A lot of mediocre recruiters give up on business development because they don’t get results from it. It’s easy to recognise them; they avoid personal contact, hiding behind emails, endless research and other, more urgent tasks.
In most cases, it’s because the only results they recognise are a vacancy registered, or an interview for their candidate.
But what are the odds on that? If you make an unsolicited call to a hiring manager, what are the odds that they will have a vacancy, NOT have already briefed 3 agencies, and be willing to engage with you? If that happens, great, but you are only getting to be a “ME TOO” recruiter with permission to send yet more CVs.
Then there are the recruiters who never ask for anything. When they come off a call, they are pathetically grateful if someone hasn’t hung up on them or shouted at them. When asked what the call has achieved, they say that they have “developed the relationship” or “built rapport”.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that. Rapport is important, but it is not an outcome. It is the means to an end.
And, in case you didn’t realise. It’s also quite a good definition of what marketing is supposed to do. NOT SALES.
So, for old hands and new recruiters, here’s a reminder of the seven outcomes that actually count from a recruitment sales call (apart from a placement, of course).
- An interview for your candidate (so have a pre-qualified, hot candidate in mind)
- A job registered/terms agreed or inclusion on a PSL
- A client meeting (research indicates you are 400% more likely to fill a job if you have met the client in her place of work- but that’s a whole other topic)
- A Standing Order (a clear indication of a future/ongoing need, or a candidate profile that will always interest the hirer. This needs to be recorded in a searchable database for future candidate marketing, obvs)
- A referral to another hiring manager (in the same organisation, a professional associate, an old boss, etc)
- A testimonial (only if they have used your services, natch)
- A referral to a candidate (this may even be a flip where you talk to the prospect about their own career aspirations)
Now, I guarantee you that if you keep this list in your eye-line when you are making calls, and always ask one extra question, you will get more and better results from your business development.
Even calls that haven’t gone well can be redeemed with the “Columbo method” of adding, for example:
“Just one small thing before I go- who else in your business recruits in this specialism?”
So, here’s what I want you to do. Print the list off and stick it on one side of your PC screen. Set up a competition with your colleagues to win points over a week or a day, say 3 points for an interview, 2 points for a referral- whatever seems most appropriate to your business needs and the demands in your sector.
And then keep reminding each other to ask the extra question. It makes all the difference and will make people want to get on the phone instead of avoiding it.
Alison Humphries is MD of Recruitment Leadership Ltd and a highly experienced NED and business coach to recruitment business owners and directors. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07720 677557.