Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

A Recruiter’s guide to new business - Part 1

By Stuart Thomas, Recruitment Industry Specialist

If you’ve been in recruitment long enough, you will inevitably have heard some tired recruiter groan about how much they hate doing business development. You might even have been that tired recruiter who hates touting for new business. Getting on the phone and trying to convince an absolute stranger that they should even talk to you, let alone do lots of business with you, is hard, so we get it. But it doesn’t need to be something you drag yourself to kicking and screaming and it can be something that you even end up enjoying, you just need to go about it the right way.

Talk to the Business Development (BD) geeks

Believe us, every business has them. Because actually, some recruiters love doing BD and get their kicks by being out in the world convincing hiring managers and HR heads that they’re the right people for the job. If you can grab one of these unicorns in between BD meetings, because they’re forever going on meetings, then sit down and chat to them about their strategies and what works. They’ll also have some insider tips they’ve picked up along the way and hopefully their BD enthusiasm will be infectious, gearing you up for your next BD sprint.

The phone isn’t always the answer

This might be the most sacrilegious thing we’ve ever said, but it’s also the truest. The general approach towards business development is to start hammering the phones, and really, the only thing that will do is get your call stats up. Think about other ways you can approach the client first. Find out how your database can help you. Access Recruitment CRM is designed to work with your talent pools to keep them engaged. You can send an email before you pick up that phone and think about how you can engage them that way first. Your entire database is waiting to be spoken to and that might mean a separate email marketing series. It could be something witty, hilarious, informative or just downright interesting, but it should capture their attention first without being interrupted in the middle of their day. 

Add value

Before you start approaching the people on your BD list, think about the ways in which you can help them, before you start asking for their business. What value can your agency add? That might be net promoter scoring. It might be market insights. It might even be some information on their brand perception in the market. For example, you could ask fifty of your candidates what they think of your client’s brand, compile a small report, and send it off to the CEO or hiring manager of that company. Let them know you’ve done some research and hope you can help them with their employer brand as well as hiring strategies. All of a sudden, you’ve provided something tangible without just picking up the phone and asking for work like the fifty other recruiters who have probably called that day. It also shifts the dynamic a little bit so you’re not in such a vulnerable position.

Have all the conversations

This is a key one and strangely enough the one thing so many recruiters can forget. Just have conversations with people. About life, about the weather, their mother-in-law, their last holiday or if you’re in London, tube strikes. Anything that is not business related basically. You will find common ground, you will build relationships and soon enough people will be coming to you with their business because they’ve formed a bond. People essentially and fundamentally want to do business with people they know. It’s why referrals are such a powerful tool. They don’t want to go through the hassle of finding someone and then building a new relationship, so just be the person who has loads of relationships already. They will turn into leads eventually.

>Hear from our CRM specialist on why Access Recruitment CRM software can place more candidates quicker.

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