By Matt Mattson
We all know the Top 10 Reasons why potential members turn down our bids. If you don’t, they’re listed below and here are some free resources to help you familiarize yourself.
But when a prospective member says “no” or “not yet” and they follow it up with “I can’t afford it,” “My parents won’t let me,” “I’m going to wait a semester,” or “I’ll think about it,” did you know that they probably don’t really mean any of those things?
It’s true. Most of those concerns or excuses are really just a veiled way of communicating something much simpler. Much more important.
Here it is. Those excuses communicate one of these two things..
1. You all don’t seem to LOVE me yet.
2. I don’t really LOVE you all yet.
Now, they’ll never admit this. And I know it sounds kind of hokey. But, I’m telling you… after years of teaching, researching, and watching fraternity and sorority recruitment, I’m 100% convinced that LOVE is the main ingredient. And 99% of the time, when someone is hesitating to join, it isn’t for any real logical reason — it’s a lack of human connection, a lack of emotional charge, a lack of love.
Back in the old days, we couldn’t talk about stuff like this with fraternity men, we’d get boo’d out of the room. But I know we’re working with a more enlightened crop of fraternal leaders, and the sorority women have been tuned into this for a while now. Fraternities and sororities sell one thing — we peddle LOVE. We call it brotherhood, sisterhood, purpose, values, etc., but all of those things are just a manifestation of a young woman or man feeling LOVED.
We teach an old recruitment skill called a “Pre-Close.” That’s when, after you’ve gotten to know a prospect really well, and they’ve gotten to know you and your organization really well, you ask, “If we were to ask you to join, what would you say?” It’s at this point when they’ll respond with either a YES, NO, or MAYBE. “No’s” and “Maybe’s” get a follow up question: “What’s one thing holding you back?” At which point they’ll give you one of the Top 10 reasons listed below. Here’s a fun old video to walk you through the Pre-Close process.
But, understand that what the Pre-Close process is really about is an opportunity for each party to have a real emotional check in. To find out if the prospective member feels at HOME yet. If they feel like they’re part of your group, if they feel like they can matter within your organization… if they feel loved.
When you find out their concerns or excuses for not yet wanting to join, you’ll also find that you probably won’t be able to convince them to join with logic, information, data, or bullet-points. They’ll need more connection, more friendship, more emotional exchange — factual info will be helpful too, but the real “convincing” is an act of the heart not the brain.
When I teach recruiters how to Pre-Close, I always emphasize the first step of the three step process.
1. VALIDATE their concern.
2. ISOLATE each concern to deal with them separately.
3. TIMELINE the conversation – set a date for next steps and a decision.
To “validate” someone means to truly listen to them. To let them know that their concern about joining is not only valid, it is completely normal. “So you’re concerned about the cost. That makes total sense. It isn’t free. It isn’t even cheap. It’s a lot of money for most people to make this kind of investment. I had the same concern when I was in your shoes – I didn’t come from money. I didn’t have a full-time job. I was texting Mom and Dad for rent money all the time my first year. That is a completely valid concern.”
Notice that the first thing you should do is just let them have their concern. It’s real to them. Even if it is based on inaccurate information. Just let it be. Love them. Hear them. Validate them. There is no “right” or “wrong” here. There is only loved enough or not.
Next we ask, “If money wasn’t a concern, is there anything else holding you back?” If there is, validate it and add it to the list. If not, then move on.
Finally, the Pre-Close process ends with a TIMELINE. The last thing you want is to leave an uncertain prospective member uncertain about his or her uncertainty. Set a timeline for resolution. “Listen, I don’t know if you’ll think differently or not, but I want to make sure we give this a chance. Could we have some more conversations and share some more experiences for the next 7 days, and then one week from now I’ll ask you this same question again?” Don’t let things drag on.
TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE DON’T JOIN FRATERNITIES/SORORITIES (and what they really probably mean)
1. I can’t afford it. (You don’t seem to love me enough yet for me to make this investment.”
2. My mom/dad/boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t want me to join. (You haven’t shown the people important to me that I will be loved here.)
