Recruiting is a sales business.
Any business that survives on revenue generation by making sales has to be geared to the practice of selling. I’ve read a lot recently how selling and cold calling has had its day and is not wanted by potential clients. I don’t hold by this view.
We sell mostly on the phone. Tthat’s how we win most of the new business and new customers. Not just in recruiting but in most businesses. We get on the phone and then we get face to face. We talk to people and have real conversations.
We might support sales with social networking, marketing and attending networking events, using linked in and twitter to make the find the right people to talk to, but ultimately, somewhere in the process we pick the phone up and talk. The first time we talk, it’s a cold call, no matter how familiar we may be over 140characters. Sometimes, the stronger the relationship before the sale, the harder it is to actually ask for business. I make no apologies for my view, asking for business is not dirty!
Despite popular myth, there are lots of great recruiters out there that know just how to sell, and they spend plenty of time selling. The key word for me in any sales call is relevance.
Relevance in your reason for calling, and relevance in what you are saying. Your whole conversation from beginning to end needs to be relevant to the person you are talking to.
If you offer a potential client a relevent candidate and make this clear as part of your introduction, your prospect will listen to you. They will understand why you called them, even if they have nothing for you to work on. (And most of them don’t.)
Relevance should be the watchword for any sales activity. If you don’t know the reason why your intended target should be talking to you, then you shouldn’t be talking to them. In social, if you don’t know why they should be connecting with you, then don’t invite them to connect or send a clumsy message.
Most of the recruiters that blog about the death of sales are fairly long in the tooth. They have established desks and don’t need too many new connections or new clients. A new recruiter needs to build a desk, and those with an established client base do them a serious disservice suggesting that selling is a bad thing. Think of the new recruits and if this negative advice about sales and recruiters will really help them.
I sympathise with H.R. and Hiring managers that speak of repeated calls with scripted patter, no listening and no clear reason for the call. The “Hi, how are you”, “just another question before I call”, “just calling to introduce myself or update my records” calls. I spend much of my training time undoing these bad practices that have been drummed in.
The message should be loud and clear, selling is good, selling without relevance or listening is poor.
My advice for a good call:
1: Always know why you are calling and communicate this. What is the benefit to the receiver of the conversation? Sell this, not your service.
2: Listen more than you talk. Take no for an answer and understand where the no is coming from.
3: Sell the next step, not the whole package, and only do this when you have agreed on a possible need.
4: Don’t offer a solution untill you have found a problem.
5: Recognise that relationships take time. Invest time in getting to properly understand your prospects business.
6: As a last tip: Don’t claim to have the perfect candidate or the perfect job untill you know what they are looking for!
I will be talking sales and other recruiter practices with veteran recruiter Greg Savage, and others in the “New Kool v Old Skool” track at #trulondon 3 on Feb 16’th/17’th.
What do you think about selling? What are your top tips? Am I just being an uncool dinosaur or is selling at the heart of what we do? Love to hear your views.
Be ambassadors of what you do by keeping relevent.
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