QUESTION: I would like some information on raising my fees.  I am physician recruiter, and it seems that $25K is the going rate.  However, with physicians making at least $200K at a 30% fee that would be $60K. Also, any tips on email subject lines or let me know if you have any type of scripts you use, that would be terrific. – Linda

ANSWER: A lot of people ask me about scripts and it is a great question.  When I read  questions about this subject, the biggest challenge I see when I read between the lines is not the script, it is the position.  Positioning is more than a quick 1 or 2 line rebuttal.

If I showed you was three gas stations, and I said, gas here is $2.29 a gallon, gas here is $4.60 a gallon, and gas here is $5.00 a gallon, and that is all I told you was this is gas and which one are you going to buy?  You are going to buy the $2.29 a gallon.

I might be able to give you a script, but I would have to know more about your car to even be able to say, can we even get you to the $5.00 a gallon.  Let us say you are driving a Bentley.  Let us say there are certain things about the engine.  I am not a car guy at all.  Mechanically, I am really challenged.  But there could be an argument as to why the $5.00 a gallon gasoline is the best thing for your car.  I do not know.  It may be based on the way you operate that $2.29 is the best price for you.

You have to find and identify what the challenge is, if they have had any, identifying and hiring physicians in the past.  So if somebody says to you that every time they open up the position, they give it out to six recruiters, pay $25K flat, and five weeks later have two or three candidates to pick from and we can easily hire one.

Raising your fee requires you to understand what is working and what is not working in their current process. This requires an in-depth diagnostic, part of that is understanding what is the role of the physician, and really what is the goal?  You need to determine the consequences of the position remaining open.  If it is a well staffed facility, maybe they will just say, other doctors are filling in and it is a little bit of a pain in the butt, but you do not really hear any pain.  Again, there is no script to help them.

There are a lot of really good recruiters out there that are very well scripted.  However my experience, as a coach in this business, most do not do a great job diagnosing.  Most recruiters ask the same questions.  What are you looking for?  What are the duties and responsibilities?  What is the pay?  Then they quote fee and then they get the same answer as everybody else and they ask me, what is the script I can do to overcome that?

So you sounded the same, you sounded the same, you sounded the same, you sounded the same as all the other recruiters, and now you want to quote a different fee and get a higher fee.  You have to be different in the earlier stages of the process to get a higher fee.

The tip I will give you is the challenge you need to uncover the ramifications of the position remaining open.  I can script that.  So let us say, going back to the beginning of that answer, they say. .  .

Geez, if we do not have something on in the next month because we have someone who is leaving or we are opening up this new facility, whatever that reason is, and if we do not have someone in that role there is possibility because maybe a nurse is doing it, there may be a misdiagnosis or a worst case scenario, a death.

You can say . .  .

Here is my process.  I am going to put together a list of X amount of physicians.  I am going to go through that list 6 or 7 times.  At the end of 30 days one of the things I will know is I will have 2 or 3 calls by candidates that are the top 15% to 20% in their profession and with each person I will have diagnosed and uncovered some very specific motivations as to why they are open to leaving.  Really what it is going to boil down to Mr. or Ms. Client is your ability to move the process quickly.  For me to execute on that, that requires ____.

If it is a flat fee, maybe you just quote a flat fee, of $40,000 or $45,000.  Maybe you do not get the full $60,000 or come up with some odd number, $48,750 is our fee to execute on all that.

They are going to say . . .

Well you know we have paid other people in the past $25,000.

By the way, I ask this as part of my diagnosis, how that has worked in the past and when I am able to comfortably quote this, they have talked about inconsistent candidate flow, not seeing the right people, taking four or five months.

I understand.  But you told me when you have paid that sometimes it has taken up to six months to fill the position.  You have told me that there is inconsistent candidate flow.  You told me that if this person is not on within the next month or two there is a huge liability.  My process is going to provide you people more quickly.  Now if time is not of the essence, go work with those other recruiters and experience the same results.

That is kind of the script.  It is really what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.  So you do you the diagnosis which is uncovering what is working and what is not working, why they need it, then taking a really well defined search assignment, then going to prescription, here are all the things we are going to do to fill it, and then quoting the fee at the very end.