The very best recruiters in the business will win their pitches 99% of the time.
Part of the reason why they have such a good success rate is that they know how to avoid the traps that most of their competitors fall into.
There are some really important lessons we can all learn from the common mistakes that lead to a recruitment pitch failing.
Here’s some reasons a recruiter will lose a sales pitch and how to make sure you always win yours.
1. They talk more than they listen
When you’re trying to convince a prospect to work with you, it’s easy to dominate the conversation telling them all the reasons you and your agency is so great. But first this is a real school-boy error in the sales world.
You don’t win a pitch by overloading your client with lots of information – no matter how impressive it all is. This will only give your prospect decision paralysis and result in them stalling you as they don’t feel confident to make a decision.
Instead, you want to focus on providing just the right amount of information to hook them in. Ask probing questions and let them do the talking so you can find out what they actually needs.
The less words you need to use to convince them, the stronger your pitch is, so practice your hooks and focus everything on questions.
2. They don’t tailor their pitch to the client’s needs
Your prospect expects you to have a good understanding of what they do before you start pitching to them. It’s not a big ask, but it’s crazy how many recruiters still jump blindly into pitches thinking they can sweet talk their way into winning business.
If you don’t know the answers to the following questions before you call your prospect, you’ve not done your research:
- What exactly does the prospective company do?
- What’s their position on the market?
- What does the candidate supply currently look like in their sector and location?
- What can you offer that your competitors aren’t offering already?
Use the answers to these questions to tailor your pitch specifically to the client and this will start you off on a winner.
3. They don’t sound credible
Remember that your prospect is an expert in their field, so you really can’t rely on your silver tongue to jargon your way through this one!
Prospects can catch you out so quickly if they think you’re just talking the talk, so you need to take the time to actually understand the market if you’re going to have any credibility with them.
Making bold claims about your agency being ‘the best’, with the ‘most loyal candidate network’ also means nothing if you can’t back it up.
Prepare answers to the toughest client questions and offer them hard evidence like solid numbers, awards and candidate testimonials to show you’re not talking rubbish just to close the deal.
4. They don’t close
If you’ve seen the brilliant sales movie, Glengary Glen Ross, you’ll know all about the ABC mantra of ‘Always Be Closing’.
You wouldn’t believe how often a recruiter will have a great conversation with a client but lose the pitch at the last hurdle because they forget to close or discuss next steps.
Closing on the first call is seen as a real art in the sales world, and it’s something recruiters need to master. Otherwise, another recruiter will come along straight after and pull the prospect from under your feet.
5. They don’t follow up right
Following up your sales call well can mean the difference between working the job and losing the pitch, so never skimp on this part of the sales process.
Recruiters who tend to lose pitches at this stage are those who don’t bother following up because they think it’s already in the bag, or they don’t put the right amount of effort in. In practice, there are 5 steps to a good sales follow-up. How many steps are in yours?
Download the eBook below for some excellent guidance on how to play to your strengths so you can win recruitment pitches against agencies ten times your size.
Alan is the Associate Director of Growth at Firefish. An agency recruiter in a former life, he loves helping recruiters find ways to recruit smarter.