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Limitless Learning Edition #41

Why you should utilise your specialist Delivery consultants in client meetings.

Client meetings are one of (if not the best) ways to build the foundations of a strong relationship, win roles, and create a “little black book” of top-tier clients you can partner with to grow your desk.

I know a lot of subscribers to this newsletter will be 360 consultants and you may well have a team of delivery consultants to whom you’re managing and passing roles.

You also may be operating in an organisation with a 180 model, where you have set business developers and key account managers/delivery consultants.

Regardless of your opinions on a 180 or 360 model, it’s pretty clear that you won’t always deliver on the roles you fill and that’s ok!

What you need to focus on is building strong client relationships with the right people who fill the roles (if it’s not you) – and that’ll be your delivery team.

Some organisations do encourage delivery consultants to attend client meetings, but there is also a large portion who don’t. 

And my question is why? 

Sure, there are times when it’s more appropriate for a delivery consultant to not attend due to time constraints or perhaps being too junior, but on the whole, you should be making a conscious effort to connect your client/hiring manager with their delivery consultant from the get-go.

 

What are their strengths?

Their strengths are candidate management, networking, and finding incredible talent – this is all very obvious.

But, really dial in on what your delivery consultants’ strengths are. 

Let’s say you recruit within Life Sciences and you have a delivery consultant who has worked in industry and has the academics to back it up this can be such an advantage in a client meeting if you’re meeting with a very technical hiring manager.

Common ground is already there an understanding of the science is already there, and you already have an advantage over other agencies. 

If they’re a brilliant presenter and you know that their personality and rapport would be received better by the client than you (yes, this is possible!) then you need to put them, forwards. It should be about everybody winning. 

And finally, if your delivery consultant is incredibly niche, they are going to have tons of knowledge which should be at the client’s disposal.

It’s not your job to retain all of the information, let them put themselves forward and engage in a conversation that could help you to win the client partnership. 

 

Don’t speak on behalf of your team.

If you are attending a client meeting whereby you’re looking to win 3+ roles, you should absolutely be doubling up with a delivery consultant to represent the delivery team.

Bringing three consultants? Probably a bit too excessive.

But, two people at a client meeting is way better than one. 

Try to avoid speaking on behalf of your team especially if you’re not the person who is physically going to be delivering on the roles.

Having a singular point of contact is important if you’re running a delivery team, and that should absolutely be you. 

But, in the early stages when the client is figuring out who they want to partner with  allowing them to understand the team structure and meet one of the delivery consultants can be incredibly helpful for them to answer any questions that you may not be able to give a comprehensive answer on.

Especially if you operate purely as a business developer for your agency it is physically impossible for you to have specialised knowledge of each vertical.

So, bring a specialist delivery consultant and team up instead! 

 

Collaboration is so powerful.

You want to showcase to your potential client how cohesively you work as a team, collaboration is such a valuable tool and you can only do this if you elevate your delivery consultants and make them a part of the conversation. 

Unless you have worked in a 100% delivery role, you won’t know all of the ins and outs of what it really takes (even if you’ve been in the industry over a decade).

It’s about recognising the importance of variety and also showing the team dynamic. 

People buy people, and not every single client will be bought into you the first time you meet them.

But, they could be bought into your delivery consultant because of their knowledge, how they present themselves, or simply because of their personality and how they handle themselves.

Collaboration is powerful, so utilise it.

 

You are upskilling them.

Whether your delivery consultant has aspirations to move into a 360 role or not.

Client meetings are a vital part of development regardless of the path they’re looking to take.

We all remember how scary our first client meeting or BD call was, so removing the fear, creating opportunities for learning and also upskilling your delivery team on how to interact with clients is invaluable. 

Ultimately, your clients are your candidates and your candidates are your clients – so try to not have rigid thinking that because someone works in a delivery role they shouldn’t have access to showcase their knowledge and talent at a client meeting!

