July 16, 2018

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2 Minute Coaching - Swimming Downstream

This monthly article gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects.

Topic #1:

Swimming Downstream

There are two ways to offer solutions to your clients:

  1. Offer solutions that you think they need.
  2. Offer solutions that you know they want.

As an example, a car salesman may think I need a new car but in fact, I may only want to replace the tires right now. Trying to convince people that they need something that they do not think they need is a very difficult thing to do. It is much easier to ask them what they want and then sell a solution that matches their desires. Think of it as swimming downstream. Here are some questions that can help you assess what your clients want:

  • What keeps you up at night regarding hiring people?
  • What is your most difficult position to fill?
  • Are there other services (hourly research, background checks, testing, HR support) that you would like us to offer?
  • Are there any types of candidates that I should keep my eyes open for in the next 90 days?”

Topic #2:

Assess your prospects pre-conceived notions:

In the book, “The invisible touch”, Harry Beckwith states that it is human nature, whether Cowboys vs. Indians or Greeks vs. Non-Greeks, to be distrustful of each other. You might say that unfamiliarity breeds contempt. People’s nature is to be very cautious when they are hearing about a new service.

People tend to feel that they make a buying decision using logic but this is rarely the case. Generally speaking, what they actually do is make a decision about what service they are going to buy and then justify their reasons for it later on. So after they have decided, they will often interview a few recruiters just to make themselves feel better about the decision that they have already made.

So one of the best things you can do before entering a client meeting is to ask your prospect some pointed questions to assess what decisions they have already made about you and your competitors. Here are some examples of questions that will help you to determine where they stand:

  1. What qualities do you look for when selecting a search partner?

  2. What are your perceptions about us?

  3. What do you know about our firm?

  4. What strengths do you perceive our firm to have that led you to invite us to speak with you?

  5. How do you feel about our competitors?

This way you’ll know what pre-conceived notions they have about you and then you can address those ideas in a systematic way. But if you just move into a presentation without knowing what their pre-conceived notions about you are and what they’re looking for are, you may not even have a chance. It has been said that, “questions are the answer” and I believe that if you ask high quality questions, in most cases, people will be honest with you and let you know where you stand.

Asking these types of questions would almost certainly reveal the prospects misconceptions and will help you to influence his decision. Before you try to influence a prospects decision, find out what he’s already decided and why. Then end the meeting with this question: “Do you have any concerns about our ability to perform this search? If so, I’d like the opportunity to address them now.”

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is the Principal Consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a Coaching Company that provides Recruiting Professionals the Training, Tools and Systems to make More Placements with Less Effort. Gary offers several Free Special Reports on his website including, “$1 Million Time Management”, 15 Critical Candidate Questions” and “The 3 Things that Lead to Placements”. Get your copies now at