If you’ve been in recruitment for any length of time, you’ll have heard your fair share of objections from clients and prospects. But as we move into a job-short market, “We’re not hiring right now” is one objection we’re going to have to get used to hearing – a lot.
As recruiters, we need to find ways of turning this tricky objection into opportunities if we’re going to keep billing in this new market.
So, here are five smart responses that can turn things around when a prospect hits you with the objection “We’re not hiring right now”…
1. “What’s holding you back?”
When a prospect tells you they’re not hiring, this is still an opportunity to learn more about the business and the hiring challenges they’re facing. By asking your prospect what’s specifically holding their hiring strategy back, this gives you the information you need to work out if/how you can help them overcome this obstacle.
In some cases, this approach can even lead to you convincing them to start hiring again. For example, if the only thing holding them back is uncertainty about the market (not revenue or lack of business), you could change their mind by explaining that if they begin recruiting now, they’ll have first pick of the best candidates on the market.
If they do have good reason to freeze hiring right now, this still doesn’t put a road blocker on the relationship. You’ve opened up the conversation and can still use the opportunity to dig a little deeper to find out when they plan to start hiring again.
2. “When are you planning to start recruiting again?”
The reality is, a lot of our clients won’t be able to hire right now, no matter how good your candidates (and your sales pitch!) are.
But if you use the conversation to find out when they will be hiring again, you can set triggers inside your CRM system to remind you to reach out to that prospect at that future date. This means you’ll contact them at the right time and you’ll be in a better position when you next speak to them as you’ll be better acquainted.
You might not be able to win jobs right now, but that doesn’t mean these conversations are a waste of time.
3. “If you were able to hire staff right now, what areas would you be recruiting in?”
This response not only demonstrates a genuine interest for the future of your prospect’s business, but it also helps the prospect visualise their plans for growth and where they would like to be in the coming months with their hiring.
If you’re able to help a prospect visualise the other side of this crisis in a positive way, this will convince them that you the recruiter to support them towards their future goals. This forward-thinking response also allows you to gather important information about the future of the business that’ll help you have a successful follow-up call down the line.
4. “That’s OK, I’m just here to find out more about your business so I can help you in the future”
If your client isn’t hiring at the moment, realistically you don’t have anything you can sell to them, so there's no point in jumping into some big sales pitch.
This response shows you understand that they can't recruit right now, turns a sales call into a recruitment consultation and opens up the conversation. Right now, offering clients consultative help, instead of a sales pitch, is the best way to stay valuable in this market.
This consultative approach will not only earn you the respect of your prospect, but also allow you to gather information that’ll help you secure jobs from them in the future.
5. “Can I assume you’re not hiring right now?”
This one is a bit left field, but the idea here is to lead with the objection yourself so you don’t need to respond to it. If you’ve done your research and you know it’s unlikely the prospect will be in a position to hire, going in early with this line allows you to establish a relationship whilst avoiding the objection completely.
This tactic helps ensure that you’re not thrown into objection-handling mode – which can keep you on the back foot during the call. Instead, you lead the conversation and have the control to steer it in a positive direction.
As we move into a job-short market, you’ll need a forward-thinking recruitment sales strategy to survive. Download the eBook to learn how to update your strategy.
Joanne is a Senior Growth Specialist at Firefish. She loves bringing on board new recruiters who are looking to recruit smarter.