Recruitment is no longer about ‘Spin Selling’.
Recruitment companies that still use this methodology are, according to a global leading Sales expert, behind the curve.
Matthew Dixon is a leading expert in sales methodology and author of ‘The Challenger Sale’. His team have performed the largest known study on sales methodologies, analyzing 6,000 multi-industry sales-reps.
His research suggests the performance gap between consultants that adopt The Challenger Sales methodology and those that do not, can range from 59% up to 200%.
Below are the 6 attributes that according to this research, make a top-performing Recruitment Consultant:
6 Unique Attributes of Top Performing Recruitment Consultants
Offer clients unique perspectives on their business
Have strong two-way communication skills
Know the client’s value drivers
Identifies economic drivers
Are comfortable discussing money
Can pressure the client
Let us take a closer look.
Attribute #1: Offer clients unique perspectives on their business
Potential clients no longer have time for you to ‘understand challenges’, and then sell a solution.
The best salespeople now offer a unique perspective, upfront, about their clients’ business, that provides immediate value to them.
Matthew Dixon refers to this as ‘teaching for differentiation’.
The best way to do this is to stay on top of innovation in the industry or function that you are recruiting in.
Offering your clients information about their competitors – what they are doing better, how they are doing it, and how they can go about implementing it themselves – will go a long way to gaining their trust and pushing forward with a sales process.
To stay on top of innovation in your industry or function, it is a great idea to follow specialist podcasts. For example; Industry podcasts, Functional podcasts and Innovation podcasts (useful list to follow!).
Attribute #2: Have strong two-way communication skills
Two-way communication skills allow you to ‘teach for differentiation’ and convey unique perspectives.
This is possible through active listening and making relevant connections with your responses to your client.
Top-performing Recruitment Consultants move the conversation forward by responding in a purposeful way.
You can begin to practice active listening today. Do not be afraid to repeat and get clarity when you are unsure of something. Using probing questions and listening to what is being said is the best place to start.
There are 7 steps to active listening, check them out below:
Attribute #3: Know the client’s value drivers
Buying decisions in businesses are no longer made by one person.
There are now multiple stakeholders in any key decision, and all of them need to agree that is the right thing to do for the business.
This is called ‘consensus buying’.
Top-performing Recruitment Consultants know their clients’ stakeholders individual value drivers. By knowing these, they can tailor for resonance with these individuals - finding the right people within an organization and delivering them the right message to gain their buy-in.
The Graph below outlines the key drivers for decision-maker loyalty, and ‘Widespread Support for the Supplier Across my organization’ is the No.1 driver of customer loyalty.
Attribute #4: Identifies economic drivers
While understanding a business's value drivers is essential, it is also imperative to understand what is going on in the economy outside that business.
Those that track and assess industry and economic trends and current events are better equipped to understand its effects on their client's business. They will also be able to leverage that knowledge to seek new business opportunities in potentially untapped markets.
Educate your clients about industry trends and best practices that are adopted by their competition. It will help you gain credibility as a trusted advisor.
Attribute #5: Are comfortable discussing money
During the recruitment lifecycle, there will be conversations that are difficult to have.
A common example of this is money. You may be negotiating terms with clients or discussing salary expectations with candidates. Those who do not waiver or find discomfort in these conversations often thrive.
Discuss money early on in your conversations, it will save you headaches at the offer stage of a process.
This will help you assess if a client is worth your time investment, and if they are able to meet the candidate's expectations.
How can you become more comfortable discussing money?
Believe what you are selling is worth the price
Know what you are offering and know your client’s business
Do not oversell
If they try to negotiate…do not budge
Follow up after your initial conversation
Attribute #6: Can pressure the client
Assertiveness allows you to form credibility and push back during conversations.
Do this in a nonaggressive but direct fashion. As an industry expert, do not be afraid to express your opinion. If you base it on your expertise and past experiences, it will be well received.
There are two key ways to put pressure on your client.
Have the confidence that your service will benefit your client. This will make it easier to express your opinion.
Be comfortable in silence and uncertainty. You are more effective at pushing along the sales process.
Here is how being comfortable in silence can help you win in the sales process:
It allows time for prospects to comprehend your offer
Silence communicates genuine interest
It will help you stand your ground
Silence prompts prospective clients to reveal their true needs and concerns
It encourages prospective clients to lead the conversation
Silence pulls disengaged prospects back into the conversation
It highlights important points that your prospective client needs to understand
The diagram below outlines how to create Constructive Tension with your client by balancing teaching for differentiation, taking control of the sale, and tailoring for resonance.
What is Next?
You now know the 6 unique attributes of top-performing Recruitment Consultants. It is time to take the next step by implementing them in your day-to-day practice.
Success may not happen overnight, but it can begin to shape your future accomplishments today.