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The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Joe Pelayo

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he "found every way to fail in the recruiting business." After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States. Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network! which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly free newsletter called "The Network," sent to 50,000 recruiters and executives, and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the brand-new training system for recruiters 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! Joe is available for speaking and training recruiters worldwide, and can be reached through email at Joe@jpspeaking.com. His website is www.jpspeaking.com.

Articles by Joe Pelayo

TFL archives

Superman and the King



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I did my first “Superman” recently. I had never done one. Have you ever done one? I had heard for years, all kinds of elaborate and exciting tales about recruiters doing Superman. But as for me, I had never done one. Until now…

I was backing out of the garage at my house when the phone rang. It was the Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of a four billion dollar company in Houston, Texas.

“Joe, this is Mary,” she said, “Executive Assistant to Jim King.” She continued, “Mr. King would like to meet with you today. Are you still planning on being in the Houston area today?”

I’d had been trying to reach this guy for weeks.

“Yes, I’ll be doing a training sessioon tomorrow for a very successful recruiting firm in Houston. I’m backing out of my driveway en route to the airport right now, as we speak,” I said.

“He’d like to see you today. Can you come in this afternoon?” she asked.

“I think so. I am arriving at 4:30, how far are you from the airport?”

“Hold on,” she said.

“Mr. King can see you at 6:00. That should give you plenty of time to get here. If you’re late he said that’ll be OK; he’ll just stay until you get here, Joe. Will that work?” she asked.

“Yes. I’ll see you then.” I said.

At the airport, there was a delay on the baggage, so while everyone waited for their bags, I went to the rental car counter and got my car keys. Peter Lefkowitz once said, “Sometimes when everyone else zigs, you gotta zag!” Then I ran back to get my baggage. Some people were complaining the luggage was slow, so I moved back out of hearing distance. I didn’t want to listen to people complaining on my way to my big meeting. Besides, it’s always good to get out of earshot when you hear complainers. Earl Nightingale said, “We become like those who we hang around.”

My luggage came off and I grabbed it and dashed off to the Men’s room. I selected the handicapped stall so I’d have extra elbow room. I opened my luggage and changed into my best suit. I emerged and looked in the mirror to straighten my tie. I was excited and I smiled at myself – my first Superman! I went out, got my rental car, plugged the address into the navigator, and drove.

I smiled at every single person who came out, just in case they were Jim King. My client finally emerged wearing an expensive suit, and a very white, very pressed shirt, and a conservative tie. I smiled…

“Hi, Jim!” I said.

“Hi, Joe!” he said.

“Thanks for coming in on such short notice. I understand you just flew in.”

He walked me back to his office.

He told me about his career there; he had been there 18 years. Then he talked in-depth about the job he needed filled, and how important it was to him. We talked for what seemed like an hour or so. Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “Joe, this position is so critical for us and we have to have a superstar for this. Is this a search that your firm would be good for?” he asked.

I looked him as solidly in the eyes as I could and said, “Yes.”

I had been trying to live the philosophy I learned from one of the greatest recruiters of all time who said, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.”

“Yeah,” or “Yep,” or “I think” wasn’t gonna get it with this guy, or with hardly any high level executive for that matter. What they want from us recruiters in those moments is a feeling of certainty.

Then he paused and asked me, “How long will it take, Joe?”

“Sixty to ninety days.” I said immediately and without hesitation.

We talked on…

The room fell silent and then he slapped the palm of his hand on the desk and said, “Welp!” as if to indicate to me it was time for us to wrap up.

Suddenly I remembered something I had learned, somewhere along the way, it came to me like a clear voice on the inside: WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING, DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO GET OUT OF HIS PRESENCE, ITS RUDE TO THE KING AND YOU MIGHT JUST MISS OUT ON A KING-SIZED OPPORTUNITY. ALWAYS GIVE THE KING THE HONOR OF DISMISSING YOU – DO NOT WALK OUT ON THE KING!

I looked behind him and asked, “Jim, are all those ALL your children?” Emphasizing all, I had seen so many pictures and faces. He had one of those newfangled electronic picture frames that kept flashing different pictures.

“Oh no,” he said. “Those there are my kids and that one there, he’s my grandson. That one there is my granddaughter… That’s my niece. That’s my family there… That’s my oldest son… He got me this thing for Christmas,” he explained, pointing to the picture frame.

“I was wondering if those were ALL your kids.” I smiled.

