Is That JO Really A Priority For Your Client? Here’s How to Tell

Many top producers in our industry owe much of their success to the fact they focus their time, energy and resources on working with clients who are truly sincere about receiving the staffing solutions only they can provide. These top producers know that the client’s sincerity is critical to establishing an effective working relationship and ultimately, to the execution of an efficient process for delivering the required results.

In my early years in this business, I was fortunate to learn from a manager who understood the importance of qualifying the client’s true level of sincerity. Since that time, I have learned many additional approaches to qualifying sincerity.

Nevertheless, one of the best methods was taught to me by my first manager. For me, it has withstood the test of time. This approach centers on asking the client a key question.

When you and your client have identified a specific need on which they want you to work, you ask the following question: “Is the priority you place on filling this position of such a nature that we should arrange our schedules to meet tomorrow morning (afternoon) in your office to discuss it in more detail?”

A variation of this question for those of you who are not in a position to visit your clients face-to-face might be: “Is the priority you place on filling this position of such a nature that we should arrange our schedules within the next 24 hours to allow for a conference call at which time we can go into more detail?”

If the client’s response is “no,” ask them “Why not?” They are either not sincere about working with you, or this specific opening is not a high priority. However, the client may ask why this meeting or in-depth phone discussion is necessary. In that case you might respond with one of the following:

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  • In order to achieve the results you’re seeking, we need to complete the same level of due diligence at the beginning of the process as we will need to do when we evaluate potentially qualified candidates. To do otherwise would compromise our process and decrease the likelihood of a positive result. Do you understand where the value is for you in this type of an approach?
  • To begin this process without all the information we need to complete our search properly would not be in your best interest. Do you have any questions on why we recommend this approach?
  • Put yourself in my position for a moment. If our roles were reversed, would you be willing to commit your resources to undertaking a search before you had all the information you needed to complete it properly?
  • Over the years, our clients have found this meeting (in-depth discussion) to be a logical first step in the process of establishing our working relationship. It also helps ensure that all our resources are properly focused in order to achieve the desired result within an acceptable time frame. Does this seem like a reasonable approach to you?

The above are merely examples of questions you could ask a reluctant client. Of more importance is understanding the concept behind the words. If the client is unwilling to meet and/or have an in-depth telephone discussion at the beginning of the process, do not proceed.

Think about it. If you can’t get the client to properly respond at this critical point, what leads you to believe they will respond in a timely and appropriate manner later on in the process?

If you’re interested in consistently achieving top performance, you must learn how to concentrate your time, effort and resources with those clients who are truly sincere about working with you. Since “actions speak louder than words,” ask your client to take an action step (face-to-face meeting or in-depth phone discussion) with you at the beginning of the process. This is one of the best approaches to take for identifying their true level of sincerity.

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and emails are most welcome.

Recipient of the Harold B. Nelson Award, Terry Petra is one of our industry's leading trainers and consultants. He has successfully conducted in-house programs for hundreds of search, placement, temporary staffing firms and industry groups across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, England, and South Africa. To learn more about his training products and services, including PETRA ON CALL, and BUSINESS VALUATION, visit www.tpetra.com. Terry can be reached at (651) 738-8561 or click to email him.

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