Do You Really Know What Your Customers Buy? Part 2: Sales Styles That Work the Best

Last week, we discussed Understanding What Your Customers Want. If you are going to sell anything to another human being, you have to understand something about people as buyers because we respond to certain things in certain ways. With this in mind, there are two very specific sales “styles” that all human beings respond best to: Fact-based Selling and Story-selling. Below you will find a description of these two sales styles.

Fact-based Selling

This is the idea of using “facts” in the information you present to a potential buyer. A great example of this type of selling is any automobile ad you’ve seen on TV where they talk about how they were ranked #1 by J.D. Power in overall customer satisfaction. Whenever you use “facts” (usually presented as numbers) in a presentation, the buyer makes certain assumptions about you and your product/service. First off, because they believe that they could independently verify any “facts” you present to them, even though they never will, they believe that you won’t lie about facts. Because this is their overall belief, anytime you use a “fact” when selling your services they perceive you as more honest, credible, and professional than people who don’t use facts.

Specifically Using this Concept as a Recruiter

You would want to tie the facts you know about the service you provide with one of the items you know clients are going to care about. Let’s take speed as an example. If you want to impress upon a client that you understand that they care about speed and your process delivers quick results, you might say something like this to that client.

Jim, I know one of the things you care most about when deciding which recruiting firm you want to partner with is the speed of that firm: how fast can they deliver the candidates you need to you. Well, I can tell you we are fast, but I think these facts speak better for us. From the day we get an assignment until the day you have three qualified candidates on our desk is always less than 18 days. And the average time it takes us from the day we get an assignment until the day we have an excepted offer is typically less than 39 days. So you can see our process is very in tune with delivering quick results.


Story Selling is another extremely successful style of selling. The concept of story selling involves telling a person the story of another person’s success. If the person you’re talking to wants the same results, they subconsciously transpose themselves into the other person’s story and imagine themselves getting the same results. A great example of this is any diet product commercial you have ever seen on TV. They tell you the story of how “Jane lost 18 inches off her waistline in only eight weeks.” And they show you a nice before and after picture. If losing weight is something you as the buyer would like to do you, imagine yourself getting the same results as “Jane.”

What this means to you is that you have to have stories ready that highlight your successes, and you need to look for openings to tell the story. Say a potential buyer mentions how they are so “tired of being flooded with worthless resumes.” You want to be ready to jump in with this: “Jim, it’s funny you mention that, because here at our firm we have what we call the “golden rule.” If I submit a candidate to a client, they have to meet at least 90% or more of the skills you require; they have to be willing to accept an offer in the range you give us; and they have to be motivated by at least one thing other than the money to want the job. If I were to send you a candidate who didn’t meet all three of those criteria, I get warned once and fired the second time. We had someone who worked here for eight years that was let go for just that reason.”

The bottom line: have stories of success ready for all the major points that we mentioned before; speed, accuracy, longevity, accepted offers, and hard-to-find people!!

How to Create the Ultimate Sales Fact Sheet

To be the most powerful salesperson you can be, you have to combine these two concepts and create facts and stories that are unique to your company and will help you present your information in a way that demonstrates you credibility. Below is a guide to help you discover what is unique about your firm. Simply sit down and answer the questions and you will start to discover what you truly have to sell to your customers.

Intro — History/Specialization/Brag Points (Quick little nuggets of information, not the centerpiece of your presentation)

  • How long have you been in business? (Both you and your firm)
  • Do you have a specialization that makes you unique?
  • Have you received any awards?

Define Your Process:

You need to clearly define the process you use. It needs to be in simple easy to explain steps that anyone can follow; however, you have to define it in eight steps or less. Anything more than eight steps and people won’t be able to follow along. Here is the six-step process I use when talking over the phone.

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  1. Identification: In-depth analysis of position specifications; careful gathering of requirements with a “value” focus; results-oriented experience which effectively “sells“ company attributes so the most successful candidate is retained.
  2. Research: Strategic planning for the most effective means for sourcing target candidates. Extensive integration of industry resources, virtual communities, magazines, and proven cold calling approaches.
  3. Recruiting: Supported by an extensive database of candidates and companies, potential candidates are actively sought from direct competitors and parallel industries located locally, regionally, or nationally.
  4. Assessment: The most important step in the process. Combining behavioral and targeted interviewing techniques, clients are ensured that the candidates presented possess all necessary, as well as many desired, skill sets which will prove their value as an exceptional performer within the company.
  5. Interviewing: Complete and honest feedback coupled with tailored advice during the entire interview process, thus ensuring a smooth and seamless hiring transition.
  6. Acceptance: Consultation and negotiation of all elements surrounding an employment offer. “Hands-on” involvement to ensure that the candidate identified gets hired and stays hired.

The big five selling points:

For each of these topics you need to know both a fact (knowing more than one is great but at least one is mandatory) and you also need a story to go with it as well. Some possible facts have been outlined under each category.


  • Fact 1: Average number of days from the day you get a job order until you have three candidates submitted is:
  • Fact 2: Average number of days from the day you get a job order until you have an offer is:


  • Fact 1: What percentage of the people you submitted in the past year were brought in for personal interviews:

Accepted offers/Show-ups

  • Fact 1: What percentage of offers you received in the past year were accepted:


  • Fact 1: What percentage of the people you placed five years ago are still at the company:
  • Fact 2: What percentage of the people who have stayed have been promoted:

Closer — Fresh Talent

  • Fact 1: What percentage of the people you placed in the past year weren’t in your database:

What if Your Facts Aren’t Good?

Do you find yourself in a position where your true facts aren’t as good as you’d like them. In these cases you sell your “mission” as a fact – to your potential customer they sound the same. You might use a phrase like this; “Jim, here at the ABC Agency we have a simple mission to put 3 quality candidates on your desk in less than 18 days.”

A Few Last Reminders Before You Get on the Phone

What you say is not always the most important issue – how you say it is more critical – sound confident, professional and personable whenever you’re talking.

Never script your marketing pitch – people call tell right away when you’re reading – just talk to people.

Don’t try to be “cute” with your presentation – tell them exactly how you can help them – be direct.

Greg Doersching is Managing Partner and Founder of The Griffin Search Group and Developer and Chief Architect of the highly successful Bullseye Recruiting Process. For the past 19 years, Greg has been recognized as one of the most cutting-edge voices in the recruiting industry. Greg is an expert in creating and establishing Direct Hire and Contract recruiting divisions, and his knowledge and processes have taken Recognized as one of the "Top Producers" for the state of Wisconsin - he served for two years as the President of the Wisconsin Association of Personnel Services and now sits on their Board of Directors. or


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