The world of recruitment is changing and we are entering a year which has the potential to be challenging.

Don’t underestimate collaboration, and ensure that when you’re selling a service or a solution that you have the right individuals alongside you to make it possible and win that business

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Limitless Learning Edition #41

Top 10 things you can do this year to achieve your 2023 billings target.

#1 Master the art of the follow-up.

We’ve spoken countless times on Limitless Learning (as well as the Recruitment Mentors Podcast) about the importance of following up and how powerful it can be for growing your network and your desk. 

Ensure that you are following up beyond a “check-in” email or a quick call. Schedule lunches, coffees, and in-person meetings where you can build the foundations of a relationship that will benefit you in the long-term. 

#2 Don’t ask? Don’t get.

Never pitched a retainer before? Do it. 

Don’t feel comfortable asking for exclusive work? It’s time to get rid of this mindset. 

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says no!

#3 Stick to the basics.

The basics are there for a reason: they work incredibly well. 

Sure, everybody has their own variations on what does or doesn’t work for their desk – but the reality is that the basics can enable you to stay on track when you hit a rough patch.

Whether you’re a 360 or 180 consultant, ensure you’re hitting your basics daily to achieve the best results. 

#4 Have a long-term view.

Recruitment is a long game, more so now than ever before. 

You’re going to have months (or even quarters) where your performance may not be where it needs to be. 

But, embracing a long-term view and going into each call or meeting with the mindset that it will be developed into something is a great way to be. 

Not only will this enable you to have a better outlook on your billings overall for the year, but it will force you to prioritise this method of working (which clients and candidates are much more receptive to). 

#5 Prioritise self-growth.

We speak a lot about mindset in this newsletter, and for some of you – you may not see the link between mindset and hitting your billings targets. 

But, prioritising your self-growth will enable you to adopt a mindset that sees negatives as learnings. 

#6 Know your worth.

Saying “no” to a client or candidate can feel difficult at first – but 2023 is the year that you need to know your worth. 

Not every role is worth taking on – not every meeting is worth having. Be honest with yourself, check in with yourself, and take on things that are going to be valuable. If a client or candidate doesn’t see your value, then are they the type of client or candidate that you want to be working with? 

#7 Step out of your comfort zone.

It could be running an event – starting a podcast, or creating a closer-knit candidate community; there are so many things you can do this year to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. 

The by-product may not directly be better billings, but embracing change and creating a more holistic approach to your desk will benefit you in the long-run. 

It doesn’t have to be as crazy as starting a podcast, either – think small and go from there. 

#8 Create financial goals that are realistic.

There’s nothing more demotivating than feeling like you’re never going to hit your targets. 

Ensure that your monthly, quarterly, and annual goals are realistic. 

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself – we all need to aim high! But, assess what you’ve set for yourself and be honest. 

#9 Seek advice from those around you.

Peers, colleagues, or even competitors…. 

We are all in this incredible industry together. 

Seek advice and learn from those who are better than you: what did they do to get there? How can you potentially help each other? What can you do differently this year?

#10 Embed business development into your daily activity.

To hit your billings target, you’re going to need to ensure that your approach to business development is a positive one. 

For a lot of recruiters, we are often taught business development and candidate management as two separate things – which for the most part of our jobs, are. 

But, the reality is that you should be embedding business development into your daily activity – your candidate can become a client, and vice versa. 

These are our 10

If you think we are missing anything on this list, then let us know? 

We would love to hear what you think the best recruiters will be doing consistently this year to ensure they smash their targets.

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Limitless Learning Edition #40

As we (very quickly) approach the end of 2022, this is also the 40th edition of the Limitless Learning newsletter!

For those of you who have been subscribed since day #1, thank you.

And for those who are new to the Limitless Learning journey, we’ve got a great wrap-up edition for you before we dive into 2023.

 

So, what did you all love reading about the most this year?

