You’ve probably heard that it is not a good idea to pick low hanging fruit. My question is:
Why the hell not?
I enjoy picking low hanging fruit. It’s within easy reach and requires minimal effort. I don’t enjoy dealing with rickety ladders and having to stretch just to grab one little apple. I want to fill my basket with as much good stuff as I can, and have time left over to enjoy the fruit of my labor (pun intended).
Is there something inherently suspect about things that come easily?
Is there something inherently noble about things that require a lot of work? I don’t think so. If hard work alone defined success then surely every grave digger on the planet would be living large.
But let’s define our terms a bit. If by “low hanging fruit” someone means lowering their standards or working on sub-par searches with sub-par companies, then I’d agree – you should avoid those situations. If it is thought to mean laziness or sloppy work then again, I agree with those who say to avoid it.
But, if it means that you can shrink the effort and struggle required to work on good searches with quality companies then by all means- get out there and pick some low hanging fruit.
The Best Place to Find Low Hanging Fruit
Probably the most overlooked area where you can find some tasty low hanging fruit is within your current client base. Studies have shown that it is about 80% easier to get more business from existing clients than it is to get new business from new clients.
I’m going to repeat that statement because it’s truly profound:
It’s 80% easier to get more business from existing clients than it is to get new business from new clients.
If you are looking to move from say a $250,000 biller to a $500,000 biller the first place you should start is with the people who already know, like and trust you. Those three factors- know, like and trust– are essential to any successful sales process. Why not pursue opportunities where that stage of the process has already been developed?
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Explore the Role of Incentives in Performance Management
I often advise the recruiters and owners I coach to do the following:
- Make a list of every manager with whom you’ve made a placement.
- Make a list of every company you’ve made a placement with.
- Make a list of every candidate you’ve placed.
- Make a list of all companies who you have a signed agreement with.
- Make a list of every sister company of every company you’ve worked with.
- Make a list of every location of each company you’ve worked with.
- Make a list of all the managers at your client companies who you’ve not yet developed a real relationship with.
These contacts should be a part of your inner circle in terms of marketing. You should look for ways to add value for them via offering to do complimentary salary comparisons, providing articles and relevant reports, and being their “talent scout” in the market place. They should hear from you in some manner every four to six weeks.
This allows you to stay at the forefront of their thoughts so that they call you when they have their next opening. This doesn’t mean that you stop making sales calls to new prospects. It means that you pursue placements that are right under your nose before you pursue those that are across the street.
Other examples of high quality low hanging fruit: Getting more business from existing clients is just one of dozens of ways to find more placements with less work. To some degree working in this way is a mindset. Once you develop the mindset, you will start to develop “sonar” that will lead you to more and more ways to maximize your time and efforts.
Here are a few other examples:
- Become a master at securing top talent via referrals. This is the easiest, most overlooked way to slash the time you spend recruiting while increasing the caliber of your candidates.
- Form strategic alliances with “centers of influence” who can introduce you to new prospective clients. Offer to pay them a percent of the billings from that client for a period of 12 months.
- Become a farmer, not a hunter: Hunters are looking to kill things in one shot. Farmers are more interested in executing a process. Many recruiters shoot themselves in the foot by giving up on a prospect after two or three calls. Prospects need at least seven exposures to your service before they buy (on average). Follow up is the key to effective marketing.
Do these tips sound simple? If so, that’s because they are. But they work, and they work with less effort from you once you make them a discipline.
George Orwell once said, “To see what’s right in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” But it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Do yourself a favor, get out there and pick some low hanging fruit.