“Nope,” he smiled back. “Just the two of them.”

It got quiet again and awkward I was about to get up but the voice was back.

WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING, DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO GET OUT OF HIS PRESENCE…

It got real quiet.

He pointed to another picture of a college basketball player and said, “That’s another picture of my son.”

“A basketball player?” I asked.

“Yes.” he said.

“I love basketball. I’m a Warriors season ticket holder.” I said.

“Really? That’s great. I used to go to a lot of Rockets games.” he replied.

We waxed on about the Warriors, the Houston Rockets and basketball; jock talk.

Suddenly he switched back to full-out work mode.

“Joe,” he said, “did Bob (The HR Director) show you this part of our website?”

Mr. King showed me…

We talked and we talked and we talked.

Then again he slapped the desk with his hand but this time got up. I was being properly dismissed and the voice was gone, besides, we’d been talking for so very long now. I didn’t dare look at my watch, during the meeting, but what time was it, I wondered. He walked me all the way out to the lobby. We had talked for over two and a half hours!

I flew home.

Superman got the search.

Look up in the sky, it’s Superman!

Nope, better – it’s a Headhunter.

Not every meeting needs to be two-and-a-half-hours, but don’t fear silence and always let the King dismiss you.

There are a lot of other lessons here. How many can you identify? Break it down and email me. The best email gets a free copy of 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! – a $795.00 value. I look forward to hearing from you. Bill/Be well.

Joe Pelayo enjoys helping recruiters break through to new levels of success. He is speaking and training recruiters worldwide. His training system for recruiters, 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! – can be found at www.jpspeaking.com; click on the “For Recruiters” tab.

Joe began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17 when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe still works an active desk. He is a long-time member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the book, Work Your Network!, which has received rave reviews from recruiting industry leaders such as Paul Hawkinson, Terry Petra, Bill Radin and many others.

TFL archives

Doubling Down on Your Best Searches…



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I’m writing you from the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. A friend of mine is turning 40 this year and he invited my wife and six other couples for a first-class 40th birthday bash. I’ll be following Lou’s footsteps this year, turning the big 4-0 myself. It should be a good age, and as my coach Rich Fettke told me, “You can still play basketball and you will finally start to get a little bit of respect in business.”

Here’s another way to get more respect in the recruiting business: we’ll call it doubling down on your best searches. I’ve noticed something that so many recruiters all around the world do. First, they get a good search assignment and get three sendouts. Then, they call it “covered” and then they go looking for something else to do. After all, we are recruiters; we’re busy, right? “Lots to do!” they say… And so, they go off to the next search assignment, to try and get three more sendouts.

Listen, if you just got three sendouts somewhere, chances are that’s your hottest search right now! Instead of looking for something else to do, double your efforts on THAT search and go for three more sendouts.

You will then go from a 40% to 50% chance of filling that search to an 80% to 90% chance. You will endear yourself to your clients, block the competition, and you’ll get double the repeat business.

Until next month.
Be Well!

Joe Pelayo enjoys helping recruiters break through to new levels of success. He is speaking and training recruiters worldwide. His training system for recruiters, 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings! – can be purchased by visiting www.jpspeaking.com and clicking on the “For Recruiters” tab.

Joe Pelayo is a true “self-made” man. Joe began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17 when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk. He is a long-time member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the book Work Your Network!, available on Amazon.com, which has received rave reviews from recruiting industry leaders like Paul Hawkinson, Terry Petra, Bill Radin, and many others.

TFL archives

Can I Herd My Cool Cats and Still Be the Top Dog?



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I’ve recently returned from speaking at the National Association of Personnel Services Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. My speech topic might be of interest to you if you are an owner/manager who’s also running your own desk. Here are a few highlights from “Can I Herd My Cool Cats and Still Be the Top Dog?”

Create Reputations for Your Recruiters

When I joined Ryals & Associates, my boss Paul Austin spread a rumor about me. I was supposed to be this Superstar Great Recruiter/Big Biller. I had billed $100K, which was okay in 1988 but far from superstar level. But Paul had spread this rumor so well that when I arrived, everyone said to me, “You must be the new superstar Paul has been talking so much about.” I had a choice: to explain to them I was not a superstar, or to quickly grow into my new “reputation.” I stepped up to my “reputation” and ended up doubling my billings and EARNING over $100K in 1989. What reputation are you creating for your recruiters? I think we need to speak life into the people who work for us and begin to create reputations they can live up to.

