Whilst some recruiters love the challenge of doing business development, others just see it as a necessary evil of the job. Either way, there’s no denying that being good at it can bring serious perks! So let’s take a look at the personality traits that, if nurtured, will get you firmly on the road to top-biller status.
So what are these personality traits that recruiters who have the most success in business development invariably have?
1. They’re great communicators
It’ll be no surprise to hear that being a good communicator is crucial to good business development, but it’s worth noting that the recruiters who have the most success in this area are those who are just as good at listening as they are at pitching.
Communication isn’t just about knowing how to talk the talk. To be really successful in BD, you need to be empathetic to your prospect’s needs, and sometimes this means the best communication skill you can pull out the bag is knowing when to be quiet and listen instead. The real high-flyers are those who can also read pauses, silences and subconscious body language and respond in a way that steers the conversation in the direction they want it to go.
2. They’re reliable
In general, people who work in any kinds of sales role have a bit of a reputation for being all talk, but in practice it’s only those who deliver on what they say and manage expectations from the start who experience the success. Nurturing great business relationships is all about trust, and to earn trust your actions need to align with your words.
If you communicate to your prospect that you’ll do something, you need to demonstrate you can deliver on your words with actions. For instance, if you get a job on and agree on a date and time to call the client with an update, make sure you stick to it.
3. They’re confident (but not cocky!)
Recruiters who are successful in BD are confident: They can’t be easily discouraged, as they get rejections every single day and need to be able to dust themselves off and get straight back on the phone – but they’re not too cocky either.
The highest performers know not to take failures personally and translate the negative energy they get from a rejection into a positive boost for the next challenge. If you’re struggling with this, ditch the doubt and just take it one call at a time. When starting out in recruitment sales, it can be easy to fall into the habit of blaming a lack of training, industry knowledge and support for our failures, but sometimes it’s our own attitudes blocking the road to our own success. Push the negativity aside and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you have a confident mindset.
Take this quiz to find out what your recruitment sales calls say about you.
4. They’re analytical
One of the most productive traits of a recruiter who’s great at business development is that they’re extremely analytical with everything they do. When speaking with prospects, the conversation goes far beyond discussing role requirements: They anticipate client needs by understanding the strategic options facing management in response to market, sector, and company-specific challenges.
Having a structured approach to analysis allows you to spot potential business opportunities and identify the right questions to ask. And the analysis doesn’t end there, either – great recruiters consider their rejections just as valuable as their successes when it comes to gaining insights on their own performance and learning how they can continuously work to up their game.
5. They’re pragmatic
When doing business development, it’s easy to get sucked into things that take up a lot of your time but provide little or no results. The most successful recruiters I know are ruthless with their time: They’re quick to disqualify prospects and instead focus their time and effort where the money is. What’s the use in flogging a dead horse?
This is a hard trait to acquire and does take time to nurture, but a general rule of thumb is that if you get the feeling your time would be better spent going after another prospect, nine times out of ten you’re probably correct.
Working to develop these traits will unequivocally help you become more successful in your business development efforts. Striving to sell better is something that every recruiter should care about, and sometimes just tweaking the small things can have a big impact on what you bill.
Cameron McLennan works within recruitment technology industry. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family and playing golf.