The golden rule of cold-calling. Don’t

Almost all recruiters are told they must cold-call to build a client-base.

Sadly, that is mostly bad advice.

Certainly it is true that all recruiters need to develop clients, identify prospects and find ways to build sustainable relationships. And often that means connecting with people you have never dealt with before. So yes, we are business developers, and in a tight market that becomes even more critical.

But, if at all possible, don’t cold call.

However don’t misunderstand me on this one. You do have to make those calls and initiate that contact. The point is, you should do everything you can to make sure that the call is not stone… freezing… cold. That is the key.

Move your cold call to a warm call.

Instead of hundreds of random calls to people who don’t want to hear from you, and where your pitch is little more than “Got any job orders I can fill?”, do the research work to find a point of common ground which turns the call from ‘cold’ to ‘warm’. There are many ways to do this, but here are a seven good ones.

  1. Approach ex-candidates who are now in roles where they may become clients (I hope you looked after them well!)
  2. Get a referral from another division or office in your company (“Mr. Prospect, I am calling because our Singapore office has done a lot of work with your colleague, Michael Chew, over there and he suggested I give you a call”)
  3. Get a referral from another current client “Mr. Prospect I work extensively with Michael Chew at Apex Industries. He mentioned you had worked with him there, and suggested I give you a call to see how we might be able to assist”.
  4. Connect first in a neutral environment and follow up later. “Mr. Prospect it was a pleasure to chat with you at the Marketing Institute Conference last week, and I would enjoy a chance to talk more about your comments on SEO trends”.
  5. Follow up previous placements, no matter how long ago. “Mr. Prospect, you probably would not realize this, but I placed Bob Clarke with your predecessor quite a while ago. I would love to come down and see how he is doing and introduce myself”.
  6. Engage on social media first “Mr. Prospect I have enjoyed our banter on Twitter and thanks for the follow by the way. I am in your part of town next Tuesday and would love to drop in and find out more about the new training system you were tweeting about” (A Rec to Rec did exactly this to me while I was in London recently. I met her).
  7. Follow up on a talk given by a prospect, or a blog written, or a piece of PR they have received. “Mr. Prospect, I loved your blog on the boom in mobile technology, …”

Be creative about this. Brainstorm it in your team. You don’t want to be manipulative or trite, but you do want to start your BD call from a warmish position, get some connection… and then move on from there.

It will increase your hit rate exponentially

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Views: 21133

Comment by bill josephson on May 15, 2012 at 9:12am

The dreaded "cold call."  High rejection rate.  Large volume of calls made.  Risk taking. 

 

I equate it to how you met your spouse.  You could have been introduced by another.  Perhaps a friend of a friend knew someone.  Met at an activity gathering like a ski club or Church/Temple event.  Maybe met in a Facebook blog/group page.  Perhaps an old girlfriend knew someone.

 

I met mine through a "cold call."  Saw a couple of attractive women at a 'Happy Hours'--remember back in the 80's when they existed?  Struck up a conversation with one.  And celebrated our 30th Anniversary a week ago today.

 

Having been fixed up and met women by happenstance, there really is no superior way.  The girl you meet on your own could well be better than anyone you're introduced to.

 

I found that out the "cold" (hard) way.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 15, 2012 at 9:39am
If recruiters would follow this advice the fallout of young recruiters would be about half what it is. Making "warm" calls prevents cold water from being thrown on new relationships and recruiters from being regarded as irritating used car salesmen.

One of the best posts in years Greg. Thanks for this.
Comment by bill josephson on May 15, 2012 at 10:33am

If you're providing a quality product (candidate) or service (recruiting) presented professionally enough times, and there's demand, you'll have brand new clients.

 

And the ones in need of and utilizing your services will regard you as a quality accomplished professional resource.

Comment by Suzanne Levison on May 15, 2012 at 5:47pm

Great Post.The telephone is magic, that's my motto~

Comment by Danielle Francois on May 15, 2012 at 5:52pm

I have to say I don’t agree with most of the above article. While the " got any jobs" pitch is very hit and miss, and more often than not doesn’t work the cold hard fact is that unless you have spoken to this person before no matter what relationship your ex colleague or current client might have with this person you still need to establish one and to me that’s still a cold call-just my opinion. I moved to an exec search firm last September and while it was great to leverage off the fantastic existing business we already had most of the recs I am working on now came from me making introductory calls to new business - with something to offer including a value proposition and a candidate that’s relevant to their business as opposed to just asking if they have any jobs

I would also offer the opinion that the reason so many young recruiters leave the biz is because they haven’t been given a clear picture as to the toughness of this industry. Yes you can make a lot of money in a short time in this industry but it requires huge amounts of work and dedication and being able to take rejection on daily even hourly basis. When I took this role the management went to great lengths to ensure I understood the tough reality of the position so that I was really sure that I wanted it. There has been so many times when all I have been told in interview is how much I am going , how great it going to be and how simple it is to get there .

 

Comment by bill josephson on May 15, 2012 at 5:58pm

"I would also offer the opinion that the reason so many young recruiters leave the biz is because they haven’t been given a clear picture as to the toughness of this industry. Yes you can make a lot of money in a short time in this industry but it requires huge amounts of work and dedication and being able to take rejection on daily even hourly basis. When I took this role the management went to great lengths to ensure I understood the tough reality of the position so that I was really sure that I wanted it. There has been so many times when all I have been told in interview is how much I am going , how great it going to be and how simple it is to get there ."

 

In an overall superb post this, IMO, was an exceptional paragraph.   In these times the frustration, I've found, is even greater as this poor jobs market brings out the worst in client behavior, just as booming times brings out the worst in candidate behavior.   Depends who has the leverage.

Comment by Amy Ala on May 15, 2012 at 7:17pm

Thank you Greg! I'm going to send this to every single agency recruiter who cold calls me in the future.

Comment by Navid Sabetian on May 15, 2012 at 8:02pm

Greg always has some of the best ideas in the industry and this article is no different.

If I may add however, in my experience, the above is usually good for very long-term relationship building and I could expect from 20 to 30 meetings that take place in the above context, perhaps one of them turns into real business since you are telling the client that the main reason you are meeting them is not necessarily recruitment.

Comment by Peter Keene on May 15, 2012 at 9:14pm

Hi Greg, nice to find you here.

Great article and such common sense. I imagine some of the consultants approach will depend on whether their company is customer service focussed or sales focussed. Clients and prospective clients can easily perceive which direction you are coming from and the shallow approach is quickly and correctly determined to be purely a revenue or sales call.

Best,

Peter

Comment by Recruiting Animal on May 16, 2012 at 9:17am

Here's Cold Call advice from another Australian - click here

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