My top tips for business development planning.
- READY – Ensure that you have a target client list which is made up of various sized businesses within your industry (and geographical) sector. Most recruiters will tend to try and approach the big organisations (BBC, Google etc) first. The bigger the Company the harder they will be to get in to and you don’t want to starve yourself in the meantime… I would advise approx 150 – 200 target clients with 5 medium sized businesses for every 1 large organisation that you are approaching (this is called the HUB and SPOKE model – Think of the hub and spokes on a bicycle wheel and that’s how it would look). Using your database or an excel spreadsheet means you can list them all and then track all communications in one place. Ensure that you add dates to your tracker so that you know time-scales between communications. Statistically speaking it will take between 7 – 10 separate communications with a company to engage them so consistency is key! More on this in later blogs….
- AIM – Know who you are calling. If they are not the MAN (Money, Authority, Need) then they aren’t the ultimate person to speak to. However, in saying this I would also suggest that you identify multiple points of contact within each Company. Engaging with more than one point of contact will increase your chances of establishing a relationship with that business in the long run over a quicker period of time. Identify the ultimate Decision Maker (Director or ‘Head of’) along with the main Influencer (Manager/HR/Recruitment Managers) and plan consistent and valuable communications with each one.
- FIRE – When engaging with a potential Client think about how many calls/emails that person may have had from other recruiters before you that day/week. How can you make yourself sound different? What will make you stand out? Imagine you are the Client for a minute – What would make you sit down and listen? I call this the ‘double take’ pitch and it wants to be no longer than 10 – 15 seconds – With a question at the end to engage the client and open the dialogue. Do your research beforehand and try and tell them something that they didn’t know previously (research, industry news, candidate feedback – Be creative). The minute you can inform them of something that interests/adds value to them that they didn’t already know, you become interesting to them and create resonance…. More so than the other 25 recruiters that day with some luck! In addition one quick tip – Selling a recruitment service is different to selling other things like pens/air conditioning units etc…. People buy from people, not features of a service that they cant see/hear/feel, so be personable when you are business developing… Allow these people the time needed to get to know and like you enough to want to work with you… and if this does not happen in the first communication then keep trying … Business development is a marathon, not a sprint!
I will be writing a full blog on how to create a consistent and valuable business development approach – I call it the ‘Touch System’ – In a couple of weeks
Thanks for reading!