Selling Better - How to Develop More New Business

What do I get asked the most, more than anything else by Recruiters? "How can I develop more business? What do you recommend I should do to win more new accounts?" Here is one of the things I would be doing consistently (that means every day people) to make sure I was winning enough new accounts. Yes, for many in recruitment, this is a sales job.

Yup – even you corporate recruiters are sales people because if you weren’t you would only end up working with candidates who said yes on the first phone call. For those of you who are involved in "selling" to companies to find new accounts, this tip is for you. It is, in my opinion, one of the things that high lights the difference between the average and the good sales person.

The good sales person recognises that there is more than one person in each organisation who may make decisions about buying your product or service. That means there are multiple selling opportunities. Let me highlight this with a real scenario I encountered towards the end of 2009. I had been working with a lot of "new business" (those responsible for generating spot based deals, generally high margin niche positions) consultants, at their desks and in training sessions, looking at their sales activity and how they could improve it.

I was struck with how many consultants would speak to their usual contact, or pick someone from the in-house database who was listed as the contact and call only that one contact. I knew that many of these businesses would have multiple decision makers and line managers who we could talk to (that’s even before we speak to the HR and recruitment contacts!) yet we were not tracking these contacts down. Imagine only having one point of contact in a business for a moment. What could happen to your relationship with that business if that person were to leave?

Selling Better - How to Develop More New BusinessIn my experience the best teams and consultants in this industry network through an organisation, talking to multiple contacts.

One company could yield five or six really good sales calls which is much more likely to develop business than a "one company one call" mentality. This is the fundamental difference between genuinely developing business and telesales. If you feel like you are a telesales clerk then take a good look at your sales activity. Are you calling one person in each company and considering that business "canvassed"?? The more business development you do, the more business you will develop. If you need any more evidence consider this I witnessed with someone conducting true business development recently:

Consultant: …how do you normally recruit into your team?

Helpdesk Manager: I don’t, everything is being outsourced so you’re wasting your time here, sorry! exchange of pleasantries and email addresses etc…. Consultant turns to me and says "Waste of time that one" and goes to call the next company. With some encouragement from me he agrees to call back and get through to another contact:

Consultant: ….I was just speaking to your Helpdesk Manager, how often do you recruit?

Development Manager (same company as above): Me? All the time. I have 25 developers in on a contract at the moment and I have 3 regular suppliers on the PSL…" Call continues, meeting booked to discuss business opportunities etc…next phone call to another contact in the same business:

Consultant: ….what involvement do you have in recruiting into company X?

HR Manager (same company as above): We don’t use agencies, send through some details and we can keep them on file.

Notice three contacts all at the same business with a different situation. Had that been you, would you have spoken to all three? Identify the key contacts. Decide who has the most likelihood of buying in the near future. Identify who the true decision makers are, who has influence over the process? Once you have established who the key players are and have begun to network through the business only then can you really set a strategy as to how you will make them your customer. Take a look at you business development phone calls for the past month. How many companies did you call and how many different contacts? If you have a 1:1 ratio, change! Set a new target for this month, try and get to 1:2 or even 1:3. Some of the best teams I have worked with used this as a KPI in it’s own right and set targets around it.