Building personal relationships is a crucial aspect to recruitment. It can be easy to make an individual message feel personal, but even when sending a text message to hundreds of potential new members it is important to make each message feel personal. Utilizing the “insert PNM First Name” feature on ChapterBuilder is a great place to start. When sending any message, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Do not rush the process: Think of the grading scale. It is rare that a potential new member will jump from a “D” to an “A+”. There are important steps to take to gradually move a man through the different stages. The first message should not be an ask if the man is interested in PIKE. There are some instances where asking about their perceptions or thoughts of fraternities is appropriate, but in most cases this should be reserved for the second or third conversation, often even later. The first message or interaction is meant to be an introduction and get to know the individual. We can do this in several different ways.

Turn a Cold Call into a Warm Call: If you received their name and contact information from a referral source, make sure you tell them where you got it from! They may be wondering where you would have gotten their information from. If you start the introduction with where you got their information from, they are more likely to respond. They feel comfortable enough with you to respond if you received their name from a credible source, especially if it was a sorority woman. Men love to hear they were recommended by a woman. This can be done both over the phone and through a text message:

Hi Josh! My name is Caleb. I received your information from Katie in Alpha Phi. You know Katie, right? She said you were the perfect guy for us to talk to about campus and your perceptions of Greek life.

Digital One-Two Punch: One key aspect of any good one-two punch is making the introduction. Introduce yourself first before asking for their name. This allows any recruit to feel comfortable in a conversation. The same goes for a text message or any digital message. Potential new members will not think we are weird for reaching out to them. It is perfectly normal, and we should not overthink it.

The first message to any potential new member could include any of the following:

Ask a question to offer value: Asking a question that does not involve PIKE or fraternities in general can often bring greater results. Think of what questions an incoming freshman may have. He may be wondering where the best spots to eat on campus are, the best times to go to the gym, or even how to get involved on campus. Offering yourself as a resource is a great way to begin building a personal relationship.

Hi Josh! My name is Caleb and I am the recruitment chairman for PIKE on campus. I noticed you are coming to Peabody University next year! Congratulations on your decision. I have enjoyed my time on campus so far and I am sure you will too. Do you have any questions about campus I could answer for you?

Send an Invitation: Your chapter may recruit heavily over the summer and host recruitment events in various cities. Or it may be the first week of classes and your chapter is hosting a recruitment event at your house. There is no reason we should not be inviting every man on our list to the event! However, the message should feel like a personal invitation rather than an invite that was sent to hundreds of men. In these messages we can offer value to the individual as well.

Josh, my name is Caleb and I am the recruitment chairman from PIKE at Peabody University. A few of us will be getting together at the local park in Memphis to cook some burgers and play some yard games this coming Saturday. I would love to have you join us and get a chance to meet a few faces before arriving to campus this fall. Would you be interested in coming? Looking forward to hearing from you.

You can notice in the message above I did not focus on the fact this was a recruitment event. Rather, I focused on the value we can offer to the potential recruit. This is a chance for him to meet some students before arriving to campus in a comfortable environment and get some free food. Who would not want to come? I also did not send him all the information in the first message as to not overwhelm him. When we send all the information in one message, there is no reason for him to respond. In this case, if he is interested in joining, he will respond to get the additional information needed. If we do not hear from him, that gives us a reason to follow-up and ask again if he would like to join us.

Follow the A.R.E. Method: You may be familiar with the ARE method: Anchor, Reveal, Encourage. This is a great method to follow to solicit a response from an individual. This works well when sending a direct message through social media or after receiving responses from a referral link the chapter sent. In this approach, we are making an observation we noticed about the potential new member. It may be a post on his Instagram of him playing a varsity sport, or an event he recently attended. In a referral link, he may have articulated he was a Lebron James fan. We are anchoring to a shared reality.

Hey Josh, I saw that you are a Lebron James fan like I am! I could not believe how well he played last night. What did you think of the game?

After anchoring the fact we are both Lebron James fans, I revealed my thoughts about the recent game he played. This can work in many scenarios. Once you have identified the shared reality, just like introducing ourselves first during the one-two punch, we want to reveal something about ourselves first. Many times, it will involve our feelings towards the reality we share. Lastly, we are encouraging the potential new member to reveal something about themselves as well. We do this by asking open-ended questions. In the message above it was, “What did you think of the game last night?”. This is a great method to follow to start a conversation with anyone for the first time. After following the last step, remember to continue asking questions. Eventually, there will be an opportunity to make an ask, offer value, send an invitation, or simply exchange contact information and plan to speak again soon.

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