As the fall semester winds down, many SigEp chapters begin to “close up shop” on recruitment and prepare for the spring. However, the Iowa Theta chapter at the University of Northern Iowa continues to recruit, using a 365-recruitment model. This transition was not easy, just like any change, and we had many questions about how to make this work and what it would look like. We are still striving to fine-tune our methods of 365-recruitment, but we plan to increase chapter strength through consistent recruitment efforts.
One of the biggest changes we implemented was a proactive approach to recruitment training. Most of our members are social in general but felt unsure about how to talk to Potential New Members (PNMs) or when and how to bring up SigEp. We developed a training model to solve these problems and to make sure that going into week one of recruitment, our members were ready to recruit. We took the responsibility on ourselves to be proactive prepare our members for recruitment. While the presentation was open to all members, our new members found the training sessions to be most impactful. It’s often overlooked, but your new SigEps have the highest potential of adding new names for your PNM list. Just think, every freshman and first-year SigEp has a roommate that automatically becomes a PNM! Also, they have just joined an awesome organization and are excited to share that with their friends and peers. By coaching these new members, we drastically increased their effectiveness as recruiters and added serious momentum to our recruitment process. I highly recommend to any chapter to take the initiative of recruitment coaching in some way for new members.
Our presentation incorporated material from five books which all offered tips on the social and sales skills necessary to be persuasive recruiters. First, we lay the foundation by teaching members the principles from Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. We coach our members on how to become influencers in all aspects of life. From the post-presentation feedback, we know that members have even utilized this knowledge outside of SigEp recruitment. The principles that we coached on were:
- Be Genuinely Interested in Other People,
- Remember People’s Names,
- Be a good listener, encourage people to talk about themselves,
- Talk in terms of other people’s interest, and
- Make the other person feel important.
Next, we coach our members on how to understand the psychology of the pitch. This has been dubbed as “neuro-sales” by Oren Klaff in Pitch Anything. With this understanding of the psychology of individuals, we help members develop a pitch of SigEp that creates attention in the PNM by developing excitement and curiosity about the organization. We accomplished this by emphasizing the six methods of pitching found in Klaff’s Pitch Anything:
- Set the Frame: put the big idea into an easily understood context
- Tell the Story: gain attention through the story of SigEp
- Reveal the Intrigue: create intrigue by expressing the novelty of the SigEp experience
- Offer the Prize: why the SigEp experience is so special
- Nail the Hook Point: what competitive advantage your chapter has
- Get the Deal: asking for interest from the PNM
As for the pitch itself, we coached our members to follow a guideline of the following:
- Introduce the BIG idea: What is SigEp and what is it about? (5 minutes)
- Explain the “secret sauce”: What advantage does your chapter have that other chapters don’t have? In other words, what makes your chapter different from the rest? (10 minutes)
- Offer the Deal: What can the PNM expect if they decide to join? (2 minutes)
That being said, we did not give members word-for-word scripts to avoid sounding inauthentic and because every member has different needs that SigEp could fill, whether it is member development or the sense of community. We placed a special emphasis on the “secret sauce.” Since 1901 when our SigEp founders spoke the famed quote, “this fraternity will be different”, this organization has been driven to be different than the typical Greek experience. The “secret sauce” portion for us is where you articulate what makes your chapter different and such a hot commodity.
One thing you may notice is that we leave out overwhelming amounts of details. This isn’t an attempt to be vague and deceptive. Instead, it is to give the PNM the ability to focus on what matters when making the decision. We fill in the details in closing conversations and informational nights we host. One very effective tool for this has been the new recruitment booklets offered through the SigEp store. We first utilized these booklets in the fall of 2019 and they have been a real game-changer. They are a great resource for PNMs who are seriously considering SigEp and help them remember the benefits of membership in SigEp. These were also very useful for our Balanced Man Scholarship ceremony. With several parents in attendance, these booklets help overcome the analytical mindset of the parents and increase their understanding of how much value the organization can have for their son. All in all, for the price of thirty-five cents each, I firmly believe the new recruitment booklet is one of the smartest investments that the VP of Recruitment can make. To find out more about this resource, click HERE.
Finally, we spent the last portion of our training emphasizing the need to Build the list, Work the list, Repeat. By embedding this mindset into our culture, it has helped to simplify the often over-complicated recruitment process down to a few easy to follow steps. This simplification has led to an increase in results for our chapter and a Talent Power Award in 2018 for our recruitment results after tying our chapter’s record for the number of new members in a semester.
Here’s what’s amazing, we aren’t doing anything outrageously special. By focusing on training members, the build list, work list, repeat mentality, and consistent 365 recruitment, we have created a model and culture focused on results and responsible growth. I do not doubt that any chapter, regardless of size, could implement these small changes and witness even better results than we did. At the end of the day, if we as a chapter truly want to be different, it’s time to embrace a new model of recruitment.
If any chapter would like a copy of our presentation, we would be more than happy to share it! Feel free to request a copy or ask any questions at email@example.com.
If you are truly passionate about improving recruitment capabilities, I recommend the following books. These books not only will help with recruitment but contain valuable perspectives and information that could help any business major.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
- To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
- Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
- The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need by Anthony Iannarino
Meet the Author
Caleb Gipple ’21
Public Administration & Political Science Major
IFC President, Recruitment Chairman, & Standards Board Guard