The manner in which you open your marketing call remains the most important element of the call because in order to achieve success you need to accomplish a minimum of three things within the first 30 seconds:
- You must get your prospect’s attention. Nothing else matters if you do not gain their attention.
- You must eliminate or at least not create a “reflex rejection” — an automatic negative response to your opening statement.
- You must change the call from a monologue (you talk) to a directed business dialogue (they talk in response to your questions while you listen).
If you achieve these initial objectives, one of the following outcomes should be possible.
- You secure an opportunity to provide a service, e.g. a search/ job order, contract assignment or consulting options.
- You do not secure an opportunity to be of service at this time but determine when and under what circumstances to make a follow-up business development call/ contact.
- You determine there is no need for your service now or in the foreseeable future. However, the prospect does have long-term potential and you lay the foundation for a future business relationship.
- Although the prospect has no real potential to become a client, they may serve as a source of referrals or as a center of influence.
As important as the opening of your call may be, the manner in which you close it many times will create a more lasting impact on your prospect.
This is particularly true in those instances where you do not come away with an immediate opportunity to provide service. This is the outcome that most recruiters achieve on the majority of their marketing calls; therefore, it is imperative you know how to properly close the call.
The standard close is to establish a time and date for a follow-up call and to send/e-mail information about your company and services. In and by itself, there is nothing inherently wrong with this close. However, it is not memorable and certainly doesn’t separate you from the others who call and close in a similar manner.
The close of your marketing call provides an opportunity to offer value to your prospect in a unique and sometimes unexpected context.
The value I reference has more to do with your knowledge of those who function within your specialty than with your ability to put together a deal.
What most recruiters fail to appreciate is that starting with their first day in this business they are continually building a knowledge base consisting of names, contacts, company information, and industry specific intelligence, all of which have value under the right set of circumstances.
Perhaps the first time I realized this was when I overheard my five-year-old daughter tell a friend that, “My Daddy doesn’t know everyone but he knows people who know everyone.” Daily, over these many years, I am reminded of the truth contained in those words as I refer to my “Carefully cross-referenced network of contacts.”
Even though your marketing call is designed to elicit interest on the part of the prospect in using your services, many times that interest does not result in actual business. It’s in those situations where you need to know how best to use your knowledge base as a value-add when closing the call. Here are a couple of examples.
You have completed your directed business dialogue with the prospect, established a time and date for follow-up, and promised to send/e-mail information on your company/services.
“(Client’s name), keeping in mind that I am a recruiter who specializes in this industry, is there any particular background, skill sets, or experience that if I were to encounter a (name position title if appropriate) professional who possessed them, you would want me to call regarding their potential availability thereby providing you the ‘right of first refusal’?”
This marketing call close is one that we have used for many years. We’ve tracked our results when using it and consistently hit the following numbers.
Approximately, one in four times we have used it with a qualified prospect they identify a target for us even if it’s only to have the “right of first refusal.”
Approximately one in four prospects who identify a target for us, upon further questioning, indicate they are actively seeking someone like this at the present time (even when they had stated “no openings” earlier on the call).
When using this close, one in eight marketing calls that would have otherwise concluded without an opportunity for business, suddenly present that possibility.
That’s a statistically significant ratio that is also consistent for those recruiters we have trained to use this close.
Here is another marketing call close that can be used by itself or in conjunction with the above-referenced option.
“(Client’s name), from time to time you may have a problem, question, concern, or situation arise where objective third-party input would be helpful. When that occurs, even if it has nothing to do with recruiting, give me a call. I may not be able to provide the necessary input but, because of my carefully cross-referenced network of business contacts, the odds are pretty good I can put you in-touch with someone who can. Will you keep that in mind?”
Many times the prospect is surprised by this offer and may ask about its cost. I generally reply:
“It costs you nothing. What I’m trying to demonstrate is the potential value of using me as a resource.”
Although most prospects (hiring authorities) will not initially call me as a resource, almost all remember that I offered to serve as one. This comes up many times in my follow-up calls, particularly when I remind them of my offer. The key here is to be remembered, to be separated on a qualitative basis from the competition.
Most of our ongoing clients learn very quickly that we bring added value by serving as a resource. From “who do you know …” to potential merger or acquisition possibilities, serving as a resource for our clients has brought added value and strength to our relationship.
The best way to retain a client is to have them view you as absolutely indispensable to their continued success both as an organization and as a professional.
The most important element of achieving “indispensable” status with your clients is the consistency in which you successfully provide your services. However, knowing how to properly close your marketing calls can provide a very important first step to achieving that status.