and friends, pets, vacation experiences, and more.
Knowing our personal behaviors drive us toward collecting these memories and not only holding on to them as visual connections, but also sharing them with others makes it important to think about using that as a recruiting strategy during your recruits’ visits to campus. It has literally never been easier to send a recruit and their family home with a tangible visual reminder of their time on campus.
And that should be the goal if you want to convert that visit to a commitment. If you think about some of the more expensive purchases you have made over the years it’s likely the sales person went to great lengths to “put you in the moment.” When the realtor was showing you the house you now own it’s likely they asked you how it would feel to be sitting by that cozy fireplace on a cold winter night. Or maybe it was how nice it would be to take a midnight swim in the backyard pool on a hot summer night. Or maybe they pointed out how that spot in the family room by the picture window would be a terrific spot for your family Christmas tree.
Why do realtors, auto sales professionals, clothing sales personnel (Oh, you look amazing in that suit! You’ll definitely get the job!) try to create those images? Because it works really well and if you have not made a conscious effort to build these moments into your campus visits there are great opportunities to do so. Here’s a strategy I shared last week with a client.
We were talking about creating a lasting visual for a recruit and her family and I suggested she stage a locker in her locker room with the young lady’s name on the locker, her team’s home jersey with the recruits number hanging in the locker, a bottle of Gatorade and a towel on the stool, an old scouting report from a previous opponent sitting inside the locker, and the boombox playing her favorite band (this goes back to the importance of getting to know EVERYTHING about your recruits!). So you then take a few pictures of her next to the locker. One by herself, another with family, and another with you standing next to her. The recruit goes through her day with the younger members of your team while you print out the picture, make a simple frame from some bookstore poster board, have your players sign the frame, and send her home with THAT visual at the end of the day. TOTAL success. It was a very simple exercise and left the recruit AND her parents completely sold.
That’s just one example and the only limit to how you can create these visuals for your recruits is your imagination. In addition to something tangible like a picture, think about the words you use, the pictures you create when you talk about the packed gym or stadium, how loud the student section is, the parking lot filled with parents tailgating.
And you tell the parents “I can totally see you guys right here with your grill going a chilled cooler, wearing your college hoodie, surrounded by all your new friends from the team. Game days here are just special for everyone!”
You can create these visual connections by the way you talk about your program, your school, your team. Make a deliberate effort to put them in the moment and coach the athletes who are leading your recruits around campus to do the same. That will reinforce all the other pictures they create in their minds and take with them all the way home – until they’re back as freshman when classes start in the fall!
Want other campus visit ideas that we’ve seen work for other coaches? Bring us to campus to lead a two or three-day recruiting workshop for your athletic department, where we research specific selling points that you offer and teach your staff how to communicate those effectively to recruits. Or, work with us as a client: We work one-on-one with hundreds of college coaching staffs around the country to develop and implement more effective, response oriented messaging that can help address cost factors and other objections you might face, as well as increase the response and interaction with your recruits. The system works, and we’d love to put it to work for you! Click here for more information.