by Josh Orendi
Thursday, 7:30AM, August 30, 2012. I had the honor of attending a membership meeting of Kiwanis International . Special thanks to my friend John Shertzer — who many know from his popular blog “Fraternal Thoughts” — for the invitation. It wasn’t until about 45 minutes into the meeting that I had a light bulb moment — I was being RECRUITED, and this was not the Kiwanis Club’s first recruitment rodeo. I was in a vortex of recruitment excellence. My light bulb moment became a fireworks show of Dynamic Recruitment lessons as I replayed all the little things that were creating my first Kiwanis experience. The moment I got home, I sat down to record the important lessons that I witnessed so that my fraternal friends could benefit from my remarkable experience I just had on the other side of a recruitment handshake.
Part One: How I Ended Up in an O’Charley’s Restaurant with 60 Strangers:
Two weeks earlier I was sitting at a Starbucks on 86th Street in Indianapolis after a meeting with some friends from Zeta Beta Tau’s headquarters. In walks a friend, Paul Lawson, with a guy I don’t recognize. Paul introduces me to Roy Hedeen. In less than 60 seconds Roy figures out that he and I share another mutual friend, John Shertzer. Roy is a member of Kiwanis International and he tells me I should join him and his Kiwanis club for a free breakfast in 2 weeks where John will be a featured speaker. Caught in the moment and the charisma of both Roy and Paul I say, “yeah, that’s a great idea.” We exchange business cards. Later that same day I receive an email from Roy thanking me for the meeting, asking about my business, sharing details about the upcoming meeting, and introducing me to another colleague of his who he thinks I would enjoy talking to (Rhonda). The next day I received a warm, funny email from John that he just heard from Roy that I was attending the upcoming meeting. The following day, Rhonda emails me saying she can’t wait to connect. WHOA-WHOA-WHOA I’ve spent nearly my entire professional life teaching recruitment. This felt so natural – so normal – that I didn’t even make the connection. I was being recruited!!!
Later, I literally had an internal conversation with myself: “Was Roy a sly recruitment master or a passionate gentleman eager to share the gift of his club’s membership with others?” Answer: BOTH! He was thoughtful and intentional. He believes in his organization and he believes that my life will be better through his organization. He cared enough to:
1. meet me by shaking my hand
2. treat me like a friend
3. introduce me to his friends
4. introduce me to his organization
5. ask me to join.
HOLY SH*T! Roy Hedeen just recruited me with the NIC 5 STEP MODEL !!!! I felt like that moment in Karate Kid (Part One) when Daniel-san’s arch rival Johnny Lawrence meets Mr. Miyagi and gets his ass kicked. The star pupil had just been schooled by the master. Roy Hedeen just crept from the shadows of northside Indianapolis and beat me with my own best recruitment moves.
Part Two: 20 Recruitment Lessons I Experienced at One Kiwanis Club Meeting:
by Matt Mattson
It’s college football season. For many, the most wonderful time of the year. College football captures our collective attention, and if you’re looking to be Socially Excellent , it provides a nearly universally accepted topic of conversation.
"Big game this weekend, eh?" "Where do you like to tailgate?" "What games are you watching this weekend?" "Any idea if I can still get tickets?" "Our quarterback looks strong this year." "Hey, screw the [rival mascot], am I right?"
Set up a table on campus.
Wear your best college team gear.
Hold up a big poster board with three columns on it titled as follows: 1) Name & Phone #, 2) A picture of your school’s football helmet, 3) A picture of the other school’s football helmet.
Write the following rules on the bottom of the poster board: "The person picking the closest final score to this weekend’s big game will win an awesome package of [your school] fan gear. Ties will broken by drawing from a hat. We’ll call or text you if you won. Come back and play every week!"
Shake hands. Talk about football. Ask everyone who walks past to guess the score. Make friends. ADD ALL THESE NAMES TO YOUR NAMES LIST!
Repeat every week there’s a game. (Then start again during basketball season).
Happy Football Season!
by Matt Mattson
"By the way, do you like football? Every Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m. a bunch of people get together on the IM fields to play pick up football. We’re trying to get as many students out there as possible. Give me your phone number so I can text you what field we’ll be using this week."
When I recruit, this is one of my favorite techniques. Here are 5 reasons I like asking this question.
