When it comes to the bottom line on recruiting today’s top high school athletes, parallels can be drawn from the business side of selling. Losing sales, just like losing top recruits, can be very easy. You can learn from the following mistakes sales people make in the business world as compiled by sales guru Tom Hopkins. This is an adapted list of his ‘Top 7 Sales Mistakes.’
Sales Mistake #1: Lack of confidence or excitement about the institution you represent. If you want athletes to listen to you and seriously consider your school, you have to come across as both enthusiastic and walk with confidence. People will buy from (or sign with) you based more on your conviction and enthusiasm for your product (school) than any other factor.
Sales Mistake #2: Talking too much. When you’re talking, you’re telling. When you ask questions to get clients (student-athletes) talking about their desires and wants, you’re selling.
Sales Mistake #3: Your vocabulary. Words create pictures in our minds. Certain words that are inherent to selling turn people off. For example, watch out for using the word “contract”. We all know that contracts are legally binding documents and require legal efforts to get out of. Think about the words you use and replace any negative word-picture images with gentler, more positive ones that are less threatening.
Sales Mistake #4: Not investing time in building rapport. Good rapport builds trust. No one will want to make a purchase from (or sign with) someone they don’t like and trust. Since calls and personal appearances are limited, use creative social media and text messaging to build relationships with recruits. Old school hand written letters add a personal touch.
Sales Mistake #5: Lack of a qualification system. A certain percentage of the people you talk with won’t be good candidates for your program. Your challenge is to figure out who isn’t a good fit for your program early in the communication process. Come up with at least three or four “qualifying” questions, the answers to which will tell you if this is the kind of kid you want in your program – regardless of how talented he or she may be.
Sales Mistake #6: Not paying attention to details. If you skim over details or shortcut your presentation because you’ve done it so many times that you’re bored with it, you’ll lose sales. Remember: Every student athlete is new and each is trying to make up their minds on one of the most important early life decisions they will make.
Always show enthusiasm and be ready to answer any questions he or she may have. Unless the recruit indicates that certain details you would normally cover aren’t of interest to them, make sure you get your best sales message across. This carries over to your communication in handwritten letters, email and cell phones and with other people you speak with – from high school coaches to friends and family members.
Sales Mistake #7: Not having standardized procedures for all assistant coaches to follow. This ties into paying attention to details. Have a standardized framework for coaches that allow them to maximize their strengths. Invest some time and effort in laying out these procedures so they can be uniform and followed by current and future staff members.