QUESTION: I have a call with a potential client tomorrow and was told he expects me to have a network of candidates in their niche. Honestly, I am trying to break into this niche so I do not have many contacts yet. How do I fake until I make it? What good word tracks will help me overcome this objection?  The contact is in Human Resources, which I do not like, but the EVP who I have had a previous relationship with pushed me down to him after a 45-minute conversation. – Paul, Atlanta, GA 

ANSWER: The way you fake it until you make is the following. I do not ever coach people to lie, but you can alter their perceptions by the choice of your words. When speaking with an HR person I always ask, “If you could hand carve a relationship with a recruiter what would that look like for you and how can I help you make your life easier?” This question allows them to exhale a little bit.  

Then I would say, “In my call with Mr. or Ms. EVP, they shared that the biggest challenges were XYZ and here is what the opportunity was, and, here is what the compensation was, so my strategy for working on this is the following: I am going to put together a list of 80 to 100 individuals who are in this space and in this niche, some people I know, some people I do not. Many recruiters are just going to leave a single voicemail or send out a single email, if the person does not respond after one or two attempts, most recruiters give up. What is unique about us is that I am going to reach out to each person seven times over three weeks via voice mail and email. In theory we could put out 400 to 700 calls before we go through our entire list.”  

I would then say, “So going through the list of 80 people, if we have done this the right way, we will have talked to 50 to 60 of them; 20 will never get back to us. Of the 50 or 60 we talk with, a huge chunk of those are going to be interested, but not in a position to make a move no matter how good the opportunity. They are not interested because of the situation or interested and not qualified, and then there is going to be a fraction in that which has two things going for them. These two things are (1) have identified one or two things in their career going on right now that makes the timing of a move possible for them and we are going to share those with you and (2) they are going to represent the top 15% or 20% of their field based on our benchmarks in that niche.  

After a period of three to four weeks, (generally you might want to say 4 weeks if you are newer in the niche), we will have a slate of anywhere from two to four highly qualified professionals and if we have done our job the right way, Mr. or Ms. HR person your toughest decision should be which one of these people do we hire.  

By the way, Paul, if you follow that process, if you put together a list of 80 to 100 people in that niche, it might be smaller, it might be bigger, I do not know the niche, but that will fill a search. The mistake I see a lot of people make is they put together lists that are too small.