Step into the Boiler Room

“When was the last time you closed something, huh? You couldn’t close a frickin’ window, you moron!”

That is just one of  many lines that made me fall in love with the move ‘Boiler Room.’

Haven’t heard of it?

It hit theaters in 2000 near the peak of the stock market bubble and didn’t interest me at the time.  Having now watched it, I am disappointed that every business student in the country isn’t shown this during freshman year.  Oh, and did I mention it oozes with sales advice?  From IMDB… A college dropout gets a job as a broker for a suburban investment firm, which puts him on the fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds.

Still need further encouragement?  Check the video

Now THAT is a  sales call!!

Do I have your attention?  Good.  Keep reading.

Within the next month virtually every college and university in the country will be back in session.  That means there will be new freshmen on campus.  That means there is recruitment work to be done.

Unless you plan on personally meeting every freshmen male on campus before formal recruitment hits, you are going to need to supplement your recruiting efforts with some cold calls.

Deep breath.

Yes, I said cold calls.  You’re going to get IFC names lists. Your friends and alumni are going to give you referrals.  If you tell me that you don’t have to make some cold calls to have  a successful recruitment effort, then I will tell you that your ‘success’ isn’t as great as it could be.

Here are my top tips for a cold call:

1)  Bring the energy

When I’m on campus doing recruiting work, I like to think of it like this:  I am the patron saint of rescuing underwhelmed college students.  I’ve got this frickin’ awesome Fraternity thing going on and they are bored in their dorm room playing video games and itching to ‘get out and meet new people.’  I am a new person.  I can be their new friend.  So can you.  Cold calls are not a selfish act of you trying to ‘get something’ for your fraternity.  No, no, dear reader.  Cold calls are philanthropy.  They are service work.  You, as my apprentice, are a co-patron saint of rescue.  These young students need you to rescue them from their underwhelming college experience.  When you think of it like this you cannot fail.  You are merely trying to pay forward the life-altering experience that you are currently enjoying.

2) Establish the connection

“Wait, who is this?  Why are you calling me?”  You will undoubtedly get this question during a cold call.  Have you got an answer?

The trick to recruitment isn’t necessarily KNOWING a ton of freshmen.  Usually, the trick is knowing people who know freshmen.  Referrals.  If you’re not asking your friends, professors, parents, and alumni for referrals, then what ARE you doing?  These are the people that help take recruitment from good to great.  When you get that question “why are you calling me” you can swoop in and respond “a mutual friend of ours, ______, said that you were interested in greek life and as part of a fraternity here on campus I just wanted to call and invite you to….”

3)  Keep it casual

This ‘event’ is going to be really low key.  Come and go as they please.  Come with a friend if that would be better.  They can’t come?  No big deal.  What do you say we just grab lunch sometime this week?  Are they too busy to talk right now?  Ask when would be a good time to call back.

“And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that’s it, I’m done.”

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Play games you can win

College Football is back! It’s time to get ready for four months of tailgating, touchdowns and commaraderie. But, in addition to all the fun, there is something we can learn from college football and apply to our Alpha’s operations.

For decades college football was a sport dominated by running plays. The forward pass was an afterthought as schools like Notre Dame and Navy dominated with their powerful running attacks. Consequently, the teams with the biggest and strongest offensive and defensive lines won the most games. But, as football grew in popularity and more people wanted to play, smaller teams needed a way to compete. There had to be a way to win at football without having the biggest, strongest players and best best running backs.

Fast forward to the late 1990s. Teams like Northwestern and Texas Tech begin using ‘spread offenses’ to level the playing field and compete with perennial powers like Ohio State, Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma. Spread offenses line up with receivers spread sideline to sideline, creating a lot of space for smaller, faster players to run and receive passes. Bigger, stronger teams had trouble adjusting to these wide-open, fast-paced offenses; systemic change ensued.

In 2010, virtually every team in America runs some variation of a spread offense. This can all be traced back to the little guys who found a way to compete. Instead of lining up in the power-I and trying to run the ball against physically superior opponents, they changed the game and played one they could win.

Some of our Alphas struggle to compete during ‘recruitment’ with the big boys on their campus. They think that because of less alumni support, smaller budgets and not-as-nice Lodges, they cannot compete with the big fraternities on their campus. They’re correct. They cannot compete at that game. The solution- PLAY A DIFFERENT GAME. Develop your equivalent of a spread offense.

If your Alpha is struggling during the university’s sponsored recruitment period, I would encourage you to play a different game. Don’t get caught up in comparing social calendars and fraternity houses. Play a different game. Start with relationships like Br. Taylor told you to do.

During my visit to Alpha Xi Delta at Texas Tech, an Alpha of 17 men and no Lodge, we decided to ‘eat a bunch of lunches.’ Over the course of two days, rotations of Brothers joined me at their student union. Our mission? Make some friends over a meal.The Brothers quickly learned that making new friends was possible. One new friend at a time was all it would take to help grow their Alpha. The Brothers have decided to implement their own spread offense. They plan to spread their Brothers across campus by implementing ‘lunch teams’ where Brothers will have certain days they will go to their Union and make friends. I’m excited to see how this impacts their fall recruitment numbers.

(CHALLENGE: Go to your nearest food court or dining hall TODAY. Count the number of people sitting by themselves, guy or girl. Go grab a bite to eat and pick someone to sit with. Make a new friend. If you go in a group of friends, invite someone to come sit with you.)

I’ll leave you with a video that highlights Texas Tech, a spread offense and the best game of the 2008 college football season.

So what do you think? Could a spread offense help your Alpha?

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Hello, World!

Hey everyone, I’m so glad you took a moment to stop by the new Chi Psi blog. I believe that it is critical that you all have maximum exposure to the best ideas in the Chi Psi community. Because every Alpha visit provides a fresh perspective, I want to be able to capture that insight and share it with you. During our travels, Derek and I will be continuously posting the best ideas and stories from around the country. Be sure to check back for posts on the following topics: Alpha Succeses, Alpha Operations, Leadership Development, Programming, Recruitment, and Service & Philanthropy.

If there is something on your mind then feel free to ask. Otherwise, check back daily for new content!

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