Don’t push. Sell your service like a SuperBiller
What is it that defines a great salesperson in recruitment? Is it simply that prospect clients are more willing to buy from them? That they win more new business than average performers because of their charm or personality? What exactly is it that enables some recruiters with the ability to create opportunities where others have tried and failed?
Effective selling is one of the most important skills in recruitment, but many recruiters seem to feel it’s mainly about pushing until their prospect client gives in! So they either push too hard and annoy potential clients, or they shy away from sales altogether and resort to complaining about the difference between sales and service. For example, I still hear recruiters saying “We don’t want to be seen as pushy” or, “We don’t make cold calls, we’re more of a service orientated company.”
The fact of the matter is that telephone sales can still work extremely well, but those calls need to be done the right way. Great selling is not about pushing, nor is it about having a special personality or innate ability. It is a skill – and like all other skills it can be learned and developed.
An interesting thing happened to me the other day – I was introduced to a product by telephone, which I bought and paid for at the end of the conversation. The whole experience was smooth and professional and I was left with the clear perception that the salesperson provided great customer service. I say it was interesting, because it’s rarer than it ought to be.
Without pushing me he uncovered problems that I hadn’t been aware of and provided solutions. He led me down the sales path by involving me in the conversation and asking clever questions to which it was difficult for me to say ‘no’ to.
Like many of your potential clients, I didn’t realize that I needed that product before receiving the call. In fact, I categorically wouldn’t have chosen to buy from the company until I had been sold the benefit of their service.
Great sales is about professionally providing a client or potential client with something that they need, even though they might not realize they have that need. The main reason I bought is that I was asked the right questions and could then see the benefit – and there’s no doubt that many of your potential clients are the same. They won’t ever have an opportunity to sample your service unless they understand the benefit of it.
It is more than possible, however, for recruiters to make sales calls which regularly create a pipeline for substantial future business – without appearing pushy. It’s a sobering thought that unless you or your staff find ways to engage potential clients in this way you might miss out on untold amounts of new business, as well as missing out on the pleasure of being able to sell like a true professional.
So what do the very best recruiters do differently when selling? How do they prove that they offer a better service than their competitors without resorting to pushy sales rhetoric? The simple answer is they ask skilful questions that demonstrate that the client has a need or problem to which they have the solution. For example:
Client: “I’m really quite happy with my current suppliers.”
Recruiter: “That’s good to hear. By the way, you mentioned that you’d recruited 10 staff in the last year, may I ask how many of those didn’t perform to your expectations, or perhaps didn’t work out at all?”
Client: “Two didn’t work out. One was managed out due to poor timekeeping and I had to dismiss the other because he had a difficult personality.”
Recruiter: “That’s interesting. Incidentally, what proof of verbal reference checking did your current recruiter offer you in regard to things like timekeeping and personality?”
Client: “They didn’t….”
Recruiter: “Really? We’ve found that by verbally checking candidates’ reliability and personality fit wherever possible, we’ve more or less eradicated those issues.”
How does that sound in comparison?”
Client: “It sounds good….”
Recruiter: “It sounds like we should be able to save some time and money in your recruitment processes. Why don’t we meet to build a business relationship?”
That’s just one generic example of how to create a need in the client’s mind without being pushy. Clearly not every conversation will work out as above, and it may be that different approaches are needed within your business, but the principle remains – uncover the client’s pain, ask how the current supplier reduces the risk of that pain, provide your solution, ask how your solution sounds in comparison – and then lead to the close.
Try investing five minutes every day practicing role plays to refine your approach and improve your timing and delivery.
Improving your sales technique isn’t easy – it requires time and effort, but the results can be explosive – I’ve trained recruiters who have doubled their billings within a few months – with work it’s possible for you and your staff to do this too.