Why You Shouldn't Let Your Prospect Delay Their Decision to Commit to You
A real-time example of what happens when a brave coach holds firm
One of the main points I made at the end of this particular daily training article put the responsibility squarely on a coach’s shoulders:
YOUR job is to manage those feelings they’re having.
Little did I know that the next day, a living, breathing example of this principle would play out…
Now originally, the family of the prospect said that they would be ready much sooner, and agreed on the original timeline and deadline that our client had outlined for them. She also did a great job asking some of the new questions we’ve found to work well at this stage in the process, which helped everyone agree on the original timeline for making that decision. Then - as many prospects and their parents do - the family decided they were feeling unsure, and came back to our coach requesting more time. (Turns out, they were waiting to hear back on an offer from a competing school that had just popped into the picture).
The advice we gave: Stay true to your timeline and your fair-but-firm deadline, Coach. Control the timeline to control the events, don’t let events control the timeline. “Scary, but liberating”, in the words of this coach.
Literally just minutes after our coach let the family know they couldn’t wait, and was prepared to move on if the family wasn’t ready to commit, this happened:
When we called the bluff, the prospect’s mother folded: She said that the family was not ready to walk away and, by default, say “no” to our client…meaning, they’re in the middle of playing games with the coach.
Understand that the coach isn’t being ‘unfair’ in maintaining the original deadline; it was established early, confirmed throughout the process, and they’ve been told they’re the number one choice all along. But, temptation usually strikes late… “what if there’s something even better out there?” And that’s when the delays happen.
If you let them happen as the coach.
This is all still playing out as we head into this new week, but as the coach ended the conversation, her words were, “I actually feel relieved, like I finally have control over things. It feels very empowering.”
I think that’s part of why a coach should set fair but firm timelines for making a decision, as we’ve outlined on Honey Badger and on the special deadlines section at dantudor.com. Someone has to control the process, and most coaches choose to let the family take the lead. As a result, deadlines pass, lies are told, and coaches’ rosters crumble each and every spring as they prepare for the next fall.
If it is indeed a game, you have to play it, Coach. And, I suggest you play to win. It’s your career we’re talking about here, and as many of you are discovering, the talent you recruit usually dictates the outcome of your seasons and your career.