Monthly Archives: May 2014

Recruiters: 3 Tips to help you sell without sound “salesy”

One of the common complaints we’ve heard from recruiters when we do sales training is that they “don’t want to sound like a sales person.”  sleezy sales guy Grant Cochrane

In some ways, I do understand this concern. Not all sales professionals have conducted themselves in a way that earns trust and respect.

But let’s face it. Successful recruiters know that recruiting means being able to sell. I’d like to share 3 tips to help you grow your own recruiting excellence and enhance the candidate/prospect experience without sounding “salesy“.

Tip #1: Know how to move a buyer-focused sales process forward

Great sales professionals know how buyers make decisions and can translate that knowledge into an effective sales process that efficiently moves prospects forward. Instead of wasting time with poor questions or ineffective closing tactics, great sales professionals (and great recruiters!) know that selling is about movement.

Make a point to have a “movement” goal in mind for each call. Think about what your prospect or candidate needs to move to the next step in their decision-making process. Try thinking about your own decision-making process when it comes to making a purchase. What do you need in order to move to the next steps when deciding to buy a product or service? Keep these steps in mind as you intentionally move your prospects and candidates forward.

Tip #2: Do a great job of qualifying prospects early on your calls

Are you sure you are spending your time exclusively with prospects and candidates who are a good fit for your position or company? Too often, sales gets a bad name because of poor prospecting techniques. Instead of asking great qualifying questions and listening carefully to what’s important to prospects, ineffective sales people resort to “pushing” people into buying decisions – often with gimmicky closes or price-slashing offers.

Be sure you are asking the right qualifying questions and ensuring that you are spending time with prospects or candidates who potentially might be a great fit. If you get lots of pushback about salary or other key aspects of the position, consider the possibility that you are spending time with someone who is not a good fit.

Instead of running back and forth – trying to satisfy endless salary (or other) objections, be careful to spend lots of time up front on your call with key, qualifying questions. You will be better off in the long run to “lose fast” by gracefully stepping away from prospects or candidates who seem to be asking you to “give away the store.”

Tip #3: Know how to create healthy discomfort

“Old school selling” often relied on intimidation or scare tactics to try and create a sense of urgency. When I was in sales, we were told that creating “fear, uncertainty and doubt” (called “FUD”) would get prospects to purchase our products. But once again, these tactics certainly can backfire and give sales a bad name.

Today’s sales professionals know that “pain leads to change”; however, they know how to create a “healthy level of discomfort” with “status quo”. They understand how to raise the right questions or offer the right information at the right time – all aimed at helping customers make good buying decisions.

Most people are not going to make a big decision – especially a career decision – unless they are convinced that the current situation is “painful” enough. As a recruiter, you must develop your ability to identify and clarify the things that motivate prospects and candidates. Instead of creating fear or intimidating prospects, use great questioning and listening skills to help them gain valuable insight into the implications of career decisions.

Prospects appreciate someone who can help them think through important decisions. They also appreciate sales people – and recruiters – who keep their best interests at heart. That means helping them clarify their thinking and needs/wants/fears before “pitching products”. Nothing is more of a deal-breaker than the sales person simply “hawking a product” with the hope of receiving a fat commission check at the end of the month.

So there you have it – great selling techniques that don’t rely on intimidation, pressure, or gimmicks.

Great selling – and great recruiting – require great questioning and listening skills as well as great “product knowledge”. Always keep your customer’s buying process in mind and keep your focus on helping your prospect or candidate achieve their goals, while minimizing the risks or uncertainties associated with any change process.

Happy selling!

image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /