The 7-letter word that can help you: by Jeremy Tiers
I want to introduce you to what I consider to be the most underrated tool in student recruitment. You can’t buy it, it’s hard to teach, and most counselors don’t use it to their advantage.
When you’re trying to secure a commitment and obtain those deposits, one of the worst things you can do is give your recruit the feeling that they’re being pressured. I hear stories all the time about counselors who are so stressed out about increasing yield, that they push and push until they get the answer they want from their prospect. Here’s the problem with that scenario. Pressure might lead to an initial commitment, but that prospect will be a strong candidate to flip-flop at the last minute, or at the very least talk negatively to others about the way your institution recruited him or her.
Passion is an effective sales tool because it isn’t artificial. People can tell when you truly enjoy what you do and genuinely believe what you’re selling. A passionate recruiter sincerely cares about, and takes the time to understand, the wants and needs of their prospect and his or her family members. When you do this it creates a more enjoyable experience and generates excitement and other emotions that a recruit relies on to make their decision.
So, which approach are you using – the passionate pitch or the pressure sell? There’s a big difference between the two. Let me provide you with a few contrasting examples of “passion” versus “pressure” when recruiting your students:
Passion is when you smile, speak with enthusiasm, and display pride because you’re that excited to explain to your prospect why your school is the “right fit.” Pressure is when you rarely make eye contact and look at your cell phone every five minutes, because you’re tired or you’ve got some other place you’d rather be.
Passion is when you consistently communicate with your prospect from the beginning to the end of the recruiting cycle. You use different methods of communication, make your messages interesting, and always keep in mind how your messaging is important to that prospect. Pressure is when you infrequently touch base after a prospect submits their application, and then when admitted, call and ask if they’ve chosen where they want to go.
Passion is being prepared to start the conversation about paying for college early in the process. You understand it’s a stressful subject and you want to ease everyone’s minds as much as possible. You effectively communicate how the process works and the value your school offers. Pressure is the feeling that parents have when their son or daughter really likes a school with a high cost of attendance, and they have no idea how they’ll be able to afford it.
Passion is when you listen to your recruit reveal an objection, get clarification, and become a problem solver. Pressure is when you try to move the recruitment process forward without acknowledging a problem or concern exists.