The Power of a Personal Relationship

WTAMU CapMy daughter is a Buff. And I mean that in the most kind way.

By saying that, I mean that she has chosen West Texas A&M University for her college career. As far as I can tell, her choice was made largely due to the fact that the folks at WTAMU understand the power of personal interaction. Let me explain.

My daughter has always been an artist… musician, thespian, singer, etc. She’s always been attracted to and talented within the area of fine arts. Her main instrument is, arguably, the trombone. She started playing in elementary school and has always done well when she put her mind to it. Therein lies the rub. Her mind was not always put to it.

Last summer, the summer of 2011, she went to WTAMU’s 2-week band camp. It was an event that, I believe, changed the direction of her life. The trombone took center place and she started pursuing excellence. In the past year, she has received several honors, including a seat in the Texas All-State Honor Band. But I digress…

The Best Way to Recruit

As a salesman, I have been particularly impressed with certain segments of WTAMU’s School of Music. Since the Band Camp was held at WTAMU, Ashley had a chance to meet the head of the trombone studio and learn a bit about their organization. This is natural and part of every University’s band camp experience. What followed, I believe, went above and beyond the work of most other Universities.

Within 24 hours of her return from camp, she had received a Facebook friend request from the Professor of Trombone at West Texas A&M. This was impressive. It did not stop there. Within the next week, she had received friend requests from several other WTAMU students from the trombone studio. My first thought was, “wow, someone’s on the ball over there.”

Throughout my daughter’s senior year in High School, the Professor and all her new FB friends from WTAMU were actively following her comments. They interacted with her on a weekly basis. They would congratulate her on milestones and accomplishments. They would give advice on instrument purchases. They were genuinely involved.

Needless to say, my daughter was reeled in – hook, line and sinker.

The Wrong Way to Recruit

Initially, she had expressed her interest in several other colleges. They knew of her musical ability and what she might bring to their program. Only one other college came anywhere near the level of WTAMU, and that was Wayland Baptist University. But even at that, their interest consisted of a generic snail mail/email deluge and a couple of calls from the band director. Oklahoma Christian and Abilene Christian put her in recruitment rotation and she received a few calls from recruiters, never from anyone involved with music. I’m sad to say my alma mater, Lubbock Christian, never even tried to contact her, short of post cards (Ed. note – see responses for correction).

I’m sure, if you spoke to my daughter, she would express other reasons that also influenced her decision for WTAMU. Still, you have to agree that it’s hard to beat the personal attention of a director and 6-8 peers for over a year. My daughter will be a Buff because fellow Buffs took an interest and maintained a relationship with her.

There are all kinds of lessons in that.. practical, social, business and spiritual. What do you think? Can you make any comparisons? Have you ever been influenced by the power of a personal relationship?