Fact: in today’s market, selling is vital.
Fact: many recruiters joined the industry in boom times, having not worked this type of market before and, actually, did not sign up to sell.
Fact: with the right skills and approach, selling can be fun (OK, perhaps not fun for everyone but bearable, at least!).
Fact: It helps if you, like most successful sales people have listening skills, persistency, enthusiasm, natural positivity and product and market knowledge. If so, you are likely to be passionate about what you do and inspired by the company you work for.
Now all you need to do is convey this to your audience, which is where the technique comes in:
1. Understand your clients’ point of view
The best techniques I have seen across many different recruitment sectors are consultative selling techniques. These allow clients to feel that they have made the decision to buy from you, rather than you pushing them into doing something they would rather not.
2. Have a valid business reason to call
Your clients are unlikely to be interested in what you do initially – but most will be interested in higher efficiencies and cost and time-saving for their own businesses; your opening statement should quickly illustrate this, so that they want to listen. For example: “I have helped XYZ company to recruit their ABC team of 30 heads within budget and to short deadlines. I’d like to see if I could do the same for you and would like to ask you a few questions first of all…”
3. Don’t be put off by objections
Learn to read the true meanings of objections and address these, rather than surface comments. For example, “I don’t have time to talk to you” could mean: “I think you will keep me on the phone for ages, then pressurise me into something I don’t want to do”. In this case, reassuring the client that you only wish to establish the likelihood of being compatible for the future normally works.
Learn how to deal with typical responses confidently and fluently. For example, getting a hostile gatekeeper on side; gaining commitment to be in regular contact with a client who is happy with their current supplier; asking the right questions, when told the client has a PSL or a recruitment freeze; knowing how to turn a complaint into a positive; handling rudeness or profanities with humour and professionalism!
4. Ask the right types of questions
Don’t ask obvious questions, especially when you could/should have known the answers from some basic research. But do ask the right questions, to enable you to find out what is important to the client in terms of service/products and to know whether or not you could add value to the client.
5. Sell features as benefits
Ensure your client clearly understands – in layman’s terms – the benefit to them of your offering. For example “I am sorry you have experienced that problem. In contrast, our clients experience XYZ, because we ensure that we…”
6. Don’t close too soon
Most novice recruiters go “for the kill” before they have demonstrated, even briefly, any benefits of their service to the client. For example: “I understand you are responsible for recruitment. I’d like to meet with you.” Is it any wonder that they are knocked back? (Would you agree to meet a total stranger, just because they called you?) By using questioning techniques to establish needs, you will have much more of a chance to sell a benefit or two – and a much less chance of outright rejection.
7. Set up the next contact time
Presuming every client on your database is a potential client, please keep in contact with them. Good luck!