Despite what you’ve probably heard, cold calling in recruitment isn’t totally dead and buried – it’s just evolved. Cold calling will always have a place in business development for recruiters, but it’s true that nowadays you’re far more likely to have success if you warm those cold leads up first!
Warm calling is all about beginning the conversation before you’ve even picked up the phone so that prospects already know who you are when they answer. Read on to find out the four best tactics you can use to turn your recruitment cold calls into warm calls.
1. Identify your best customers
You’d never dream of reaching out to a candidate without checking if they’re a right fit for a role, so why would you reach out to prospects without identifying right-fits first? Before you even think about picking up the phone, map out what your ideal customer looks like and create a hitlist based on this. It’ll be far easier to prospect once you’ve identified the right companies to target.
For example, if you normally recruit developers into VC-backed organisations and have a great success in doing so, what’s the point in calling up a two-man band that only registered their limited company one month ago? You’re in the groove of having discussions with VC-backed businesses, meaning you’ll have enough insight and expertise to hold a valuable and credible conversations about the challenges businesses like these will be facing. These are the kinds of companies that should be on your hitlist – don’t waste time cold calling businesses you have no experience with.
2. Interact online first
If you get a notification on your phone to tell you you’ve had some sort of engagement on one of your social media accounts, you feel compelled to check it, don’t you? So play into this and use it to your advantage when prospecting.
When you’re looking to warm up a lead before picking up the phone, it’s a great idea to get on their social media radar first. Here’s how this 3-step process normally looks for me:
1. Give them a ‘like’ on their platform of choice (twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.). No one can resist having a look at who their new follower is when they get a notification, and this will expose them to your name and picture, at the very least.
2. The next day, have a read through some of their most recent social media posts and leave a comment (keep this to one comment – you don’t want to look desperate!). Try to add value when doing this, or even link to some other relevant content, and try to finish the comment off with a question. No one likes to be seen as someone who ignores people on social media, so it’s likely this will open up a dialogue. Whatever you do, never pitch at this stage - it’s too early in the process. The goal is to get an offline warm conversation, not scare them off!
3. The next step is to view their profile on LinkedIn. If you’ve engaged with someone on LinkedIn and then move on to view their profile, it’s likely they’ll want to view yours too. If they do view your profile, send a personalised connection request straight away.
A few days later (no more than two), when you pick up the phone to call them, they’ll recognise your name and you can lead with a great opening line that addresses the fact you were discussing whatever topic you discussed with them on social media. And that is a warm-in and call!
3. Ask for an intro (not a referral)Asking for an intro is an instant warm lead on a platter! By cutting out the referral talk and asking for an intro instead, you’ll make a lot more progress in a lot less time. This is because intros are less formal and put less pressure on the situation - meaning it’s more likely that something will come out of it.
When you’re in conversation with someone you’ve worked with before and experienced success with, try asking them something along the lines of:
“I was wondering if I could get your help with something…”
Openly asking for help from a client or candidate will instantly set you up for a productive chat and make the other person feeling good about helping you out.
When you then move on to ask them for an intro, give clear examples about the types of prospects you’re interested in connecting with. Share information such as their specific job titles, the companies they might work for, the industry they’re in and other important factors. Then, let the client or candidate think about the kind of people in their network who fit the bill and could benefit from an introduction to you – it’s a win-win.
I find an email intro works best in this context, with all parties CC’d in for clarity’s sake. Once you’ve touched base by email, you can move the chat over to a warm call.
4. Use Snail Mail
A lot of people will tell you that the days of sending post for business are dead now that everything’s moved online, but this isn’t the case when it comes to business development. Here at Firefish, we’re huge fans of snail mail - if you’ve not had a fish sweets delivery yet, you’re missing out!
And why is old school mail so effective? First of all, it stands out and makes a great impression (precisely because most people don’t bother with it anymore!). In the world of cold emails and auto-dialers, direct mail shows a high level of commitment (both financially and in terms of resources) and breaks through the noise. In other words, your direct mailing efforts will get noticed way more than your online marketing tactics.
Secondly, it scales linearly instead of with diminishing return like ads. The cost per package is always going to be the same if you decide to send more, whereas the next click of an ad will always cost more than the last one. That’s how they get you!
So, the next time you’re under pressure to make more cold calls but are fearing the rejection, remember they don’t need to be stone cold and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to warm your leads up before picking up the phone.
If you’ve any hints or tips that you would use to have more warm calls, let me know in the comments below!
Cameron McLennan works within recruitment technology industry. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family and playing golf.