“Mani, how do you remain so active in front of clients while searching for candidates at the same time?”, a question that’s been asked of me many times.
After being in recruitment for more than 12 years, I still don’t have the exact answer to this question, but what I do have is years of following certain principles and ways of working and a recipe that seems to be working for me.... ingredients below (adjust cooking times accordingly!)
Ingredient #1 - Personal Brand
Create a Why Statement by providing some clarity, meaning and direction to the value you can add to a client. Often BD calls can be monotonous and robotic. Allow your personality to come through and build a connection with your clients.
Ingredient #2 - Resilience
Pick-up the phone – volume counts when prospecting and building your brand and build in ‘targeted’ BD sessions across your working week and stick to them. The energy that can be created during these sessions is infectious!
Ingredient #3 - Diarising Follow-ups and sticking to it!
Ideas without action are simply hallucinations. We often find ourselves promising clients that we will send them information, follow-up with an email, call again at a certain time etc. However, the biggest downfall is not actually following-up.
Use Outlook or a List system to remember to action these follow-ups.
Ingredient #4 - Market Mastery
This is similar to your personal brand. I thrive on knowing what’s going on in my market and being able to manipulate the market through the information and knowledge that I acquire. Market mastery is also the power of your network and being referred business through contacts made along the way.
Ingredient #5 - Calculated Risks
Knowing which contacts to call/meet. Every call/meeting can lead to a commercial outcome in some way – face-time with both candidates and clients is invaluable and can lead to business in the long term, however, learn when to let go if you aren’t seeing any business coming your way.
Ingredient #6 - Low Hanging Fruit
What’s easier than picking up the phone to a line manager who is interviewing one of your candidates to arrange a meeting with them? More often I see recruiters speaking to HR for all aspects of the hiring process – the key is to meet the decision makers and the panel of stakeholders who are likely to meet your candidates.
Ingredient #7 - Embrace Technology / Trends
This one threw me at first when I started engaging clients on their mobile and then advancing to Whats App/We Chat/Line. Use technology to your advantage, but be conscious that good old face time is always the best approach.
Ingredient #8 - Commerciality
It often baffles me, how we all exist together in such an information and data-rich world; however, we still walk around with blinkers on and expect leads and businesses to fall into our lap. Next time when you see that bowl of business cards at your local restaurant, dip your hands in and see if there are any relevant contacts – what better way to open a conversation than “how was your meal at xxx”?
Ingredient #9 - Always Thinking About the Next Client / Deal
The best sales calls are often made off the back of another successful sales call – keep the momentum going and the energy high. A great call is re-visiting old jobs we didn’t place; clients are much more receptive to these calls and shows you are all about long-term relationships. Build a list of Missed Revenue logged and use this information commercially.
Ingredient #10 - Efficiency
Time is money – sounds cliché – but this is all about working SMART and not HARD – think before you act and always ask yourself – is this going to make me money.
The most valuable commodity we can control is time. Instead of making your coffee at 8:30am and hitting the phones at 9am when people have already started their working day, switch it up and make the calls at 8:30am and make your coffee at 9am.
Similarly, if you keep hitting the CEO’s gatekeeper during the day – make the call after 6pm and hey presto – gatekeeper has gone home and lonely CEO is ready to take your call!
This is what I find myself doing consistently and I’ve managed to find an approach that works for me. As mentioned at the start, there really is NO exact science and find a way that works for you and your market.