(Audio version here)

Last week, I criticized a young, corporate recruiter for slandering salesmen on his blog. Well, he got in touch with me because he didn't like hearing me say his philosophy is well suited to cult members and cream puffs but not strong women and real men.

And you know what that means? That even after listening this little punk still didn't get it. So I'm going to have to teach him another lesson, today. And, I'm going to start by telling him -- and you -- about a conversation I had with Maureen Sharib at the end of last week's show. Maureen, as you might know, is the Queen Bee of Telephone Sourcing and she was telling me how a sourcer will call a stranger inside a company to ask for information.

Sometimes the person you're talking to won't know the exact information you're asking for but you know she does have some information that can help you so you have to coach her then and there on how to give you what you need. For instance, you might ask for the Director of Strategic Sourcing and she says, "Oh we don't have one of those". So you say, "Well, do you have a Director of Procurement?" And she says, "Gee, I don't know."

My point is that this person might be busy so she might get impatient and Maureen was telling me that she can hear the impatience in that other person's voice. But here's what I want to point out. She's not afraid of it. It doesn't scare her. She's not thinking, "I'm afraid because this person is getting mad at me." She's not thinking, "If she gets angry the sky is going to fall down." She's not thinking, "If she gets mad and hangs up before I get what I need this search is going to be shot to hell and everyone's going to be mad at me and I won't be able to earn a living and I'm going to lose my house and that's going to be a total disaster."

No, Maureen doesn't think those things. And you know why? Because Maureen has the heart of a salesman. She doesn't feel any fear. And that's what separates her from everybody else. She isn't afraid of other people. And that's what I was trying to say last week when I was defending salesmen against the slander of that lily-livered, corporate man.

A salesman is someone who goes out among strangers and tries to get them to do what he wants. And if you're going to do that, you can't be afraid of other people's thoughts and feelings. You have to see them as facts, not threats. They're neutral facts you have to work with, not something you have to run from.

And you know, recruiters and sourcers, last week Maureen and I we were also talking about a famous song called, "Viva Las Vegas". It's a terrific song with fantastic lyrics, and I want you to listen to this verse.

"There's blackjack, poker and a roulette wheel
"A fortune won and lost on every deal.
"All you need's a strong heart and nerves of steel.

Maureen Sharib has nerves of steel. Real salesmen have nerves of steel. They're ready to ask people for things those people don't want to give -- and they don't care. If you don't like them that's just too bad. They see a negative reaction as an opportunity to turn you around. And that's more personal power than most of us can ever imagine having.

Me, personally, I'm a Clark Kent. These guys, they're supermen. They're unstoppable. And, that, Mr Corporate Recruiter, is the kind of person I want to be and if you understand what I'm saying, you should want it too.

In Defence of Salesmen, Part 1

Recruiting Animal Blog
Recruiting Animal Show

Views: 22

Comment by Jerry Albright on July 31, 2008 at 9:19am
Animal - do you mind if I offer a slightly different view on something you've said a few times? "A salesman is someone who goes out among strangers and tries to get them to do what he wants."

I'm sorry but this is just not how I see it. That to me brings images of a "battle of wills" so to speak. It suggests actually "making" someone come around to your side of thinking. That might be true if we were selling tennis shoes or a new line of soda. In our realm we're talking ABOUT PEOPLE'S CAREERS here. A little different than getting a guy off the street to try out the latest style in men's fall fashion. Not much commitment is being made when you "get them to do" what you want.

I've got a tip for you (if you still recruit): Find out WHAT THEY WANT!!!!!!!! Is that too heavy? Is that not salesy enough? I'm at the top of our industry and have NEVER talked anybody into what I want them to do. I do however hold them to pushing through the fear and uncertainty of job change. They WANT a new challenge. My client offers it. They FEAR the change (switching jobs voluntaritly is the most traumatic thing people do on their own other than divorce) so our job in this sales role is to work through that WITH THEM. Not FOR YOU.

Our job is to identify what someone WANTS to Do then HELP THEM DO IT.

(Caps only for emphasis - not shouting like Animal)
Comment by Recruiting Animal on July 31, 2008 at 10:58am
I might stop publishing on Rbc because no one understands a word I say. Jerry, you get a guy who is afraid to make a major change in his life to take a job you want to place him in. And you say that you disagree with me? Gee whiz. I'd better learn how to write.
Comment by Jerry Albright on July 31, 2008 at 11:01am
I ONLY want to place him because it's the right thing FOR HIM. Not me.

Are you telling me/us that you talk people into jobs that are not right for them? Say it isn't so.......
Comment by Jerry Albright on July 31, 2008 at 11:03am
P.S. What "I" want has nothing to do with any of this. Seriously. It can only be what my clients/candidates want. Period. End of story.
Comment by Recruiting Animal on July 31, 2008 at 11:08am
Jerry, I can't argue with a deranged person. You want to place that guy in that job. And you yourself told us that he's not sure he wants to make the move. If you can't see that, well, what more can I say.
Comment by Jerry Albright on July 31, 2008 at 11:16am
Let's wrap this up (cuz I'm sure you've got some knee caps to bust!)

I don't talk anybody into anything they have said they do not want. My approach is to sometimes help them through the nervous phase (resignation/counter offer, etc) but NEVER talk them into what I want at the expense of what they want/need.

But hey! :Whatever works for you is fine by me! Good day.
Comment by Recruiting Animal on July 31, 2008 at 11:36am
Hey, man, I'm going to have to have you back on the show just to argue with you about this. Should I replay you saying that when you make new business development calls and people don't want to work with you, you trot out VerbalSummary.com as a reason for them to buy? Isn't that an example of "The sale begins when the customer says no."?
Comment by Rayanne on July 31, 2008 at 11:55am
oooo..., this is getting good...
Comment by Jerry Albright on July 31, 2008 at 11:57am
That's a different scenario all together. In the Verbal Summary (www.verbalsummary.com) scenario - my customers think I'm asking if I can provide the same service everyone else is. I fully understand when they say no. I just then explain that my service is different. Then if they say no - I move on.

I do not battle people who do not want my product. I -do- however make sure I understand and THEY understand exactly what they are saying "no" to.

Nothing wrong with asking them to clarify what they "do not" want. And if it turns out that my "product" is something other than what they do "not" want I'm not against giving it another shot.
Comment by Rayanne on July 31, 2008 at 11:59am
Jerry..., you are a salesman, whether you want to believe it or not. Even Mary frickin' Poppins was a salesman - "just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..."

We just do it in the most delightful way

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