Having led and managed recruitment businesses in Australia, the U.K. and the Middle East for over 15 years, I like to think I know a thing or two about selling. My philosophy is a little unorthodox but it works and it’s based around treating sales as a problem solving function. I’d like to share some key features of our approach so you can consider whether some of these may work for you.
Typically you would think that recruitment consultants are the only sales people in a business like ours. Whilst they may be the only people to have a formal target, everyone else being properly engaged in their job helps the consultants achieve these targets. It is really important that ‘non sales people’ understand that sales isn’t necessarily about cold calling, mass emailing or being pushy and that in fact, the most effective sales can be an intelligence led, softer approach.
Before talking about some of the specifics, it’s important to note that our business model is one based on quality, not quantity, the personal touch rather than communication through technology, problem solving for our clients and candidates and a staff who are willing to learn and stretch themselves. I want to acknowledge now that business sales models based on volume and automatic technology driven processes also work if implemented correctly.
So, to the specifics. We have found that holding a quarterly (or even monthly depending on the economic climate) ‘all company’ meeting where results are shared and discussed is really useful. These meetings enable everyone to recognise sales terms like ‘pipeline’, ‘projected income’, ‘realised income’ and ‘key accounts’ and means all members of the business understand how vital the sales function is, the pressures the revenue earners can be under and how everyone can provide support.
All company meetings also enable everyone in the company to know who our VIP clients and candidates are, who the key people are and what sort of business we are doing with them. It is then expected that the importance of looking after the people who enable us to be in business is clear and that all staff understand their role in helping to ensure that everyone dealing with us has a positive experience.
Including all staff in these company meetings also encourages people to pass on market intelligence and potential sales leads. There have been many times when a ‘I don’t do sales’ person in the company has let the sales team know about something they think could be of interest to them and there has been a result from that lead. And no one is more surprised about that than the person who passed on the lead!
Our company is different from many other recruitment companies in that our consultants are not targeted on the number of calls made, number of resumes sent or number of client meetings which are the usual KPIs of a recruitment company. We would rather our consultants are having meaningful and well prepared for conversations with clients and candidates which are a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved I’m sure. This means activity can be more challenging to measure for the person leading the consultant team, but a focus on results rather than micro managing what people are doing is a more grown up approach and enables consultants to use their own styles.
Our de-emphasis of activity to meet KPIs also helps the non-targeted staff in the company understand that they have a sales and problem solving element to their roles as well.
Having said that, I am a firm believer in solid follow up processes and am uncompromising on the importance of this. Whether consultants use Outlook calendars, our CRM or even a paper diary, it is vital that follow ups are noted and actioned at the right time. Helping sales people develop their follow up systems can be time consuming (and sometimes exhausting) but it’s essential that it happens. This focus also helps everyone in the company understand that they must deliver in their roles to ensure that we are able to do what we say we will do when we said we will do it.
In summary, encouraging everyone to develop a sales/problem solving mentality is vital so all staff understand that without revenue a business can’t survive. It’s always really rewarding to see people who don’t think of themselves as being ‘sales’ people bringing something really valuable to the table … some of them even begin to enjoy it.
Visit www.parkhousebell.com.au to get an overview of the services we offer.