Monday, November 16, 2015

Followup on Students Who Visit the First Time

Followup? This is obviously a blog that was supposed to post in August and didn't....right? Nope this is for November.

College Ministers are super conscious of followup of new people during the all important first three weeks of school. But, I think we sometimes become sloppy about it later in the semester. We are emerged in just keeping things going and meeting with all the students we need to every week. And, if someone shows up now, it really means they are interested and will connect on their own. Plus, all those who are involved will see them and connect with them.....maybe!

I do believe that if a student comes later in the semester it means they have a genuine interest, have recognized the need in their life or one of your regulars has invested in them and brought them. But, to assume they will automatically feel welcome and get connected is a false assumption.

Three things I believe About Followup:

1. They need to hear from a staffer.

2. They need to hear from a student.

3. They need to hear from at least one within 24 hours, if at all possible.

Why a staffer? They may have come out of a very real and recognized need in their life that a staffer can likely speak into better than a fellow student. AND, I've learned that students sometimes get sidetracked and don't make that followup connection immediately like they meant to.

So, if a staffer is making a connection, why a student? Sometimes, the perception is that a staffer gets paid to do it and that if a student does it, it means more to the new person. Some feel a followup connection by a student expresses a more genuine interest in them...not just someone doing their job. So, you need to make sure a dependable student gets their name and contact info immediately.

How do you follow up? My three favorites are:

1. Text: they get it immediately and it is personal.

2. Facebook: I read lots of articles that say students don't do Facebook anymore. Most students I've dealt with don't seem to read those articles and don't realize that.

3. Phone call: This is my third preference because many students don't answer a call from a number they don't recognize. But, if they do answer, it is very personal and can answer any question they might have immediately. I have a friend who goes home and makes calls till 10:00 o'clock some nights. Don't tell him it doesn't work.

Sschedule a time for Followup: I blocked time after our outreach Lunch Program to try and connect with students who had come that day for the first time. Friday mornings were followup time for our our Thursday night event.

Followup on the Followup: Often, when I make that first connection I will say, let me buy you a coke some time and we can visit. Some will say then they would like to and so it can be scheduled then. But, after they come back for a second time is often the time to say, "Let's get together for a coke." I know you will say coffee....but I hate coffee. The last time...some years ago...I drank coffee was when a significant donor insisted. It was worth it!

So, how are YOU doing followup now?

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