First to contact, first to contract

For an idea of how recruiters operate, here are sales techniques from U.S. Army Pamphlet 350-13 School Recruiting Program Handbook

Establishing and maintaining rapport
To effectively work the school market, recruiters must maintain rapport throughout the SY [school year] and develop a good working relationship with key influencers. … Never forget to ask school officials if there is anything you can do for them and their students. Don’t be looked upon as someone always asking for something. Give something back to the schools. … Cultivate coaches, librarians, administrative staff, and teachers, especially those whose subjects correlate with Army programs.

Student influencers
Not every student will enlist in the Army. Like parents and faculty members, student influencers play an important role in your SRP [school recruiting program]. Students who stand out as leaders among their peers are typically student influencers. Know your student influencers. Students such as class officers, newspaper and yearbook editors, and athletes can help build interest in the Army among the student body. Keep them informed. Tell them about the excellent educational benefits and the opportunities available in America’s Army. Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist. More importantly is the fact that an informed student leader will respect the choice of enlistment, in turn, future Soldiers feel good about their decision to join. Future Soldiers can also be tremendous influencers. Something as simple as an Army personal promotional item can help produce positive results.

Trimester system of senior contacts
A senior’s plans for the future can, and will, change throughout the last year of HS. Plans to go directly into the workplace or attend college will change as the student confronts reality. For example, work-bound students may realize that they lack the necessary training and experience to land a good paying job or for some college-bound students who planned on continuing their education the expected scholarship money didn’t materialize. You need to develop a prospecting plan that will help you identify and capitalize on these changes when they occur. You should use a positive approach and contact the high school seniors as follows: (1) First contact. Contact the students during the summer between their junior and senior year; this plants awareness of the Army in their minds. Remember, first to contact, first to contract. (2) Second contact. Contact the students sometime during the first quarter, after school begins. Give them time to allow the hustle and bustle of the new SY to settle down. At this point, seniors should begin realizing that they will graduate in 9 months or less. Encourage them to take the ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery] when it is offered in school. They will start considering, possibly for the first time ever, their future plans and goals. (3) Third contact. Contact the seniors in the early spring. At this point of the SY, the students should be certain about graduation. They should know about college application, acceptance, and financial aid arrangements. The end of their lives as HS students is approaching fast. This is the time reality sets in. For some it is clear that college is not an option, at least for now. Let them know that the Army can fulfill their college aspirations later on.