Archive for the ‘Worthwhile Reading’ category

Finding out what prospective students will and won’t tell you

December 6th, 2016

“Why don’t the students we are recruiting just level with us?  I had four no-shows last weekend for campus visits, all from students who had verbally committed to me the week before,”uncover an admission counselor recently asked me. I’ve heard  iterations of this question many times: “Why do students say one thing and do another?” We asked over 18,000 college-bound students that very question, and many more.

Students may not be willing to share their hidden perceptions and feelings with the colleges they are seriously considering but they have been opening up to us in our latest nationally co-sponsored higher ed study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that prospective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control enrollment”. This study focused on the things students hold back from colleges during the college shopping process. An analysis of the results have revealed techniques and strategies colleges can use to unmask hidden influences and deal with them before the student solidifies his or her enrollment decision.

For instance, nearly 30% of college-bound students admit to making commitments to colleges that they knew they were unlikely to keep (e.g. completing an application, visiting the campus, enrolling, etc.). FYI, females are almost 60% more likely than males to do so.

Why do they do this?  Here’s what they tell us:keeping-commitments1

  • I felt uncomfortable saying no (10%)
  • I wanted to end the conversation (7%)
  • I thought there was a possibility that I would keep the commitment (60%)
  • It was easier than explaining why I didn’t want to commit (11%)
  • I wanted to keep my options open (78%)

(Students were asked to check all that apply.)

This is just one example “Hidden Influences” uncovered where study participants demonstrate that they do NOT like to be the bearer of what could be perceived as “bad news” to their admission counselor. Take note of the responses to this question:

If you need to tell a college that you are no longer interested in enrolling at their school which methods are you most comfortable using to do so? (Check all that apply.)

  • Face-to-face conversation: (15%)
  • Phone conversation: (32%)
  • Voice mail: (9%)
  • Email: (90%)
  • Text: (17%)

So, what should a counselor do? College-bound students told us there are ways to get them to open up with you even about difficult subjects.  More than half of the study participants said that they would be comfortable talking about negative things if “the counselor sincerely encouraged me to be open, honest and forthcoming.” When a prospective student communicates a concern or objection about your college, it’s a good thing. Really. When a concern or objection is revealed, you can deal with it. If they don’t share their concerns, they’ll never enroll and you’ll never know why. Give them “permission” to be completely open with you and you will be building a richer relationship with the students you are recruiting.

This study yielded new market intelligence to shed light on the hidden influences and provide you with actionable data you can use to uncover and manage the perceptions and opinions that prospective students have about your college and the other colleges they have considered. The findings will influence your future conversations with students, as well as your mass communications. We are excited to share that with you and soon we will release the full national report on this eye-opening study. (Click here to put your name on the list for an advance copy.)

yield_season_workshop_bannerShifting gears: We are delighted to announce that for a limited time, Longmire and Company’s highly regarded counselor training workshop is coming to a location near you! A number of colleges and universities will be serving as regional host sites where nearby colleges can send counselors to participate in a full-day intensive Yield Season Counselor Training Workshop that will prepare counselors for yield season success. This very affordable workshop is designed to benefit seasoned counselors just as much as counselors who are going through their first full recruiting cycle. Best of all, counselors you send will return home with skills and techniques that can be shared with the whole admission team. For more information or to register today, click here.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call me or any member of our team, 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.

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.

Special Announcement: How to Up Your Game For Yield Season Success

November 30th, 2016

College admission directors and enrollment managers often tell us that they wish they had the budget to hire professionals to train their admission teams. ampupyourgame3They tell us they know they need training; that their counselors would greatly benefit from learning new skills; and the right program would energize the entire staff.  “But,” they say regretfully, “we just don’t have the budget to support the large expenditure this kind of professional development often costs.”

So, when one of our clients casually asked if we would consider offering our Interactive Counselor Training Workshop on a regional basis so that colleges in the area could come and get the training they want and need, quickly and affordably, we were all in! And we suggested the focus be on yield.

We are delighted to announce that for a limited time, Longmire and Company’s highly regarded counselor training is coming to you! At a cost you can afford.

Colleges all over the United States hire us to come to them. To develop customized training to help their counselors work better and smarter, and have richer, more productive conversations with prospective students and parents that will lead to more (and more desirable) enrollments. There is no more important time than right now to coach your counselors in the finer points of moving students along the recruiting continuum and ultimately sealing the deal.

So we’ve developed a special day-long workshop that we’re bringing to your geographic area.

A number of colleges and universities will be serving as regional host sites where nearby colleges can send counselors to participate in a full-day intensive Yield Season Counselor Training Workshop that will prepare counselors for yield season success. This very affordable workshop is designed to benefit seasoned counselors just as much as counselors who are going through their first full recruiting cycle. Best of all, counselors you send will return home with skills and techniques that can be shared with the whole admission team.

We are selecting centralized geographic locations where counselors can easily drive to the event in the morning and be home for dinner the same night.

Attendees will learn new methods to:

  • Adopt a student-centric approach to recruiting.
  • Reveal the needs, preferences, motivations, and perceptions of prospective students.
  • More effectively present the value of their college based on what the student (and parent) perceives as being most valuable.
  • Manage the perceptions and opinions that prospective students form about their college.
  • Uncover hidden influences that will impact a student’s enrollment decision.
  • Learn how to differentiate your college.
  • Create and foster relationships with students that will lead to enrollment.
  • Discover the true influence of cost and isolate factors that will outweigh cost.
  • Enlist the support and influence of parents.
  • Share their new skills and techniques with the entire admission team.

The Bottom Line: You can Up Your Game this Yield Season for a minimal investment in time and money and a maximum return in your enrollment.

