June 24, 2018

Jobseekers: Sign In | Sign Up Recruiters
  InFocus Newsletter Newsletter archives

Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Biggest Sales Mistake Ever

Hi Scott,

I sent you an email a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get a response. I was reaching out to see if you can help me contact the correct person in regards to any current or future open positions within IT or Development.

Thanks for your help!

Really? Is that the best you have? This is what makes me furious, not that I’m on a spam list, but that someone really thinks this is going to work. It goes against everything I have ever learned and everything I have ever taught to those in the profession of selling recruiting and staffing services.

Let’s start with the “I didn’t get a response.” That means, “Pack your bags because I’m taking you on a guilt trip.” I ignored your email because it was screened out through my spam filter.

Here are some key concepts that will help you receive a much better response from a sales prospect:

1. Remember that people only do what is in their own best interests. Nice people don’t return phone calls anymore. And they especially delete seemingly valueless emails without a second thought. Click. You’re done. You have to offer something in your message that at least gives the hope of value. Any reference to your own needs (I need validation that you received my previously-sent email) will be ignored.

2. Sales attempts with cold prospects? Really? This worked in 1995 when I started selling recruiting services, but in today’s uber-competitive landscape, they have little value. Remember that there are five paths for getting business, and the avenues at the top of the list below have a higher probability of success, and those at the bottom are less likely to give you a return for your efforts:

1.Existing Clients
2.People who know you
4.People who have heard of you
5.Cold Calls

Start with number one, then go to number two, and so on. Make your lists based on the odds of success in generating business. If you do this, then you’ll rarely make it to category number five.

Two weeks ago I keynoted at TechUSA’s annual sales meeting and shared this with their team of 200 recruiters. It was exciting to see so many people who were new to the business. I really enjoyed knowing that I shaved off at least five years of their learning curve by introducing them to this idea.

3. If you have to make a cold call, start with a specific solution. If you are selling fire extinguishers and you see that your prospect has a fire on the third floor, then you have a high chance of getting a sales meeting. Find some sort of immediate and tangible benefit and start with that. Make it specific, make it about them, and focus purely on solving that one immediate problem.

Bonus tip: Remember that your prospects don’t need another friend. Don’t expect them to give you ‘relationship status’ on the first attempt. You have to earn the right to build a relationship. Once you do, then everyone will be happy with your efforts to earn their business.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Love

Scott Love is an expert on influence and high level selling. In addition to running a successful legal search firm, he is a popular keynote speaker at sales meetings for all types of sales organizations. Companies that want to increase their influence with high-level prospects hire him to speak at their sales meetings and conventions. To learn more how you can gain more influence with high-level clients, visit his website at