Eliminate Hairballs

I have a mentor named John Adams. He’s at least 20 years my senior, and his company is at least $20 million larger than mine. I try never to take advice from anyone more messed up than I am. But when people are $20 mil and 20 years ahead of me in life, I find myself VERY coachable! One day I was explaining the challenges I was having with one of my recruiters when John hit me with this little gem of wisdom. “Why don’t you just fire him?”

“You see, Joe,” he explained, “once you have started down that ‘coaching path’ with someone – not coaching to improve, but coaching to correct behavior – you only have a 50/50 chance of keeping the person, and most of the time if they do make it, they will be only average and never be a superstar for you. However, if you are any good at all in recruiting, you could fire them, start over, and have a 50/50 chance of hiring a superstar.

“Furthermore, Joe, if that person is not self-actualizing under you, they might never self-actualize under you. It is therefore your duty to the universe, Joe, to fire them and give them a chance to go to work somewhere where they might self-actualize. When you start down that ‘coaching path’ with someone, ask yourself, ‘If this person resigned tomorrow, would I be upset?’ If not, you probably need to help them to self-actualize somewhere else. (On someone else’s draw!) Like my good friend Jim Ashworth says, ‘Don’t be more committed to their success than they are.’ ”

Spend Your Time Where It’s Deserved, Not Where It’s Needed

Most managers spend the bulk of their time with their worst performers. You want to spend the majority of your time with your best performers.

Rewarding Your Best

We talked at length about incentive plans and how to hire and keep great recruiters. People stay when they are appreciated and it’s fun, and even more so when they have a stake in the game. Consider making your best recruiters “Partners.” Even a very small equity stake and “Partner” on their business cards can make them more likely to stay with you when the competition calls them or when the entrepreneurial bug bites.

Recommended Reading

There’s a list of recommended books for recruiters on my website http://www.jpspeaking. com; for management, I like these:

Good to Great, by Jim Collins
Topgrading, by Bradford Smart
GMP: The Greatest Management Principle in the World, by Michael LeBoeuf
1001 Ways to Reward Employees, by Bob Nelson

Joe Pelayo is available for speaking and training recruiters worldwide. He is the author of a brand-new DVD program for recruiters, “21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!” Add it to your training library today by visiting www.jpspeaking.com. His email is Joe@jpspeaking.com

Joe Pelayo is a true “self-made” man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe still works an active desk. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States. Joe is also author of the book “Work Your Network!” – available at Amazon.com – which has received rave reviews from industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and many others.

TFL archives

Good Questions to Ask Yourself



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I’m writing to you on the plane returning from the Pinnacle Society meeting in New Orleans, which was generously sponsored by Sendouts.com and your friends at The Fordyce Letter.

While there I had a very interesting conversation with executive search veteran Ralph Prostik, senior partner and founder of Boston Search Group. Ralph was MRI’s National Rookie of the Year in 1994, a Top 20 biller nationally in 1994, 1995, and 1996, and MR Boston Account Executive of the Year in 1995 and 1996.

He asked me:

- Do you feel you are good at what you do?
- Do you feel you are worth the fees that you charge?
- Do you feel you are among the best in the business, that the client is extremely well served in working with you? And that in working with you, they are actually working with one of the best recruiters in the business?
- Do you feel that your candidates benefit from a relationship with you?
- Do you get thank-you notes?
- Does it matter?

Worth thinking about, aren’t they?

There were a few other good questions, but I didn’t have a pen handy. Earl Nightingale said you should always have a pen handy. He said, “Ideas are like slippery fish; they need to be speared with the point of a pen when they surface, lest they slip back into the vast recesses of our mind, perhaps never to show their heads again.”

Let’s take a closer look at Ralph’s questions. Grab a pen in case any keepers swim to the surface while you read this.

———————————

Do you feel you are good at what you do?

I saw where someone had quoted me from a recent speaking engagement as saying: “80% of people THINK they are in the top 20%” ~ Joe Pelayo.

What I actually said, or meant to say, was “80 percent of people SAY they are in the top 20%.” While people will SAY that, it’s my belief that most people, me and you included, are actually fearful and that they woefully overestimate their competitors in their own minds.

