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How to avoid 70% of your leads going to your competitors

Short on time, here are the highlights;

  • Agents are responsible for over 80% of off-shore international students for Australian institutions.

  • The majority of an institution's international student leads are converted into applications by their agents.

  • Research shows an institution's agents only recommend that institution to 30% of the prospective students they see.

  • 70% of an institution's leads are therefore being directed to its competitors by their own agents.

  • Improving the level of agent recommendation will have a significant impact on applications by reducing the number of leads being directed to apply to a competitor.

  • International Agent Mystery Shopping is a proven approach to identifying WHY your agents are recommending your competitors to help you replan your activity to increase your agent recommendation level and grow your applications.

With the intense pressure to grow and diversify international recruitment this year, recruitment teams are considering what to change from last year's plan to drive growth in the increasingly competitive global market.

Will a new agent, CRM system, country tour or in-country staff by the gamechanger that drives growth? There are lots of options to consider, but before you invest in more of the same activity, I'd like to propose a different approach.

Research by MacMorgan in 2019 discovered that despite signing a contract to represent a university to prospective students, more often than not, the agent recommended the university's competitors ahead of the university.

On the one hand, it's not surprising as agents represent 20-900 institutions and simply can't recommend your institution to every student they meet.

But it presents a significant problem because even if you invested 10% more money than last year, or better still optimised last year's campaign to gain +10% more leads. The vast majority of those leads apply through your agents and if your agents recommend your competitor that lead is lost, wasting the money invested to generate the lead.

So before you reinvest in last year's activity again, it would be worthwhile to understand which activity would improve your agent recommendation in each market. That way you can identify which activities will improve your agent recommendation and with it your applications.

International Agent Mystery Shopping is the only international benchmarking research built to help you improve the impact of your international recruitment activity, by understanding what your agents in different markets discuss with your prospective students.

​Not only does International Agent Mystery Shopping enable you to benchmark agent recommendation for your institution versus your competitors. But it also helps you identify WHY your agents aren’t recommending you and what you can do about it, answering 5 key questions to help you develop more impactful activity;

  1. How does your level of agent recommendation vary by agent, country, and course?

  2. Is your proposition fully represented by your agents to prospective students?

  3. What are the key decision-making criteria agents talk to students about in each market?

  4. Why are other institutions being recommended by your agents ahead of your institution?

  5. Are agents who attended your familiarisation tour representing the key messages to students?

Because when you know which issues the agents and students care about the most, how your institution is perceived and how supportive your agents are, you can identify which activities would engage agents and students in why you are a better choice than your competitors.

It's worth noting that it's not all about the 70% of agents recommending your competitors. When you can confirm which agents are the 30% recommending you ahead of your competitors you can invest confidently in building your relationship with them to drive further growth.

With global coverage, tailor-made questionnaires and a 6 week turnaround time, International Agent Mystery Shopping is the leading research tool to improve your engagement with your agent network, the ROI of your recruitment activity and your student experience.

At MacMorgan we help institutions develop a student-centered approach to growth, if you'd like to find out more about our unique approach, please click here for more information.

Click here for the previous week's blogs.

John Chatterton

+61432 906 790


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