by Matt Farrell
You’re hearing a lot about what you need to do different virtually now, but wait a second. Think about the role your phone has played in how you currently make friends. Think about how you use it to set aside time with people. Recruitment has already become mostly digital. Now, we’re simply forced to get better at it.
Want proof? Check out this story from my call yesterday with Alex Cruz. Alex is a perfect case study for this for a couple reasons:
- He walks, talks, and acts like a Gen Z college student. (Seriously, he loves memes and his phone.)
- While an expansion consultant, Alex built a simple virtual recruitment strategy. Using it, he recruited over 50 people back at his home state in Arizona while he was in Lexington, Kentucky.
This virtual recruitment concept is nothing new for anyone in the expansion world. But it will help you get back to the basics. Check out Alex’s words directly.
Becoming a Virtual Recruiter
I didn’t really have an opinion at first, it was the only option given to me for remote summer recruitment. I knew it was our system so just kind of dove in. My main fear was that it would feel like a sales pitch. Like that I’d sound like a telemarketer. I don’t think it’s possible to feel any different until you pick up the phone and try.
Getting in a System
As I got going, I started taking a little time to make a plan before each call. Like an essay outline.
- How we got their referral
- What we want to talk about
- A follow-up plan.
Those were the big 3 and probably still are today. ChapterBuilder is where everything went. It didn’t seem to matter much at the time but once we were sorting everything in bulk later, it was so much easier. It was the storage for our system.
I specifically remember talking a ton about travel with one guy, experiences, the things he was learning studying abroad. We really hit it off discussing differences between different countries. He didn’t end up being a mutual fit for us, so it’s cool that I still remember so much and got so much from the conversation. I think he still ended up joining a fraternity which was neat.
There’s still just funny stuff that happens that’s no different than in-person. One guy was at a happy hour event with his bosses and stepped out to talk to me, so that was a fun conversation.
You don’t have to worry about showing up somewhere and getting canceled on. Sometimes we’d just bump the call a day and it wasn’t a big deal.
I was born near Tucson and had so many stories from there, as did everybody I talked to. Even though school had only been out like a month it felt a lot longer. I was away from home and Arizona long enough to be talking about a long-lost place. Easy connection with anyone.
I think that’s big for what’s going on right now. There’s a missing piece in a lot of people’s lives. They didn’t even get to stop in at their favorite places on campus like I did as a graduating senior. If I were doing it again right now, that’s a big hole I’d want to fill.
The Goal of Each Call
Two goals, really: Give and get. You want to give them something cool and get more names based on that.
The call is really creating something tangible with them. What the chapter has been and what it’s becoming, how they would fit in based on your connection with them and what they like.
Then you bring in social media to show them we’re not just making it up. They can follow along on their screen in a way that’s real and not like a PowerPoint.
I would read off our Instagram bio and say “check it out right now, you see that recommend a friend link there,” things like that. Give them a few seconds so they actually do it. It’s something everyone can do right when they’re talking to you.
We didn’t use the word “referral” much, we really just sought to create a tree of relationships knowing everybody wants that. And we’d grab those names at the end, most of the time I could get a few names through the link in bio while we were still on the phone. Then they’re already in ChapterBuilder.
The Final Step
When we actually got back to campus we already had ins, we already had actual relationships, excitement was already built up.
We just got to show them it’s real. No matter how genuine you are over the phone they definitely want to see its real. But all the technical stuff was already taken care of. We were ready to lock in people who already trusted us, and vice versa.
Adapting to the Coronavirus Era
First things first you have to take care of your own mental stability. I know I wouldn’t have made it past these last four days in quarantine without our group Snapchats and FaceTiming with ‘da boiz. You have to remember why you love it yourself. When you’re excited about what you’re offering, it changes all the conversations you have and how much fun they are.
Something we could’ve done better was video calls/ FaceTime. That could’ve helped add the missing piece I just talked about with them seeing that it’s real. I’d recommend that for people doing outreach now for sure.
Alex had 50+ men ready to join before getting back to Arizona. All were virtual leads, and the primary referral source (per ChapterBuilder) was other virtual leads. He believes the same strategy can be used in the current climate. While starting this chapter, Alex was an expansion consultant and is now currently the Director of Chapter Development at Phi Gamma Delta HQ.