Assume the Role of a Leader

To win the confidence of your clients and candidates, you need to win over their trust. Trust is a byproduct of rapport. Rapport is a byproduct of common areas of interest. So it seems like all we have to do to win their trust is develop a rapport with them. All we have to do to develop rapport is find things that we have in common. But if this is so easy in theory, how come most recruiters come across so slick and pushy on the phone with their candidates and clients? Why is it that most candidates and clients feel like they are being manipulated, controlled, and pressured into doing whatever the recruiter wants them to do?

If I push you, what do you do to me? One of two things. You either run away or you push back. That’s a problem because most recruiters come across by pushing. Instead of applying pressure, find ways to relieve it. Be a pressure valve with your clients and candidates, not a pressure builder. When you relieve the pressure in your relationships, you attract people to you. When you build pressure and try to control others, you push them away.

Candidate control and client control are deceptive myths and do not exist. Many well-intentioned recruiters have heard these phrases and tried to control their clients and candidates because they thought it was the only way to close the deal. If you try to control other people, they will resist and you will get frustrated, which explains why so many recruiters either burn out or go crazy because of the ‘emotional roller coaster’ aspect of the business. Instead, follow these four steps to assume a leadership role in your relationships with candidates and clients and watch how much more influence you have with them (and see how much more peace of mind you have):

1) Put positive intention into your relationships. If your intentions are to serve, it will be felt by the other party. If it is to be self-serving, that, too, will be felt. Focus first on the contribution, then the commission. Clearly know why and how you can contribute to others. If you think this way, people will be attracted to you. (Note: The essence of major achievement isn’t really in the things that you say, but in the way that you think. If you want to reach new heights and real achievement, you need to start thinking differently before you try on new verbiage. I have seen drastic increases with many recruiters who I’ve mentored and coached, because they change their thinking and all of a sudden they are doubling their production. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. It works).

2) Assume a leadership role with your clients and candidates. If they have agreed to send you a resume or give you a search assignment, then they are looking to you to provide leadership in the process. Say things like this: “We need to interview this candidate right away because we do not know when his interest level will wane. What are the two or three days you have open next week when we can schedule it?” When you are the leader, they are looking to you to tell them what to do and what happens next.

3) Leadership is servanthood. When you tell people what to do, think in terms of how it will benefit them, and communicate it to them in that way. “Let’s get this candidate in your office as soon as possible, Joe. I think we might be able to get him on board for you by the end of the month if we can get interviews scheduled right away. That way you can start working on running your business again.” Remember that people do things that are in their own personal best interests, not yours. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

4) Change your thinking about overcoming objections. Traditional sales training taught sales people to overcome objections and close, close, close, regardless of whether or not the product or service provided a benefit to the other party. That is certainly a model of selling that is taught to sales people (think “Glengarry, Glen Ross” and “Boiler Room”). But you can bill more and make more when you find out why someone will say ‘yes,’ and show them why you can benefit them on a personal level, in a way that aligns with their desires.

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Consider yourself a leader that will take them to a place which will benefit them. Think in terms of denying what benefits you and focusing on what benefits them. Think as if you never really get any commission in closing the deal but you get paid more by finding ways to contribute to others, and that your income is dependent on how many times you communicate the message of servanthood and benefit to them. Once you start thinking that way, you will be amazed at how differently people respond to you and how you will start finding ways to communicate that message.

Here’s an example of a phrase that brings this concept to scripting that you can use today: “Joe, I’m fine with whatever you choose to do with my client. All I ask is that you keep an open mind with them during the interview. Whatever you decide is okay with me.” There are two reasons you say this: First, they are going to do what is in their best interests anyway. Second, it endears you to them. It brings them closer to you in the relationship and they’ll never forget that you put their best interests ahead of you getting a fee. That’s important because when it comes time to tell them why they should turn down a counteroffer, you’ll need to draw on the strength and power of that authenticity in the relationship. If you build it in the beginning in the right way with the right intention, you don’t have to scramble at the end when their employer offers them a double-top-secret bonus and a raise.

Remember that they are going to do what they are going to do. Let’s just admit it and find a way to leverage it to our advantage and to theirs. And the best way to do it is to seek to serve, adopt a leadership mentality, and find ways to communicate how our service will benefit them on a personal and an emotional level.

Scott Love has created a free recruiter training site with over 150 free downloads, tools, instruments, and articles that can make recruiters money right away. Visit it at Copyright © 2006 Scott Love

Scott Love increases company profit margins by working as a management consultant, author, and professional speaker with special emphasis in the executive search and staffing industries. He has been quoted in major city newspapers, national trade magazines, international business magazines, and the Wall Street Journal. He has his own weekly business column in the Gannett News Service. His free website for recruiters has over 50 free tips and tools to help you bill more.


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