We all have a tendency to overestimate the competition. I’ll tell you how I discovered this. One day during the dot-com bust, I grew tired of hearing my team talk about how tough it was out there and how strong the competition was. I listed the names of our competitors on the whiteboard in the conference room. Then I asked my team to estimate the team-size of each of our competitors and we wrote down the number. Then I called the competition and found out exactly how many recruiters they really had. What we discovered was that we had been overestimating the competition in our minds by over 40%!

The more you meet your competition, the stronger you will feel about your position in the market. Please understand – I’m not knocking your competition. What I am knocking is the imagination inside all of us that tends to overestimate our opposition! If you are human, it is likely you are overestimating your competition. Stop giving them so much credit, and give yourself more. Go to meetings where you can meet the competition, or schedule periodic coffees with them.

Do you feel you are worth the fees that you charge?

I remember one time when I was first starting out in the business, and Frank, a top producer in the office, told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “Always remember, Joe, your client company’s energy bill is not the same as your energy bill. Your fee might be $10,000 or even $100,000, and that might seem like an awful lot of money to you. But to a $10 million dollar or a $100 million dollar company, it’s a lot less.

Think about the value your recruit will bring to the company and the corporate cost if they cannot attract the talent you will help them lure in. Let’s take Google, for example. Including stock, the fee paid to Heidrick & Struggles for recruiting Eric Schmidt, the CEO at Google, was estimated at $128 million. As much money as that is, you’d have to be an idiot to say they didn’t get their money’s worth. What if they hadn’t been able to attract anyone who could generate Wall Street confidence at that precise moment in time? We’d all still be singing Yeaaaaahooooooooooooooooo!

Google got more than they paid for, and the fact is that most of the time when you place someone, your client gets more than they pay for, believe me. You just have to see it through your client’s eyes and not yours.

Do you feel you are among the best in the business, that the client is extremely well served in working with you? And that in working with you they are actually working with one of the best recruiters in the business?

The market deserves our passionate resolve to unleash the imprisoned splendor within us, leaving behind the past and striving forward to the mark to be the great recruiter now building within you. The fact that you are reading this article and subscribing to this newsletter shows you have a commitment to be among the best in the business. Take a moment now of quiet reflection with a pen and paper and jot down three actions you can take today that will make you a better recruiter. I’ll help you out with the first one: #1 Invest in 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings training program for recruiters, from Joe Pelayo at www.jpspeaking.com.

Do you feel your candidates benefit from a relationship with you?

I think any candidate who talks to you is extremely fortunate to have the rare opportunity to hear a few of your sage words. Listen, if you’ve been in the business 30 days, you have a better handle on opportunities than they have. And if you have been in the business 20 or 30 years, you can offer them priceless advice and wisdom that few others can.

Do you get thank-you notes?

Yes, and keep them. I’ve got mine dating back to 1986. Some days, you’ll need them. Les Brown says, “In the good times you put it in your pocket; in the tough times, you’ll put it in your heart!”

Does it matter?

Yes. It matters. You will influence more lives, careers, and companies than in almost any other field. You’re a headhunter.

Man, I love being a headhunter! Thanks, Ralph.

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book “Work Your Network!” which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly free newsletter called “The Network,” sent to 50,000 recruiters and executives, and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the brand-new training system for recruiters: 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is available for speaking and training recruiters worldwide. His website is www.jpspeaking.com.

TFL archives

A Pinnacle Member’s Philosophies for Success



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I’m on my way to the Pinnacle Society conference in New Orleans – 75 of the top recruiters in the United States. We meet every six months at various locations throughout the world. I always get all kinds of great ideas at these meetings and they’re fun, too. I’ll share the best of the best ideas with you next month.

I have been a member of the Pinnacle Society for over a dozen years now, and I have observed some things about the members that might help you. See how many of these success habits you can make your own. I call them:

Pinnacle Philosophies

TFL archives

From Good to Great



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What’s keeping you from your greatness in recruiting? It could be your originality.

Recruiters often ask me, “How do I break through my billings from $_____ per year to $_____ per year? What’s the key?” The question is a variation on Jim Collins’ great book, Good to Great. “How do I go from good to great in the recruiting business? I’m already doing well,” they say. “But what do I need to do to become great?”

I remember when I first started my company, Joseph Michaels, Inc., we hired Bob Marshall, one of the great trainers in our business, and I asked him that same question with regard to my recruiters. He said to me something I’ll never forget. He said, “The problem with hiring recruiters is that in order to make it in our business, they have to be two things. Very smart and very creative. So, Joe, we hire very intelligent, very creative people and then we ask them to not think – for about six months.”

