Now that we’ve discussed how to go about cold calling candidates, let’s rewind just a bit and discuss cold calling for business. Obviously without business, you’d have no reason to cold call candidates! A lot of the same principles apply in both types of cold calling, so why not put your skills to work on both sides of the desk? I realize that not all third party recruiters handle business development but a well-rounded recruiter should definitely be capable of doing so. The most successful recruiters are those that control both ends of the placement equation, thus resulting in more earned fees.
Smart recruiters will seek relationships with clients where they can have direct interaction with hiring managers, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding of the client’s needs and environment beyond just a job req. Instead of competing with hundreds of vendors on VMS requisitions, targeting smaller environments where these relationships can be built is a great way to position yourself for long term success. While I certainly would never discourage big business, relationships make the best placements. Period.
That being said, what’s the best way to go about cold calling for business? The same way you would if you were looking for a candidate. Research! Every well-laid plan begins with research. Start by reading local press releases, business journals, trade publications, etc. Reading these publications will allow you to identify opportunities where a cold call might be good timing. News of expanding or new businesses opening up, promotions, projects – these are all prime opportunities to introduce yourself to a hiring manager. Company names identified in the news give you a starting point; from there you can research them on LinkedIn, Spoke, ZoomInfo, Manta, etc. You may recall that all of these were recommended in my last article to help identify candidate names. They are just as helpful – if not more so – in the identification of hiring managers. In addition, you can research the company to learn details that will help you prove to the hiring manager that you’ve done your footwork. I also like to use Google to find out what other people are saying about that particular company. Are they active on social networks? Are they a tightly run ship with little turnover? Do they have strong financial backing? Do they use contractors or do they only hire full time employees? A lot of these types of details might be found in discussion forums where current (or former) employees gather. Google and Yahoo both have strong group discussion forums on a wide variety of topics, as does LinkedIn. There are a plethora of discussion forums and blogs to be found out there if you just take the time to search.
Once you’ve done your research and have identified a potential hiring manager by name, you’ll want to waste no time in reaching out to them. My preference is to make contact by both phone and email; but what if you don’t have an email address? Easy! To obtain a hiring manager’s email address, simply Google: “@abc.com” (putting the @domain name of the company in quotes). Often, this will reveal hits of email addresses on that domain within documents or web pages, helping you to identify the company email format. For instance: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. I would recommend keeping emails short and to the point. Don’t send the hiring manager a diatribe about your company and how wonderful you are. That isn’t going to get response. If you’ve found the hiring manager through some kind of information about their department, such as a new project that might require hiring staff, then say so. Let them know what you heard about and where you heard it, then ask them a question.
Here’s a potential email:
While reading the most recent issue of Telecom Weekly magazine, I discovered that your company won a large government contract to install cabling. I wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on the great news! It sounds like you’ll soon be in the market to hire some cabling technicians.
Will you be considering outside staffing assistance on this project?
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When you close your email with a question, you’re more likely to get a response – even if it’s “no”.
Use the same approach in a phone call to the hiring manager. Be brief, to the point and emphasize the information you know just like in the sample email above. Then, ask a question. Don’t talk about you, your company or anything like that. If the manager is interested, he’ll ask more about you and your company. If you get the hiring manager on the phone, don’t just keep nervously rambling until he/she cuts you off; do more listening and less talking. Most of all, don’t be afraid of the word no.
A response, even a no, is a confirmation of an email address and an opportunity to try again. Once you’ve received a reply, touch base once per month and ask one simple question: “Any hiring that you need help with?” – or something to that effect. By doing this, you’ll be sure to keep your name in the recent memory of that hiring manager, as well as stay on top of any new staffing developments. Make sure to keep a running list of hiring managers to contact in your CRM or Outlook by date and contact preference. Some hiring managers will never answer their phone but they will answer an email and vice versa. While you might get several months of no responses from a hiring manager, it’s just a matter of time until you get a yes. Timing, persistence and patience will pay off in the long run. Don’t mistake that for being a pest; once per month is plenty frequent enough. Touching base more frequently will only drive potential customers away.
Even if a hiring manager doesn’t need your services, you can always ask them if they know anyone else that might need assistance. Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for! Big billing recruiters aren’t afraid to ask – why should you be?