That’s not how your recruits see the process working.
Our according to our latest research with the last incoming recruiting class, this generation of recruits doesn’t look at emails the same way we do as adults. When you and I exchange an email with each other, it’s for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to have a conversation with each other. It’s convenient, and who knows: Maybe it’ll even lead to a phone call, or a personal meeting, right?
But for the kids you recruit (and remember, they are just kids) they have very specific views on what an email for a coach is for, and how they are going to treat it.
The problem we see happening on a regular basis is when coaches get frustrated that recruits don’t interact with email the same way they do in their daily lives. The expectation for a response is especially foreign to a lot of today’s prospects who look at an email you send as something with a very specific function:
To tell them why they should choose you over their other choices.
It’s that simple. They want you to explain why you’re better, how you’re different, and why choosing you is the smarter choice. They want you to make the case. And, when they’re ready, they’ll reply. Maybe.
And you should be o.k. with all that, Coach. But it will require you to approach your recruiting emails in a complete different way.
Don’t expect them to reply right away. If they do, fantastic. But don’t give up on them if they take a while to get back to you, because the coaches who can wait patiently and maintain a level of consistency in continuing to email them with the topical focus I described above, you’ll eventually get a reply – and quite possibly, a really good recruit.
The peek. Many of you who use a tracking software to manage their database of recruits have observed that they tend to open an email three, five or even eight or more times. Coaches don’t do that, but your recruits do it. And, they do it without replying. They’ll peek, and then disappear, and then come back to peek again. Which leads to a very important correlating fact:
They’re reading your emails. Not 100% of your prospect list, but a healthy majority. This is where many coaches miss what’s going on. They see the recruits opening emails on a regular basis, but not replying. And those coaches assume, without a reply, that “today’s prospects don’t care about email.” Wrong.
Your recruits want you to be more conversational. We’ve established that they open your emails (multiple times). And, we’ve talked about how they read the messages, but just aren’t great about replying right away. So what do they want? They want a message that sounds like you: Your voice, your tone, and your average way of conveying a message…not cleaned up and formal, showing off the Master’s Degree you worked so hard to earn, but just your normal, regular, run-on-sentence producing self. The more conversational you are, the more likely it is that you’ll make a connection faster.
It’s one part of an overall strategy. Email is great, but to fully engage with this generation, you’re going to have to send letters (it’s proof you are serious about them), social media (that provides the visuals of what you want to emphasize to them), phone calls (especially at the start of the process, but that’s mostly you talking) and text messaging (that gives them the ability to talk with you). The magic of email is it combines the seriousness of a letter, with the ;potential conversational aspects of texting. That’s why they’re so key to the recruiting process.
Now, can you get a recruit without emailing your prospect consistently? Sure. But what we’re finding is they won’t be as ready to take the whole process seriously, primarily because there isn’t a better way (aside from a letter, which obviously limits the ability for back and forth conversation) to explain why you’re better than all of their other choices. And as we said, that’s what they’re looking for out of a coach.
That’s how a lot of college coaches look at emails all wrong. The big question for you, Coach, is what you’ll change moving forward to account for all of this invaluable recruiting information that recruited athletes have outlined for coaches.
They want you to email, Coach. Strongly consider how to start using it to make your recruiting message more effective.
Looking for two more ways to learn how to best use email to tell your story and improve your recruiting results?
Consider attending the upcoming National Collegiate Recruiting Conference this summer. All the details are right here. You’ll learn more advanced recruiting techniques, and listen to your fellow coaches reveal the techniques that are working for them. And, we can help design a strategy in a one-on-one relationship with you and your program. If you want to learn more about how it works, and why so many programs team-up with us to improve their recruiting results, click here.