You’re laughing now because you know it’s true! Think about all the dumb things you did in your first six months in the recruiting business. I’m laughing now myself, thinking about my own major-league blunders, and let me tell you, they were aplenty. I remember one time calling in a bunch of my high school dropout friends for some of the jobs for which we were recruiting. Boy, as I look back on it, 21 years ago, thinking that they might actually get hired for some of those positions, it was like thinking that they could flap their arms and fly around our office. As if they weren’t high already!

So anyway . . .

We hire these smart, creative people and we try to teach them the business, but because they are smart and creative, they keep thinking up new ways to do the business.

The great ones stick with what works. They add in new things periodically and they are always learning new techniques, but for the most part, they stick with what works. I have a great script I use for recruiting. It works a HUGE percentage of the time. So I use it EVERY TIME. One of the things that befuddles me is that so many recruiters are smart and creative to a fault. As soon as they find something that really works great, they reinvent it!

Watch Tiger Woods address a ball – notice that he does the same thing every single time. Watch a pro basketball player shoot a free throw – same thing, every time. Watch a great recruiter call a new recruit; he does the same thing every time. Watch a good recruiter – he’s really smart and really creative, so he’s always changing his approach rather than perfecting his script. Don’t get me wrong; Tiger takes time to work on his game – he’s devoted to self-improvement – but he works with what works.

Like a lot of great ball players, I’m superstitious. When I have a good client visit, I wear the same suit to the next client visit. If I win again, guess what, same suit next time. I’ll wear the same suit to every meeting as long as I’m winning. Then I start a new streak. I have number of quarter-million-dollar suits.

Oh, come on, Joe. Next thing you know, you’ll tell me that if I have a good day eating a certain breakfast, I should eat the same breakfast every day. Why not?

Listen, creativity is very important in recruiting, but sometimes you gotta go with what you know works! Sit next to someone in your office who’s billing like they are starting a new bank next month. Write down some of the key phrases they say. Now, don’t use the script your way, yet. Try it their way first. And, if it works, use their script, assuming that’s OK with them. But, you say, “Oh, Joe, I want to be original.” Or “Oh, I want to do it my own way.” What would you rather be, original-broke or copycat rich? You don’t have to do everything your way. Listen, I’ve been original-broke and I can tell you from experience it’s better to be copycat rich! People who say that money isn’t important to them will probably lie about other things as well. Rita Davenport said, “Money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with oxygen.” I used to be so broke I could walk by a bank and the alarm might go off! But the reason I’m successful now in the recruiting business is that God gave me the gift of humility when I started out. How could I be anything but humble after making about six weeks’ income in my first six months on the job?

I set my ego aside. I used other people’s scripts and ideas, and I found a few good mentors. I studied what the great recruiters were doing and what they were saying and I copied it, the same way they did it. I studied every great recruiter I could find. I bought every book, video, and audiotape ever produced on recruiting, and when I found a script I liked I used it. Jim Rohn says, “You don’t have to be original; you just have to be good.”

So I hope you’ll take this the right way. What’s keeping you from your greatness in recruiting? It could be your originality. Think about it. More next issue . . .

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book “Work Your Network!” which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, “The Network,” sent to 50,000 recruiters and executives, and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past resident of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training recruiters worldwide, and can be reached through email at Joe@jpspeaking.com. His website is www.jpspeaking.com.

TFL archives

I Was Sick Of Hearing About LinkedIn, So I Joined . . .



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LinkedIn.com has hired my good friend Steve Sordello, previously CFO at Tivo and AskJeeves. They also just added VP of Marketing Patrick Crane, from Yahoo. Look for a huge LinkedIn public relations push and an IPO in the very near future.

LinkedIn is a headhunter’s best friend as a business tool for finding people at all levels. How can you capitalize on LinkedIn’s 11 million users and the growth upcoming? First join LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com. Next connect yourself with LinkedIn hubs (users with large numbers of connections). For example, I’m happy to connect with you. To connect with me directly on LinkedIn, send me a LinkedIn invitation. My email is Joe@jpspeaking.com.

As of this writing, I have 5,663 direct connections, those 5,663 connections have 765,000 connections, and those 765,000 connections have 5,171,200 connections, and those people are connected to the 11 million users on LinkedIn. All searchable by title, industry, and location. My headhunter friends, what more do we want?

