Thursday, March 1, 2012

The People You Need to Call

I was discussing strategies with one of the headhunters on my team this morning and we were trying to develop the answer to a question:

How do you reach the maximum number of people per day?

This question follows a long line of questions that ends, theoretically, with "How do you make more placements?".

One area that is overlooked when strategizing around this question is the people you've already called.

The ones that have said no.  That they're not interested.  That it's a bad time.  That they're totally, one hundred percent, absolutely thrilled with the role they're in now.

Why should we call these people back? When should we call these people back?

I believe that calling back the people who have told you no is just as important.  Usually I wait for a day.  If the role I'm hunting for is unchanged - and the urgency to fill is unchanged - I'll call that person again, regardless of why they dismissed the opportunity last time.

This is a principle I learned in door-to-door sales, where I would keep a 'no' sheet of all the houses that did not want my service. Talking to them later in the afternoon tended to result in homeowners that saw how much work I had done by that point, how hard I was working - and might have talked to their spouse at that point, who was actually interested in what I had to offer.  All it took was for me to come back.

Why do this as headhunters? Firstly, many people that you called the day before that rejected you have likely spent a portion of the last 24 hours thinking about the conversation they had with you.  Between that call and the next one the day after, that candidate has likely discovered one or two reasons why they might have actually considered the role.

This is especially true for those that rejected your offer early into the conversation, without being willing to hear the details.

Now that you've got them on the phone again, this candidate may or may not be willing to talk to you again.

Secondly, now that you have spoken with this candidate once, and have either sent them an email, or gotten a resume, you've increased your rapport with that candidate.  This should cause them to be a bit more open - and a bit more honest with you.  This will be especially important, as mentioned, for those candidates that 'stonewalled' you on the first call, for whatever reason.  Their conviction was very high - but the next day, it may be low enough for you to have a more extended, open conversation about their actual career happiness.

This will result in having more effective conversations with your candidates, and utilizing your existing pool that much better - while creating candidates that will be very appreciative when you've landed them a job that they initially dismissed.

Thirdly, this gives your candidates that 'stonewalled' you an effective chance to learn what they're saying no to. This is an important observation in any sales environment: make sure that those who tell you no, know what they're saying no to.  Tying back in with the first point, once you've had a chance to be heard out about the role, and have discussed the particulars with the candidate, they may realize right on that call that the job sounds better than the one they've got. At that point, if the candidate says no again, at least you are convinced that they know they don't want it.

Also: don't worry about someone complaining that you've called them twice.  Most people won't be that irritated that you're trying your hardest to fill your role.  I've occasionally called candidates back three or four times, and had success - but most I stop at two with, since by the second conversation, I can generally 'feel' whether a candidate will be a fit or not based on their feedback to me.

Try this out - and see how effective it is for you. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

On The Topic of Mental Pressure

Recently, I acquired a brand new sales book from a company that I work with on the side.  The CEO, Ben Stewart, wrote and published it, and illustrated a lot of his observations about the winners and 'average joes' that the company sees.

One observation was on the topic of mental pressure. Ben highlights that one of the key differences between a 'big biller' and an 'average joe' is what happens once they've made their first sale, and gotten 'off zero' in the morning.  (The sales cycle for this company was per diem.)

Before their first sale, both the 'big biller' and the 'average joe' have adequate amounts of mental pressure to make a sale.  Both of them want to get 'off zero' as fast as they can.

However, once that first sale is achieved, the 'average joe' releases his mental pressure, satisfied that he will be able to go home tonight saying that he at least did not get zero.  At least he made some money.

The 'big biller' never releases his mental pressure, almost as if that person always feels that they are at zero - regardless of how well they've done over the course of the day.

The key difference is in how much effort both individuals will put into their work in earnest.  The 'big biller' is always hungry - and never allows himself to feel like he's had enough, or anything, throughout the day.  The 'average joe' fills up on his fill, and is satisfied - and therefore, mentally, 'hunting for food' becomes less of a priority.

How many of you, upon discovering the difference, are the 'big billers'? How many of you are the 'average joes'? Is it evident?

This mental habit went undetected by myself, and I would guess goes undetected by many - in all types of sales positions.  How can we relate this problem to headhunting and account management? Easily.

In Account Management, it would be easy to release your mental pressure if you've acquired a client during the day.  The earlier in the day you do this, the worse the rest of your day will be, prospectively.  Sometimes I've caught myself wanting to release the mental pressure simply because I've had a good conversation.

If I've already got a client base of four or five good, well-managed clients, I might show up to the office with no mental pressure at all to gain new work.  This, I believe, could easily be responsible for the 'flux' that many recruiters feel - where one month is great, and the next bad, and so on.

The same holds true for candidates and headhunters.

Ultimately, paying attention to those tiny mental habits in your mind - every moment you're at work - and learning to 'unlearn' them and work on improving your mental pressure - is sure to see a boost in your profits.

"Stay hungry. Stay foolish." - Steve Jobs 


Few readers will have noticed the drastic change made to this blog today.  I went from a preset template that Blogger offered, to a custom one that was inspired by Zen Habits.

This is much cleaner, simpler, and more peaceful.  There is nothing here to distract you, no 'gadgets' to fiddle with.  It is simply text; you simply absorb it.  You may also notice that comments are no longer enabled.  This decision also mirrors the wisdom of Zenhabits; this blog is in existence to provide education, it is up to you to make use of that education.

This post will have nothing to do with headhunting or recruiting, it is simply one made in celebration of the clean beauty of my new creation. (: Enjoy from here on out; and stay tuned. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Often are you on the Phone?

An important lesson that I learned from working door-to-door sales & service was how to play the numbers game.

Specifically, if I was dropped off on a route with 500 houses between all my streets, I would have to make an attempt to hit every house on my route - otherwise, I might be missing out on those homeowners that want to say YES.

Typically in any sales environment, most consultants / salespeople will never achieve a yes / no ratio of more than 1:10.  This is a fixed ratio ... so how do you increase sales?  You do so by increasing the number of houses you go to; the number of calls you make.  You'll still keep that ratio of 1:10 .. but you'll increase your sales by having a 1:10 ratio over 500 calls, not 50.

That's a big difference.

I've taught many consultants the power and importance of this rule - of tracking your calls, and conversations - and showing how it increases your results.  To truly make an impact in your sales numbers, you need to be on the phone as much as possible. The outside sales organization I worked with had a slogan - Run All Day. This wasn't a fancy catchphrase - it was an order.  Those who followed it made more money, because they talked to more people, and increased their prospects.

Being on the phone all day is not possible if you're not prepared.  With outside sales, that part is taken care of for you - all the houses are right in front of you.  When you work in an office, you have to build your neighbourhood, i.e., your call list.

I recommend building a list like this every day for the next day, and the day after that.  Come to the office two hours earlier and have the list ready to go by 8:00 or 9:00.  The difference it makes is tremendous.

Does anyone else have ideas as to how to maximize your effectiveness during the day?  I'd love to see you guys share tips below.