QUESTION: I have had a lot of success setting up recruit calls with chief revenue officers for flip marketing. I have landed a number of clients in the past, and I am having some awesome conversations. My challenge is that I need help getting the conversation to a place where I can flip the topic.

I usually start with, what sort of opportunity would look good for them? Then, I take the conversation from there with several qualifying questions, such as big company, small company, and what their roles would be. Then, questions like, what attracted you to your current company? What do you like about it? Why would you leave? But I end up recruiting them in a lot of the cases. Is there a track you can share around it?

Introduction to Flip Marketing for Recruiters

This is a very common problem in flip marketing. For everyone’s benefit, I will just step back and talk about the concept of flip marketing, how I found it, and how our clients find it today as one of the most effective ways to get new clients. Flip marketing is turning a recruiting call into a marketing call. How do we do that ethically? There are a number of ways to do it.

Utilizing High-Level Searches

One is you have a high-level search already for a C-level, B-level, or anyone in a hiring position, a manager, anyone in a role to hire, or has an existing search. Or maybe you have a class D search, meaning there are six recruiters on it, they are only paying 15%, and you have to go through HR. It is a relevant, real search. On a search like that, I have really no expectation that I’m going to fill it, but it is my door to a candidate where we can have an intelligent conversation.

Engaging Candidates Without Openings

The third venue is you don’t have an opening for a high-level person. You can approach them under the concept of: “Hey Rob, I have no idea what’s going on in your career right now. I just wanted to see if you are open to hearing about something down the road that could be potentially stronger than your current situation. I don’t have anything right now, but I wanted to get your thoughts on what it would take for you if you were ever going to leave your organization and what that would look like.”

They might tell you a little bit. Here is how. In that call, my gut feeling is that what Rob is doing is being a great recruiter, following that line of the pain points and the friction in their company, and then opening up that and creating more awareness around that.

Overcoming objections in recruiting marketing calls
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Initial Candidate Conversations

In a flip marketing call, where your goal is really not to fill the search, in that category where you are one of six recruiters or you do not have anything today, very early in the conversation, from the point of – are you open to having that conversation? – most of the time, they will say, well, I’m always open, or I can’t complain; I want to pick up on those words. I don’t even want to talk about what they would want to see in their next opportunity if they say I am always open.

“Always open? Let’s do this, Rob; if you are ever going to make a change, let’s find out what you love about what you’re doing now. Let’s start there. What do you really like about your role now?”

I go right into, why are you happy? Where in a recruiting call we are going into a mode of, what is left unsatisfying? Where are your dissatisfactions?

Deepening the Conversation

In a flip marketing call, we are, if we can, we go straight to, what do you enjoy about your current role in your current company? “Hey Rob, if you’re going to make a change, there are going to be certain things that you’re doing now that you’re going to want to do more of. What are those things?”

“Well, you know, what I love about my role now is blank, blank, blank, and blank.”

Here is where, again from a standpoint of questioning, you want to help them go deep.

“How so? Say more.”

When they talk about how they love leading their team, the people on their team are fantastic; ask, “What is it about your existing team that makes them fantastic? Rob, what role did you play as a leader in cultivating and creating that culture?”

Now, they are bragging about themselves a little bit, and they are bragging about their team, and their focus is on what they enjoy.

Understanding Their Commitment

I’ll say, “What are the things, Rob, that keep you at your existing company? What are some of the reasons? What are some of the things that attracted you originally, and why do you stay?”

I stay in that mode. I stay in that mode as long as possible and from the standpoint of digging as much about what they love. Depending on the candidate, because every candidate has a different level of satisfaction, I will say something to the effect of: “You know, Rob, you are not going anywhere. You love it there.”

“Well, you asked me, Mike, if I was open.”

“Yeah, I know; I’ll keep you aware of anything.”

And again, I’m not even going down the track of what would you like to hear more about? Because they’ve probably already talked about that. What I want to do is go, it sounds like for these reasons, and I just feed back to them in their words, as much as possible, the things they loved about their existing opportunity.

Transitioning to a Marketing Call

And again, especially if you’re in the mode of, I don’t have anything right now, “I’ll keep you aware of stuff, but it doesn’t sound like your horizon is short term.” “Mike, you’re probably right. But keep me in mind.”


This is where we talk about flipping it from a recruiting call into a marketing call.

“Hey, Rob, unlike all the other recruiters, we don’t just place vice presidents, VPs of sales, chief marketing officers, chief revenue officers. We also build the teams underneath them. And unlike many of our retained brethren, much of our bread and butter is in those professional positions. Here are a couple of the titles we place and excel at.”

Differentiating Your Approach

Remember, you want to go slow here because they’re in a mode of being recruited. I promise that 98 percent of the recruiting industry does not make this call. I believe I’m the only one who trains it, or our company is the only one who trains it. Since it is not a common approach, this is a huge way to differentiate yourself. You have to realize that in the hiring manager’s mindset, they were being recruited, and now they are being marketed to, so you have to be very slow in that transition and let their brains catch up.

Again, “Unlike a lot of the other recruiters out there, we don’t just place VPs of Sales, Chief Revenue Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, we also help build the teams underneath them, and we excel in roles like blank, blank, and blank. I loved all the things you said.”

Here is where I am going to reiterate the things they told me they loved.

“I love how you told me that you’re in a company where the culture is that you set very high expectations, you leave people alone, and it’s up to them to come ask for help, but you provide the coaching and mentoring. Talking to candidates in that space every day, I know there is a market for that. My question to you, Rob, is what do I need to do to earn the right to help you build your team?”

I will say that again slowly.

“What do I need to do to earn the right to help you build your team?”

I do not ask if they have any openings. I promise they will tell you about them if they do. They will say something like:

“So, you place like C-level salespeople? Do you work like Los Angeles and Chicago?”

All day long. All day long. I will say ,”What is your need in Los Angeles or Chicago?”

Taking the Search Opening

That is how you get into the mode of taking the opening.

To sum this up, the keys are you have to stay out of recruit mode and into the mode of identifying the things they love, amplifying those, summarizing those, and then using that to transition to:

“What do I have to do to earn the right to build your team?”

When you ask that question, if they say something like, “Stay in touch, Mike.”

You want to be: “I’m happy to do that, but what insights or information can I bring back to you that will help you grow your business?”

The reason they will say, stay in touch, is again because recruiters are not asking those questions. It is a huge differentiator.

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your recruitment business:

1. Grab a free copy of my Book Grow Your Recruiting Business

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2. Join the Recruiter Think Tank and connect with firm owners who are scaling, too. It’s our Facebook community where smart recruiters learn to make more money and get more freedom.​​…

3. Join me at our next event

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4. Work with me and my team privately

And if you ever want to get some 1:1 help, we can jump on the phone for a quick call and brainstorm how to get you more leads, more placements, and more time.​

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