(credit Greg savage)
Almost all recruiters are told they must cold-call to build a client-base.
Sadly, that is mostly bad advice.
Certainly it is true that all recruiters need to develop clients, identify prospects and find ways to build sustainable relationships. And often that means connecting with people you have never dealt with before. So yes, we are business developers, and in a tight market that becomes even more critical.
But, if at all possible, don’t cold call.
However don’t misunderstand me on this one. You do have to make those calls and initiate that contact. The point is, you should do everything you can to make sure that the call is not stone… freezing… cold. That is the key.
Move your cold call to a warm call.
Instead of hundreds of random calls to people who don’t want to hear from you, and where your pitch is little more than “Got any job orders I can fill?”, do the research work to find a point of common ground which turns the call from ‘cold’ to ‘warm’. There are many ways to do this, but here are a seven good ones.
- Approach ex-candidates who are now in roles where they may become clients (I hope you looked after them well!)
- Get a referral from another division or office in your company (“Mr. Prospect, I am calling because our Singapore office has done a lot of work with your colleague, Michael Chew, over there and he suggested I give you a call”)
- Get a referral from another current client “Mr. Prospect I work extensively with Michael Chew at Apex Industries. He mentioned you had worked with him there, and suggested I give you a call to see how we might be able to assist”.
- Connect first in a neutral environment and follow up later. “Mr. Prospect it was a pleasure to chat with you at the Marketing Institute Conference last week, and I would enjoy a chance to talk more about your comments on SEO trends”.
- Follow up previous placements, no matter how long ago. “Mr. Prospect, you probably would not realize this, but I placed Bob Clarke with your predecessor quite a while ago. I would love to come down and see how he is doing and introduce myself”.
- Engage on social media first “Mr. Prospect I have enjoyed our banter on Twitter and thanks for the follow by the way. I am in your part of town next Tuesday and would love to drop in and find out more about the new training system you were tweeting about” (A Rec to Rec did exactly this to me while I was in London recently. I met her).
- Follow up on a talk given by a prospect, or a blog written, or a piece of PR they have received. “Mr. Prospect, I loved your blog on the boom in mobile technology, …”
Be creative about this. Brainstorm it in your team. You don’t want to be manipulative or trite, but you do want to start your BD call from a warmish position, get some connection… and then move on from there.