3. I have to focus on my studies. (I don’t feel loved here.)
4. Upperclassmen don’t join fraternities/sororities. (I feel like because I’m older, I won’t be loved here.)
5. I don’t want to live in the house. (I don’t feel loved here.)
6. I don’t want to be a stereotypical frat guy/sorority girl. (You all haven’t shown that you’re capable of more than caring about someone at a surface level.)
7. I don’t have time. (I don’t feel loved here.)
8. I don’t want to buy my friends. (It doesn’t seem like you love each other.)
9. I don’t want to be hazed. (You all don’t seem to love me enough for me to trust that you won’t hurt me.)
10. I don’t drink. (I don’t feel like you all love people like me.)
By Matt Mattson
I’ve always been mystified by machines like dehumidifiers. They seem magic. They suck moisture out of the air without you ever noticing what’s really going on or how it’s really happening. Flick a switch, listen as the machine makes a dull whirr, and after a while there you are just enjoying a delightfully less humid local atmosphere — living in a new sense of dehumidified comfort.
It seems as if a similarly subtle process is occurring in society. It seems as if someone turned on a dehumanifier that is quietly, invisibly, and unnoticeably sucking all the humanity out of our air. Someone flicked a switch a couple decades ago, we haven’t noticed the dull whirr, and here we are living a less human sense of discomfort.
The evidence of this is all around us.
Some of it is too close to home for me. I live in Littleton, Colorado. Home of Columbine High School, about 30 miles from a certain movie theater in Aurora, and just down the street from some less infamous but equally as frightening public shooting arenas (Deer Creek Middle School and Arapahoe High School). This is where I send my two daughters to school everyday, and this is where they went to watch Finding Dory this week.
When Columbine happened in 1999, a mass shooting like that seemed utterly unimaginable. Today, it’s the norm. Dallas, Newtown, Pulse, Virginia Tech, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, and the horrible list goes on.
There’s another list of inhuman acts, of course. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and this horrible list goes on.
People are being shot down as though they aren’t even human.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this dehumanification. There have been signs of it for years.
We fight wars with drones. Years ago we redefined the word “friend” to be a digital classification instead of an emotional connection. Two of our most popular TV shows (Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead) feature weekly killings — sometimes by the dozens — of both human and subhuman characters. Politics has placed us on “red” and “blue” teams with no room for the nuance of the human condition. We talk about “aliens” invading our borders. We’re literally in a national argument on social media at the moment about Whose Lives Matter!?!?
The world is begging to be rehumanified. Our society is suffering through an arid period in which all the humanity seems to have been dried up.
We could point blame of course. It would be easy to point at technology, Hollywood, the media, the republicans, the democrats, the politicians, big banks, or religious zealots, and lay the blame at their feet to make ourselves feel better. Most people will do that. And they’ll do it through social media memes that reinforce their own point of view — like a machine regurgitating the simple data it’s been fed. Or we could realize that rehumanification begins with the acts of everyday humans.
We get to choose whether we will rehumanify our schools, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and our world. Rehumanification begins with the acts of everyday humans, and those humans are us. They are you. They are me. Rehumanification begins by reminding ourselves and the people around us that we are all human. That can’t be done unless we connect. We must spread human connection like a healing ointment over the wounds of the past several decades. Our scars are deep. 9/11, the housing crash, mass shootings, brash racism, constant war, continual fear. But the medicine we need is right in our hands. Human connection has to be the remedy. It is healer. It is the rehumanifier.
Handshakes, conversations, authentic curiosity, vulnerable discourse, compassionate listening, a search for understanding, compromise, collaboration, organization, generosity. We know the choices that have to be made in every day life. With strangers, with family, with colleagues, with students, with neighbors, with children, with police, with leaders, with followers. We must find the gumption and the discipline to make those choices more often. We must, as a society, become better at practicing Social Excellence.
We’ve been defining Social Excellence like this: A state of perpetual generosity, curiosity, positivity, and openness to limitless possibility. A desire to intentionally connect with others. The ability to engage in deep, meaningful conversation. Acting in a responsible and respectable manner with high expectations of others. Being authentic and living everyday with integrity as the best version of oneself. Being confident and vulnerable. Being fun and compassionate. Being open, kind, and bold. The highest level of societal participation and contribution.
