The Sacred Six

The most frequently asked question I receive from Owners and Managers is,
“What reasonable level of activity and production should I expect from my staff?

The answer to this question depends on many variables, including the manager’s business model, specialties served, staff tenure, geography of the markets (time zones), and the quality of hires, initial, on-going training, development and supervision. The most important variable is how effectively each member of the staff utilizes their time.

However, two additional variables are the Internet and E-mail or, more specifically, when and for how much time these incredibly versatile tools are used during normal business hours.

For pure research in support of all critical functions, the Internet is the most valuable tool. Very importantly, it is available 24 hours a day.

In like fashion, E-mail tremendously increases the speed at which we can transmit information. This tool is also available 24 hours a day.

Both of these tools, properly utilized, can greatly enhance the number of placements made by the staff in most offices. Conversely, the misuse and over dependence on both of these tools during the most productive hours of the business day can dramatically decrease the number of placements.

Examples include:

Researching a prospect’s web site prior to calling them makes good sense. Although, this is a worthwhile activity when completed prior to making marketing calls, if it is done between each call, it brings the potential momentum of a marketing campaign to a grinding halt.

Stopping what they are doing every time they hear the message “you’ve got mail.” This can be a nuisance to the easily distracted or overly curious. It also provides a welcome relief to the individual who is avoiding the phone.

E-mailing resumes instead of making candidate presentations (see TFL – 05/06 – “Client & Candidate Presentations – Knowing What To Sell”).

Using the Internet and E-mail for personal activities.

Without access to the Internet and the ability to use E-mail, most firms would be working at a distinct disadvantage. Nevertheless, the key is to use these tools in a manner that supports your telephone efforts, rather than supplanting them.

Each day provides a limited amount of hours for high production activity. Over the years, we have classified this time as “The Sacred Six.” This is the time between 8:30 and 11:30 AM, and 1:30 to 4:30 PM (this may vary depending on time zones covered). Six critical hours in which to complete the most important telephone activity, i.e., Marketing Calls to develop new business and Recruiting calls to develop a flow of qualified candidates. A certain portion of this time should also be allocated to completing the tasks necessary for closing on-going activity.

In addition to the on-going activity, during “The Sacred Six,” a realistic minimum goal should be to make direct phone contact with twenty individuals who can either be a source of business or a source of recruits. Current workload should determine the number of contacts required to be completed in each category.

A minimum ratio, even for first year practitioners who have been properly trained should be:

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1 Qualified Search/Order per 20 Qualifying Phone Contacts.

1 Qualified and Interested Recruit per 20 Qualifying Phone Contacts.

Notice the emphasis on “Qualified.” If these “qualified” results can be achieved, the practitioner should finish the week with a combination of 5 Qualified Recruits ready to interview and Qualified Searches/Orders on which to work.

Experience demonstrates that during an average month achieving these results should produce, on average, a combination of 20 new qualified searches/orders and/or qualified, interested and ready to interview recruits. With a minimum Search/Order to fill ratio of one in five (which should be achievable since we are referring to “qualified” only), this level of qualified activity should consistently support a minimum of two full placements per month (double these numbers if the specialty is admin/office support).

Obviously, the reality of voice mail enters into the equation. Remember, when leaving voice mail your objective is to create a reason for the individual to return your call. Too many practitioners use voice mail for their sales presentations and wonder why they receive less than 10% call backs. For now we will leave the subject of voice mail for another time.

Consider “The Sacred Six” 360 minutes in which to contact 20 people. Call accounting software has proven that approximately 10 of these contacts will last less than five minutes, while another five will last between five and ten minutes. The remaining five contacts will be of varying lengths averaging over ten minutes each. It is generally from these five contacts that a qualified and interested recruit is identified and/or a qualified search/order is originated.

Achieving these results during “The Sacred Six” requires planning, discipline (only take incoming calls you know to be critically time sensitive, check your E-mail once an hour and only respond to those that are critically time sensitive), and a keen awareness that personal, one-on-one contacts are the key to success in this business.

As Bill Vick succinctly stated many years ago, “Recruiting is a contact sport.” And the primary time for that contact is during “The Sacred Six.” Learn to focus yourself properly during these critical hours and you will see the positive return in short order.

As always, your questions and comments are most welcome.

Terry Petra is one of our industry’s leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including “Petra On Call,” visit his web site at: www.tpetra.com. Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or e-mail him at Terry@tpetra.com.

Recipient of the Harold B. Nelson Award, Terry Petra is one of our industry's leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including PETRA ON CALL, and BUSINESS VALUATION, visit www.tpetra.com. Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or click to email him.

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