30 November, 2006

A Long December

October and November have turned out to be very bad for me. Both months I managed to only enlist 1 person - so 2 total. Looking at going into December 2 behind makes me wonder how this could have happened. Well.... how could it?

October should have been an awesome month for me as it was actually a 6 week month for me - the last 2 weeks in September counted towards October. I started out the month thinking I had all the time in the world and didn't have to work very hard because I had a few people lined up. That turned out to be a huge mistake. I obviously didn't make as many phone calls as I needed to, so I didn't do as many interviews as I should have. I had all the time in the world is how I justified it all to myself. I had one person enlist on October 27th making me go into November 1 behind mission.

November's mission went from 2 to 3. 3 in November? I figured I'd have my work cut out for me but knew I could do it. I did a couple of interviews before I left for Hawaii and told them I'd contact them when I got back. Only one of those people turned into an enlistment, but not until the 22nd. 1 down, 2 to go should have been easy because I had started doing a lot more interviews. I had 2 ready to go before the Thanksgiving weekend.

I don't know if any of the other recruiters have experienced this or not but you usually lose a lot of people over Thanksgiving weekend because some ultra-leftist aunt or uncle tells them how horrible the military is and how they'll be in Iraq 6 months after they enlist and that all recruiters are liars. This proved to be true this year for me.

I had one guy who I had been working for a month and had scheduled him to go to MEPS before Thanksgiving - but his Grandfather died so we rescheduled for Monday for Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I picked him up and drove him to MEPS and all was well. He called me from the hotel telling me he scored a 51 on the ASVAB. I congratulated him and started telling him what to expect the next day again. Then he started saying how he wasn't sure of all this. I told him to meet me in the parking lot of his hotel in 15 minutes..... We talked for 2 hours and in the end he could only tell me that his gut was telling him that he was making the wrong decision. The weird thing was that he could clearly see all the benefits to joining the Guard and how it would better his life - but he still wouldn't process the next day. Eventually I figured out that talking to him any longer was pointless so I told him to go to his hotel room and go to MEPS in the morning and tell them that he refuses to process. He wanted me to bring him home that night - home is about 4 hours away! SCREW THAT! He was pissy about it until I explained to him that I have no obligation to bring him home so I'm really doing it out of the goodness of my heart. The next day the GCs at MEPS talked to him and couldn't get him to process either. Maybe he'll enlist later, but I've already wasted enough of my time on him so I'm just going to move on.

The other person who was going to process was actually a walk-in. Now I've never actually had a walk-in before in my area - in 3 years. Everything seemed great and we were going to process before Thanksgiving but then she couldn't get off of work so we planned it after Thanksgiving. While she was at Thanksgiving she talked with her cousin who's in the Air Guard - needless to say she's now planning on joining them.

I worked harder in November than I did in December, but in the end I know I didn't work hard enough. I did a lot of interviews in November but got a lot of people who don't want to join. Some people would like to blame the war on this whole thing but I made mission just fine last year and the war was obviously going on back then so I don't think that's it. Maybe I've changed something in my interview that makes them not want to join? Maybe my close just sucks? I have become concerned that I'm over-selling them - talking so much about the Guard that they get confused and lose interest. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I have to change something. Back to the basics I guess.

I'm coming into December 2 behind mission - that means I have to write a 4 in December or things get really bad. I've already been told that I'm now on mandatory hours so I'll now be working from 9am to 9pm every day. Nothing has been said about weekends but I'm already planning on working weekends anyway.... in the end I have got to come up with a plan on how I'm going to get myself back at mission - without a plan I won't get anywhere. December is always a bad month for me - last December I only wrote 1 contract to give you an idea what I'm up against.

The first part of my plan is contacts. Obviously I need to make contacts in order to setup interviews. Most people will say that they want to make X amount of contacts per day. That's all fine and dandy but what if you make your X amount of contacts but you didn't schedule any interviews? How did that help you accomplish anything? It doesn't. My plan is to make enough contacts to setup 2 interviews a day. If I make 2 phone calls and setup 2 interviews I know I've met my goal for the day. If I need to make 50 contacts to schedule 2 interviews in a day than that's what I need to do. Obviously if I make 2 phone calls and setup 2 interviews then I'm going to keep trying for more.....

The second part of my plan is interviews. If you didn't guess from what I wrote above my goal is to conduct 2 interviews a day - more if possible. So my goal is to conduct 14 interviews per week. Some of you might think that this goal is a little unrealistic - I realize that it probably kind of is. But I figure I should set my goals high to be the most successful. I realize that some will no-show me like all of my interviews today did, and I might have to reschedule some if I have to suddenly run off to MEPS, but that's my goal.

