One Key to Recruiting: Always Be Selling the Benefits

Selling Benefits, Not Features

Coaches, when you’re out there recruiting athletes, ask yourself a simple question: are you selling the benefits of attending your school or simply the listing the positive features of your school?

What do I mean by this question?

Well, in sales we make a distinction between the feature, the positive fact or attribute about your school, and the benefit that the feature will bring to your customer.

In other words, how does this feature benefit the prospect while at your school and after?

Here’s an example:

You might say to a recruit, “We are a top ranked academic school.”

You might even add in, “We have small classes of 10-20 students. Our professors teach all their classes”

In this case you are selling the feature.

If instead you say, “Do you want a great job? A successful career? You will get a great education here, but you will also make contacts and connections that will last a lifetime.  They will lead to opportunities like jobs and leadership roles.  Also, small classes mean lots of attention from full professors. They will know who you are.  Businesses know that and value this education. When you walk out these doors recruiters will be calling you. You’ll get a great job.”

Now, you are selling the benefit of the education to the prospective student-athlete.

Can you see the difference?

Try it with your stadium.

Selling benefitsIf you sell the feature you simply point to the great stadium. You might say how many it seats or how much it costs. Or, it was just built this year. All positives, but….

If you sell the benefit you might describe how great the prospect will play on the beautiful field in front of a huge crowd. You will note how proud she’ll be, and as a result how well she’ll play. You’ll paint a great picture of the benefit to her.

Or, if it was built this year, you can point to the support of the school and therefore the future excellence of your program.  A success she will share in as a student-athlete.

Which would you find more persuasive?

Combat Negative Recruiting:

One thing I did as a recruiter was to take a look at all the features good and bad about my school. Then I figured out how to turn them into the language of a benefit in my recruiting spiel.

Wait, a second. You say take negative features and make them a benefit? Yep. I did.  And, I just heard it validated again on this excellent podcast.

I imagine some of your opponents will mention your worst features to recruits especially if the contrast makes their school look better.

So, you need to be prepared to deal with it when it comes up, or better yet, address it in advance.

Here’s an example. You have a less attractive college town. Sleepy. Or even dull. Well, you can guess a competitor might work that into the conversation.

Or, the prospect might notice himself.

So, what’s the benefit?

Well, students study more, apply themselves more, and graduates go on to a better graduate programs or better jobs.

Or, the students are more creative in making their own fun, and spend more time on campus and build a better community of deep friendships there. As a result they have a great network when they get out into the bigger working world.

That network is a key to a successful career.

You get the point.

So, take a moment and ask yourself, “Are you selling benefits or are you selling features?”  Sell the benefit and build your program.