Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finding a Search: The One-Call Close

Recruiter training should include how to cold call for new search assignments.  For some reason calling for new business is a stumbling block for many recruiters. Even after being told how to execute a one-call close, they have trouble believing this technique will work. Calling for new business is like learning a new dance. It feels awkward at first but before you know it calls are being made with gusto. Getting new search assignments is fun.

First, this is crucial, act like a consultant. Talk with everyone as a peer. If talking with people who have upper level titles, like CEO, Hiring Managers, and VP’s intimidates you, stop and figure out why. Consultants solve problems. We are experts at hiring. We locate and recruit the exact candidate a client wants. You are special. Talking with those who will approve your fee, as an equal, increases your success rate.

With practice comes comfort. Treat your clients as you would a peer and you’ll gain respect quickly. You’ll also avoid being treated in a subservient fashion. Don’t be afraid to show some spunk. Challenge outdated thoughts. Share current best practice advice. Offer value during your call and as you negotiate your fee. Get comfortable addressing sensitive subjects by asking questions. Everyone wins when a recruiter knows how to do her job well.

Prepare your script and your mindset. Getting a search assignment is a one call close. Speak slowly and clearly. Speak with authority. Expect to be connected with the highest-level person who can approve your fee. Steer clear of HR departments unless a CEO refers you to them with his or her blessing.

My favorite way to initiate a search assignment phone call is by introducing a candidate. Keep in mind while it’s great to get that candidate an interview, they may not be the best person for the opening your client needs filled now. No matter how positively a client responds, a top recruiter will take a thorough search assignment every time.

“Jenna, my name is Calamity Jane. I'm an Executive Recruiter or Headhunter if you prefer and the reason for my call is I have surfaced a veteran accountant with 9 years experience. This candidate is a CPA, and has a degree from Boston College. He' currently working for the top accounting firm in Washington DC. Can you use a person with this background?”

Patiently wait for a response. Let the hiring manager process what they heard. Be cool and comfortable with silence. Don’t say a word until the party you called says no or asks a question. Answer questions with brief responses and quickly ask a new one. There are a number of buying signals clients give. Silence is one. They know there's a fee involved and they're deciding if they’re ready to take that leap.

“How much?” is another huge buying signal. “My fee is typically between 18% and 27% based on the difficulty of the search. Tell me, what position are you most in need of filling today?” (Notice I answered then immediately followed up with a new question). If the client says, “I want to interview the person you just described,” you say, “Fantastic. Let me ask you some questions to make sure he's a good fit for your company and the position you need filled. If he’s not an exact match I’ll send you a candidate who is perfect for the position. What's the title of the position you want to fill?

At this point you’re taking a new search assignment. Fill out your form. Keep asking questions. Get to know who this client is and whether you want to work with them. Clients relax and let you take the lead if your questions and demeanor command respect. This is your area of expertise and as the conversation unfolds their mindset is shifting. They believe you're a credible professional who’ll solve a pressing problem. Don’t let them down! Vacancies are costing your client money every day.

The key to a one call close for new search assignments is simple preparation. Act like the expert you are and be selective in choosing clients with whom you'll work. As a recruiter if you wonder if it’s possible to get a search assignment in one day, the answer is a resounding yes. Learn how to handle your clients and fill their positions efficiently. Get recruiter training or work with a recruiter coach if needed.

by Kimberly Schenk, author of the 'Top Recruiter Secrets' eBook and 'Cold Call Therapy'.

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