Archive for the ‘Worthwhile Reading’ category

7 Ways to Deal With Objections and Concerns

May 4th, 2016

black-chalkboard-background-decisionsFor most colleges “Yield Season” extends all the way up to the day new students show up for class. While the majority of prospective students may have made their college selection decision at this point a sizable number are still considering their options. They are still looking at you and other colleges.

As they get to know you and other colleges better they naturally develop positive and negative perceptions. They develop concerns. Even objections. Who knows if those perceptions and concerns are rooted in facts. But they exist. And you have to uncover them and deal with them. Here’s how.

Create well crafted questions, memorize them, and use them verbatim over and over

As you circle back to your admitted student pool it is important to have a strategy for building a relationship in 30 minutes or less. Use highly focused questions that show empathy and reflect your sincere desire to help. “What can I do that would be most helpful to you?” “How are you feeling about this whole college selection process?” “Do you mind if we stay in contact? What’s best for you? Email? Text?”

Put the student at ease

Give the student permission to be open, honest and frank. “I promise you won’t hurt my feelings by telling me …” “To help you I need to ask a few questions. Is that okay?”

Explore the student’s potential fears and motivations

Students may be conflicted about sharing this information until you assure them that it is a natural part of the process. “For a lot of students, picking a college is like riding on an emotional roller coaster. They say that it’s both exciting and stressful. What’s it been like for you? How can I help?”

Dealing with indifference

Students and parents often need to be educated about what they SHOULD consider in selecting a college. “Let me tell three things I see students and parents overlook in college selection that comes back to haunt them later.” Then, present your institution’s strengths in those areas.

Uncovering other colleges in consideration

If you don’t already know, you must find out now both where and why the student is considering another school. Your conversation with the student may go as follows. “A lot of students I talk to say they want a college that provides [name an attribute] and makes them feel [name a feeling]. Would that describe you or do you want different things? Have you found a college yet that offers that to you?” If yes, ask which one(s)? “That’s Yield-Enhancement-Seriesreally interesting. I’m happy for you. Out of curiosity, which colleges are they? And you won’t hurt my feelings if it’s not us.”

Ask how the student discovered these attributes in the college. “How did you come to know or feel that about them?”

Gauge the student’s emotional commitment to one or more colleges. “At this point, where is your heart leading you?”

Turning reluctance into commitment

When a student tells you that they’re still making a decision, respond by asking for more insight into his or her decision-making process. “It’s not uncommon for students to still be considering their options at this point but many say that they’ve narrowed down what’s going to be important to them. What’s going to be most important to you?”

Handling the root causes of “buyer” reluctance

  • Lack of information: “I sense you’re a little uncomfortable taking the next step. When that happens it’s usually because the student needs more information or some assurance. How about you?” Find out what information or assurance is needed.
  • Hidden objections or concerns: “Some students don’t take the next step because there is something they don’t like or they have a concern about something. Is that so for you – I promise you won’t hurt my feelings but it will help me understand.”
  • Withholding their true feelings/plans from you: “Of course, I want what’s best for you. And you can be honest with me because I’ll help you even if we aren’t your chosen school. What are you thinking at this point?”
  • Fear of the unknown: “Some students don’t take the next step just because it’s kind of scary. They’ve never been through it before. However, once they do they feel a huge relief and look back and think ‘That wasn’t that hard after all.’”

In conclusion

In no way do we ever advocate trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If the student is not a fit for your school, and they’d be better served elsewhere, then by all means it’s your duty to help them find that school. You want students who will be comfortable, happy and successful. Unfortunately, many conversations between counselors and prospective students never reach a depth where the the student WILL be best served. For that to truly happen you have to be prepared to artfully ask penetrating but necessary questions to better understand where the student is in his or her decision-making process and why.

We help colleges and universities with their recruiting efforts every day, especially now during yield season. If we can help you, please let me know. If you’ve thought about helping your staff with professional development, now is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

We recently launched a series of free video training tutorials on our website and YouTube channel aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. On our website you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Align Your Value With Student Needs [Video]

March 15th, 2016
We recently launched a series of free video training tutorials on our website and YouTube channel aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. On our website you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.CounselorTrainingSeriesVideos270x150

Every college admission counselor in the country talks about their college’s value proposition.  That’s a given. We all know how important it is to present your college’s unique attributes to prospective students. The question is this:  Are you presenting those distinctive characteristics in a way that has impact? 

In you are using our four-step communication model, (review here) you have gathered all of the information you need to fully understand the needs, preferences and motivations of the prospective student.

Now it’s time to present the value of your institution. It’s time for you to demonstrate how you can deliver what the student wants.

That is why the supporting phase is a critical part of the communications model. Supporting helps the student understand how you can meet their needs and give them exactly what they want.

How do you do it? You acknowledge what they’ve said to you, confirm that your understanding is correct, and then present the specific ways in which your institution can provide what they want and need.

When do you begin the supporting phase of your conversation? After probing, when the student has expressed their needs, you fully understand those needs, and you know that your institution can meet them.

There are many ways to support. However, there are two methods that are simple to implement and highly effective: Third-party validation and telling stories.

Third-Party Validation

Third-party validation involves supporting your promise of value by referencing something or someone the student can relate to and trust.

