Cold Calling or Consulting: No Time for Both
By: Toby Marshall
Virtually all training provided to recruiters is about cold calling and transaction selling.
It’s the focus of nearly every recruitment conference I’ve been to ” how to get your billings up’. This Rant will help outsiders understand how the industry got to its appalling state.
With refreshing honesty, trainer Sophie Robertson’s opening sentence states:
Understand that you are in a sales position, no ifs or buts.
Which is what all the others say, just not as neatly – though some like Barb Bruno in the USA are pretty blunt?
So what does this mean? That recruiters are trained to cold call meaning they have no time to consult. And remember most work contingently – racing other recruiters to a sale, so consulting is ruled out anyway.
Ross Clennett, one of Australia’s best recruitment coaches has a great e-book (go to www.rossclennett.com.au to get it) that recommends:
1. Weekly Prospect Calls: 50 (= Cold Calls)
2. Monthly prospect & client visits: 28
3. Monthly Float Outs: 20 (= sending unsolicited resumes)
Not much time left for deepening relationships with existing clients after doing these calls and following up. Now, in other articles and talks, Ross and other trainers rightly say that our focus should be on deepening relationships: But where’s the time? You can’t have it both ways.
This cold calling model is different to how my firm and some other boutiques work: where you have 10 to 20 clients who you work for repeatedly. So relationship building visits might be 3 a month, with 2 or 3 visits to prospective clients on top of that.
Re 20 float outs: No thank you! That’s not consulting, it’s acting like an 3rd rate web server! When you have fewer clients who you know well, sending unsolicited resumes is welcomed, and you might do 2 a month – not 20. It’s still sales but the focus is on relationships, not foot in the door’ tactics (see Sophie’s wonderful cold calling scripts in my last posting on Lies).
Which gets to the fundamental problem:
We are virtually talking about 2 different industries.
One where 50 or a 100 clients’ is the norm, based on constant cold calling.
Versus one where recruiters work closely with a few employers helping them reduce the risk of a wrong hire, while still needing to work quickly.
Ross made the following comment on my blog:
Toby re your assertion that the role of the recruiter is to reduce the risk of making a wrong hiring decision’. I would suggest you are in minority company there . clients use a recruiter because they want excellent candidates, delivered quickly’
The chasm here is wide.
Ross is right – I am in the minority but the Rants & technology will change that. His model was right BEFORE Seek.com.au and Monster.com. Recruiters in his transaction model are just selling information: finding candidates and racing to the line in a winner take all race. They are middlemen who the internet will soon wipe out (why it is taking longer than in other Agency’ businesses is a future Rant).
After recommending 50 prospecting calls a week, all trainers go on to say you must of course focus on long term relationship building .
Alice in Wonderland. Rubbish. There is no time left AND it requires different skills.
Relationships require consultants, not cold callers.
About the Author
Toby is an active speaker on the international conference circuit. His mission: To give all companies, no matter how few employees they have, the information and expert help they need to do their own recruitment and selection and find great new staff. If you like what you have read so far, you can get more information and resources at http://www.abacusrecruit.com.au