1. It isn’t a recruitment event. It is just people playing football. Low pressure, high fun.
2. I can say that line to literally every human being I encounter on a college campus. In line at Subway, next to people in class, after a one-on-one meeting, as I’m walking through dorms, during a service event, after worship, at 1:30 a.m. at a house party — the question works everywhere, all the time.
3. I get a phone number (because I offer something of value).
4. It is always happening, always planned. Every Tuesday and Thursday. All semester. Year round.
5. If no potential members show up, and it is a huge bust, the worst case scenario is… I get to play football with the other members of my group that are there. Or, better yet, I join in on someone else’s pick-up football game.
Does it have to be football? Nope. Every Tuesday and Thursday you can:
See you out there.
by Matt Geik
The gym where I work out regularly had "MEMBER APPRECIATION DAY" recently. Here’s the thing, "Member Appreciation Day" is secret code in the fitness industry for "RECRUITMENT EVENT." It’s really a savvy sales technique that many gyms use at the end of their month to woo potential new gym members who have tried out the facility earlier in the month to come back and sign up.
Often these recruitment events are lavish — the salespeople at the gym are typically RUSHING to meet their monthly goals. So, they pull out all the stops.
Unfortunately, for my gym, the things that they do during Member Appreciation Days aren’t congruent with what they say the gym is providing for its members. Maybe that’s why they’ve continually struggled with growing their membership since they opened?
See at this member appreciation day, my gym had a bunch of other business vendors in to promote their businesses and provide free stuff for the members and potential members. The only thing is that the businesses that were there included Buffalo Wild Wings, Five Guys, B.D’s Mongolian BBQ and a local bank. (For proof, check out the photo I took that day from behind the stair mill and you can see the guy on the far right working a table and wearing the shirt that says “We Do It On A Grill”.) I don’t know about you, but wings, burgers and BBQ don’t exactly make me think of a healthy lifestyle and certainly don’t have any place in my gym.
All I could think about was how funny a conversation with one of the sales people must sound and look like during that day. You know, with the potential new member scarfing down some blazin’ wings while talking about his fitness goals and how the gym could help him achieve those. All I was waiting for was Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler to walk in and start doing their bit from Saturday Night Live….REALLY?! I mean, are we a fitness facility promoting health and wellness or are we a training ground building the next contestants on “The Biggest Loser”? REALLY?!
Unfortunately, for many college student organizations (especially fraternities and sororities), as we get ready to head back to our campuses and embark on a new semester of recruitment, we will do the same thing. We’ll hold outlandish parties and big events so that we attract a lot of people and make them think that we’re the cool organization on campus. And while they’re at our events, we’ll feed them wings, and BBQ and in some cases alcohol to make sure they’re having a good time. We’ll hold silly themed events with black lights and hi-liters, or foam, or togas, or even make it seem like there are constantly balloons, glitter, perfect cupcakes, and nothing but fun songs and skits the whole time you’re a member. And then we’ll tell everyone that we’re the premier destination on campus for the highest caliber ladies or gentlemen, and we’re scholars and leaders who do world-changing service and philanthropy work because we’re a values-based organization of top performers. REALLY?! Really?
by Jessica Pettitt [Guest Blog]
I’m a sorority woman. I didn’t go through formal recruitment when I initiated into my sorority. I joined as an alumna after careful thought and consideration. However, I did recently observe Bid Day at a private school in the south that is 40%+ Greek. With a sample size of one – I learned things important enough that I need to share.
In no particular order –
It took me over a month to get one organization’s chant out of my head. After one day of recruitment, I couldn’t eat a cupcake for a long, long time. I found myself emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausted and I wasn’t even going through the process. If anything, I just wanted to get away from the noise, people, and shower off the small burst of scripted commercials I had witnessed all day.
The most powerful observation from the day – well there are two of them.
1) One woman questioned the very loud very long chant and its effectiveness by asking, “The chant is 8 minutes long – we don’t even get to talk to them for 8 minutes – is this backwards?” She was silenced and put on kitchen duty and the chant survived.
2) The small chapter that was also the newest organization – I observed their process for one 30 minute round. The next day, far from the recruitment mayhem, one of the young women approached me in the bookstore. She remembered my name and I couldn’t place her. She re-introduced herself to me, wished me happy travels, and smiled. I wasn’t anticipating anyone in the bookstore recognizing me – and I genuinely felt like she knew me. As I ran from everyone else, I would have followed her anywhere.
