Practice Drill Rehearse
Where would a professional athlete be if they never practiced? The greater athletes are always perfecting their craft. If they are not constantly working to develop themselves, they wouldn’t be in the league very long and probably wouldn’t have made it to the league in the first place.
The same can be said for college scouts. Many of them fail. Every year hundreds of intensely eager men and women set out to become a college scout. By the end of that year many of them quit. Many of them are unsuccessful and many more just phase out or drop off because they couldn’t make it work.
Lack of preparation is where many scouts are weak. Failure is right around the corner if you do not have the discipline to practice your skills.
Professional athletes are practicing all the time: Baseball players have batting practice every day and basketball players have a shoot-around prior to that evening’s game. There is constant practice and development all the time to stay sharp, to stay on top of your game, and the same is true for successful college scouts.
A List To Prepare For
Objections: In this business, every scout is going to get hit with objections. The objections are when the parent says no or they’re not interested. If you’re not prepared in advance this will hit you upside the head like a brick. How would you handle the objections? What would you say to the parent who is not interested? What would you say in your defense?
Questions From Parents: The parents are going to have questions, so it’s important for you to have the answers. It’s important for you to be prepared for anything the parent is going to ask. Make a list of questions that you think parents would ask. Figure out exactly what your response will be to those potential questions.
Asking Questions: Put together a list of your top 10 questions that you want to ask parents. You want to be very strong in this area. Then develop another 20 or 30 more questions that you want to use as a backup. The questions are like your inventory, you pull them out when you need them and they’re always available to you. You want to be prepared in this area.
Your Presentation: Your presentation is something you need to practice daily and basically get to the point where it’s memorized. Your presentation is you explaining what your recruiting service is all about and what the parents are going to get for their money.
The Follow-Up Phone Call: Making follow-up phone calls is critical. This is another area where many scouts are weak. They’re nervous because now they have to actually do some serious work. This is an important area that should be practiced every single day on exactly what you’re going to say to the parent in your follow-up phone call and every follow-up phone call you make. You just can’t make it up. You must have a plan and you need to have an excellent strategy.
How To Use Social Media: Social media is here to stay. You need to figure out how to use social media to build your brand, get your name out there, and to build transparency. In this business people go by what they see and what is unseen counts for nothing. You want to post videos of yourself at high school sporting events. You want to write short informational post on social media. Post images with written words on them. It’s important to be able to use social media to get your message out there. Build a Facebook Fan Page. Build an Instagram Fan Page and get thousands of followers. Social media today is very important and something you must do and be good at while building your brand.
Text Messages: Don’t be scared to text a parent. Sometimes in your attempt to make your follow-up phone call, it may go straight to voicemail but their voicemail is full. The parent is not going to answer the phone. If you are lucky enough to be able to leave a message, they still may not return your call. It’s the nature of the beast, it’s just the way it is. Develop a thorough text messaging program. What are you going to say in your text message? Images are good, video is good, the written word is good. You’re trying to get your message across to the parent. Follow the same objection procedures. Cover all bases in your text messaging campaign.
Email: Email is still powerful. This is another weapon in your arsenal of ammunition. You need to be able to reach the parents more ways than just a phone call or text message. It’s important to use what you have available. All the weapons all the ammunition, use it up because it’s important. Some parents have office jobs and email could be the best way to reach them. In some situations their email is attached to their phone and they’re going to see it right away. Develop a strategy for email. Don’t just come up with one or two email messages have dozens of messages you can use. Also with email, you want to be creative in the subject line. A one or two word subject line is not going to cut it. Five or more words in the subject line will grab their attention right away. Think of various subject lines you want to use in your email message to parents.
Rejection: It is part of the business that you cannot get around. Rejection will happen. There will be plenty of situations where you have given your best effort and you have done everything by the book, but the parent will not sign up with your recruiting service. There are crazy situations and crazy scenarios you’re going to come across, but instead of running away from rejection learn from it and understand it. I would make detailed notes on what happened and why the parent did not sign up with you. What were some of the things they said to you? What was their expression? Did they ask questions? Were they argumentative? It’s important to understand rejection because it’s going to happen. I think it’s important to keep detailed records and notes on exactly what happened when a parent didn’t sign up, that way you can get better. Think about NFL football; they play the game on Sunday and, win or lose, they look at the tape of the game on Monday. They’re studying what went right and what went wrong. They’re breaking it down in two categories. On certain days the defense will watch defensive film, the offense watches offense of film, and the special teams special teams film. They’re doing this so they can fix problems because it’s about getting better. Embrace rejection.
