There are other areas of business a phone sourcer can develop besides “names sourcing.” There’s a profiling function that is a nice adjunct and so is the business development opportunity phone sourcing presents but there’s something else entirely that could mean big money to someone who knows how to talk on the telephone!
I’m working a job looking for a Director of Operations for a manufacturing supplier to the HVAC industry that is located in the mid section of the United States.
The first part of the job was complete when I had (phone) sourced about a hundred Plant Managers, Operations Managers and Directors at about 75 targets.
I have pretty much the entire industry covered (in the mid-section region/major players) with my target list so this sourcing attempt should pretty much tell the story of the state of the industry at this point in time (as far as Operations are concerned.)
I’m in the second part of the job and I’m “profiling” – that means I’m calling each person and saying:
“Hi, Tom. My name is Maureen Sharib and I’m calling you from Cincinnati and you don’t know me.“
“Tom” says a number of things:
“No, I don’t know you.”
“I kinda’ do now.”
“What can I help you with?”
He can also say nothing.
“I’m helping a recruiter fill a Director of Operations position in/near your city and we’re wondering if you might have an interest in an opportunity like this.”
Tom then says a number of things:
“No, I’m pretty happy here.”
“Hmmm…. – sounds interesting. Tell me more.”
“Yeah, I’d be interested – how’d you get my name?”
There are some other reactions but for now these’ll do to get the point across.
A few (so far) responses have surprised (even) me:
“No, I don’t think so – I’m the owner here!”
I’ve heard this before – occasionally I’ll pick up an Owner’s name in jobs like this that are targeting entire industries; ESPECIALLY when I’m asking for the “Plant Manager” or the “Operations Manager.”
The first owner I hit was on a Tuesday night. I tell that (developing) story here.
The second one I hit two days later on the following Thursday afternoon and here’s what happened:
I (unwittingly) called a company where I had the “Plant Manager” identified as Mark.
I asked for Mark and was transferred to him.
He answered. It was the fifth time I’d tried to reach him – all my previous attempts had gone to his Voice Mails.
I had not left any messages.
I rarely do unless I have a relationship begun with the person.
“Yadda yadda,” (all that I said above) and he said:
“I’m not interested but I can tell you I’m always looking for good salespeople and I ALWAYS (emphasis on ALWAYS) need qualified technicians. There aren’t nearly enough of them in this business!”
That above is the business development portion of phone sourcing for those of you who didn’t catch it.
He went on:
“I bet you’re calling from one of the big ones…”
He then named a few that, in fact were on my list as well as the company that was looking for the Director of Operations.
I revealed nothing.
There was a rather awkward silence that he broke first:
“I’m an owner here.”
Now that can mean a couple things.
It could mean he’s a newly vested employee in an “ESOP” – an employee stock ownership plan which involves employees buying shares in a company that are held in trust.
It could also mean he’s the owner.
It could also mean he’s one of the owners in some type of partnership – usually a general, limited or limited liability type.
Let’s look at his words.
He said, “I’m an owner here.”
The way he said it led me to believe he had partners.
I ventured forth:
“Have you all ever thought of selling your company?”
He said, “Honey, we think of selling this company every day. That’s’ what we bought it for! We’ve taken this from a 9 million dollar business to a 40 million dollar enterprise.”
“We’ve done that by buying eight companies in five years – all in the same industry.”
Nonplussed and hearing something else in his tone, I chanced:
“Something tells me you may not be as interested in selling at this point as in buying.”
“Absolutely!” He enthused. “We want the next purchase we make to be in the $25-50 million gross range. We figure we can double our size in one fell swoop that way.”
And they can and this is the way many companies at this growth stage do double (and triple) their sizes (in one fell swoop.)
I then poked around a little, finding out that the ownership arrangement was in a limited partnership and he was one of the limited and that there was one Principle and three other limited.
I know, from this information that I’m not talking to the decision maker but I do not know yet what the relationship is among the partners.
I will - all in good time.
He then volunteered that he had spent 23 years with one of the major industry players and he and the four others had formed a partnership and purchased the first of the eight companies they now own.
I asked him if all the companies were profitable.
He replied, “Very!"
I then asked what they were looking for in their next acquisition besides size.
He told me they’d like the next company to be in either the state they were located in or in concentric states about two states wide before admitting that they had recently looked at a company on the East Coast and would consider looking at companies “anywhere really, getting right down to the bottom of things.”
“Just so they make sense.”
“It must be in a related industry and should have a good service offering – and NOT be in manufacturing,” he emphasized.
“We do some manufacturing when the customer gets down on their knees and begs us but we don’t like to. You can’t make any money in it,” he said.
Now, it just so happens a few of the companies on my target list fit that bill.
I’m going to sniff around a little more in my calling and see what else develops.
So, let’s see. In two days I’ve stumbled across two owners – one a possible seller and the other a possible seller but more probably a possible buyer.
We’ll see and I’ll keep you all informed how this “job” is working out!
P.S. There’s another area of business touched upon above that phone sourcing facilitates. Can you spot it and what is it?
Interested in phone sourcing metrics today? This might be worth a look.