by Dan Christensen, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
In March of 2020, very few coaches had even heard of Zoom. A month later, almost every coach was relying on it to communicate with recruits.
Coaches were doing campus visits, first calls, group sessions, and more, using Zoom or other video chat tools. If you’re reading this article near its time of release, you may still be heavily relying on video chat as a way of communicating.
As we head into the summer with a lot of expectations that college campuses and recruiting will be closer to normal, will Zoom even be necessary anymore?
I think coaches would agree that in-person is better than video in the majority of cases. Campus visits, scouting, team meetings, even just general conversations with recruits would all be better if they were just in person.
But, before you ditch your Zoom account, consider these two ideas for ways you can use video chat to enhance your recruiting, even as we get back to normal.
1) Pre-visit Campus Tours
Do you ever have a recruit in one of these categories?
- Lives really far away from campus which has made it hard to come for an official visit.
- Has trouble committing to a visit just because they are not sure where they want to visit yet.
In either situation, it boils down to you as the coach needing to give them reasons why it is worth it for them to make an official visit.
A great way to do this is by creating curiosity. One way to do that is to use your phone to video call a recruit. It can be Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, or whatever other video call app you use.
Once you’ve got that recruit on the call, take some time to show them around campus. What are some cool parts of your campus that would peak that prospect’s interest?
Don’t focus on giving them a full campus tour. They don’t need to see classrooms, the library, academic buildings, or your office. Unless there is something extra special about them.
Instead, show them your place of competition, weight room, or some cool scenery on campus. But more importantly, have a great conversation. Maybe even get one or two of your athletes to join you so they can pop in and say hi and offer up a question or two.
Use this video call as a way of showing your recruit that you care. After that call, you want them to realize how different you, your team, and your campus are. And why they should be excited to make an official visit in the near future.
2) Pre-visit Meetings
Your recruits want to spend at least 50-60 percent of their campus visit just hanging out with the younger athletes on the team. In that other 40-50 percent, they want to get to know you, get a feel for the campus, check out your facilities, maybe catch a practice or game, and see what there is to do for fun off-campus.
If you’re doing some math in your head, this probably leaves very little time for some other parts of the campus visit that you usually schedule for them. This might include meeting with a professor, the athletic trainers, hearing from admissions, or talking with financial aid.
The data shows that most recruits won’t care too much about those meetings. But some will. And for some of you, these meetings could be great ways to sell some of the strengths of your student-athlete experience.
So, if you feel you cannot fit it all into the campus visit without taking away from those priorities like hanging out with the team, use Zoom.
Before or after the recruit visits campus, see if you can schedule a 15-20 minute video call with a professor in their intended major.
As you are doing your pre-visit video tour, take your prospect to the athletic trainers so they can say hi and talk a little bit about how they support the athletes.
Connect with their admissions counselor to see if they can give them a 10-15 minute summary of the typical one hour admissions presentation that is given on visit days.
Doing this will free up the time that your recruit is actually on campus, so that you can give them the opportunity to do what they really came there for.
This pandemic has shown us that we can do a lot of things effectively over video call. Continue to use these great tools as a way of making your campus visits and recruiting process in general more efficient and productive!
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