Where’s the Money For Recruiters? (in Sales and Recruitment)
It may seem a strange thing to say, but in my experience of training recruitment and sales consultants, a lot of those I train are unclear where the money is in the process. It is a fundamental question, but one that is rarely asked. I will always pose this question to trainees but, surprisingly, the response I get will often be a slightly blank look or they will just start to list everything they do as a recruiter or salesperson.
The truth is that as a recruiter you kick off the cash generation cycle when you pick up the phone to a stranger and start to build a relationship. You don’t make money doing research on the internet and mapping the market, although this is very important and supports the process of making money. If you did nothing with the list and you didn’t pick up the phone it would just be a list.
As a recruiter, for example, you don’t make money arranging interviews, giving interview feedback or negotiating offers. This is simply processing the opportunity that was created when you first picked up the phone. Had you not spoken to that interesting candidate, who your client just called for interview, would there have been an interview to arrange? Had you not picked up the phone three months ago to that target client, built rapport and positioned yourself effectively, would you even be working the role?
No. The first call is where it all begins. It’s when you called someone who you hadn’t spoken to before and started a relationship. And unfortunately, it’s all to easy to miss this basic fact when you have so many different tasks that all seem as important as each other.
The problem with being unclear about where the money is in your process is that you will think that busying yourself doing lots of stuff other than making calls to new people is actually building your business.
Goes Unnoticed… Initially
In recruitment, many firms run the ‘resourcer model’. This means that when junior recruiter first joins a firm, they will start as a resourcer and fundamentally be a CV generator for the rest of the business.
At some point later, normally once they have proven their worth over a period of time, they will step up to a 360 role where now they are involved in all stages of the recruitment process, including developing relationships with clients.
As a ‘resourcer’, it’s actually possible for you to not know where the money is, but still do a good job. After all, there is only one thing for you to do – pick up the phone and speak to new candidates. Do that often enough and well enough and you will be OK.
This is often the case across many sales jobs, at the start if you can just keep busy doing the task directly in front of you and you will generally do OK.
However, for a 360 recruitment consultant (this example, but the same will apply to most salespeople) being unclear where the money is will most likely be disastrous.
On day 1, a 360 recruitment consultant will start with nothing ‘on the board’. Driven to be successful they will typically throw themselves into their role contacting potential clients to get roles to work. They will also keep in contact with candidates to ensure a nice healthy pool, all the while looking for matches that will ultimately lead to their first placement.
Business starts coming in, they pull their first job and they are able to send over some potentially suitable candidates. More jobs come in and more matches are made. Suddenly, they seemingly have arrived as a successful billing consultant.
Little did they realise that when they became busy, arranging interviews, feeding back to clients and candidates, managing offers and so forth, they stopped picking up the phone to new candidates and clients. It all seems OK because they have deals kicking off, and very soon the deals start to complete and the champagne flows.
Unfortunately, it’s not long after that the consultant suddenly seems to be back where they started, looking at an empty board and wondering where their next placement will come from.
So What Happened?
Whilst the party was in full swing they had stopped developing new client and candidate relationships. The number of calls they were making to new people had nosed dived and their pipeline had gone with it.
Now, when faced with this desperate new reality, they start to pick up the phone again. This is a very uncomfortable time for most consultants. They thought they had made it, but then suddenly they feel like they’ve lost it. The cupboard is bare and for many this also leads to a crisis in confidence. However, if they have any commitment to their career choice, they will continue to proactively reach out, connect with more clients and candidates and ultimately generate placements. Soon the party season is in full swing again and so (potentially) the erratic billing cycle begins once more.
Breaking the Cycle, making it a ‘Must’
Many consultants continue like this for quite some time with good months following bad in a seemingly never ending cycle. So how do you break it?
Perhaps a better question is ‘How do you avoid it in the first place?’
The answer lies in a full appreciation of where the cash generation begins and where the money is.
If you fully appreciate that cash generation begins when you’re building relationships with new clients and candidates, then you know it is financial suicide to go a week or even a day without making some calls that develop these new relationships. With this appreciation, these calls now become a must for you.
The truth is recruitment and sales are relationship businesses and unless you are in the business of developing relationships you are not in business at all.
Little And Often
Like most things in life, little and often is the key. If you want to fulfil your potential as a 360 recruiter or salesperson, you should be making these calls every day. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but that does not mean you can eat 30 apples at the end of each month. The same is true for these calls. Although it is fine to schedule a business development day or afternoon, in my experience it is far better to undertake such calls as part of your regular daily activity.