I once worked with a great man who said that the hardest skill in recruitment or sales is “calling with nothing to say”.
“Why is this important?” I hear you ask.
Well, you probably all have a friend in your circle that you feel only calls when they want something from you. How do you feel about this person? Take this feeling and multiply it by a few times and that is how your candidates or clients feel when they think that you only call when you want something (for example leads or to see if they have open requirements).
The art of building strong client relationships is demonstrating that you are interested in more than just gaining from what you sell. The more they feel that you have their wider interests at heart the greater the level of mutual trust and influence you both will have.
Calling with “nothing to say” says “I am thinking of you even when I have nothing to gain”. Imagine how you feel when you receive a birthday card. I definitely think “that’s nice – they remembered my birthday” and it gives me a good feeling about them even though we may not have spoken for a while.
So what do you call about when you have nothing to say?
Here are 3 things you can talk about to both candidates and clients.
What To Do When Making Client Calls
If you see news in the paper or on a website that may impact their company. If it’s bad news ring to say “I hope that it will not affect you too much”, if it’s good news ring to say “congratulations, great news for you” (do not feel compelled to ask if this will lead to job orders, it will undo the goodwill you have just built)
Everyone likes to be thought of as an expert at something, ask for insight on a particular market or regulatory change. Being humble enough to ask their opinion will demonstrate you are brave enough to ask if you do not know something (a trait that is perceived as being rare in a recruiter or sales person).
3: Money Saving Ideas
Provide information about other solutions than your own. Whilst you may be certain you are the best, in reality there are always a number of options open to your client. Personally I always spoke / advised on the importance of internal referral schemes and promoting jobs internally before using agencies. I am not sure how many took my advice but I am sure I benefited from my clients feeling that I knew I was only one of many options to help them hire.
What To Do When Making Candidate Calls
1: Market Research
Call about jobs that you have had that are not necessarily right but close. Candidates really appreciate knowing about roles that have been open but they were not spoken about. It helps them understand the relationship between skills and market salaries, and also may assist in changing their expectations.
2: Say Hi
Sometimes a call just to say “Hi, I’ve not forgotten about you” is all you need. Whilst you have many candidates to talk to, for the candidates they are trusting you and maybe one other with their career. Just calling to say “hi” reminds them you that understand that responsibility.
3: Share Leads
Sometimes you will see vacancies online or in the papers that you know your candidate is good for. It has never been easy to share these vacancy leads with your candidates. Your heart will be telling you that maybe you could pick that vacancy up, the reality is very different. Sharing knowledge of these roles with your candidates will deliver you a far greater return in terms of an “A” grade relationship based on trust and mutual support.
So what are you going to do?
To get started: Try looking back over all the candidates and clients you have met this year and pick 10 of each that you have fallen out of touch with and then pick up the phone
Ongoing: Try calling two or three people every day with “nothing to say”. You will be amazed at how quickly it will improve the relationships you have.
How do you approach calls when you have nothing to say?