No Sales Experience Required
No sales experience required.
There are those who believe you have to have a sales background to be a college scout. I totally disagree with that.
In my opinion, I think it’s a bad idea if you come from a sales background.
You need to have a sports background. It’s critical to have knowledge of high school and college sports and, if you have played sports at any level, that would be an added plus.
It’s credibility that counts in this business.
What if you were the local star athlete and you’re now a college scout? That would be more credible than someone who has a sales background who has never played sports.
The last thing a parent wants to have is someone trying to sell them something. Someone who sounds like a sales pro. I hate being sold to because it’s annoying and it doesn’t fit with being a college scout.
It’s All About The Conversation
Being a college scout is a different type of business. When sitting down one-on-one with a parent, you’re just having a conversation. You’re not sounding like a salesperson.
You don’t even look like a salesperson. A business suit is not required. You don’t even need to wear a shirt and tie. You need to dress how college coaches dress. A polo shirt with your company’s logo on it or a nice pair of jeans or pair Dockers is sufficient.
That’s the look you want to have. That’s the look that would resonate with parents of student-athletes more so than someone with a suit and tie on who might intimidate the parents.
The parents are going to automatically think that this will cost a lot of money. It’s going to cost more money than they can afford and, before you even start your presentation, the parent will already have a negative opinion about you.
It’s the conversation that’s very critical. Keep in mind that the parents are already apprehensive about the recruiting process. They’re going to be nervous. They’re going to be confused.
The parents know absolutely nothing about recruiting. Whatever they do know about recruiting it’s probably wrong because they heard it from another parent who knows absolutely nothing about recruiting. You don’t want to come in there and ruin everything before your first impression.
- Your first impression should not be too much sales mumbo jumbo.
- Your first impression should be that you’re their friend.
- Your first impression should be someone they can relate to.
- Your first impression should be someone they can talk to.
- Your first impression should be someone they’re willing to listen to.
- Your first impression should be having a conversation about the recruiting process.
You don’t want to be in sales presentation mode.
A lot of scouts want to come in with a PowerPoint presentation. This is only going to intimidate the parents. I really don’t think it’s necessary to come in with all types of tools and gadgets.
I think you could walk into their home, sit down with them in a neutral meeting place with a laptop computer and that would be okay. It’s really a nice conversation between the scout and the parents.
The Salesperson Vs. The College Scout
Salespeople talk too much. They talk about how great their products and services are. They want to talk to you about what they have to offer and how it all works. This is how salespeople have been trained for decades.
We all know people who are great talkers or who have a great speaking voice and we probably told that person that they would be a great salesperson. In my opinion, it’s a huge mistake for a college scout to be a great talker.
For someone who’s going to talk and dominate the conversation, you’re not going to succeed with the parents. You will clearly fail as a college scout if you spend most of the time talking and the parents most of the time listening. That’s not how it goes.
A professional college scout is going to ask questions and listen for feedback. The professional college scout will keep asking questions and get the parents to respond with a wealth of information.
It’s about the spotlight in your role as a college scout. There is a huge spotlight swinging back and forth between the scout and the parent. The spotlight is going to shine on the individual who is talking.
If the parent is doing most of the talking then the spotlight is shining on them, they are the stars of the conversation and that’s exactly what you want. As soon as the scout begins to talk, the spotlight will shift over to them.
It’s important for the college scout to keep the conversation going by asking questions that will keep the spotlight on the parent because you’re getting them to talk.
Every parent is going to have something good to say about their kid. The parent has invested a lot of money in their son’s or daughter’s athletic development. The parent has been to just about every camp, every tournament, and sometimes summer vacations are scheduled and coordinated around camps and tournaments.
The parents are going to know everything there is to know pertaining to their student-athletes college recruitment.
If you ask questions, the spotlight is on the parent and the parent is going to keep talking. You’re going to get information and the rapport that you’re building between yourself and the parent will get stronger and form a very strong bond.
That’s exactly what you want. If you sit there and try to dominate the conversation with a bunch of facts, figures, and statistics the parent will tune you out like the Charlie Brown characters who tune out the adults when they start talking. Have you ever seen one of those Charlie Brown cartoons?
A salesperson is going to talk a lot. They’re trying to sell. Their job is to talk a lot and to give as much information as possible to get the customer to buy right now.
How many times have we gotten that annoying phone call from someone trying to get us to switch our electric service or cable service and they immediately start talking and telling us everything about it.
The first thing I do is start rolling my eyes then I hang up the phone. It’s annoying and it hurts my ears just to hear these people talk. Now can you imagine if you were to do that to a parent of a student-athlete? You will no doubt lose them.
The Conversation And The Rules of Engagement
What is the first question you would ask a parent?
In your presentation, I believe it’s important to get off to a good start. In my opinion, that first engagement question would be, for example, ‘Tell me all about Jason.’
What a great question. Normally, the parent is going to run down everything Jason has done athletically over the last several years. They’re going to talk about every camp. They’re going to talk about all the games. They’re going to talk about what’s going right with recruiting and what’s going wrong with recruiting.
As a college scout, you just hit the jackpot of information. The spotlight is on the parent and they’re sharing everything with you.
You’re getting a wealth of information and this is going to help you when it comes to signing them up and getting them to make that financial commitment which is very important to your own financial future as a professional college scout.
When you’re about to have that conversation with the parent, practice what you’re going to say. Write it out on notebook paper or legal pad the kinds of questions you want to ask and how you want the conversation to go. Draw a diagram of all the steps you want to take when dealing with a parent.
Too many scouts just make it up as they go along. They don’t have a plan, they don’t have structure, they don’t know what they’re going to say, or what they’re going to do they just wing-it, making it up as they go along and they don’t achieve much success.
Think about when you go to buy that next car. The salesperson is talking too much trying to get you that car. Sometimes these car salesperson don’t have a real plan or real structure.
The college recruiting scout is a professional and you have to act that way. To maintain control it is important that you control the conversation with questions. You are a skilled surgeon of recruiting.
If the parent has a question, you have the answer or the solution and you know exactly what to do and how to diagnose the problem.
As the parents begin to give you feedback you’re in agreement. You’re agreeing to what they’re saying. If it’s a conversation over the phone, you’re using words like, ‘I understand, I agree, I completely know what you’re going through, I completely understand.’ Words of encouragement. You don’t want to sound like someone who wants to rush through the process because you want them to go ahead and pay and get things going.
If you treat the parents right, it could lead you to a bottomless pit of referrals of other student-athletes from that same high school or from that same club team.
Let me be perfectly clear: you do not need a sales background or sales experience to be a successful college scout, it’s just not necessary. It’s all about the conversation with the parent.
It’s all about asking questions of the parents. You don’t want to ever come off sounding like a salesperson. You want to sound like a real person when dealing with parents of high school student-athletes.