Insight For The Modern Man

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.