One mistake we have seen recruiters make is they forget to pay close attention to the buying process of prospects and candidates. As a result, they not only lose great opportunities, they waste valuable time by taking way too long to “close”.
Here’s a new year’s resolution idea for you:
Resolve to match your recruiting process with how your “customers buy”.
Whether you are talking with a prospect or candidate, be sure you have a clear picture of how they will make their decision about a career move. Their “buying process” begins with needs. You will make a huge (think: “rookie”) mistake if you forget to begin your process by understanding the powerful drivers of change.
For your active candidates, don’t assume because they have applied that they are a perfect fit. Use great diagnostic questions to uncover key needs, and then listen carefully to probe and clarify what is being said.
With your passive candidates, it’s even more important to spend time — especially early in the process — and discover what’s important to them when it comes to a career move. After all, without any compelling reason to change, people are going to be highly resistant to your attempts to “sell them” on your great opportunity.
Even the most attractive employer or career move must be sifted through the “buying criteria” of your prospects. The biggest mistake inexperienced sales people make is they skip this step and move too quickly into “pitching” a product. When this happens, run the very real risk of losing opportunities very early in the engagement.
In our experience with recruiters, we often hear them doing the usual “pre-qualification” — asking lots of fact-finding questions. But the problem is these fact-finding questions (typically focused on past experience or work availability) shed little or no light on how prospects or candidates will make a career decision. As a result, recruiters run the risk of being out of step with the buying process. And when you are out of step, you will — at best — damage your relationship.
When you begin with your prospect’s decision-making process in mind, it is much easier for you to begin to establish yourself as a “trusted adviser” in their buying process. As a trusted adviser, your credibility is enhanced, and you will likely encounter fewer objections. In addition, you might even get an opportunity to influence how the decision will be made. For sales professionals, this is the “brass ring” to grab!
Another benefit of keeping in step with your prospects and candidates buying process is that you will be less likely to lose your rock stars to the competition. If you can be a trusted adviser, your prospects (even your passive candidates) will be far less likely to “shop around”.
Finally, here are a few recommendations to help you avoid the costly mistake of misreading (or being out of step with) your prospect’s buying process:
- Resolve to begin your conversations by focusing on what’s important to your prospects and candidates.
- Hold off on talking about your opportunity until you have developed a complete list of the things that are most important to your prospects.
- Spend more time questioning and listening and less time talking — especially early in your engagements.
- Be careful about moving too quickly. Seek to understand and resolve concerns and hesitations before “selling” or pitching positions.
- Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Think of the things that you might be concerned about — or need — in order to make a good decision.
Think of yourself as a “buying coach” instead of a seller. And as a coach, your first job is to collect good information before making recommendations or adjustments. As the old saying goes, “When we know better, we sell better.”
Want to be serious about starting your new year in step with your prospects? Check out our sales skill training for recruiters — designed to help you ensure you are a trusted adviser to your prospects!
Image courtesy of Dr. Joseph Valks/freedigitalphotos.net