I talk to a lot of international student recruitment professionals working in-house for educational institutions.
We are usually discussing how our solutions can help them build and manage their education agent network to increase enrollments, save time and manage risk.
One question I always ask is “how many agents do you work with now?”
Almost always I get an answer along the following lines:
We have a lot of agreements in place with education agents but many/most of the agents are inactive. They don’t send us any students.
It begs the obvious question….
When you boil it down there are two main reasons why an education agent is inactive (i.e. not lodging any student applications with the client institution.)
- They are willing and able, but are not getting the support they need from the client institution.
- They are not serious about recruiting for the institution and never will be.
Either way, inactive education agents are not much use to an institution.
Worse than that, there is a significant cost associated with even the basics of maintaining an agency relationship. An institution has to recruit the agent in the first place, settle the agency agreement, and keep in regular contact with the agent. That all takes time and resources.
What to do about inactive education agents
If you have inactive education agents, it’s critical that you work out why they are not performing.
Is the agent keen, but just not getting the support they need to succeed; or are they wasting your time?
Finding that answer starts with implementing best practice education management policies and practices.
“Best practice” What does that mean?
As the use of education agents by both educational institutions and international students has grown, so too has the guidance on how best to manage an education agents.
There are many elements to best practice education agent management, which I have covered in earlier posts.
I won’t go into detail here, except to say a key element is regular communication and engagement with your agents, including making sure that your education agents have easy access to relevant and up-to-date marketing material.
To put it another way, best practice education management involves an institution implementing systems and processes that enable its agents to succeed.
If you are a university, college or school looking for a better way to manage your education agent, AgentBee can help.
Check out our affordable, end-to-end agent management solution.
Separating the wheat from the chaff
Once you have those best practice systems in place, your best education agents – those who want to actively work with you to engage students – will rise to the top.
When those agents are identified you can double down on those relationships, perhaps by investing more in training, personal contact, considering a visit to the agent’s offices, or funding a campus visit by the agent.
On the flip side, you’ll also be able to identify which inactive education agents are wasting your time. If you have implemented a best practice education agent management systems – including regular communication and engagement – and an agent is still not producing results, they are wasting your time.
Now, every institution will have a different concept of what success looks like in an agency relationship. Maybe it’s 50 student enrollments each year, maybe it’s 1.
Of course, irrespective of any quantitative minimum enrollment requirement, the qualitative requirement for your agents to adhere to high ethical and professional standards will be a given.
The main thing is that you need to be clear on the measures for success when entering in to an new agency relationship, and make it clear to the agent.
If an agent does not meet those requirements, you should terminate the agency relationship and cut them from your list. Simple as that.
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