You are nervous. Your heart pounds, palms are sweaty and your mind is racing - what if they are already spoken for? What if they are on the rebound or taking a break from looking for a new partner? What if my one liners don’t work?
Dating can be a minefield, but the above just as easily applies to business development, especially when it comes to tempting any new business!
Dating or data mining?
Let’s be honest, meeting someone in a bar without prior research is almost a thing of the past. Chances are you've been talking online or via an app; they’ve checked out your profile picture and read your bio. Now it would appear the world of business development is the same – particularly in recruitment.
You may have shared some information about your expertise, your company’s reputation or even some details around a specialist candidate you are working with (GDPR being obeyed at all times, of course!) in the hope that your potential new partner is on the market for someone new. Then maybe you tentatively approach them, hoping your elevator pitch hits the mark and they’ll take you up on your offer of talking more over a drink.
Much like dating, not everyone is looking for the same thing. Some people are on the lookout for something long-term, some are looking for that quick result before moving on, and some, well some just aren’t sure - long term? Maybe. Urgent need? Maybe not. Perhaps they’re just waiting for that lightning bolt moment and sparks to fly.
For a recruiter, it can be hard to tell the signs. Sometimes, we have the knowledge that a business is looking for someone, that they’re on the market or are even already in an ‘it’s complicated’ partnership (or two – namely a PSL!), but are thinking about trying something different. Sometimes, we recruiters can make calculated judgements from the few signals a business exhibits, such as the company is growing, has recently hired or even recently lost someone. But the reality is, what we don’t always know is whether you are already in another relationship (with direct candidates or other agencies), so us trying to ‘chat you up’ is all we have!
Clearly, there are obvious similarities between dating and business development, but what is the right approach to take?
Well everyone is different. I personally have never been on for the ‘walk over and try my chance with a few chat up lines’ technique – I was never one for pure cold calling; too much of a lottery for me and I haven’t always been the best with handling rejection, so I like to have some background info. Are there any mutual friends / contacts I could lean on to find out more, making some initial enquires, maybe even asking someone to put in a good word for me to warm things up? See, just like dating!
As a recently married man, my dating life is far behind me, but my professional business development urges remain. However, the field is always changing and the battle lives on. In the past week alone, I have tried a number of methods when it comes to opening new doors and signing new clients, including warm calls, some calculated and targeted marketing, and general spreading the word.
But everyone likes it a little bit different; the old faithful cold call tactic can still work (who knew?) and though people are always busy, if you can get that first line in, you can usually still make your ‘pitch’. If you have done your research and are confident in what you can offer, maybe you can sell them the solution for their needs. You may have to try a few different approaches; it might not be love at first sight, but potentially, a shy friendship could blossom into the client you have always longed for.
Our dating history
As a division, we have a number of relationships - some are intense, long-term relationships that we’ve been in for years, where we celebrate anniversaries, we wine and dine our significant others and they hold a special place in our heart. We also have some that are more sporadic, where we only see each other from time to time, keeping in touch every now and then, and enjoying special moments that leave everyone satisfied.
We have been through break-ups, been told it ‘wasn’t us, it was them’ and suffered the pain of mistakes being made. Equally, sometimes we’ve had to move on or ask for forgiveness, though I can honestly say we have never cheated - always sticking to our promise of delivering.
So, what is my point? Well, it’s relatively simple: if you receive an unsolicited call, don’t take it personally, we’re effectively just flirting to see if you might be interested in something new and if you are not, then hey, we understand. We might ask you again in a few months, because life changes, people change and so does the marketplace – what’s more, we like you, so don’t be offended, instead be flattered!
That being the case, we’re a modern company, so if you want to make the first move and speak to us, then please do. I’ll even give you my number!