How to Market to Founders and C-Level Executives in Small Companies – Part 2

Last week Mike began answering this question. Go here to read Part 1 of his answer.

QUESTION: Mike, I am looking to bring on some smaller tech companies as clients in the 30 to 100, maybe 150 employee bracket, the kind of companies that have 1 or 2 rounds of VC funding.  The issue I have is that my ideal hiring manager is the Chief Technology Officer/VP of Technology, which in these types of companies is often the Founder who I do not think would take too kindly to a flip marketing call.  Is my MPC, most placeable candidate, the only option at this size, or do you have any ideas or thoughts that are a bit more strategic?  I have never been a huge fan of making hundreds of – Want to buy chicken? calls. – Alex

ANSWER: You want to keep this call short because you do not want to spend 45 minutes on the phone with this person.  Then they are going to brag.  They are going to brag about what they have done with their company.  They are probably going to brag about their company success.  I would even integrate some questions about from a standpoint of your role in the company now.  Where do you see the company going?  Why are you excited about your current organization?  Brag, brag, brag, brag.  They tell a story.  Remember this principle everyone, boys and girls, the more someone talks about themselves, the more they like you and the more interesting they think you are – remember that.  The more they talk about themselves, the more interesting they find you.  

At that mark, you say, “Okay, geez, Alex, great.  Thanks for the information.  I have got some really good ideas and insight.  When the right opportunity comes along, we can go a lot deeper into your background.”  “Great.”  Say, “You know what, by the way, I loved that you said that you have taken the company from here to here, and the vision of the company is this, and why you like working there, and all these reasons.  Alex, there is part of the marketplace that is dying to hear that story.”  

This is where, since you have already heard me do the flip call, you can pick up on that.  You could say:  

“I know there is a segment of the market that is dying to hear that.  Unlike a lot of the other technology recruiters that place people at a very high level, we also build the teams underneath them.  Unlike our competitors that place people at this level, we are not insulted by the . . . [You can quote what your average fee is, $20,000, $30,000, fees associated with filling, and I am assuming things like software engineers or whatever types of positions you place.]  Having said that, Alex, what do I have to do earn the right to help you build your team?”  

Not – Do you have any openings?  I am saying this for everyone else’s benefit.  

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

Do not let them get away with, “Hey, you know what, let us just stay in touch” which is what some will say.  One, they are not prepared to answer that question because no one ever asks them that question.  Recruiters always go, “Do you have any openings?  Do you need any help?  You have any openings?  You need any help?” like a bunch of beggars crawling around on their knees with freaking tin cups waiting for the clanks of the change to go in.  That is just my visualization of it for myself.  

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

The key here is to find the things that you can actually bring to them that are not placement related.  You could say, “Are there certain types of insights from some of your competitors that you want?  Are there a certain kind of compensation ideas that I hear about in the marketplace?  Mr. or Ms. CTO, every day I am talking to people in the space.  What information can I bring back to you that will help you in your business?” 

Obviously, I cannot bring anything back from my current clients.  That would be unethical and I would never do that, but in loose conversations I am having with people in the marketplace I am happy to bring in any of that stuff.  Just know, it is going to be a little bit rumor based, but it is probably going to be pretty spot on.  Now you are a source of insights for them, which is what people have told me over the years they would love recruiters to bring them, great candidates and insights.  

You might say, that is a lot of work.  I have got to track all these.  

Yea, I know, but what I used to do, when I did it this way, was I would land clients that would do $200,000 to $300,000 a year with me, not in a lifetime, in a year.  So it was worth a little bit of extra effort.  If you would rather send out 100 emails and leave 7,500 voicemails to land a client like that, you can do it that way too.  I think being a value-added provider before I start making a placement, for me it was much more enjoyable.  

Great question, Alex.  I appreciate you asking.

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