I know that some people were reluctant to join LinkedIn. I was very reluctant at first. But after getting 10 of those pesky “Join my network on LinkedIn” emails, I finally joined and I’m glad I did. LinkedIn is one of my favorite business tools.

My mentor in the public speaking business, Les Brown, says that public speaking is a little bit like this: “Joe, imagine that you see a friend and he sees you. But he doesn’t see the bus coming behind him and it’s about to hit him! Joe, you have to speak (or write in this case) in a way to reach your friend with your words, or else!!!”

If you are not on LinkedIn yet – HONK, HONK, get out of the road, get on the bus, and send me a LinkedIn invite. I look forward to connecting with you.

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network! which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, “The Network,” sent to 50,000 executives and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past president of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training recruiters worldwide. He can be reached through email at Joe@jpspeaking.com. His website is www.jpspeaking.com.

TFL archives

The Guaranteed Recruit Script



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“Recruiting is the fun part of our business,” Phil Ross used to say.

Here’s the script I use for recruiting. Feel free to use it.

I call it the Guaranteed Recruit Script because it works every time. Well, nearly every time. Phil Ross used to say with a smile, “Nothing is absolute, and that’s an absolute!”

Hi __________?

Hi __________, Joe Pelayo, CEO at Joseph Michaels, Inc. I assume you know who I am? Seriously, you’ve never heard of me? I keep thinking I’m more famous than that! :

Well seriously __________, 21 years ago I began working with the CEOs and the CFOs around here (or in their industry), helping them to build their teams and find all-star financial executives like you.

Normally when I come to someone out of the blue, as I have you, they’re in one of two situations. First, of course, is save your breath, Joe, I’m not going anywhere. Second, of course, is: Thank God you called, Joe. Get me out of this place! :

Seriously, most guys I meet fall somewhere in between (I pause and say the “in between” Very Slowly), and I guess what I wanted to find out from you, ________, is where you might fit in (do not pause here!). How long have you been with XYZ company (Now pause), __________? And your current title or capacity there? Where did you work before? Have you had any interviews in the last six months?

Now you’ve got them talking, and I know you know how to handle it from here. Maybe something like:

Do you have an updated résumé you could email me, _______?

If I get interrupted with “I’m not looking” or “I’m pretty happy where I am,” I always ask this:

“Golden handcuffs?”

Those two beautiful words always seem to shake them up just enough and get their attention. I just let my two words sit there and do the work for me till the potential recruit says something. The something is usually “Well, I don’t know about that . . .” and then I’m back in business.

Joe Pelayo is a true self-made man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finally finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network! which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, “The Network,” sent to 50,000 executives and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system, 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past president of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training and can be reached through email at Joe@jpspeaking.com. His website is www.jpspeaking.com.

TFL archives

Want Your Billings to Soar? Set Your Floor…



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The year was 1994. I was attending my first ever Pinnacle Society meeting. I was super excited to be in this room of top producers from all around the country. We gathered on a bright Thursday morning and the sun reflected back off the fresh snow that covered the tall mountains at the resort, my first time in Colorado. I didn’t know a soul at the meeting, but to begin the conference, everyone did a self-introduction. To this day, this is my favorite part of the Pinnacle Society gatherings. A good headhunter is usually part storyteller and part comedian. There are always lots of laughs and funny stories. Each tells a tale of beginnings and their history in the recruiting business.

As we went around the room, people introduced themselves and were asked to include their name, what type of people they recruited, where they were from, and what was their average fee.

After we went around the entire roundtable, I realized that I had the second-lowest average fee in the entire group. I was working harder for less money. I drew a line in the sand that day and made a firm resolve not to work on any searches that were below a $10K fee. I set my floor.

It was one of the best moves I have ever made. That day paid for all of my Pinnacle dues that year and for every year since. Setting your floor is one of the most important principles I teach in the 21 Ways Training Program. Richie Harris says, “In order to be successful, you have to decide not only what you’re going to do, but what you’re going to not do.”

I believe in the vacuum theory of success. To create something new, you often have to give up something existing. I gave up working on searches for A/P clerks and junior accountants and focused my energy on searches at $10K fees and above. I raised my minimum fee every year until it was $30,000. Then 9/11 hit and my minimum fee was a thousand dollars and a Big Mac! Just kidding, but of course I had to make an adjustment. When the job market recovered, I was able to raise my minimum fee again. These are the good times, my good friends. We should all consider raising our minimum fees in the good times. After all, won’t our clients ask us to cut our fees in the bad times?

