by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
Fact: Your prospects (and their parents for that matter) see you as either a salesperson (bad) or as a resource (good).
The key to successful selling, otherwise known as recruiting, is to be a resource rather than a salesperson.
During individual counselor meetings that occur as part of our on-campus workshops, I’m constantly asked, “What do my prospects really want from me?” The answer is simple. They want to feel that you’re genuinely trying to help them achieve their goals, which means consistently delivering on their wants and needs.
Here’s what I mean. If you approach your prospects with information and bullet points about your school, they’re going to view you as a salesperson. However, if you provide them with ideas, answers and engaging ways to meet their goals, they’re going to see you as a resource.
There are huge benefits that come from being a resource for your prospects. For starters, it’s much easier to connect with them. If you connect with them, they’ll see you as someone they can trust. When you develop a reputation as someone who is trustworthy, you’ll become the “go-to” counselor for help and advice. Add it all up, and you significantly increase the chances of your prospects choosing your institution.
When you’re a salesperson it’s all about you, what you want them to do, and why you think they’d be crazy not to pick your school.
Does that mean if you’re a salesperson you won’t be able to connect with and gain your prospect’s trust? No, but I promise you it won’t be easy, and it’s going to take a lot more time and convincing.
Like we outline with new clients, early in the recruitment process it’s vital that you connect with your prospects. If you don’t connect with them, it’s going to be tough to turn those admits into deposits.
Sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer has a great rule to remember when you’re in a selling (recruiting) situation: The percent of time your prospect does the talking dictates your chances of securing their commitment. If they talk 20% of the time, you’ll probably have a 20% chance of enrolling them. If they talk 80% of the time, you’ll probably have an 80% chance of enrolling them.
Gitomer’s point? If you want to sell your prospect that your school is the “right fit” for them, you need to give them the answers they need. You need to be the resource they’re searching for, and you need to do it by making everything you do and say about your prospect and not about you.
The minute you cease to be attentive to their wants and needs, you run the risk of losing them to a competing school that will be.
Here are a few additional things you can do to become a resource for your prospects:
- Respond quickly & deliver information in an easy to understand, engaging format
- Stay current on trends and pop culture
- Continually polish your sales and problem solving skills
- Consistently network and exchange ideas with other admissions professionals
- Admit when you don’t know something (then let them know you’ll find out)
I’m going to leave you today with some homework. Check your brochures…your recruiting letters…and your talking points during campus visits. How much of it is centered on your prospect, and how much of it is stuff you’re pushing about you and your school?
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