Require the client to listen to a presentation.
“Oh Jeff, you sound so forceful!”
I really am about this. I’ll show you how to make that hirer listen!
Let’s start with the basics: It costs a hiring authority time, effort, and eventually, money, to hire a candidate. Initially, you compete with the inner thoughts and feelings occupying his or her attention. Then she has to relate your presentation to some prior experience to picture the candidate. As if that’s not enough, she also has to be patient. You’re slowly painting a picture, one brushstroke at a time. But it’s received hundreds of times faster.
There’s much that can be done to get the client to listen more attentively to a presentation. Placement is an art, not a science. Since you’re in charge of each brushstroke you paint, you control strokes and select the colors. This PTL is designed to show you the seven techniques.
1. Hit the Hiring Authority Right Between the Ears
Whether it’s education, experience or potential, immediately give the hiring authority a concise reason to hire the candidate.
I surveyed the presentations of recruiters one time, and found that over 80% of them went beyond two minutes of conversation without discussing the candidate’s qualifications. The subjects discussed (in order of frequency) were:
- The overall job market.
- The efforts to find a suitable candidate.
- The personalities of people in the hiring process.
- The former candidates presented.
- The candidate being presented.
This means that you’ve probably started out costing the client time, concentration, and patience in anticipation of risk by hiring. Bad news.
You need impact to place someone. Positive impact. You’ve got to blast through the inertia of the hiring process.
Start at the end. The purpose of the call. Something like:
Bob, I’ve just located a candidate with direct experience in digital data displays. Her career goals fit right in with the plans for development of the Company X software line.
Automatically, the rest of the discussion will focus on that specific candidate. You’ll examine the candidate’s experience and career goals with the hiring authority. Since you’ve already gone through the thinking process yourself, you’re in control. Just lead the hiring authority through the process.
Be patient . . . after all, it’s costing you time and money.
2. Objectify the Benefits Of Hiring the Candidate
Before you call, look carefully at the job order and find something that can be “objectified” (quantified).
When I first started touring for my book, How to Turn an Interview into a Job, a veteran talk show host pointed out that the most important thing I discussed wasn’t the techniques of interviewing. lt was the interview-to-offer ratio, and how the techniques could reduce it to 3-to-l. Did the 3-to-l ratio get people hired? Absolutely! Why? Because, using it as a “hook” got their attention. Without that, they wouldn’t use the techniques.
Sales success is the easiest to objectify, since it directly relates to the bottom line. But any candidate has a track record or future that can be objectified. Our IT candidate mentioned in the previous item can be painted like this:
Joan designed the software that has increased Company Y’s sales 23% over the past two years.
Be honest, but go for numbers. They’re always at the bottom line. As objective as you can get.
It’s easy for you to lose the hiring authority. We’ve already discussed the distractions competing for her time. You’ve showed her the picture on the box; the candidate working for the client. Now, you’re helping her paint by the numbers to get there. This is done by repeating.
The key to proper repeating is not to sound redundant. For example, if you opened with the words we used in item two, vary the dialogue with something like:
23% represents a massive increase in sales of Company Y’s software packages. Joan designed them.
Shades of color make the picture interesting. In How to Sell Your Ideas, Jesse Nirenberg points out:
By repeating, you can fill in the gaps in what the other person absorbed. But you have to be careful about repeating. It’s double-edged. If you just say again what you said before, you’ll annoy the other person and drive him to tune out. Not only will you sound dull, but the other person will think you consider him dense.
The art of questioning is best discussed in Closing on Objections by Paul Hawkinson, former publisher of The Fordyce Letter. Paul advocates the use of “tie-downs” to be sure the hiring authority isn’t finger-painting.
Here are the more common ones:
|Aren’t I/you/we/they?||Isn’t he/she/it?|
|Can’t I/he/she/you/we/they/it?||Isn’t that right?|
|Doesn’t he/she/it?||Shouldn’t I/he/she/you/we/they/it?|
|Don’t I/you/we/they?||Wasn’t I/he/she/it?|
|Don’t you agree?||Weren’t you/we/they|
|Hasn’t he/she/it?||Won’t I/he/she/you/we/they/it?|
|Haven’t I/you/we/they?||Wouldn’t we/he/she/you/we/they/it?|
They’re used like this:
- “Company X really has a lot to offer someone with Joan’s experience, doesn’t it?”
- “Isn’t she an excellent candidate for the position?”
- “Now that you know about Joan, wouldn’t it be a good idea to interview her?”
- “Her salary requirements are below what we thought you’d have to offer, aren’t they?”
The optimum way to use the tie-down technique is to write down as many questions with them as you think you can use during a presentation. Then read them into a recorder and play them back twice a day — every day — for two weeks to implant them in your subconscious. They’ll pop out automatically when you need them.
As mentioned with repeating in item three, Paul notes the danger of being too robotic with questioning:
Constant questioning can be grating, and if overused, can work against you . . . But questions] are necessary because selling is the art of asking the right questions to get the minor yes’s that allow you to lead . . . to the major decision and the major yes. The final placement is nothing more than the sum total of all your yes’s throughout the process. Your job, then, is to nurse the process along.
5. Emphasize the Risk Of Not Risking
Whenever you present a candidate, you put the hiring authority in a Catch-22 situation. If he hires, he can pay a placement fee (and much more) for a candidate who doesn’t work out. If he doesn’t, he’s got the same problem that existed before your call. Now, he has to take responsibility for a decision that can have a negative impact either way.
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As he listens, a part of him hopes you’ll convince him that you have the magic candidate. But another part hopes you’ll say something about background or salary requirements that enables him to reject the candidate. Let’s listen to how the conversation might go if the hiring authority expressed how he really felt;
You: “Joan designed the software that has increased Company Y’s sales 23% over the past two years.”
Bob: “That must have required a major investment by Company Y. We don’t have the budget for new software.”
You: “What are you worried about? Company X hasn’t increased sales at all in 10 years!”
Bob: “But if I sell management on hiring her, my neck will be in the noose if it doesn’t work out.”
You: “Not really. She’d still be an outstanding employee, and development of your present software is already six months behind schedule.”
Bob: “What if we can’t keep her challenged?”
You: “What if you don’t deliver the software at all?”
And so it goes . . . overcoming objections is the game, whether they’re stated or not. Give them reasons to hire, then give them reasons not to not hire.
6. Don’t Corner the Hiring Authority
One of the biggest mistakes in presenting a candidate is attempting to paint the hiring authority into a corner with logic. There is nothing logical about the hiring process. If you doubt this, just look at your last placement. The profile of your candidate probably bears little relationship to the original job order.
The key is to listen. Compliment the hiring authority on any sound reasoning. Reiterate any useful facts that he mentions. Let him answer the tie-down questions fully. Enjoy the dialogue even if you’re not directly convincing him. Relax. Present too quickly and you’ll place too slowly.
Experts in telephone sales call this creating a “thought feeling environment.” It is the most conducive atmosphere for arranging a successful interview.
7. Don’t Oversell the Candidate
Why do you tend to do this? Several reasons:
- You want to justify the results of your efforts.
- You know the hiring authority has all of those competing pressures, and want to finish the painting before he’s distracted.
- You are afraid the hiring authority will reject your candidate.
- You don’t like to be interrupted when you’re “right.”
- You want to get from the “open” to the “close” without skipping a meal.
It’s a dialogue, not two monologues. (Or even worse, one.)
If you work on these seven items, you’ll be perfecting the “art” of making placements.
Requiring the client to listen. What fun. It works!