Note: This is part three of a four part series on marketing calls. In part one Terry talked about the first 30 seconds of making a cold call. Three goals must be achieved in that time, he said: Get attention; Avoid rejection, and; Establish a dialogue. In part two, Terry explained how to begin a dialogue with a client explaining why it is you called them and what you can do to help them. The final part will be posted next Thursday.
Have you ever experienced any of the following responses when making your opening comments on a cold recruiting call (not referred by a third party)?
- “I get calls from recruiters all the time. Take me off your list and don’t call again.”
- “Tell me the name of the company and I’ll tell you whether or not I’m interested in listening to you.”
- “I’m not interested in changing jobs.”
- “How did you get my name?”
When statements like these interrupt your opening comments, it is typically an indication that the targeted recruit has had one or more negative experiences with recruiters and/or you have seriously mispositioned yourself on the call. Although you have no control over the recruit’s previous experience with recruiters, you can and should control your positioning on the call. This positioning begins with your opening comments, which should contain the reason for your call. If your reason for calling does not position you as having something of value for the recruit, they will immediately begin to implement an exit strategy from the call. When this occurs, the recruit stops listening and your call has little chance of success.
As with marketing calls, you have approximately thirty seconds to do three things:
- Gain the recruit’s attention.
- Eliminate (or at least not create) a reflex rejection.
- Change the dynamics from a monologue to a dialogue.
A sincere and forthright approach, one that does not try to manipulate or mislead the recruit, will, over time, deliver the most productive results.
After introducing yourself and insuring the recruit is in a position where they can speak freely, you need to answer this critical question: “Why are you calling me?”
The following examples of how to state the purpose for the call are designed to stimulate your creative instincts. They should be considered merely as points of reference and not absolutes. The principles they represent are far more important than the actual wording.
Recruit’s name), we have not talked together before and consequently, I only have a limited amount of information on you. However, my area of specialization is (specialty) and I am aware of no other way of determining if you could benefit from a discussion with me than picking up the phone and calling. Does that seem reasonable?
My area of specialization is (specialty). Repositioning professionals within this specialization is all that I do, and I do it very well. It’s my understanding that you may match the (function title) profile that, from a career perspective, typically receives the most benefit from my services. Are you open to investing a few minutes with me in order to determine whether or not this could be true for you?
My call to you could be well timed if you have an interest in bench marking your present position against the standards for (specialty area). Would this be of value to you?
In the process of conducting my search, your name has surfaced as an (functional title) who may have some of the qualifications my client is seeking. Are you open to discussing with me the possibility of comparing your present position with an opportunity outside your organization?
(Recruit’s name) if we could take a few minutes and share some information, we should be able to jointly determine whether or not I am properly positioned to help facilitate the achievement of your career objectives. Should we proceed?
My recruiting work in the (your specialization) positions me to serve as a sounding board and career resource for (functional title). A brief discussion should allow us to determine whether in like fashion, I can provide that same value to you. Can you see benefit in this?
As a recruiter who focuses on (specialty), I may very well be in a position to provide benefit to you in a couple of ways. First, I can provide career benchmarking and industry specific reference points. Secondly, with proper timing I may be in a position to introduce you to specific opportunities that could allow for a more rapid career progression. Would a relationship of this nature be of value to you?
Since the focus of my business is bringing (functional titles) together with opportunities that provide the proper combination of professional environment, job content, and growth potential, it seemed logical for me to initiate this contact. From the perspective of your career, how is the timing of my call?
(Recruit’s name) are you someone who wants to be made aware of good opportunities (you may add industry or job function) when they become available?
In the above examples you no doubt noticed that we did not “pitch” a specific opening or search. There are two reasons for this. First, pitching an opening is the most widely used approach to recruiting. This article is attempting to provide you with alternatives. Secondly, the pitching an opening approach is generally handled incorrectly by most recruiters, thereby creating the responses mentioned at the beginning of this article.
On the initial call many recruiters move too fast and sell too hard. They never gain control of the call, find it difficult to create an interest on the part of the recruit, and ultimately are either shut out or end up with a limited amount of information from a recruit who is anything but cooperative.
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Remember:The most critical skill set to develop is not getting people to listen to you. Rather, it is the skill of getting them to talk with you, to open up, to willingly share the specifics of their individual situations. Without this skill set, you will be continually working with an information deficit. The greater the information deficit, the lower the likelihood of positive results.
If your initial approach to a potential recruit accomplishes its objectives, you will create a situational trust that will lead to a timely, honest flow of pertinent information. It is only in this manner that you can begin to effectively execute a process that delivers value to everyone concerned.
As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.