QUESTION: Hi Mike, I just completed a dedicated search for a VP of Finance. How would you market two fantastic runner-ups without being salesy as if I am promoting a commodity? – Ernie, Philadelphia, PA 

ANSWER: Great question; I like that you are aware that you do not want to be a commodity. What I would do for a VP of Finance search is to put together a list of a few hundred CFOs, or COOs, depending on the size of the company that they are applicable for, and if I did not have them, I would hire a researcher to compile those names.  

Here is the mistake most people make, they want to find the perfect fit. Sure, I want that too, but that is probably 30 companies. Then I want 200 more that are close, like horseshoes and hand grenades. Why? Probably not going to place them at the close; maybe I will. However, I will get alternate searches when I enter a dialogue.  

So, what I would do is put together an MPC (most placeable candidate) email that is not salesy at all. The email to the CFO may read:  

In a recent engaged search, I discovered a VP of Finance who cut $1,237,000 of waste and fraud from these two departments in their first seven months in the business. Over the preceding six months, this strongly analytical person discovered another $498,000 of inefficiencies. Look at your calendar, Ernie. What is a good time for us to discuss this person in greater detail? – Mike Gionta

Let’s look at the email in detail. Did you have to be retained? No. If you have a signed contract, you are technically engaged. That is how you ethically, honestly say it.  

You do not want to put a well-spoken or strong leader as a significant accomplishment. That is white noise that I cannot measure. I want the accomplishment to be specific, call the candidate, and get precise numbers. If they say something like, “I don’t know it’s like $500,000 or $600,000”, you can ask if it was at least $500,000. If they say yes, you can say $498,000 because you can under-promise and be ethical. I would take a particular number under their minimum number, and ethically I can market that.  

There is an incredible power, especially with MPC emails, of using precise numbers and percentage rates. I would rather market a sales rep at 124.5% quota rather than 125% of quota. It will get a better response rate.   

If I send that email on a Thursday and do not hear back by Monday, I will forward the original email and write:

Ernie, did you read my email below? Curious to hear your thoughts?  

Curious to hear your thoughts. It is not a question, but I like putting a question mark after it.   

I like doing these types of emails individually, and I had an admin who managed this type of marketing campaign for me. When done individually, the delivery and the open rate are greater. The emails did not tend to end up in SPAM folders.  

To easily delegate this to an admin, simply create a second email address within your account. It is like $10 a year, and you have somebody else monitoring. You manage the replies, and your admin manages the nonreplies. 

That is how you market these highly qualified candidates without being salesy. 

Great question. Thank you.

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