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BLOG: Uncovering Real Sales & Recruiting Problems

By: Rick Carlson, Sales & Recruiting Management Program Director

Too often I hear salespeople ask their prospect the tired and overused question of “What keeps you up at night?”. While the reasoning behind it is solid, the tactic rarely divulges much useable information. Simply stated, clients often don’t know where their true problems lie.

Take “hiring” for instance. Ask a hiring manager what causes him or her to lose potential candidates and they will likely tell you “The vendor wasn’t able to deliver the candidate” or “They wanted too much money”, etc. In reality, we know that the client took too long to commit to initiating the interview and the candidate had other offers already on the table. Or the manager said, “I want your candidate if you can deliver him/her at $6.00 less than what you proposed.” Which meant you had to go back and re-negotiate with your candidate who already had an offer at more than what was originally agreed to.

“That is more than we pay our people”

Often times perfect candidates get rejected because the rate we are offering (that is commensurate with the market), is higher than clients are paying their people currently in those roles. While that is a problem, it is our job to help them see a reality that could impact them in a very significant way. If a client’s pay range is too far out of sync with the market, the client risks losing more people and therefore creating more open positions. If they were to hire our person, it might require them raising some current salaries. Help them understand the underlying risk – if that “under market” individual leaves, a replacement will always cost more AND they lose a known and valued member in exchange for one that is unknown and untested.

So how can we engage prospects to tell us what might be bothering them? Start with questions that might initiate a deeper conversation such as “What percentage of your hires end up not working out?” (i.e. “what’s your failure rate”) or, “If you do not fill an open position for several weeks/months, what impact does that have on your internal team members?”. How about “We know that in this era of The Great Resignation people are testing the waters to see what their market value is. How do you know that your company is competitive?”

Don’t assume your clients know what is causing their problems. Help them realize factors that lead to failure and offer ways to solve these problems.

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