1. Rehearse your presentation: Rehearse a verbal and mental presentation of your meeting. Memorize the key points that you want to cover. Nothing adds to your self-confidence like preparation and rehearsal.
2. Set the framework for the meeting: Say something like this to your client: “I’d like to ask you some specific questions to see if we can be of service, then I can answer any questions you have about us. We’re probably looking at 30 to 40 minutes. Does this work for you?”
3. Use intense listening: The great thing about client meetings is that what the client really wants is simply to be heard and understood by you. This means that you must be an intense listener. Follow this simple guideline: they talk 80% of the time.
4. Ask quality questions to expose their wounds and gather info: Ask “what” questions like these:
– What do you like most about your current relationships with other search firms?
– What do you like least about your current relationships with other search firms?
– What qualities do you look for when you are selecting a search partner?
– What are your perceptions about us?
– What do you know about our firm?
– What strengths do you perceive our firm to have that led you to invite us to speak with you?
– What have you tried so far? How has that worked? Were you happy with the results?
– What happens if this job remains unfilled (qualify urgency)?
Asking these types of questions would almost certainly reveal the prospect’s misconceptions and will help you to influence their decision-making. Before you try to influence a prospect’s decision-making, find out what they’re already thinking and why.
5. Find the gap between what they really want and what they have: This is Sales 101. You must find the gap and then sell only to the gap (need) that they describe. Change your presentation to specifically address their concerns and needs.
6. Give a brief bio of yourself and your firm: You can use all or some of the following:
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– Recruiter and company background.
– Describe results (save time, save money, increase quality of hires).
– Scope of your contacts.
– Niche expertise.
– Candidate-screening process.
7. Review your search process: Briefly walk your client through your search process. Include the number of steps you follow and give them a hard copy. Be sure to follow each step with this statement: “And the benefit to you is . . .”
8. Set expectations: If the client has agreed to work with you, be sure to pre-close issues of timely feedback, hiring manager contact, open communication, etc., so that you have set the tone for the relationship.
9. End the meeting: End the meeting with this question: “Do you have any concerns about our ability to perform this search? If so, I’d like the opportunity to address them now.” Finally, be yourself and have fun with this. Be sure to approach the meeting from a position of preparation, market knowledge, and confidence, as these attributes are attractive to clients.
Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists firm owners and solo recruiters in generating more profit in less time. Gary offers a FREE special report, “The Search Process Checklist: A Simple, 17-Step Recruiting Tool,” on his website. Get your copy now at www.therecruitinglab.com.