by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
I had it all ready to go – an article on handling your prospect’s fear.
Then I ran into Bill…and by the time we were done catching up, I had made the decision to bump the article about fear to next week’s newsletter. Why? I’m always trying to come up with things that can give our clients a competitive edge. My conversation with Bill generated a very important question that I want to ask you today. I’d also like to offer you a valuable piece of advice that I believe will help you be a more effective recruiter.
First off, I should explain who Bill is. He runs a stamped concrete business in the Indianapolis area. The guy is as genuine and down to earth as they come. Last summer Bill and his team created our stamped concrete patio (it’s the one in the picture). He just happened to be in the area and chose to knock on my door and thank me (I’ll get to why in a minute).
Bill had just come from our new neighbors’ house across the street. After seeing our patio when they moved in, the new neighbors commented that they wanted to do something similar in their backyard. Without hesitation I whipped out my cell phone, told them Bill was their guy, and passed along his number…just like I had done for three other friends in our community over the past year.
Long story short, Bill and his team will be doing their fifth patio in our neighborhood in the coming weeks. His knock on my door was to thank me for all the word-of-mouth recommendations.
Here’s my question for you: “How many people that barely know you and have had only minimal contact with you (like I had with Bill) would, without hesitation, advocate your school to a prospective student (or their parents) if asked about colleges?”
Word-of-mouth is arguably the most powerful selling tool you have available. It stems naturally from an unmatched customer experience or interaction. Your prospects, just like my neighbors, are relying on others to help them make their decision. Our research shows that recruits will often go against what their own gut is telling them and side with other influential outside decision makers. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what is happening.
So…I’ll ask the same question again in a different way. “Who’s recruiting for you when you’re not recruiting?”
Think about how many different people you come in contact with or pass in the halls during a school visit. The high school counselor is only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got the principal, a dean, the secretaries, the librarian, coaches, teachers, the lunch lady, and even the custodians. That’s just at one school. I didn’t even mention the people you interact with at college fairs, hotels, and restaurants. If you don’t think your communication with those people matters, I’m here to tell you it does.
Your goal should be to generate positive interactions that will help develop buzz about your institution from one person to the next, just like Bill did with me. That means more smiling, listening, and talking with passion when you discuss your school. Concern yourself with the wants and needs of others as well as helping solve their problems. Less “sell, sell, and sell.” You want the other person to feel like a valued partner.
My advice as you navigate fall travel season and beyond is to take a couple of extra minutes and really concentrate on creating a positive relationship with not only your prospects, but everyone else around them.
Want to talk to us about working one-on-one with you and your admissions team to develop a rock-solid recruiting plan? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can set up a time to discuss how we do it and why it works.