The world is changing at a dramatic pace. Never has there been a more critical time to really understand who your customer is, and how you truly benefit them.
I’ve always been fascinated by the recruitment industry. I think like estate agency, or used car sales it can sometimes be painted in a negative light. Agents willing to take on any old job, for any old client; bombarding hiring managers with a barrage of CV’s which only slightly fit the client’s specification. As someone responsible for recruiting talent, I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve received an unsolicited cold-call from a nervous sounding voice, asking if “I’ve got any vacancies”.
To me, this shouts “numbers game”. Inexperienced newbies forced to get on the phone and call as many companies as they can, with a view to securing as many new hiring opportunities as possible. I’ve even had one call where I could openly hear a voice in the background telling the caller what to say next – take note, if you have to be told what to say, I’m probably not going to find you very credible.
In today’s hyper-competitive world customers expect more. Before calling, take the time to understand your customer and their business. What is unique about you? How can you help secure the best talent? How connected are you in the industry? How can you help your prospect differentiate from the competition? With on-line CV libraries 10-a-penny, what can you really do that I can’t with a few mouse-clicks?
For anyone marketing their business via the telephone, it’s vital to understand how you benefit the prospect before dialling. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the results. I’d much rather make 10 calls and get 5 opportunities, then have to make 200 calls to get the same number. Focus on what you can do for the client first, not what they can do for you. Take the time to understand your prospect’s industry, what their challenges are, and how you can help address them. Some of the best recruiters I’ve worked with live by this rule. They understand that by introducing me to top technical talent, my business will grow.
Instead of opening with an idiotic question, where the answer is most likely to be “no”, start with what you can do for your prospect. Make them sit up and listen. The challenge in my last business was that the skills I needed were rare. Based on this, rather than asking me if “I’ve got any jobs” – a generic, “all about you” question which has takes zero effort and intelligence, start with what you have to offer.
For example – knowing that I’m in the IBM ECM arena, you could structure a call as follows:
Understand your prospects business, open with something only you can give them
I know we’ve never spoken, however knowing that your business is dedicated to the IBM ECM arena, I had to make you aware of an exceptional candidate who I am solely representing.
Demonstrate credibility and experience in your prospects space
I’m focussed purely on the ECM marketplace. I’ve been in the space for 3 years and have recruited for the likes of PEGA, Oracle, OpenText, EMC and IBM.
Empathise with their business challenges
Understanding how hard it is to find exceptional IBM ECM skill, I thought you would want to be made aware of Simon Reynolds, he’s an IBM ECM veteran with over 8 years experience.
How can what you have make a difference to your prospect
Consultants like Simon don’t come on to the market very often. He’s the type of guy your customers are going to be asking for time and time again. Simon has deep domain understanding of the Financial Services marketplace – a vertical which I know is a key focus area for your company?
Simon is in exceptional demand and I’m currently arranging for him to have 15 minute phone conversations with potential employers – do you think a brief conversation would be mutually beneficial?
Knowing that the skills in my industry are rare, you don’t even need to ask if I am recruiting. If you have an exceptional candidate I’m always going to want to speak with them. I know that talent is what builds my company and investing in solid talent like Simon will help me to please my customers even more.
Conversations shouldn’t be about price they should be about value. Customers want to see passion, empathy and understanding. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they need? What do they want? What do you have that’s going to make a real difference to them?