We have only so much attention span.
I know I do, anyway. I think I’m a fairly curious person who likes to learn new things.
I remember when I started to download music onto my first iPod: It was magical. I was cramming my device full of just about any music I could find. 700+ songs within two weeks.
(Nobody needs that much music in a 14 day period, but I did it anyway…‘Abracadabara‘? I don’t know why the Steve Miller Band felt they needed to record it, but apparently I felt the need to download it).
But now I’ve slowed down. For me, I’ve reached my energy peak for taking in even more new music, at least at that rate. And I know I’m not alone: Studies suggest that our interest in new music, new media, and new information is limited. We plateau. We get tired.
We suffer from a type of discovery fatigue.
And more important than understanding my musical download tendencies is understanding a common problem in the way your recruit takes-in your recruiting messaging. They have been conditioned to receive information in a certain way, and in certain amounts. How you give them information is almost as important as the information you give them.
So, how do you ensure that your recruiting messaging isn’t wearing out your prospect, and causing you more harm than good? Here are four things you want to measure immediately, based on our latest focus group research with high school athletes in the process making a decision:
- You can’t overwhelm them with information early on. They aren’t ready for most of what you feel you need to tell them about your school and your program. Especially not at first. One of the surest ways to alienate most recruits today is to give them a long list of statistics, facts, figures and random talking points. That’s not what generates a response, which is what most coaches want after an initial communication. In fact, we’ve found that coaches who do this almost instantly see their recruits tune them out for future conversations. If you aren’t getting a good response rate from your initial communication, check the amount of information you’re piling on.
- Your recruits are busy. How are you making the process easier for them? Along with a general fatigue, there’s another important element to how you may be making them feel: If they’re busy, and every one of your recruits is, it diminishes their desire to want more information. Making the process easy, and the conversation easy, could be the way you shine the focus on you and your program. How do you start with this? Easy: Ask yourself right now, “How do I make the recruiting process easy for my prospect?”
- A project without any end is exhausting. “How much more am I going to need to do?” That’s one of the key questions most of your recruits ask themselves as they move through the recruiting cycle. When they don’t know how much is left to do, or when it all needs to end, it’s mentally exhausting. What to do? Give your recruits timeline markers: What do they need to do next? When will you begin making final decisions? Can you tell them when you’ll be wrapping up your recruiting? All of those add context to your recruiting conversations, which is critical.
- Remember those facts you were holding off on? Your prospects are ready at the end. As you enter the last one-third of the recruiting process, your prospects need logical points to reference to help justify the decision they’re hopefully about to make towards your program. You need to give them a slow, consistent flow of information throughout the recruiting process, absolutely…but many coaches tend to stop relaying facts and reasons to commit as they get towards the end of the process. Actually, that’s when recruits and their parents are needing your information the most – even if you think they already know all about the topics that are relevant to your school. Don’t be that coach. Keep giving them solid information that answers the big questions of, “Why should I commit to you and your school, Coach?”
Discovery fatigue is real, and it can drastically affect how your recruits absorb information from you and other coaches. Evaluate those four areas, and make the changes you need to. If you do, you’ll like your results.
These are just a few of the advanced principles we teach at our new campus recruiting workshop for college athletic departments. Click here to find out what we do, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a personalized idea of what we can do for your department and coaches. We’ve conducted training on campuses across the country, so bring us to your school so we can train you, too!