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The Shocking Results From Our Research Into First Contact Methods With New Prospects
This is a big change for coaches - and will require some better communication skills to effectively lead recruits through the process over the long term.
We are getting ready to do a special recruiting training day with most of the coaches in the Penn State University system later this week, and as a part of the preparations we’ve been doing fresh research into how this incoming class of recruits made their decision as they heard from college coaches and made their final decision.
We’ve always knowns phone calls were important to prospects, mainly because they said a phone call showed them that you thought they were important, and because it’s so difficult for them to muster the courage to call you as a coach, they value the fact that you’re helping them break the ice first.
But this class of recruits are now telling us that they’re doubling down on phone contact, which is a major departure from past focus group surveys we’ve done. Take a look at this question we asked, and the committed class of 2023’s response:
When a college coach initially begins to recruit a prospect like you out of high school, what form of first communication from the coach would give you the feeling that they were very serious about you as a prospect?
It’s a phone call from you by a mile. Especially because you making personal first contact face to face is nearly impossible, it easily dwarfs all the other options.
(Also worth noting: A written letter beats a text message, and sending them a direct message via social media gets around 2% approval. And emails beat all three, just for all you email skeptics still out there).
Why is this such a big deal?
Because if they want you to tell your story via phone and zoom over a long period of time, that’s going to require technique: Visually and audibly telling a story in a way that gets remembered and gets listened to is a skill, and coaches are going to have to get good at this.
We’ll be doing more study into the reasons why this big switch has happened, but my early gut feeling tells me it has to do with so much of their consumed media being video based now. Face to face communication over social media platforms has exploded, and we may have reached the point where this generation just expects it more from coaches as they start the recruiting relationship. Like I said, we’ll be diving in deeper to ask follow-up questions, but I wanted to throw that out as a talking point for you and your staff sooner rather than later.
P.S. - If you’re a Penn State University system coach who will be at the event featuring talks from myself and Mandy Green later this week, you’ll be getting a lot of the other correlating information that goes with this. There are other data sets that have shifted, as well, and we’ll talk about all of it in detail.
P.S.S. - If you’re a client or subscriber to this Honey Badger Recruiting platform, expect to see a lot of articles and conversations about this and other new data over the coming months. We’ll keep you on the leading edge of it all, and our clients will see other adjustments in their communication plans that we are developing for you.
P.S.S.S. - I don’t even know if P.S.S.S is an actual literary thing, but the other way you can be taught the concepts we’re pulling from our latest focus group information is by having us come to campus to lead one of our On-Campus Recruiting Workshops with your athletic department. They are detailed, fast-paced, challenging, and 100% customized for your school and situation based on our research we’ll do with your athletes before we come to campus. Click here to get more information and to set up training dates.