Imagine being hired by your inter/national fraternity headquarters as a professional recruiter. You are flown across the country to a campus where your fraternity does not exist. Your job is to build from scratch a chapter of your organization that will not only exist but must also improve the quality of the overall fraternity community for decades to come. You get one other recruiter to help you, a couple hundred dollars, and 5 weeks to recruit. On your mark. Get set. GO!
Meet Greg DalSanto and Romarr Mayne. They are each 23 years old. Both graduated in May 2014. Fall 2014 was their first semester working for Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity headquarters. On August 18, 2014 they checked 2 pieces of luggage each at the Indianapolis airport and stepped on an airplane for a 5 week recruitment binge at Washington State University. This is the life of an Expansion Specialist. How did they do? Oh, they almost tripled PSK’s national fraternity’s expansion record!!!
These new Greek gods didn’t have much time to talk after the project (they were already preparing for the next one), but I caught up with them in Indianapolis during their 1 week break before they move on to Young Harris College in Georgia then Woodbury University.
Phired Up: 81 new members is a big number!
PSK: It is – especially for Phi Sig.
Phired Up: A month ago people were saying that 40 would be a stretch goal. How did you do it!?
PSK: This is our first project! So, we’re excited about how we did… We’re a good team. Where one of us had a weakness the other had a strength. We have balance as a team.
Phired Up: [sarcastically] You must have spent a fortune on alcohol, parties, t-shirts…
PSK: [laughing] No. We didn’t do any of that. Even if we had the budget to do any of those things (which we didn’t), there’s no way we would have gone down that road. That’s not what Phi Sig is about.
Phired Up: Then how did you recruit 81 guys!?
PSK: Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, we did spend $92 on a pizza party and $110 on BBQ for all the guys toward the end of the project. So I guess we did have “parties.” No alcohol at either though.
Phired Up: So that’s how you got all these guys to join?
PSK: No. No. No. Those were just fun ways to build brotherhood and get the group that had already joined to come out with some of their friends who might be interested, too.
Phired Up: Seriously. Phi Sigma Kappa hasn’t recruited more than 30 men on an expansion project in recent history. How did you nearly triple that!?
PSK: We both came from PSK colonies and were heavily involved in recruitment. We both had a background in recruitment for a new group. We understood the importance of 1-1 personal meetings. We made lots of phone calls. We talked about service, philanthropy, and academics rather than “frat stuff.” We also got really personal with the guys. We got to know them. We spoke their language. We really care about them. We’ve been in their shoes and they responded to that. There was a lot of passion poured into this project. We talked about the opportunity to do something bigger than themselves rather than asking them to join something that we own.
Phired Up: Is WSU just some magical space where fraternity recruitment is easy?
PSK: WSU is a really special place. Not that it’s magical but that the existing fraternity community and administration was very supportive of us building a new chapter. There are a lot of quality men at WSU who were excited to talk about building a values-based fraternity.
Phired Up: You weren’t alone. There was another fraternity expanding at the same time, right?
PSK: Yes. And, they did very well, too. It’s unique to have two fraternities expanding on the same campus at the same time. We’re excited about the guys who joined PSK and we know they’re excited about the guys who joined their group. The real “winner” if you want to think about it that way is WSU Greek Life. The WSU fraternity community just grew nearly 8% this fall through expansion!
Phired Up: The average fraternity chapter size across the country is around 50 members. How is it that chapters this size struggle to recruit 20+ new members in a full YEAR, but you TWO recruited 81 new members in just 5 WEEKS?
PSK: I’m not sure what other groups are doing. I can tell you that Phi Sig is not a stereotypical fraternity. I can tell you we don’t put social and alcohol first. We put community service, philanthropy, scholarship … our values first. We choose to be personable and professional. We learned that there are a lot of men at WSU who want a values-based fraternity experience. We hope that will be true on other campuses we visit after WSU, too.
Phired Up: Your critics are going to say you just recruited for numbers…
PSK: We’re proud of every single guy we recruited. These are literally some of the best men at WSU. They have a collective GPA higher than the all-male and all-fraternity GPA. We used our Values-based Selection Criteria to evaluate every guy. I’d say we actually got more selective each week of the project. By the end, we literally had to turn away guys we would have absolutely bid in the first 2 weeks.
