What is your purpose for being in this business? If you are like many recruiters, making money may be one reason that comes to mind. Making money is a positive goal that we all have, however, if you called up a potential client and said, "the purpose of this phone call is for me to make money" you would probably get a chilly response from that prospect. Making money is a goal but it should not be your purpose.
Goals vs purpose:
Confusion between goals and purpose are common but there are some key distinctions. A goal is something that has a beginning and an end. It can be quantified and measured. A purpose on the other hand is an overriding intention to act in a certain way. It gives meaning and passion to a companies work and is an ideal that can never be achieved in a final sense. It provides clarity as to what the companies mission is to the owner, employees and to the public and is a guidepost for decision making. Recruiters often get burned out when there is not vision for the company - going deal to deal without an overriding mission can become a drag.
What do people buy?
People buy the feelings that they expect to get from a product or service. When you buy a bottle of Wine (or anything for that matter) ask yourself "why" several times. Your first answer might be "because I enjoy the taste" and if I asked you, "why is that important?" you might say, "because I like the region it's from". If I kept asking you, "Why is that important?" eventually you would get to the point of saying, "...because it makes me feel good". It is the same answer whether you are buying a house, a car or a pet -- or recruiting services. As a sales professional you need to be aware that people buy the expected feelings that they will get by hiring you.
Purpose and buying:
If we know that people buy emotionally and that what they want is to feel good about what they purchase and about themselves, this gives us a clue as to the purpose for being in business. "The one minute salesperson" outlines a purpose that I've adapted here for recruiting firms:
"My recruiting purpose is to help my clients get what they want; good feeling about the service they buy from me and about themselves." If you called a potential client and said, "My recruiting purpose is to help my clients get what they want" as opposed to "My recruiting purpose is to make a lot of money" you can guess which would attract more people. Working with a purpose is an intention, an attitude and a commitment. It's about caring for your clients -- and they can already tell whether you do or not.
Again, goals are important and making a lot of money is a good goal to have. Setting goals for production, profit and activity is an important thing to do. However, goals without purpose or a client-centered mission, often leads to distrustful, transaction based client relationships. This also often leads to lower production and passionlessness (is that a word?) on the part of the firm owner and the recruiters working for him or her.
How having a purpose helps you bill more:
Recruiting with a purpose is not just a good idea for people who want to add value -- it's a practical way to hit your goals and make more money. Right now corporations are viewing search firms as a commodity and distinguishing yourself is harder than ever. Recruiters who have a mission to help their clients get what they want and need inspire greater loyalty from their current clients and are able to stand out from their competitors. This type of work style also generates better referrals and higher fees. If the client feels that all recruiters sound and act basically the same, what will make you stand out? It will be the comfort level that your prospect feels with you and their conviction that you are putting their interests first.