Make the Phone Your Friend: Focus On Results, Not Volume

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May 14, 2013
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

Today I have had a great morning on the telephone, I have:

  • Called my consultants for updates and offered my advice in a couple of areas they were struggling in;
  • Rang my key clients with updates (picked up a few new exclusive roles whilst doing so);
  • Chased a few candidates for interview feedback and was advised to call an excellent professional who is looking for a move (MPC for next week);
  • Spoken with various candidates who are all great matches for two urgent positions we are working on at the moment. One informed me of an interview he had attended recently with a client I have worked with in the past;
  • Chased a lead and have secured a new training session;
  • Made just six calls (to companies I have not spoken to before) on my MPC and arranged two telephone interviews.

I admit I loved every minute of it. All my calls were planned. I did not think for one minute I was making a sales call, but what did happen was I achieved results,. The calls reminded me how much I enjoy using the telephone; the results are instantaneous, not delayed waiting for a reply to an email.

So why do we not do this more, why are some recruiters these days not excited by the prospect of where the next phone call will lead them?

Most consultants through no fault of their own are too focused on their sales/call targets for that day, rather than on what they would like to achieve at the end of the calls.

The call is not enjoyed because their manager is breathing down their neck, listening in. If they are not closing the deal or coming away with an interview then it was not a good call.

I worked with a company a few years ago, which targeted consultants on the amount of hours they spent on the telephone. That the consultants’ calls were more quantity than quality did not seem to matter — a huge roar of approval would go up in the office when a consultant had been on the phone for four hours that day. And so the hatred for the telephone call begins.

Let’s shift our thinking; bring back the excitement of using the telephone. In our morning meetings let’s not say how many sales calls do you plan to make today, but what do you want to achieve today?

We need our consultants to make calls. We know that, but let’s look at this in a professional way rather than a sales way. Use the telephone to gain knowledge:

  •  Make calls to increase knowledge in your niche areas, developing a rapport along the way;
  • Organise a breakfast meeting to discuss recruitment in your area, and use this as a reason to call potential clients;
  • Do not ask clients if they have any vacancies, but discuss your MPC. If there’s then no interest ask for advice on who they think may be interested (new lead);
  • Call candidates back, update them on their job search. Remember so many of today’s candidates end up tomorrow’s clients;
  • When sourcing for a new vacancy, before you do anything else, call your current candidates to ask for advice and referrals;
  • Make reference calls; show potential clients what kind of service you can offer;
  • Update clients with progress on the vacancy they have placed with you. Doing this  could gain you more business. Arrange a visit, discuss another candidate, be referred to another department;
  • Call clients with candidates you have sourced.  Do not email them first, again building up a rapport and confidence.

The issue many clients have with recruitment companies is that we don’t keep in touch. Well, let’s start by keeping in touch. So bring back that update call, and then see what benefits come from it.

I think we have to change our way of thinking in today’s recruitment world.  That does not mean using the telephone less; it means using it more, but for the right reasons. Go on. Pick up the phone. Make a call. You never know where it will lead.

This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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