The Key Factor in Successful Enrollment

Brian Childers  
MDI Contributor

As I was rummaging through my brain searching for what I have to say about the topic of enrollment, one word showed up consistently: RELATIONSHIP! 

One must first establish relationship before anyone wants to hear anything I have to say to them or enroll them. 

Why should they listen to me; why should they care what I have to say? Who am I to them? Or maybe more importantly when discussing enrollment, who am I FOR them? 

Am I trying to get something from them or schnook them or hoodwink them into something? What is their experience of me?  Do they trust me? Have I hurt or disrespected them in some large or small way? Am I worthy of their trust?

These are valuable questions that arise in the invaluable process of enrollment.

I have been fortunate to have been trained well in, and have somewhat of a natural gift for, sales. A valuable lesson for me was to listen more than I talk – understand the NEED of my customer/client and help them fill it. The rest will take care of itself. Another way I’ve heard this expressed is: God gave you two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion. (Wish that I would have taken said advice myself at certain times in my past.)

When attempting to train or school someone in enrollment, the usual chorus of resistance comes up: Oh, here comes the sales pitch. I don’t need to know that; I’m not in sales. I don’t like to be pushy. I hate sales, that’s why I went into IT. Blah, blah. 

One of my discoveries was unless I wanted to do EVERYTHING alone, I’d better develop some enrollment skills. Would you like to see a movie with me? Can I buy you a drink? Can we have lunch together? Wanna take a walk? Do you see where this is headed and will eventually end up IF I am successful? If not, it’ll be me and lefty taking Big Jim and the Twins out solo again. 

Actually, I’m not just referring to sex (though it had been 17 seconds and I was due to think about it again). It also relates to business opportunities, personal growth courses/trainings, exercise events, holding hands with your sweetie, etc. ALL require successful enrollment.

More lessons in enrollment speaks to revealing or unconcealing part of oneself that might touch, move or inspire another to take an action in a positive direction regarding the ongoing enrollment conversation. On our teams, this is obviously called “dropping our mask” – or symbolically laying down our weapon and making oneself vulnerable (literally not a threat – in that moment). This ritual has the possibility of generating trust among men. And, when trust has been developed the possibility of enrollment increases greatly.

Along these lines of enrollment lessons, an old exercise comes to mind:

The Four Balls of Enrollment

  1. Find a man you care about
  2. Drop your mask
  3. Don’t do it alone
  4. Don’t quit

I was the Enrollment Manager for the Renegades (the FIRST Division in Application in Atlanta and therefore the Southeast USA). It was 1994 and I was three years out of the SMW (9/91, Spencer, MA) and pretty damn gung ho Sterling. 

I don’t remember who actually told me about The Four Balls of Enrollment, but I suspect it may have been Jonas Maghram from Iowa. After having been so informed, I got busy. We had it in our minds we were GOING to become a Sterling Division in good standing! I took it on myself to write a slightly exhaustive missive on The Four Balls of Enrollment. Hey, now that I think of it I’m kinda surprised that one of the “balls of enrollment” wasn’t “grab your balls.” Anyway.

The actual missive is HERE.

I am proud of it, even after all these years. It is time tested.

3 thoughts on “The Key Factor in Successful Enrollment”

  1. What on Earth are you even talking about here exactly?

    How about being a little more transparent?

    Your guest writer (Brian Childers?) makes no mention of a WEEKEND in this article. How about try being a bit more up front with what you’re getting at exactly and how this applies to you and your men..

    This hardly applies to anything outside of your circle and it’s designed to get you to click through that link to the missive.

    This could appear to be quite manipulative to anyone who decides to view this article.

    And was it absolutely necessary that you mention “Big Jim and The Twins”?

    Sure, this stuff could apply to a sales job or something like that… In fact, I do believe that enrollment is a key tactic used in sales when trying to convince a person(s) to buy into something. Can’t really think of anywhere else where The Four Balls of Enrollment will apply in your every-day life. Or at least this interpretation of The Four Balls of Enrollment (fun fact: it’s just something some guy made up and started telling other guys, it’s not like…A published thing lol….No Sources!

    Do the men on your team really need a god damned missive to read through in order to ensure they successfully schnook or hoodwink someone (another man) into something? Do they really need to explicitly be told, step-by-step, how to convince a man to go to the weekend?

    I read the missive and straight up,it’s about getting men to the STERLING MENS WEEKEND which is an old affiliate and an old mindset that, over the years and as far as I ever understood it goes, MDI has moved away from. I don’t understand why I see this come up and where it comes from and it’s a huge reason why MDI lacks the men it seeks.

    Get fucking real.

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I didn’t have anything in mind other than to recount a little history and share something from that time.

      It was most certainly, in that time, explicitly about getting men to the SMW. That being so, “I” think the 4 balls have translatable value; apparently you don’t.

      Can’t win em all. Another happy enrollee 😏😎

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