In life, we are always selling. It gets a bad rep, but it’s true. We sell products, services, and most of all, ourselves. Here is a structured set of guidelines on how to navigate a conversation with your parents about study abroad. Substitute "parents" for coaches, administrators, teammates- the same rules apply. This list includes both conduct and content to ensure the support network in your life fully understand why a Global Players (GP) summer can be a game-changer for you as a student-athlete, personally and professionally.
12 Steps to Selling Study Abroad
1. Set the Tone
Upon meeting with your parent(s) to discuss the opportunity to study abroad for the first time, you must be sharp as a tack, enthusiastic, and an expert on the study abroad program of your choice. Control your vocal tonality and physical gestures.
2. Dress the Part
When you see police officers in uniform you automatically associate them with authority. Similarly, when you, as a student-athlete, step on the field, you do so in your uniform. For those 60 to 90 minutes, you are the authority. The same is true for you when selling yourself. Dress for success and capture their attention.
3. Be a Mirror
This helps people feel more comfortable with you. If you’re in a sit down presentation, watch the body language of your parent(s). Are they crossing their legs? Are they sitting upright in their chair? You want to mirror what they’re doing. Just don’t get caught.
4. Know your Audience
Know what your parents want for you, what they will want to know, and be able to anticipate their objections.
5. Question Skillfully
Ask questions to build rapport and gather intelligence. This identifies the audience’s likes and dislikes, interests, and possible objections. Some examples: “Have you traveled abroad? How was your experience? What did you find out about yourself or others? What do you see as the biggest challenges for me? What do you feel will be the biggest benefits for me?”
6. Use the Website
Be an expert on the Global Players organization and program of your choice. Research, research, and research some more. Have the website open for discussion. Know exactly what pages you want to show your parent(s) and in what order. Move from big picture to small.
7. Establish your “Why”
Why do you want to study abroad? Why GP? You must agitate the problem: that you could not otherwise study abroad, or you do not want to study abroad without the athletic component. Being able to say, “this is the only program for student-athletes, designed by former Division I student-athletes” is huge. It commands attention. Ask questions to get them to talk about what you would be missing out on.
8. Have a Script
Think about and write down what you will say to your parent(s) like a script. Rehearse it (more than once) until you feel comfortable. Do you know what their objections will be? Do you know what their main points of interest will be?
9. Anticipate Objections
Answer objections before they come up. Cover them in your presentation. Here are examples of some of the most popular objections:
- Safety: How will I know my student-athlete will be safe? What are the safety measures taken and how will the organization respond in an emergency?
- Cost: What is the cost and what’s included? Refer to the website for the program breakdown and sample budget. When talking about the price, know how this program stacks up against other study abroad programs and other summer options. Know the cost-per-credit at your home university as it compares to Global Players. Know what scholarships you are going to apply for and how much they award. Have a plan to finance the program.
- ROI (Return on Investment): Why THIS experience is THE experience? Why is it better than other alternatives? Reference these testimonials of past participants.
10. Stay on Topic
Imagine a straight line from start to finish. What’s your open? What’s your middle?
What’s your close? You must take your parent(s) down your straight line to get their
approval and support. If your parent(s) (or you) go off the line, you must deflect them
back on the line. Be empathetic, but stay on topic.
11. Know When to Shut Up (just sayin')
Too many people talk their way OUT of getting what they want. An easy fix for this is to
have what you’re going to say scripted. Know exactly what you’re going to say before
going into the meeting. Learn to pause and let your parent(s) think and talk.
12. Land the Plane
This is your call to action. Ask for support with your application and financing. If further
information is needed, a GP staff member is happy to speak with your parent(s) at any
time. Take the initiative to connect via email and we’ll set up an appointment.
Ultimately, you want to have a game plan before getting in the game. Know yourself and
know what you want prior to your meeting so whomever you are speaking with – parent,
coach, teammate, etc. – not only understands, but also embraces this opportunity for
you. It is time to make this dream a reality.
It’s time to play the globe.