Using third-party validation as a communications tool has been around for decades, it may even qualify as the original “social media” tool.  As the counselor, you are supporting your promise of value by referencing a trusted expert that the student can relate to and trust. In this case, the “trusted expert” is one or more of your current students who previously grappled with the same concerns or desired the same attributes in a college.

Here is a real-world example shared by a counselor (David) in one of our recent Interactive Training Workshops. David knew that Ashley, a prospective student from a small high school, was very interested in receiving a high-level of personal attention.  He knows that his school can deliver on that promise, but he knows that simply promising it forces Ashley to take his word for it.

Instead, he adds third-party validation to give strength and credibility to his promise. He turns the abstract into something real and relatable.

David said, “I understand your need for personal attention. Let me introduce you to Carey.  She is a junior and an intern in the office here.  She was concerned with the same thing before she enrolled. She found that help and support was abundant on this campus and now says it is one of our strongest attributes.”

Storytelling

Storytelling also serves as a persuasive method of supporting your claims of value. It not only engages the prospective student, it also personalizes what you are telling them. It makes it real and believable.dreamstimestorytelling

There is scientific research that supports the power of storytelling. Leo Widrich, COO and co-founder of Buffer, does a great job of explaining the science in layman’s terms. “If we listen to a PowerPoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated…Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens, describes Widrich.“When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.”

I’m sure your college has hundreds, if not thousands, of compelling stories that paint a picture of the great and memorable experiences with you students have had with you.

Record and categorize these stories so that they can be easily shared at the right time, in the right situation, and with the right student. Many of the colleges we work with actually keep a database, sorted by topic, of these narratives and some have even hosted interdepartmental competitions to find the best student success stories.

Most importantly, supporting is the phase of your conversation where a student’s interest either gets stronger or weaker. It’s a pivotal point and you need to employ the proper techniques to get it right.

If you’ve thought about helping your staff with professional development, now is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

New Video Tutorials Sharpen Admission Counselor Skills

February 2nd, 2016

During yield season we frequently hear this, “Our admissions team could benefit from a tune-up, reboot, transformation, or reinvigoration.”

Longmire and Company has answered that need by offering free video training tutorials on our website and YouTube channel aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. On our website you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get even more. There you’ll find tutorials, up-to-date market data, co-sponsored study reports and a wealth of actionable information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

ITW_165x76Check out our Counselor Training Tutorials. At the heart of our highly-successful Interactive Counselor Training Workshop is a proven model of communication that counselors tell us is transformative. The model is simple and highly effective. Adopt this straightforward method and you will see greater success in your recruitment efforts. Our ever-expanding tutorial menu includes sessions covering these high–impact topics from the popular workshops we conduct at college campuses across the country:

  • Counselor Training Series Overview:  Longmire and Company believes that the conversations between prospective students and the colleges they are considering can be much richer and more fruitful for both. Having rich conversations with prospective students provides you with a greater understanding of each student’s unique needs, preferences, motivations, and how they will make their college selection decision. 
  •  Probing to Uncover Key Information about Prospective Students:  The vast majority of counselors don’t cover a sufficient number of topics with a prospective student. We tell you why you must probe and how to do so effectively.
  • Powerfully Presenting Your College’s Value Proposition:  Here’s how you can define your value to students and parents in a truly meaningful way.
  • Uncover and Break Through Objections and Concerns:  We show you how to turn questions, concerns, objections and indifference into conversations that lead to enrollment.
  • Take this Crucial Step Toward More Productive Conversations with Students:  Get the student to take the next logical step on the path to enrolling.
  • Learn to Differentiate Your College in a Compelling Way:  Break out of this trap: The students and parents you’re talking to are hearing the exact same thing from every other college they are considering.

The Counselor Training Series is just the beginning of the valuable free video tools we are making available to you. You can also check out our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national YouTube_Horiz_200x90co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.

If you’ve thought about helping your staff with professional development, now is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

RHL_Photo_100x100Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at blongmire@longmire-co.com. Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.

What Are We Thankful for? YOU!

November 25th, 2015

thanksgiving-snoopy

In this season of Thanksgiving, we want to express our gratitude to our friends from the world of admissions and enrollment management. In the midst of your hectic and fast-paced world, you may not realize how much impact you have on people’s lives.

We do. Thank you for your passion for education, your amazing work ethic and your compassionate efforts on behalf of students.

Next week, we will continue our discussion on the best ways to grow and control enrollment.  But, this week we want you to know that we are thankful for you and hope you enjoy a well-deserved celebration with family, friends and food!

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING - The ABC Television Network will celebrate the start of the holiday season with the classic special, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 and THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. In the 1973 special "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," Charlie Brown wants to do something special for the gang. However the dinner he arranges is a disaster when caterers Snoopy and Woodstock prepare toast and popcorn as the main dish. Humiliated, it will take all of Marcie's persuasive powers to salvage the holiday for Charlie Brown. (©1973 United Feature Syndicate Inc.)

We are helping colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If I can help you please call or shoot me an email. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.
RHL_Photo_100x100Bob Longmire is President of Longmire and Company, Inc. He is a recognized expert on the topic of how prospective students and parents form their college selection decisions – and how colleges can use that knowledge to grow and control their enrollment. He can be reached at (913) 492-1265, ext 709 or at blongmire@longmire-co.com. Connect with Bob at Linkedin/in/boblongmire.