The third part of my plan is lead generation. I need to generate as many leads as possible these next 30 days. There are actually 2 parts to this plan. Step one is school programs - I already have 2 school programs scheduled, one of them will be with the entire junior class of one of my schools. The other one is just one class but hopefully some people will be interested. I need to schedule more this month. Usually I talk to my counselors to schedule stuff but I'm going to take a different approach and talk directly to the teachers. I have a class on Iraq that is simply amazing so I'm going to talk to all my social studies teachers to see if I can do it with them. Step 2 is referrals from my previous enlistments. I don't know why I haven't gotten more referrals this year but I've got to change that. One thing that I'll never understand is the unsuccessfulness of the GRAP program. If you were going to get paid $2,000 for each friend that you enlist wouldn't you be talking to everyone you know about the Guard? I know I would but for some reason my kids don't. So for some reason $2,000 doesn't do a thing, but there is one thing that I've seen do wonders - a drill weekend off with pay. I don't know why a weekend off with pay motivates people so much but it does for some reason. So I'm going to see all of my enlistments this weekend and I am going to tell them if they get 1 person to enlist in the month of December they can have a drill weekend of their choice off with pay. If that doesn't work do you guys think smoking the shit out of them would? I know one recruiter who does "Bring a lead or bring a canteen" every month and it's very successful - for some reason that just seems wrong to me.....

The fourth part of my plan is face-to-face. I need to meet as many people face-to-face as I possibly can in the next 30 days. I only have a few ideas of how to accomplish this. I plan on doing lunchroom visits at all of my schools during this month - and as soon as possible. I normally hate doing lunchroom visits because it seems like the only people who come talk to me are ones who want free stuff and the ones who want to debate the war like I had something to do with the decision to go to war. As counter-productive as I believe this is I'm still going to do it because I need to do everything in my power to get enlistments. I am also going to be a chaperone for one of my school's dances. What better of an opportunity to meet kids than to throw on my dress blues and hang out with them for 4 hours? Plus it's good community service so it kills 2 birds with one stone. Finally I plan to talk to everyone I meet about the Guard. Every cashier, every gas station attendant, every burger-flipper at every fast food restaurant, every pizza delivery boy, every punk at the local teen club, every bum walking around the mall, every kid working at Walmart (especially the one who has to go grab all the carts now that it's getting cold), every single person I see I will talk to about the Guard.

So that's my plan. I think it's a good plan and I hope and pray that it works out for me. Any of you other recruiters want to drop some advice?

Anyway, it's going to be a very long December.......

-SGT Guardsman


Anonymous said...

Best thing that worked for me was the use of your REPS for leads. You have to figure out a plan that will get them bringing in leads or actual bodies to your weekends. Your REPS are your bread and butter. Good Luck.

"Ole Sarge"

SFC B said...

I've been stuck on 1's for a while too. It sucks. I don't feel I've changed anything from when I was rolling crooked numbers, but the enlistments aren't happening.

cryptofreq said...

when i was on recruiting i was told that december always sucked so line up your contracts in november, sandbag them and drop them asap in december and go enjoy the holidays....though a little late for that perhaps it will help next year.

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

OK, November sucked for me too. I went to a conference in Nashville the first week and then Thanksgiving so I had 2 weeks to drop in 2 enlistments. I made it but barely. However December is lining up nicely. I did just exactly what you outlined. I talked to who ever, got out my box and made calls. Calls and more calls. THEN I got my GRAPs motivated, I would take them with me on an interveiw, have them help with a lunchroom etc. I have one GRP that has brought me 6 leads and 4 of them are enlisting.

Guardsman said...

Ole Sarge,
I beat the crap out of my reps for leads every chance I get but they don't bring anybody in. With the new GRAP program they get paid 2k per enlistment, AND they get promoted, AND now I've offered them a weekend off! Still nothing panning out - I just don't understand. By the way, my NCOIC is a guy who's name is a holiday in February

I don't know why they're not happening either.... frustrating.

yeah, a little late but what do you do? December usually does suck. You're dealing with finals week, going away for the holidays, all that jazz.... like I said, last Dec I only had 1 enlistment. I've already got 2 right now and need at least 2 more - hopefully I'll make it.

SGI Lori,
I'm glad everything is working out for you. I've pretty much kept to my plan with the exception of talking to every living soul. I've just never recruited like that before so I kind of don't know how as weird as that sounds. I have been doing my calls and I've pretty much exausted my hot leads so it looks like I'll be cold calling very soon - I need to get in the classroom BADLY.

Anonymous said...

Tried to send you a message a couple time with your new blog and I must have been doing something wrong, wouldn't send. Yes, I probably know your NCOIC quite well. But I will stick to "Ole Sarge" as my cyber handle to keep everyone guessing. You never know I may want to say somethings on the QT.

"Ole Sarge"