All of us are currently on the lookout for ideal candidates. It’s an omnipresent issue when you consider that “82 percent of workers are seeking new job opportunities.” There’s a good chance you can find someone to fit your business in any number of areas; online job boards, emailed resumes, but what do you do when you find the perfect recruit for your company working for your biggest client? This was a bridge I came to in 2016.
One of the first big clients my agency, Drive Social Media, signed was a local franchisee with five locations. For us, at the time, this was a huge win. Their billings helped push the agency to the next level. The owner of the business was a friend of mine, someone I partied with, hung with a lot, and shared a mutual trust.
My friend had a business partner, J.B. Of the two of them, J.B. was the conservative one. J.B. is a real dude. He was living to build this business. Everything he had was in that business. His strengths perfectly complimented my own.
Then one day by buddy came to me about his next marketing idea. He basically said, “look, I have $10,000 for this direct mail thing for the 4th of July.” His attitude was “We got the money to spend. It’s in the bank account. This is the plan, we are doing this.”
J.B. came to me and said, “please, dear God don’t let him do this.” So I told my friend to give Drive just $2,000 of the $10,000. We’d put together a Facebook ad, they can keep $8,000 remaining and chalk it up between the two of them. They would make way more money doing it my way than investing $10,000 in the direct mail.
He refused and charged full steam ahead with the direct mail campaign. It failed miserably, so miserably they couldn’t pay each other.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. J.B. was done and wanted out. Through our interactions I knew J.B. was the exact person I needed at Drive. J.B. is incredibly smart. He was one of those guys that you could talk to about any subject. I knew that was one of the big things my sales team at the time lacked.
I needed him to help push Drive to a level we couldn’t attain at that time. But, his business partner was a client, and more importantly a great friend of mine. I had to be tactful, respectful, and thoughtful.
Plant the Seed
Before I ever entertained the idea of hiring J.B. he approached me about shadowing me for a day and picking my brain. We sat together for three hours and talked about marketing and business. He didn’t say it, but I could tell he wanted to be a part of a different team. This was when I first planted the seed of him working at Drive.
Once you plant the seed and see there’s an opportunity there, you then approach their current employer and ask for a blessing.
“Sir, May I Marry Your Daughter?”
You must go about this in the most respectful way possible. A recent CareerBuilder Survey showed 42 percent of employers are worried they won’t find the person they need. If you truly want to secure a high need recruit in this manner, you have to step out on a limb and ask the other owner’s permission first. If you ask the person that you want to hire and then the owner, it looks sketchy.
It’s very important to above all else make sure that you don’t hinder your client relationship, or hinder your business relationship when trying to make an acquisition of talent. Yes, the hire is important, but the business relationship, and your business’ reputation are more important than one employee. Show the other owner the same respect you would want.
Hire Them, Maximize Their Potential
When you recruit an employee from a client, there is a good chance they’re coming from a completely different industry. You hired them because they had an attitude and experience that filled gaps in your business. You’ve gone through a lot of trouble and personal stress to secure this hire, you can’t fumble at the one yard line. You must train them to reach the full potential that drove you to recruit them in the first place.
I trained J.B. myself. I pretty much locked him in a room every day and made him memorize the words to our sales pitches. Then, once he could say the words, I taught him what the words meant. I made personally sure he grew into the exact employee I needed. I knew he had the attitude, work ethic, and aptitude to succeed. I needed to make sure he received the exact industry knowledge to succeed in the manner I, and more importantly, the agency needed him to.
If you find the perfect recruit on a client’s payroll, follow these steps to the letter and you could finally fill the gaps in your business to drive it to the next level. You owe it to yourself and your business.
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