Phired Up: Were you afraid of getting too big too quick?
PSK: OH YEAH. When we got to 75 we thought … we could push this group to 110 if we want. Easily. It just wasn’t what was right for the group. We cancelled 20-30 meetings with guys who expressed interest in the last week and we left 100+ referrals on the Names List that we didn’t even call.
Phired Up: You two lived together and worked together 24/7. Did you ever want to kill each other?
PSK: The truth is that these are long days with high expectations. We are both passionate about our work. We get along great, but just like all brothers we have disagreements.
Phired Up: What were the 3 most important things you did to produce results?
- Be Personable. Having an inviting spirit, a vibe of openness. Being genuine. People gravitate to people who are personable.
- Be Professional. The way we carried ourselves, the way we spoke, the way we dressed, the questions we asked, the meeting/events we hosted…
- Be Relatable. Telling the story of how much we personally got out of the fraternity.
Phired Up: Scott, what’s the one thing that is most under-estimated to produce big recruitment results?
PSK: Planning. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” The site visit, research, alumni discussions, etc., all played a part. I scheduled the majority of the sorority presentations prior to arriving on campus. Planning the project with the Greek Life office, getting internet access, parking, knowing the IFC recruitment rules, having the interest group men set up meeting schedules with their referrals for week 1; all of these planning steps and activities allowed us the ability to hit the ground running from day one! I think planning is one of the most overlooked and underrated parts of any expansion project.
Phired Up: Walk me through an expansion day at WSU.
8:30am wake up, send appointment reminders via pre-set text
10am arrive on campus for student meetings (usually 20+ between us)
10:30 make phone calls from student referrals we got the prior day
1pm lunch (typically 15 minutes on the go)
1:15pm begin follow up meetings (usually 10+ between us)
4:30pm hurry back to hotel or run errands for the night
5pm presentations to student organizations or sororities
6pm enter new names into Names List
7pm host interest meeting
8:30 phone call session (1-2 hours, 50 phone calls each. Usually talk to 30, meet with 20)
9pm dinner on the go
10pm hang out with some of the guys from the group or go relax at the room
12pm head hits pillow
Phired Up: When did you sense the WSU project was going to be something special?
PSK: [Romarr] Week #2 and Greg laughed at me. There was an energy from the guys we met and the friends they would bring back. Everyone was pouring names onto our names list. After the first interest meeting there was so much energy I knew we could double the record. Scott (Director of Expansion) and Greg laughed and blew me off… we weren’t even at 30 at that time. In week #3 we got the IFC no bid list and we got another big wave of interest at the next few meetings.
Phired Up: Where did most of the guys who joined come from?
20+ from referrals of the guys we recruited.
15+ from sorority referrals.
10+ IFC list.
9 from the initial interest group.
5+ from article in the campus newspaper.
A legacy, a few at IFC table fair, a walk up, etc.
Phired Up: Phi Sigma Kappa is a proud partner of Phired Up. Tell me about your relationship with Phired Up and Paul Manly.
PSK [Scott Pegram]: The coaching is key! We had in-office training for the new staff by Phired Up prior to this project. Paul taught the Dynamic Recruitment process to Romarr and Greg and ran MANY practice sessions – not to mention weekly calls and support with our staff and Director. The coaching helped uncover things we needed to tweak and checkpoints to share our successes.
PSK [Romarr & Greg]: Paul was a great liaison between us and Scott. We can relate to Paul. He has an insight. He knows what it takes to do big expansion projects. Having that weekly call with him recharged us and helped us understand where we can do better. The training we did for hours and hours made our presentations work and prepared us for success. It was huge! Anytime we had a problem, Paul was able to help us. Without Paul and Phired Up this project wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.
Phired Up: Is 80+ the new expectation for Phi Sigma Kappa expansion?
PSK: Ha! Probably not. Each campus is unique. The bar has definitely been raised!
Phired Up: Congratulations, gentlemen. You should be very proud.
PSK: We’re damn proud!
Interview Date: September 24, 2014
Interview Conducted By: Josh Orendi, Josh@PhiredUp.com
Interviewing Romarr Mayne & Greg DalSanto. Email interview with Scott Pegram.
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