I’m not afraid to talk about my minimum fee, either. If you call a great attorney, the first thing he or she will tell you is the hourly rate. I have no problem telling a new client my minimum fee. This might work for you or it might not. But EVERYONE can benefit from setting in stone their absolute minimum fee.

Take a moment now and write down your absolute minimum fee. Be conservative and pick a number you know you can stand by. You will turn away anything below BLANK DOLLARS. You can always raise it, but you want to set a firm floor.

Did you do it? Take a moment now and set your floor.

The clarity of knowing in your own mind solidly what you will and won’t do is powerful. It will free you from wrestling with the “should I or shouldn’t I” back and forth on shoddy searches that are below the capabilities you now have developed. Success requires clarity. Soon after setting your floor, you’ll find yourself working higher-level, more rewarding searches.

Joe Pelayo is a true “self-made” man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization consisting of 75 of the top recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network! which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers, including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, The Network, sent to 50,000 executives and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past president of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training and can be reached through his website www.jpspeaking.com or via email at Joe@jpspeaking.com.

TFL archives

“Don’t Mix Business With Pleasure” Not!



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“Don’t mix business with pleasure.” Ever heard it? I did, and I almost lived my life by it.

Then one day, early in my career, I was reading a wonderful book by John Byrne called The Headhunters. Byrne was interviewing the top headhunters in the world, including Gerard Roche, one of the most successful executive recruiters of the 20th century and senior chairman of Heidrick & Struggles.

They asked Gerry if he knew why he was so successful. He said he wasn’t sure why, but perhaps it was because he never worked, yet he was always working. What did he mean by that? He said that he didn’t separate business from pleasure. “My friends are my clients and my clients are my friends.”

Instantly I changed my philosophy. After all, my only reason to stick by that other philosophy, “Don’t mix business with pleasure,” was that it sounded catchy. I wondered how much money it had cost me.

Now, 20 years later, having borrowed one philosophy from the legendary Gerard Roche, I can say that my friends are my clients and my clients are my friends. I take them to Warriors games, Giants games, I take them to lunch, dinner, concerts, church, everything. I do everything with my clients I might do with a friend. They are my friends. Did you know that Aristotle Onassis had no casual relationships? He came to America with $63 in his pocket and became one of the richest men in the world. Besides, studies show that most people would rather do business with someone they know.

I like to adopt philosophies that will serve me. Philosophy comes from two Greek words (love of knowledge/wisdom). Always try to learn as much as you can and stay flexible in your philosophy and adopt the philosophies you like. The great modern-day business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “You don’t have to be original; you just have to be good.”

I know you are open to adopting new philosophies and love knowledge or you would not be a TFL subscriber, which I myself have been during my 20 years in the recruiting business. I am, like you, always looking for new ideas. This love of knowledge puts us in the top 10% if we stay flexible in our philosophy.

The Buddhist monks say that knowledge should be like water, free flowing. They never say, “This is my belief . . .” They say, “This is my current belief . . .”

Examine all your ways of thinking and remember that you’re never too old to learn and never too young to teach. And it’s never too late to adopt a new philosophy.

Here’s another philosophy I like: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” – William Shakespeare

Joe Pelayo is a true “self-made” man. He began in the recruiting business in 1986 at the ripe old age of 17, when he says he “found every way to fail in the recruiting business.” After finding success with two recruiting firms, he started his own in 1990. As CEO of Joseph Michaels, Inc., Joe works an active desk recruiting CFOs and related financial and accounting executives. He is a longtime member of the Pinnacle Society, an organization of the top 75 recruiters in the United States.

Joe is also author of the new book Work Your Network!, which has received excellent reviews from Les Brown, Brian Tracy, and industry leaders, speakers, and trainers including Terry Petra, Bill Radin, Paul Hawkinson, and others. He writes a monthly newsletter, The Network, sent to 50,000 executives and is the author of several motivational DVD training programs, including the soon-to-be-released training system 21 Ways to Increase Your Billings!

Joe is past president of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a group of million-dollar-business owners under age 40. Joe is available for speaking and training and can be reached through his website www.jpspeaking.com or contact him via email at Joe@jpspeaking.com.