8 Old-School Sales Techniques That Still Work

The sales strategies we use in recruitment can become dated and ineffective pretty quickly, but there are some techniques that will always work. And this is because as humans, a lot of our core needs and behaviours remain the same no matter how much the landscape changes.

So, whilst you should always be updating your recruitment sales strategy as much as you can to keep things fresh, here are some old school techniques that will always win you business!

1. The hedgehog method

old school recruitment sales techniquesThe hedgehog is a smart objection handling technique where a prospect throws an objection at you and you pass it back to them like you would a spikey hedgehog!

When you do this, they hear the objection from your point of view and naturally self-assess if they’re being unreasonable – which normally results in them backing down.

For example:

Client: “Your candidate has a three months’ notice period…”.

Recruiter:  “That is a long notice period. Could you wait that long for the right candidate?”

Candidate:  “Well, for the right candidate I could consider waiting.”

Try not to overuse this tactic though – no one likes being hit with spikey hedgehogs!

2. The alternative choice

If you’re struggling to close your prospects, try this old but gold method.

It’s really simple: just ask your prospect a ‘this or that’ question to push them to make a decision and give you commitment.

For example: “Would you like to interview my candidate at the beginning or end of next week?”

Sometimes, hearing alternatives helps people think carefully about decisions they’re about to make and you can use choices to coach people towards desired outcomes. No matter which option they choose, it’s a win because you’ve moved your prospect closer to interviewing your candidate.

3. The FOMO method

If your client is slow in making decisions about a hire, remind them that your candidate has other options on the table and once they’re gone, they’re gone!

This ‘fear of missing out’ method (FOMO) works especially well in candidate-driven markets because at the end of the day, a candidate can only accept one job.

Use this technique sparingly though, otherwise your clients will think you’re crying wolf and this could cause trust issues between you and your client. 

4. The foot-in-the-door method

psychology tricks to book more meetings-minDon’t worry, we’re not about to suggest you go knocking on prospects’ doors with this one!

Studies have shown that if you can get someone to agree to something small initially, they’re much more likely to agree to a larger commitment later on.

And getting that first ‘yes’ isn’t hard - read this blog to find out how.


5. The trial close

The ‘trial close’ is another simple tactic that gets great results. How this works is you simply ask your prospects before the end of a process if they will hire a candidate/take a job if their expectations are met.  

For example, “If tomorrow’s interview goes well, could you offer the candidate on day?

If your prospect says ‘yes’, you have leverage to push for an offer on the day and if they say ‘no’, you can find out what barriers stand in your way. And once you know the barriers, you can work on overcoming them!

6. The budgie close

This close is great for prospects who are complaining about costs and generally like things cheap or ‘cheep’ (hence the name budgie!).

You use the budgie close to change your prospect’s focus from price to value. Recruitment is a service-based industry, and in service-based industries, you can only have two of the three options below simultaneously:

  • Time
  • Quality
  • Cost

If you explain this rule of three to your clients and ask which two factors are most important to them, you can be sure they’ll choose quick good-quality service above any other option – which should help them back down on costs.

7. The reverse close

Why playing hard to get wins you better business - feature-minThe reverse close is all about using a prospect’s wants as leverage.

For example, if a candidate will only accept the job if they’re offered a car allowance, reverse it and say, “so if they offer a car allowance, I take it you’d definitely accept the job, correct?”.

Now all you need to do is secure the car allowance and the placement is done.

You can reverse anything, but be careful not to overpromise and underdeliver – this is something a client or candidate doesn’t forget!

8. The guarantee close

This close is simple – you secure a guarantee from a client by giving a your client guarantee in return.

For example, “If you let me work exclusively on this role, I guarantee I’ll find you three relevant candidates before the end of the week”.

 The more credibility and trust you have with the client, the more powerful this technique can be. If you don’t have a lot of credibility, you’ll have to build up trust before you ask for a big commitment. 

Top billers are always trying out different tactics (old and new). And now that you know the old, why not check out the newest strategies in our eBook below:

business man pulling graph to positive growth

David Connolly

David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.

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