Take a second – as you plan your recruitment fair – and ask yourself are you competing or recruiting. If recruiting, are you recruiting numbers or friends? If friends, are you decorating a process or allowing time to get to know them as individuals? If individuals, are you dependent on this intense week or are you talking to amazing people year round?
by Matt Mattson
First year students are arriving soon. College student organization leaders are giddy. It’s time to get to work recruiting these freshmen into the organizations that will shape their college career. Let’s go get ‘em!!!!
…Whoa, tiger. Wait a minute before you charge out the door on the hunt for fresh-meat — I mean freshmen. Take a moment, before you give them your smooth pitch, your cool promotional items, and your well practiced handshake/wink combo move. Do you remember when you were in their shoes?
You were nervous.
You were trying to figure out what the new "cool" was.
You were scared.
You were clueless about how the new social scene worked.
You were secretly trying to impress the people who impressed you.
You were really missing that small group of close friends you had back in high school.
You had no idea what organizations like the one you ended up in were really about.
You were overwhelmed by all the colorful t-shirts, sidewalk chalk, banners and posters, but never really read them.
You were only really interested in the groups that had people in them that you already knew — or the groups that your friends were joining.
You barely knew how to navigate campus, much less navigate the process of joining a life-changing student organization.
You just wanted to be listened to.
You just wanted to feel included.
You just wanted to feel important.
You just wanted to be cared about and loved.
Put yourself in their shoes… Strategize accordingly.
by Matt Mattson
There’s one conversation in recruitment where maybe it is o.k. if you do more talking than listening.
I believe that lifelong membership in your organization deserves AT LEAST one of these man to man or woman to woman conversations. Here’s an example.
Member: "It’s been great getting to know you over the past few weeks. I want to talk with you about something important. Do you mind if we sit down for a few minutes over here away from all the noise?"
Prospect: "Sure. These past few weeks have been awesome. What’s up?"
Member: "Well, I just wanted to make sure we took the time to do something really important. This organization is really important to me. I’ve put in a ton of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to help make it great. All our members have. To be plain, we’ve really been impressed by you, and you’re obviously interested in the organization. I just wanted to make sure of something."
Prospect: "O.K., what do you want to make sure of?"
Member: "Well, over the past few weeks you’ve seen a lot of the coolest stuff our organization does. Social stuff, some cool events, just chillin’ with each other. It’s sort of ‘recruitment season,’ as you know, and all the groups here on campus are doing this stuff — kind of to impress cool people like you. I just wanted you to know that this isn’t really what it’s about. Bottom line — having fun with our group is a byproduct of what it really means to be a member — working hard on behalf of our cause and challenging yourself every day to live by our values. Do you know what I mean?"
Prospect: "I think so. I know you guys have meetings and stuff."
Member: "You’re absolutely right. But it’s more than meetings. Our organization’s purpose is to make a positive impact on our community. We do that by recruiting ridiculously high quality people like you, then challenging each other to first BE EXCELLENT PEOPLE EVERY MOMENT, then DO IMPORTANT WORK EVERY DAY. The meetings are when we talk about that stuff, but this organization really changes who you are and what your priorities are."
Prospect: "Wow! No other group has had a conversation like this with me."
Member: "I know. They’ve probably all focused on the fun stuff. The friendship stuff. The rewards. Our rewards are even sweeter because we focus on the journey. Sounds corny, maybe, but I want you to know what we’re really about. I figure if you know what we really care about before you join, you’ll be more likely to stay involved, not feel tricked, and do hard work later."
Prospect: "O.K. I really appreciate the honesty."
Member: "Let me be clear. We have fun. A lot of it. But we have fun after we do good. That’s our commitment to each other. If you’re willing to make that commitment too, you’d fit in well here, and you’ll find your college experience to be more rewarding, more successful, more fulfilling, and more significant than if you joined a group to just have a good time. Honestly, if you’re just looking for friends, you don’t need to join a group like ours and pay all the money it costs to be a member — there are tons of friends in the dorms. We’re not a friendship club. We’re something much more."
Prospect: "This has me a lot more excited than before. I’m going to go home tonight and think about something simple you said — ‘we have fun after we do good.’ That’s something I could be proud of."
Member: "Awesome. Thanks for sitting down with me. I figure lifelong membership in a group like ours deserves at least one face-to-face serious conversation. Think about what I said, and know that I’m happy to answer questions, give you more details, or show you what I mean by example. Let’s get back to the barbecue."