QUESTION: Using an MPC (most placeable candidate) for marketing and business development calls still tends to generate better dialog and certainly return voicemails. The challenge sometimes is you do not feel like you have a strong enough MPC. So, my question is, how would you go about approaching prospective candidates and exploring if they are open to new opportunities in this instance? – Mark, Hartford, CT

ANSWER: I have found that unless you call them about an exciting career opportunity, they are not going to return your voicemail.

There are a couple of moving parts here. 

First, I am not advocating you run a direct recruit campaign only for an MPC. I would go back and look at someone you have already done an assessment on and gotten a resume from and try to dig much deeper with them about their strengths, accomplishments, and what they bring to the table.  

If you know that Mary Smith over at XYZ Bank is just crushing it and has an excellent reputation, go ahead and approach her. 

If you are going to try to approach 5 to 10 individuals about marketing them, and you know they are outstanding, that is one thing. To go into a marketplace not knowing who is good and try to do a recruitment campaign to find one MPC takes a lot of time, and your time is better served elsewhere.  

That is one part of your question. So yes, if you know of a couple of stellar people, would you try to recruit them in a small batch? Yes. Otherwise, I would go to my existing database and pull somebody out.  

If you are having trouble getting a return call, you need to reach out not once or twice but seven times! 

On the 3rd or 4th voicemail, if saying “I wanted to talk to you quietly and confidentially” doesn’t work, I would add something intriguing about the opportunity while still maintaining some mystery.

I might say:

Hi Mark,

 I have left you a couple of messages. I have an opportunity that could be potentially stronger than your current situation and would allow you to ____ and ____. (Something exciting and unique)


It is a company that does ____ and _____. (A wow factor, something that maybe you know in your niche, generates excitement).  

Be sure to follow your voicemail with an email to increase name recognition and encourage a response.

Set the hook in email. Then, drip the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., messages with elements of the opportunity.

If all else fails, try this tactic from Peter Leffkowitz (this may turn some people off, but it is highly effective):

My 7th message is always:

Hey Mark,

I have left you a bunch of messages, and I have no idea what is going on in your career. But as a matter of professional courtesy, if you could get back to me by the close of business today, I would greatly appreciate it.  

The first time he taught that I thought, whoa, that is a little abrupt. Occasionally, somebody may call you out and say, “who are you to tell me to call you?” But 95% of the time, and it has a very high return rate, which usually includes an apology, “I am soooo sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Thank you for your persistence.”

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