Why 95% of Recruiters fail in sales….

95% of all sales people make the 1st call to a prospective client.

It is a well known fact that a fundamental element of the 360 degree recruitment role is sales – The ability to develop new business with existing, lapsed and new clients…..

It is a lesser known fact that approx 95% of recruiters fail to realise their potential within this facet of their role. Now here comes the science part …..
95% of all sales people make the 1st call to a prospective client (which does beg the question ‘What are 5% of sales people doing if it isn’t selling?’)

50% make the 2nd call

25% make the 3rd call

15% make the 4th call

10% make the 5th call and only 5% of all sales people make the 6th follow on call and they take 85% of the new business in any market.


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Statistically speaking it will take on average 6 – 7 separate calls to a prospective client to create a buying relationship.

Add in social media/emails/marketing literature etc and it will average at somewhere between 15 – 30 separate ‘touches’

Recruitment is a very complex service to sell – In fact we are selling a concept of a service: ie how much more improved we could make their recruitment processes, but they will only know this first hand if the client takes the plunge and tries our service…. Very complex. In order to sell such a concept we need to establish trust… and this wont (99% of the time) happen within the 1st call.

Have a think about your own target client list? How many of them have you never followed up with? Do you make an effort to follow up, and if so, how many times do you follow up before you give up? How many companies are sat on your database that had one call from you and were then forgotten about?

Health Warning! Now, please do not take this to mean that we should start maniacally spamming our clients with boring sales pitches – as that doesn’t do anyone any favours and will do nothing to make you stand out from your competition. Pick the content for your ‘touches’ wisely and make it of value… Here are my top tips:

  1. Be Consistent! – I cant stress this point enough – Plan your touches in advance! This does not have to take a long time, just a quick 10 minutes can be enough to map out a plan for the first few ‘touches’ which are a blend of calls, information of value, social media touches etc. Use a reminder system such as your CRM system/Outlook/Diary to plot the ‘touches’ in for each potential client so that you don’t forget.
  2. Be Different – I have lost count of the number of recruiters who consistently call the same Client (well done for getting that far!) with ‘Hi, just touching base, have you got any vacancies yet?’ Let’s be honest, if someone called you every week/month with the same old repetoire it would get a bit boring, and annoying wouldn’t it? You will create much more resonance and sustain the touch system over a longer period of time if you can inform them of something of value that they didn’t already know, or give them something of value that they didn’t have before (particulary if it is free!) For example market information/articles/white papers/industry survey results/recruitment advice/costing down guides/ networking events in their area etc – All of which is accessible through our good old social media feeds and quite easy to find, given 20 minutes a day.
  3. Refer to tip 1!
  4. Think around corners – 15 – 30 touches does not mean leaving 15 – 30 voicemails and emails for a contact and getting no response. Try the ‘3 strikes and out’ technique: If you haven’t managed to speak with the decision maker within 3 attempts, identify alternative points of contact/contact details and try that instead. Review your progress with each prospective client regularly.
  5. Multiply your points of contact to maximise your success – Identify multiple decision makers and/or influencers within your prospective clients and engage with each of them. The more points of contacts within each company the greater your chances of success.

Happy Hunting!

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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