Our Yield Season Counselor Training Workshop is a comprehensive, highly interactive one-day program that incorporates our game-changing student-centric approach to recruiting.

Years of research and the input of many, many thousands of college-bound students shaped this training program. The answer to increasing enrollment in the face of the many challenges in higher education today lies in taking an entirely student-centric approach to recruiting where the admission office and counselors realize that “It’s not about the institution – it’s about the student.”

Colleges and universities that adopt the student-centric approach find that it is very is powerful. The skills and techniques that will build relationships that lead to enrollment are trainable. Through our Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we spend a great deal of time changing the focus of admission counselors. We see their transformation and improvements in productivity. Most importantly, we see changes in the recruiting process that exposes students to the information and experiences that truly interest and excite them.

The net result? Improved service to prospective students and families, measurable increases in yield, increased counselor and staff job satisfaction, enhanced teamwork, and innovations in work process within the department.

We see it work every day. Hire the right people, put them in roles that let their strengths shine through, and give them the proper training and tools so they can populate the institution with students who will be successful and committed to the institution long after graduation.

We have already scheduled Yield Season Counselor Training Workshops in Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas and we are adding more.

If you are interested in attending a workshop, suggesting a location, or even hosting a workshop, ask for details here.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call me or any member of our team, 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.

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.

What Are We Thankful For? You!

November 22nd, 2016

In this season of Thanksgiving, we want our friends from the world of admissions and enrollment management to know how thankful we are for all that you do.

owl-thanksgiving-wallpaper-android

Thank you for your amazing work ethic in a hectic and fast-paced world.

Thank you for your passion for education and for the colleges and universities you represent.

Thank you for your compassionate efforts on behalf of the students you work with.

In the hustle and bustle of your everyday world you may forget the enormous impact you have. You deserve many thanks. And we want you to know how very grateful we are.

Next week, we will continue our discussion on the best ways to grow and control enrollment.

This week, our wish for you is a well-deserved celebration with family, friends and food.

From all of us to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving!

Bob

RHL_Photo_100x100

Asked and Answered: Building Relationships that Lead to Enrollments

September 28th, 2016

We just returned from Columbus where we teamed up with Jeff Fuller, University of Houston Director of Student Recruitment, to present the results of our nationally co-sponsored study, The Relationship Dynamic,” to an enthusiastic crowd of enrollment professionals at the NACACRelationshipDynamic_300x172 Conference.  NACAC’16 drew thousands of participants and I suspect that most returned home feeling like our team; newly energized and proud to be part of the profession of college admissions.

“The Relationship Dynamic” defines specific actions colleges can take to build stronger relationships with prospective students that will lead to enrollments and it was great to be able to share those with the 500+ admission professionals that attended our presentation.  Often, the most constructive part of any presentation comes from the questions asked by the participants and we want to share some of the best Q&A’s to share with you.

Q: “We have a huge volume of prospective students in our pool. How can I determine if we have “moved the needle” with individual students when it’s impossible to talk to all of them individually?”

A:  “Build a feedback loop into every channel you use to communicate with prospective students. For instance, when you send an email include a link to a one question survey that finds out if they are more or less excited about your college, if they plan to take a particular action, or some other indicator that tells you if you are, or aren’t, moving their needle.”

Q:  “You recommend recruiting parents much like we do students. At our college, we are often trying to separate parents from the student so they don’t dominate the conversation. Are we wrong to do that?”

A: We recommend creating a separate track for parents, assuming both the parent and student agree that it’s OK. Find out what a parent wants and how they’re going to arrive at their college choice independent of the students. We know that parents are influencers but the Relationship Dynamic study shows just how much they are facilitators. We need to enable them.”

Q:   “We do a lot of texting campaigns but your data shows only 16% of students say texts played a significant role in building a relationship with the college. Should we abandon texting as a recruiting tool?”

A:  “Absolutely not. However, you can give your text communications far more impact when you make them personal and relevant to the individual student’s interest. Use the data and info you have about the student to personalize it and make it compelling. The technology available to you these days makes that possible.”

Q:  “The study shows that contact frequency has much less influence on building a relationship than contact relevance. How do you uncover what is relevant and how do you leverage that information?”

A:  “If it’s possible to have conversations with each of your prospective students then use those to explore the issues that are relevant to them. I’m talking about asking a diverse and penetrating set of questions much deeper than “what do you want to study?” Once you’ve gained an understanding of the student’s motivations, interests and fears, the info must be recorded in a CRM or other data warehouse where you can pull it to drive future communications.

If you are one of the many colleges who have enormous pools of prospective students making it impossible to have individual conversations, we advise you to ask for feedback and information from students with each and every communication. Make it a two-way instead of a one-way flow of information. 

It can be done.  For many years, we’ve been uncovering students’ needs, preferences, fears, plans and motivations without talking to them face-to-face. The information you gather should then drive your messaging through each and every communications channel.”

Q:  “Are you still signing up co-sponsors for your current co-sponsored study [he is referring to our study currently underway called “Hidden Influences”] ? Can colleges still get in on it?”

A:  “Yes and yes. [Click here for full details.] This study is doing a deep dive into uncovering the things students hold back from colleges during the college shopping process and, more importantly, the findings will provide colleges with strategies and methods to uncover hidden influences and deal with them before the student solidifies his or her enrollment decision. We welcome all colleges to participate.”

Want to see the full “Relationship Dynamic” report? Click here for an instant download.

There are communication techniques your staff can learn that will help them feel confident about reaching out to prospective students to ask the right questions. This is one of the core techniques we teach in the Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we hold on college campuses throughout the country. It is also a key component of YES, our Yield Enhancement Tool. Let me show you how we can help you. Please call or email me for more information. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. Be sure to Subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

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.