How to Engage a Busy VP or President on a Marketing Call

QUESTION: What are some different ways to sell the need to do more of a deep dive to qualify their need better, to get on the calendar of a busy VP or President to qualify the order, especially when you have made placements with them before without doing deep dives? – Eric

ANSWER: It is all about becoming a trusted advisor. So whether you are retained or exclusive, the process is similar. It is just the commitment by the hiring manager is a little bit bigger to you.  

In a conversation, I want to say something to the effect of, “I am assuming, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, that you want me to help you identify the best available person in the market.” The key word in that sentence is “available.” They might not know they are available right now.  

Imagine you and I have the same goal and objective. Correct? For me to be able to find and identify the best available person in the market, a lot of times I have 30 to 60 seconds to ask a couple questions and make a statement or two to get them to lower their left eyebrow, with me and go “Huh. Tell me more.” Then based on that, I need to hold their interest, and I have another 5 minutes or so. 

At this point I would say, “In order for me to be able to increase the likelihood, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager, that I attract the best available person in the market, we need to invest a half hour or so together so that I am able to answer the questions I know they are going to ask me in a way that makes me highly credible to them.”  

“Because as you know in this marketplace, the best available people, a lot of them are not even returning phone calls and I have got some methodology to increase that likelihood, but it does not make a lot of sense if I get them on the phone and all I say is well, you know, I have got this company and they are growing 20% a year and they are looking for somebody with 3 to 5 years of experience with strong written and verbal communication skills, degree preferred.”  

Hopefully you are not doing that, Eric. You see my point? I am doing it to be obvious. Yet, I will actually say that to a hiring manager.  

One of the ways I do it is, especially if I have them on the phone, is if they have given me surface level information on their assignment, I will repeat what they have said in really banal terms. For example I will describe a VP of Sales position for the same type of position, saying they need a sales rep, 3 to 5 years, strong territory development. When I have finished describing the position I ask if that sounds exciting to them. They go, well, not really because what have I done? I have just described Mr. or Ms. VP. I have just described their job back to them.  

Then I explain that I need to be able to create intrigue. For me to create intrigue quickly, they need to transfer to me more of their passion and vision so I can transfer it to that candidate in a phone conversation. At this point I acknowledge that now might not be the best time for them to do that, and ask when when would be a really good time for us to have that dialogue. This way, when I get somebody on the phone, not only can I set the hook, I can reel them in. Because a lot of recruiters can set the hook, but it is really about reeling them in.   

Those are some ideas, Eric, about why it is in their best interest to invest time with you. Selling anything to anyone requires you entering the conversation that is going on in their mind and solve that problem or scratch that itch. 

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