QUESTION: I have watched your YouTube videos on your approach to getting retainers and how you go about your conversation with your hiring authorities. When I take a new search assignment I use your opening question “Imagine a year from now – for those of you who have not heard that – imagine a year from now you have hired this individual and they have done an outstanding job and met and exceeded all your expectations. Tell me what they have accomplished.” I like this question, but I am always intrigued by any nuggets or additional insights you might add on getting new clients. – Terry
ANSWER: My experience is people way overthink this. The boring part is a numbers game and there are a variety of tactics. We have three very specific strategies of marketing without cold calling that I do not have enough time to go over in detail here. Each one takes an hour to teach and if you are really interested in diving deep into this I suggest you join us at one of our events. You can go here for more details.
One strategy is using MPC (most placeable candidate) emails in a very strategic way. There are a lot of recruiters that send out emails to hiring managers, and they are wordy. We use a very streamlined approach with a very simple subject line. IN the body of the email you simply outline a couple of key accomplishments, a finish up with a call to action.
A great call to action can be: Look at your calendar, what is a good time for us to discuss this individual in greater detail? Versus asking, do you want to interview them?
Strategy two is a term I think I coined called flip marketing. It is using a search for a senior-level person and strategically flipping it into a marketing call. This is a strategy that you can use even if you do not have an opening on your desk. I have taught this a couple of times. For those of you who have heard me talk about this before or read about this in a previous blog post, repetition is the mother of learning.
Briefly, find an opening online for a senior-level opening in your niche. You never lie to the client. You do not say I have been retained or engaged. You simply say: I have become aware of an opportunity, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, that might be better than your current situation. I wanted to get your thoughts on talking about it.
When they reply, “Yes, I am always open”, I do not tell them about the opportunity straight away even though I have the opening right in front of me. I ask about what is going on that makes them always open? I will comment: It sounds like you are pretty happy. The purpose of is type of questioning is to get them talking about what they like about their job. In my experience, most people are not looking.
If when you go through that process, someone is truly looking, I would get their resume and use it as an MPC email campaign to the hiring manager at that company where the job was posted and so I can try to get them an interview. I have actually made a couple of placements that way.
Instead of thinking of it as a recruiting call, it is really a marketing call. I want to get the hiring manager to talk about him or herself, and I want them to brag about what they have accomplished, what they do well, what they like about their company. Then I am going to say something like, “Terry, you are not going anywhere. You sound pretty happy.” They will most likely respond, “Well, you know, Mike, you are probably right. I am always open though. I think it is smart.”
Then I reiterate what they loved. “You told me you loved ____, ____, ____, and honestly, the opportunity I have is not any better than that. Congratulations on your success.” I will continue by saying, “Terry, unlike a lot of the firms that place people at your level, we built the teams underneath them. We place people like A, B, C (the type of people they hire). What would I need to do to earn the right to help you build your team?” That call gets a very high return call rate. It is a fun call when we have had our clients do it. Again, there is only a sliver of how to implement this strategy here, but join us at one of our events and learn the whole thing.
The third strategy is content marketing. This more of a mid to longer-term strategy where you hire somebody to write articles that are relevant to your space on hiring, training, onboarding, your niche, on client retention, how to run meetings, etc. You send that content out to your marketplace to build up a reputation so when you implement strategies one and two, they already know who you are. We have a great guide on how to implement this technique. Click below to get the download.
Those are some quick tidbits on client development. Thank you for a great question, Terry.