by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Throughout the summer I’ve heard from a number of admissions counselors and directors, who are trying to “crack the code” when it comes to connecting with today’s teenage prospect. Everyone wants a competitive edge as they begin to build relationships with this next class of recruits.
If you want to convince more prospects that your school is that “right fit,” then your recruiting communications better be impactful and generate a high level of interaction from prospects. Unfortunately, a large majority of those same prospects continue to declare that most of the material they receive from colleges sounds the same. It’s a primary reason why a lot of admissions departments become our clients. They want to make sure they’re employing the best communication strategies possible.
Today I’m going to offer you a piece of advice. I don’t know if it will solve all your problems, but I do know that this simple technique will increase the chances of making your points stick with your prospects.
It’s all about “the power of three.” It works in writing, and it will also work in phone conversations. It’s a principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. There’s also evidence that our minds are more likely to remember information when it comes in threes.
Think about it for a minute. Most people have three names. We say things like, “It’s as easy as one, two, three.” In the marketplace there’s “The Three Stooges,” “The Three Musketeers,” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” All of it comes in threes.
Your prospects are no different. They want ideas about your institution grouped in threes because they’re wired just like you and I. So, if you’re interested in getting a better response than you’re used to from your prospects, I highly advise you to use this concept.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re trying to talk or write to your prospects about your school’s highly rated (insert an academic major or school of blank). You might normally talk about the major’s/school’s reputation once, and then expect your prospect to connect the dots themselves. Instead, try this line of reasoning that groups your argument in a group of three:
“Our Business School was rated one of the strongest in the nation by Forbes this year. The return on investment achieved by our graduates continues to be on the rise. In fact, based on nationally gathered information we ranked in the top 10 in both total 5-year MBA gain, and years to payback.
One of our recent graduates, John Smith, was offered employment at a Fortune 50 company following graduation. He told Forbes that our Business School and its experienced professors were the reason he was able to land such a high level position immediately.
The best part is those same professors continue to shape the curriculum with the changing landscape, and expand their networks. It really gives our students an edge against other Business School graduates.”
Here’s what you want to do: Put your strongest proof at the top and devote the most time and attention to that point. Your goal should be to get them to sit back and take you seriously. The next paragraph should be about half the length of the first, and the third paragraph should be about half the length of the second one.
When talking to prospects or developing written recruiting communications, make sure you vary the proof that you offer them. In the example I gave you above, I started with a strong statement that statistically told the recruit why our Business School was top notch. Next, I gave a proof of what the school and its professors did for a recent graduate. Thirdly, I offered up proof that the school is getting even better than it has been in the past.
This technique has been used for decades in business marketing strategies. It will work for you because it meets our wired need for a group of three in the reasoning you present to recruits and their parents.
If you understand “the power of three” and incorporate it in your recruiting communications, your ideas will stick, and you will increase your success rate.
Knowing how to present an idea effectively is the first step towards really connecting with today’s prospective students. Want to discuss this further? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org