It’s a well known fact that cold calling is one of the lesser liked activities of today’s recruiter…. It begs the question, should we even be making cold calls in this era? Are clients receptive to it, or put off by it?

One argument against business developing via the phone is that Clients do not like to be put on the spot by a call from a Recruiter, and that an introduction via social media would be a better starting point. However, looking at it from a Recruiters point of view, when you call a potential Client you get the chance to overcome objections immediately, and sell your services in based on what you have ascertained are the Clients needs’ during the call. Personally I think you can mix the two to create a really good strategy:

A Client Company is pretty unlikely to give you their business on that first phone call/email as they do not know you or your business. Equally they may not be recruiting at that given moment and therefore have no need of you. The ONLY way to overcome both of these situations is to plan multiple ‘touches’ to each potential client over a period of time so that they get to know you and your business and come to like/trust you and begin a business relationship.

Now that might sound silly – Of course all recruiters do that anyway! Bear in mind that only 50% of sales people ever make a 2nd follow up call to a potential client, falling to only 5% who make a 6th follow up call to that same potential client (this 5% then subsequently take around 85% of the business in any market). Have a think about your own target client list? How many of them have you never followed up with?

So to come back to your question, I think that the question should not be which method do I use, but in what order am I going to use all of the methods available to me to create a long term approach to my potential clients…. That way you can use a blend of calls/emails/networking/meetings/social media, hopefully ensuring that you keep the ‘powers that be’ happy and also giving yourself a really interesting a varied business development strategy.

Health Warning! Now, please do not take this to mean that we should start maniacally spamming our clients as that doesn’t do anyone any favours and will do nothing to make you stand out from your competition. Pick the content for your ‘touches’ wisely and make it of value…

Be Different– You will create resonance if you can inform them of something of value that they didn’t already know, or give them something of value that they didn’t have before (particulary if it is free!) For example Market information/ white papers; industry survey results; recruitment advice; costing down guides, networking events, or good articles etc – All of which is accessible through our good old social media feeds.

Be interested – Ask questions, find out about them, their business, their culture and their needs and problems. Don’t just bark USP’s down the phone – People buy from people!
Be consistent – Plan your strategy in advance: What are your objectives for each client and how can you plan to get there? This does not have to take a long time, just a quick 10 minutes can be enough to map out a 3 month plan of ‘touches’. Use a reminder system such as your CRM system/Outlook/Diary to plot the ‘touches’ in for each potential client.