I have this one friend who I grew up with and went to high school with. He is a great guy. He has a great personality. He is a hard worker. He does the right thing.
Since high school, we don’t hang out at all, but over the last twenty-one years. Yes. That is how long ago I graduated from high school. We will see each other every few years in passing.
The conversations I have had with him over the last twenty-one years are always the same. He is either about to get in to something that will change everything for him. Or, he is getting over something that he got involved in that was really difficult. It is always the same story.
The people on the job were out to get him. Or this next job will be the best job ever, and he will make so much money. He was in a relationship and she took everything he had. Or, he is currently in a relationship and she is amazing.
In reality, we all know that it isn’t the job, it isn’t the people on the job. It isn’t the old girlfriend. Nope. It is him. He is the problem. He is impulsive. He doesn’t know what he wants. He changes like the wind. He has never taken the time to make changes in himself to have the life he wants.
The chances are you have met this person before as well. We all have a friend or a former friend like this.
I believe that Higher Education is a lot like this friend of mine. Especially when it comes to marketing and enrollments. Most institutions are looking at the next big thing with digital marketing and online strategies. They are buying lists and creating elaborate strategies to these lists. They are focused on the next new and shiny object. They either just purchased something and are really excited about the possibility that it will solve all of their enrollment problems. Or they are coming out of contract that promised to do the same thing. And it didn’t.
And just like that friend of mine, who never took the time to take a look at himself, and work on him. Higher education institutions haven’t invested the time or energy in their most important piece of their marketing and enrollment process, which is investing in the people who are responsible for their recruiting efforts.
The next new and shiny object will always be right around the corner, or it is already in front of your face. The next software that promises to bring more leads and retain more applications is always going to be pitched to your school. But all of those systems and processes will never be as good as your people “could be”.
Yes. I said it. Your institution will never be as good as it could be, until you take the time and money and invest it in the people who work for the schools skill development.
Todays world is different from yesterdays. You know that. In an SMS (Text Message) world, a Social Media world, an email world, people are not equipped to communicate the way we really want to be communicated with.
If you have a younger staff, the chances are they haven’t been trained or really know how to develop personal connections with people on a face to face level. They are not comfortable with it. They don’t know how to do it.
If they are responsible for recruiting students to your school, then you will never get the results your institution could get with all of these new digital strategies to engage more students. Because at the end of the day, someone has to get on a phone or sit down with someone face to face and have a conversation that inspires that prospective student to take action. And that is a skill that has to be taught and trained on.
This morning I read four different articles from very reputable sources in higher education on how to stop declining enrollments. Not one of them mentioned skill development of the Admissions staff and people who are responsible for enrollment for a college or university.
As I told my friend the last time I saw him. I am going to suggest the same to higher education institutions and their management. Focus on you is what I told my friend. That next job will work out if you are better. The next girlfriend won’t be that bad if you first figure out what you want out of a relationship and then go and find the right person that can provide that for you. Fix you first.
Higher Education can spend all the money they want on these new and old digital strategies, traditional marketing, and any thing else. But until they look inward and focus on developing the skills of the people interacting with their students and prospective students they will never get the results they want.
To your success and your future.
Brian Willett Group created the Admissions Advantage. This is a process on how to recruit and retain prospective students to a college or university. More importantly, the Admissions Advantage develops skills and self confidence in the participants of the training. This one thing will change the whole enrollment process. If you want to learn more about the Admissions Advantage click this link
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