A little something I learned in Business School, The Sales Cycle:
Prospecting – Initiate Contact – Identify Needs – Present Offer – Manage Objections – Close the sale
Don’t yawn just yet, this applies to you, I swear. How? Because during this recruiting process, you need to view yourself as a product. You also need to be the salesman selling your amazing product. Now, who are you selling to? The college coach, of course!!! Think of it this way:
Research – Contact Coach – Is truly the Right Fit? – Take Action – Consider All Outcomes – Commit!
It can get difficult trying to sell yourself to these coaches, bashfully convincing them you are good enough for their school and program. You may feel awkward talking about yourself in a seemingly cocky way. My advice: look at it from a 3rd party – you are a salesman selling an awesome product to a person (the coach) who NEEDS this product!
I often use dating as an analogy for the recruiting process, but I find The Sales Cycle a bit more sophisticated (and I want to show off my amazing business skillz – I didn’t suffer through a top business program for nothin’!!).
1. Research: Research research research. Visit schools, talk to people, learn what educational programs they have. D1? D2? D3 program? Location of the school? Come up with a list of schools that suit you, including reach schools and safety schools. Write out your goals and what you are looking for in a school and program.
2. Contact Coach: Note, you need to initiate contact, not your mom and dad. Go to as many college games and introduce yourself. Email, call, leave voicemails. Calling and leaving a voicemail and then following up with email is way more powerful than just an email. If the coach doesn’t respond? Call and email a few weeks later! Don’t get discouraged if they don’t respond to an email or call, they are very busy. If they really aren’t interested, they will email you that. I say continue [tactically] contacting them until they tell you that you aren’t a fit for their program.
3. Is it Truly the Right Fit?: Ask the coach how many players graduating in your year they are looking at recruiting and then ask where you stand on that list (some coaches I know have a list of recruits for each year and rank the recruits). If appropriate, discuss scholarship. Be honest with yourself and the coach throughout this process. You will most likely not know if you don’t ask a direct question. More importantly, consider your own needs! What is best for you and what do you need? (note, not your mom and dads needs). Write out a list of your own needs in a school and hockey program.
4. Take Action: If you are interested, let the coach know you are interested! Let them know where they stand on your list. Get that official visit. Show your passion – let them know if it is your dream school, then sell yourself! Sure, coaches mainly look at your grades and field hockey level, however they also want a kid who is passionate and can confidently speak and is likable. Showing that you are very interested may make the difference if the coach accepts you or not.
5. Consider all Outcomes: A coach could offer you a spot yet maybe it is done in a way you weren’t prepared for. For example, there is a chance a coach will say ‘I will accept you if you send your application in this week’ which is difficult if you aren’t 100% sure if that school is for you. There is a chance a coach will offer you smaller scholarship than you anticipated. The coach could even say they are waiting on another recruit’s answer first before they can give you a yes or a no. Be prepared for all types of responses and think in advance of how you will respond.
6. Commit: All of your research and hard work will guide you to the right answer when the timing is right!
My last piece of advice I will close with is that a good Salesman asks the right questions. Go into every meeting, email and phone call that you have with a coach with a few good questions. Think about them in advance, write them down and consider how and when you will ask them.
Sales class dismissed!