Goal-Setting: As a college scout if you have no goals you’re going nowhere. If your goals are not in writing where they can be reviewed and adjusted, you really have nothing to shoot for. How many people do you want to sign up every month? How many games do you want to attend on a weekly basis? How many posts on social media do you want to make every day, every week, or every month? How much money do you want to make every month, every three months, every six months, every year? How many kids do you want to sign up? How many of those kids do you want to get placed in college on scholarships or financial packages? Write down your goals. Create a long list of achievable goals. I believe your goals should be broken down into short-term goals which would be three months. Mid-term goals, six months. Long-term goals, one year. Don’t make the goal so impossible to achieve that it never becomes achievable. You don’t want to say something like “I want to make a million dollars by the end of the year!” That’s a very nice goal to have, but is it really achievable? Have a separate notebook so that you can keep track of your goals. You should read your goals three times a day. In the morning, during the afternoon, and most definitely before you go to sleep at night. Your mind does not turn off, your subconscious will be working on those goals all night. When you wake up the following morning you will have energy, a reason to jump out of bed and get right to it every single day. If you commit to goals you will succeed as a college scout. Now you have a Blueprint for Success, a road map to achieve greatness.
Business Development: This is an area where many professional scouts and recruiting services neglect. What are you doing to improve your business? I believe you should spend one hour per week working on your business. What exactly does that mean? Studying all there is to be a scout. Going over your presentation, the questions you ask parents, your goals, follow-up questions, text messages, and emails to parents. Business Development. There’s a reason why certain companies are out of business right now. They weren’t smart enough to develop. They weren’t smart enough to innovate and now they’re out of business. If you don’t innovate you’re going to die. Think of ways to get better as a college scout. Just don’t sign up a bunch of kids in a month and think it’s all good and success is just going to keep growing. You want success to last for as long as you’re in business. Think of ways to get better and one of the ways is business development.
Final Thoughts: Practice, drill, and rehearse is critical to your success as a college scout. I’ve seen a lot of scouts come and go. I’ve seen a lot of scouts who don’t want to accept information. Many of these scouts crashed and burned.
Many of these scouts failed and they blame their failure of not being able to sign the parents because, the parents would listen, the parents have no money, it’s the wrong sport, we’re out of season, it’s the wrong time of year, it’s the holidays, I don’t personally have the time this week, the list of excuses goes on and on why scouts fail, the student-athletes were jerks, etc. The blame game for failure, that’s what some scouts are all about.
The successful scout is always practicing to the point where everything they say and do is memorized. Everything the scout is doing comes natural to them just like a baseball player in the batting cage. Soon as he sees a fastball or a curveball he knows exactly what to do. Why not get a partner like your wife, your girlfriend, or other family member to practice with? Constantly keep drilling yourself and quizzing yourself on techniques on all facets of being a college scout.
It’s like in pro football, the players have to be good on all facets of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. They’re constantly practicing, drilling themselves, and rehearsing. You can achieve great success as a college scout. We’re never going to run out of student-athletes. High school sports is getting bigger and bigger all the time. Forty years ago clubsports was nonexistent.
Now club sports is big-time. Many club organizations are run like corporations. High school sports is getting bigger and it’s not slowing down. There are more athletes playing high school sports than there’s ever been in the history of high school sports. Back in the day, there wasn’t much softball and girls basketball, now that’s changed.
As a college scout you need to position yourself to do what you can to assist all of these student-athletes. The number of college programs has virtually remained the same. The number of student-athletes keeps growing. There’s always going to be a student-athlete who missed out on a college opportunity.
Recruiting services are needed! There’s always going to be a student-athlete who has talent, who is under-recruited, and invisible to college coaches. It is your duty to be out there to help these kids get recruited.
The last thing we want to see is a talented kid working at a lowly minimum wage job when they should be in college playing their sport and getting an education. It’s up to you as the college scout to perfect your skills and I’m challenging you to dedicate yourself to developing your talents.