by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Phone calls to prospective students: That was one of the hot topics yesterday during my first admissions training workshop of 2017.
When it comes to recruiting phone calls, I find admissions counselors either love them or hate them…and quite often it’s the latter.
Regardless of which group you fall into, very few counselors adequately analyze the content of their recruiting phone calls and determine what they could do better the next time.
Self-evaluation is a crucial part of growth, so today I’m going to help you with that.
Let’s go ahead and assume that you’re able to connect with your prospect because you set up the call through a previous communication like we’ve recommended in the past.
When you hang up or press end on the call, I want you to ask yourself the following eight questions:
- At some point during the phone call, did you make your prospect feel wanted? How? Could you prove it if you had to?
- How much talking did you do vs. them? If you spent a lot of time bragging about different aspects of your school or telling them all the reasons you think they’d be crazy not to apply, visit, or submit their deposit, you risk boring your prospect and causing them not to remember the key details and selling points that you want them to…and there’s probably a good chance that the next time you call you’re going to get their voicemail.
- Did you start the phone call with a weak, non-specific phrase? In the same way that I recommend your letters and emails be original and have a strong opening sentence, the same holds true for your phone call. Last week I told you to avoid the three words “I was just…” in your recruiting conversations. Too many counselors start out their recruiting phone calls that way. Phrases like that sound weak, they’re usually not the truth, and they do nothing to set up the rest of your call or create any sort of urgency.
- Did you give them the chance to ask questions? You need to create opportunities in each call that allows your prospect to open up and respond to your questions, as well as ask questions of their own.
- Did you make them laugh? If you didn’t, research shows that you failed to engage one of the primary ways we connect with each other.
- Did you ask them what they view as the next step in their process? Rather than assuming you know what they’re going to do next, I want you to ask them. What a lot of counselors tell me they find is that the prospect’s timeline doesn’t match theirs.
- Were you able to come away with talking points for future recruiting calls, letters and emails? If you were trying to multi-task (i.e. reply to emails) the answer is probably going to be no…which is a problem because you may have just missed out on an opportunity to strengthen your recruiting relationship. Always give your prospect your undivided attention, and furthermore, you could even repeat back to the prospect one thing you learned from them as a way to confirm you’ve been listening.
- Did you end your call on a positive note? Your prospects tell us that a simple “thank you for your time and input” goes a long way. And, it also increases the chances that future calls will be answered.
Questions? I’m just an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Here’s a picture of my descent into Chicago on Sunday that I thought you might enjoy. Have a great rest of the week!