Wednesday, April 2, 2008
You Have One Voice Mail Message...RETURN IT!
We have become a sounding board for disgruntled families as of late and we received another e-mail from a friend of a friend. It's always suspicious when someone says, "I have this friend with a problem". That usually implies that the problem is a lot closer to that person than his or hers friend. But, we digress.
This friend has an issue that we have heard happens a lot in the world of travel ball and we thought we would address it and set some ground rules for future travel ball organizers.
The issue is communicating to the player the progress of the recruiting process. We have heard many instances where a big time travel team that places 10 or more players into college each year has those one or two players that just can't get placed. But, rather than address it with the player and his parents, the travel team organizers walk away or ignore the player that has no college callers. In our friends, friends instance, the parents and the player himself called the travel team organizer and received no phone calls back. That's unacceptable.
Here's the deal travel team directors. Parents pay good money to play on your teams. In many instances it adds up to more than a few thousand dollars. We don't expect for 100% of every travel teams roster to get placed, but the parents and players would at the very least like to be told the truth.
For instance, would it hurt to have a sit down with the entire family and tell them the reasons why their kid can't get placed? There are reasons...we know that for sure. The very best travel team directors have a goal to get all of their players placed and shop every kid to every scout and recruiter they know. And, the recruiter will respond with an answer. If the answer is no, the travel team director will ask why and that answer should be chronicled and put into a report and sent to the parents. That's what we all pay for guys. That's the very least you directors can do. You owe that to the parents. That's what they paid for. They can't get angry if they have documentation on the reason why colleges don't want their kid.
However, no response and ignoring the issue will create huge animosity and anger towards your club. I had a boss that once said about the dynamics and success of service companies..."If you do a good job, two people will hear about your company...if you do an outstanding job, 8 people will hear about your company...but, if you do a lousy job, 100 people will hear about your company."
The reason many travel clubs get a bad reputation is because they do a lousy job of communicating the truth to their paying customers. In the case of the friends, friend...evidently the kid is a good impact type of player, but has size issues...yet still has the ability at the very least to play a small D-I, D-II or make a name for himself at the JC ranks. If only that information was put in writing and presented in person to the player and his parents, they could have prepared themselves and sought out more options. If only a status report was submitted to the players on the colleges that were contacted, the parents wouldn't be so angry. Now in fairness to the club, their web site shows that they consistently help place 15 or more players each year. But, that doesn't mean you quit when the quota is met. The job is done when 100% of the players are satisfied...placed or not.
Here's a list of materials a travel ball director should provide every player that plays for his program...
1. A complete schedule and the significance of each tournament or game...such as the historical attendance of scouts, and types of colleges that attend.
2. A profile sheet that should be seen and approved by the parents and player before it is sent out.
3. A list of colleges that best fit the talents of the players, along with the players preferences.
4. Colleges that have specific needs, due to graduated or drafted players..ie. MIF's, OF, LHP' etc. and how their players can fill that void.
5. A ongoing call sheet..Hey, for those of you readers in sales, this is Standard Operating Procedure...The call sheet should detail that a college coach or assistant was called and what the results of that call were.
6. A list of colleges that profile sheets were sent out to.
7. An entire timeline of the responsibilities of the parent and players and the steps they need to take to ensure that the player is on the colleges radar. This is important. Players have to write and e-mail stuff too. In fact, that's how a player gets invited to camps and individual try-outs.
8. Return phone calls. If a player calls you. Call him back. Do not ignore him. It took a lot for that player to pick up the phone in the first place. He's already feeling neglected by the colleges. Don't make it worse by YOU neglecting him too!!!