When I started in the recruitment industry we had our “core hours’ 10-12 and 2-4. During this time, you were expected to pick up the phone and make call after call after call. Leaving creative messages where possible to entice people to call you back. On occasion you would get a live person and go straight into your predetermined script telling the person on the other end how and why you were better than any other staffing agency out there. I HATED these hours – I did it but I hated it. I was terrified of getting a live person, stumbling through all the key selling features and if they asked me something off my crib list – going into a blind panic!!! Mostly, I hated them because I knew that the person on the other end hated receiving them. I mean, come on let’s be honest and put our hands up. Can anyone out there honestly say they enjoy getting sales calls? No – and why would we. The world is so accessible these days – if we want something we go out and find it.
So, after years and year of being pre-programmed to stick to the core hours – after all it is proven that it works – why did I change my approach? I was so tired of feeling like an annoying fly buzzing in someone’s ear. You may have been on the other end of the phone but I could see your eyes rolling!! I could feel you swatting me away or silently screaming at me to go away into the headset – wishing you had hit the straight to voicemail button! I started to realize that yes after making 1000’s calls I might be lucky enough to book meetings with one or two clients but was this really how my clients wanted me to interact with them? Making them feel like a number, in what has become a very KPI driven industry?
From Fly to Parrot
So what do I do differently now? I’ve stopped making cold calls! There I said it! And yes, I know many of you are shocked right now and all you managers of recruitment agencies out there are probably trying to delete this – or explain to your team that it’s a number game – the more calls you make the more opportunities you will find. Yes – and the more demoralized, disengaged and robotic like you will become! I’ve started to pick up the phone and speak to people when I have a reason, when I have a warm introduction, if I have met them in person, or if there is a true genuine reason that they might want to listen to what I’m saying.
The last few months have been refreshing. Our clients tell us stories of our “competition”. How they still view them as that annoying little fly buzzing in their ear. They tell us about the 4 weekly call they receive selling them the “best candidate for your company” – knowing full well that as soon as the phone is placed down that recruiter will pick up the phone and have the exact same conversation with 20 other companies. Finally, after 16 years I’m not the annoying fly buzzing in the ear, but the parrot on the shoulder – whispering words of advice, direction – scoping out the landscape and making suggestions on the best direction to move forwards.