You might define it differently. But this is what we believe will rehumanify our society. This is the switch we need to flick in all of us to reverse the drying up of our human spirit and our recognition of humanity all around us. As fraternity and sorority members, we have the privilege and power to begin rehumanifying the world around us.
This is why fraternity and sorority matters in today’s world. We are fully human organizations. We have our complicated, ugly, and embarrassing sides, but we are human. We peddle brotherhood, sisterhood… LOVE… as our product. Our architecture is built entirely out of the pillars of human connection. Students — humans — need what we have to offer now more than ever. We are are manifestation of Social Excellence. This is what we have to offer. We are the healers. We are the rehumanifiers.
By Erin Chatten
I am beyond excited to be starting a new adventure as the Research Director for Phired Up Productions. Now, I know what we all think when we think of the word “research”… nerdy. Well guess what? I am a nerd!
I nerd out on the daily, whether due to my overly detailed, color coded Google Calendar, or my refusal to listen to the radio because I would rather discover new music on my own. I’ve been this way practically my whole life. I love to ask deep questions, talk to strangers, and I’m totally guilty of people watching in public places. At home, I make up songs to sing to my cat and I know an unhealthy amount of information about Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars. This is what makes me make me a straight up nerd. Some of you may be a little nerdy, too.
Maybe you’re a nerd because you get excited over organized excel spreadsheets and Google Drive folders. You may be a nerd because you’ve collected figurines since you were a child. Or maybe you are a nerd because you can speak elvish or quote the entire Pitch Perfect movie. You may not even consider yourself a nerd, but I guarantee we all have a little nerd in us.
I see so much of myself in you, and I believe that you and your authentic inner-nerd can make a real difference in your chapter, in your council, and within yourself. I wasn’t always proud to let my nerd flag fly. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t.
When I was a recruitment counselor for my sorority, I met a seemingly shy individual in between parties. She seemed sweet, but taken back by the daunting recruitment process. I sat down next to her and we began to talk about Harry Potter. In five minutes, I revealed one of my deepest secrets to this woman: I use to write Harry Potter fan fiction. Some of my own sisters didn’t even know that about me and here I was having a nerdfest with a practical stranger over a side of me that I had tried to hide. Ultimately, she joined my sorority and we got to geek it out on a regular basis.
I started realizing that this whole weird side of me was an enormous asset. So, I raised my freak flag a little higher and embraced these aspects of me that were not weird, but were instead unique passions. I know you can do the same thing. When the going gets tough, get passionate. Get nerdy.
Here are some things I’ve learned about how you can play in to your authentic nerd to make a real difference in your fraternity or sorority:
1) Be up front about your passions. There is a match out there for everyone who is looking for the fraternity or sorority that will accept them for who they truly are. Be authentic, vulnerable, and transparent about your passions with whomever you choose to engage in conversation with, you never know where it could lead you!
2) Embrace that organizational side of you. Whether you color code, electronically organize, or keep things clean and tidy, spread that love to your chapter or council. You can make a choice help organize your names list, match individuals with potential members, keep copious notes during membership selection, or keep track of recruitment assignments and deadlines.
3) Evaluate, analyze, and dig deeper! There is so much value in learning from ourselves. Be the individual who evaluates what makes your chapter or council different. Consider hosting an evaluation for your organization by asking:
4) Be curious! The nerd in us loves to ask questions, and good ones! Ask the deep and insightful questions that expose the best side of your brothers and sisters and teach others how to ask these questions to learn more about potential members. Try out a few at your next chapter get together such as:
Having an interest in a particular area doesn’t just make you a nerd; it makes you a passionate individual. Embrace that!
I’m so excited to see how you embrace your inner-nerd and uncover those passions. I know that you have the potential to do big things, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Give me a call, tweet, tag, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, anything! Let me know how you embraced your nerd and how it benefited you! May the force be with you.
Find me on twitter or instagram @Chit_Chatten
Call or text me at 248-895-9082