by Matt Mattson
So many fraternities and sororities use “tabling” as a marketing/recruitment/promotional tactic. It can be AWESOME when done right. But some tabling approaches are meh while others drive results.
This is meant to be the ultimate resource to do tabling right for fraternities and sororities!
First things first. Download and read this practical instructional resource on tabling, and then I’ll share some other resources, stories, a video, and some context.
Next, you should definitely read these other related posts if you want to become a master at tabling:
A Story of Ten Times The Tabling Results in Texas
Now, let me tell you a quick story (this happens to be about some great IFC fraternity men, but the lessons apply to any fraternity or sorority).
I was recently at Texas State University. In late August. It was like 100 degrees with 100% humidity in the blazing hot Texas sun. Still, three fraternities were all out on the quad, working hard, showing up. They had their tables set up under nicely branded tents. They had letters out front. They had everything color coordinated. They looked really sharp and professional. And they were behaving like gentlemen. I was really impressed. They were hustling. Handing out fliers with their recruitment event schedules, and there was a sign up sheet on each table. I stopped by each of them to ask about their results. Each of them reported to me that they added about 10-15 new names to their list that day. Good work, gentlemen.
Meanwhile, 6-8 IFC “Recruitment Guides” were out on the quad at the same time working to promote IFC recruitment and gather names and contact information. They were standing in pairs, at different spots around the quad, at no table (because they forgot to reserve one tbh). They’re using clip boards to conduct a super simple non-Greek market survey (that I had created in like 2011 and printed out for them the night before – here it is). By the end of about a 3 hour effort, they had collected 100 new names to be added to their community’s chapter builder accounts.
Same location. Same amout of time. Same Texas heat. 10 times the results!
Watch this video to see what they were doing. After watching the video, keep scrolling down and I’ll explain the lessons you’ll want to take away from this.
Lessons To Learn from This Story
- Great tabling isn’t about “impressing” people, it’s about connecting with people.
- Tabling doesn’t actually require a table.
- The goal isn’t to “get your name out there,” it’s to “get names on your list” (so you have a chance to recruit them).
- Notice that the IFC guys weren’t wearing letters or being “blatantly Greek.” They were sporting university gear and seemed like normal, kind, approachable guys.
- The survey they used was simply a bridge. Most of your members would love to talk to strangers, they just don’t know what to talk about except to ask, “Have you ever thought about rushing a fraternity?” (that’s a bad question). The survey served as an easy icebreaker that made a conversation possible. Don’t like the survey? Use a scholarship application, raffle ticket, “guess the score” game, give away free hot cocoa or lemonade or popsicles, play rock paper scissors (there are a bunch of other ideas here).
Q: What is the purpose of an information table?
- A. Give away information about the organization
- B. Sit awkwardly behind the table as people walk by
- C. Get the organization’s name out on campus
- D. None of the above
A: The correct answer is … D, none of the above.
Of course we never sit behind the table. In fact, the first thing we do when we arrive is get rid of the chairs. You might give away some information and you might create some more awareness, however, this is not the “purpose” of tabling. The reason we table is the exact opposite of “giving our information away” … we do them to “get their names on our list.” Period!
The success of an information table is measurable. Every 30-60 minutes count up the number of names with phone numbers and email addresses that you’ve collected. Those are your results. Any other positive outcome is a bonus, not the purpose of your time.
Great tables yield 25-50 new leads per hour. If that’s not happening, you’re:
- In the wrong location
- Tabling at the wrong time of day
- Not working the table … you’re waiting for results to happen to you
Have you ever wondered:
- What am I supposed to wear?
- What should I put on the table?
- What am I supposed to say?
- Who should be at the table?
- How can my table stand out?
Answers to all those questions and more can be found in this free resource.