You’ve probably seen those personalised adverts on LinkedIn—‘The death of cold calling’?
Those ads are targeting you to click on them and invest in marketing strategies that attract new clients via LinkedIn or Facebook.
Admirable. Inbound marketing strategies are essential nowadays. You could even argue that this article falls into the category of inbound marketing.
But surely, the purpose of any marketing spend is that it results in conversations with prospective customers that you can talk to, meet with, and to then hopefully close to spend money with you.
So, it’s a tactic.
A tactic to get into conversations with prospective customers that you can talk to, meet with, and then close.
But it’s not the only tactic.
For me, cold calling died before many recruiters were born. So why am I talking about 5 of the best techniques to win new business (by telephone)?
Well, the fact is that far too many recruiters have turned into ‘keyboard warriors’ and they’re missing easy ways to get into conversations with prospect customers—without cold calling.
Cold calling may not actually have died 25 years ago, but it was certainly terminally ill – even back then, the best recruiters didn’t make cold calls.
When I was billing £1 million per annum, I didn’t make cold calls. In fact, I’ve not made a cold call for many, many years.
But–and–this is very important.
I’m constantly on the phone or meeting with clients face-to-face or via teams most of the day, despite not making cold calls.
So, what’s the tactic?
Make warm calls!!
In future articles, I’ll be discussing how to use LinkedIn to win new business, but in this article, I’d like to share a few simple, powerful, and effective business development strategies that do not involve cold calling and cost nothing to implement.
They just require a proactive recruiter to spot the opportunity and take business away from a competitor.
5 powerful ways for recruiters to win more new business
1. Proactively Secure Client Referrals
How many new client referrals have you secured proactively in the last three months?
I’ve asked this question to recruitment directors on numerous occasions, and whilst some businesses are pretty good at securing CANDIDATE referrals, a tiny fraction is exceptional at securing CLIENT referrals.
The ability to secure client referrals begins when taking a job description from a new client. It involves one simple question, but I’m not going to share that in this article. (Sorry!)
However, one tip I would give is that directors should measure the number of client referrals generated by their employees every month. Most recruitment directors I’ve met do not measure this vitally important business development KPI.
I have to be blunt here. The ability to win business via client referrals is a training issue! Learn how to build a proactive client referral strategy and you will make more money; it’s as simple as that.
2. Verbal referencing
This is as old as the hills.
When you’re interviewing candidates, you know that the manager the candidate reported to previously hired people like them. Why on earth would you not want to get into a conversation with a business decision-maker who hires the types of people that you recruit?
Last week, I spoke to a recruitment director who told me that their clients “like to take their own references”.
It’s a sales opportunity, not an admin task. One client that I won via a reference spent £20,000,000 over 10 years with the recruitment company I worked for at the time.
Of course, there is a skill to professionally develop a reference conversation into a new business.
And, once again, it’s a simple training issue.
3. Tracking senior candidates
One of my training clients moved from £300,000 per annum billings to £1.8 million per annum as a direct result of learning how to identify senior candidates who hire regularly and then nurturing them to become clients.
He attributed most of the additional £1.5 million billings to this technique, (he is now one of the world’s biggest billers).
Mmm, it’s a training issue. As a manager, you might also want to track this as a KPI.
4. Build relationships with friendly candidates
Over the years, the relationships I’ve built with candidates I never placed have led me to £1,000,000s of business. How often do you call a friendly candidate or even pop out for a coffee or a beer with them and then ask for their help? You will be pleasantly surprised with how often they direct you to warm openings provided that you skillfully ask the right questions.
5. Marketing candidates
When was the last time you interviewed a superstar candidate with high-demand skills and then asked them the following questions?
“Which companies would you like to work for? What can you do for those companies? Who, if anyone, do you know in those organizations?”
Yes, once again, there is a training piece that sits around this technique but the essence of it is that you market the candidate out either directly through LinkedIn or via email – or you pick up the phone and sell the benefit of the candidate to the prospective employer with the aim of securing either a vacancy, a business development meeting or, in some cases, an interview for a live role there and then.
A close at the end of a candidate marketing call that has worked for me over the years is, “How interested would you be in meeting this person on an exploratory basis to assess how much value they could add to your business?”
Of course, you may need to create a different close for your marketing calls, but as you see in the example above, if my candidate has a skillset that is in extremely high demand and hard to find, I know that some employers will be open to meeting that candidate and even creating a role even though they are not currently hiring.0
I routinely made at least one placement per month with this technique. More importantly, candidate marketing helped me open doors to new clients that went on to spend money with me for many years.
There are many more business development techniques, like the ones above, that do not involve cold calling, but I hope these five will help make life easier for you to win new business in any market condition. They are particularly potent when you find the market contracting and vacancies become harder to find.
Of course, getting into a new business conversation is only one part of selling. The next part is being able to ask the most powerful questions during those conversations. I’ll cover that in a separate article.