  • How to improve the candidate experience
  • Client commitment
  • Having a Top Biller Mindset
  • Building a watertight client roster
  • Building sustainable habits

 

Here’s a great recap of all the “best bits” to date…

 

How can you improve the candidate experience?

Tip #1 – Listen

Not only will this allow you to coach and consult better (because you’ll be listening to what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear, but it will enable you to decipher very quickly if a candidate is going to take an offer or not. 

Tip #2: Know them personally, so you can coach them better

To coach and consult, you need to understand the inner workings of your candidates. 

How do they like to communicate? What is going on in their life that may influence their decision-making? 

Do they sometimes need tough love, or do they need a softer approach? 

Tip #3: If the job isn’t right for them, tell them!

Focus on what is important for the candidate, not what is important for you. 

Sometimes, you’ll have situations whereby you know in your gut that an opportunity isn’t right, but there’s a voice in the back of your head convincing you that it will be “fine” – it won’t! 

You have a duty of care with candidates, so always focus on the candidate’s success and giving them a good experience. 

And finally, make feedback a priority.

 

How to get client commitment from day #1

#1 Give yourself a limit on how much competitive work you are willing to accept

In an ideal world, we’d all be retained or working exclusive roles on 30%, but in reality, not everybody works in this type of environment, and it may not work for your market.

Competitive work doesn’t always equal bad work, either. 

But, if you spend all of your time working competitive roles, how will you elevate yourself and create a sustainable desk? You simply won’t.

Instead, set a boundary and allow yourself to work a set amount of competitive roles at any time. 

#2 Always ask for exclusivity

If you don’t do this already, this should be a standard part of you winning a role from a client. 

Exclusivity equals better service, a better go to market strategy, and enables you to have a better relationship with the client. 

If the client isn’t willing to give you exclusivity, find out why. 

#3 Pitch retainers or mini-retainers

Retainers in recruitment are evolving all the time, so whether you do a refundable retainer, a non-refundable retainer, a retainer “lite” or something different – getting upfront commitment in the form of payment is the goal.

#4 Always explain how it adds value

The whole point of working exclusively or on a retainer is so it’s a partnership. 

You want the client to value the service you provide, so make sure you explain that service before you ask for anything from them. 

This is largely down to your consulting and sales skills, as well as how you approach a negotiation!

For example, if a client isn’t willing to give you an exclusive role now, agree with them that if you fill the competitive role first, they will work with you exclusively on the next three roles. 

Clever compromise is what I like to call it. 

The client still has an element of control but you are working towards getting that commitment. 

It’s all about demonstrating your track record and value and what they will get out of it. 

#5 –  Build your ideal client matrix

What would make a perfect client? And, what opportunities are you VERY confident you can fill? 

You can use this to consult and educate clients on how they can improve their processes, salary bandings, employee benefits – and so much more.

 

The 10 ways to cultivate a top-biller mindset…

#1 I’m looking at mistakes as learnings instead of what I did wrong.

#2 I’m humble & don’t think I’m better than others.

#3 My clients & candidates are equally as important.

#4 Long-term gain over short-term wins.

#5 Team work is key (and so is cross-selling)

#6 There is enough business out there for everybody.

#7 I know my worth & when to say “no”.

#8 I’m always looking at how I can improve.

#9 Feedback is key in every aspect of my work.

#10 I set boundaries with my time & my energy.

 

How can you build a watertight client roster?

Step 1: Data is king: assess how much each of your clients are spending and group them into A, B, and C.

A = Biggest spenders

B = Average spenders

C = Spot business

All the clients in group A should then be graded into the following sections:

Consistent: This is a client that uses you on a monthly or bi-monthly basis as a minimum.

Sporadic: They may spend a lot of money with you, but no more than once a quarter or even a couple of times a year.

Then, look at group B and do the same. 

In reality, group C probably won’t formulate your watertight client roster until you’re able to bump them up to B or A and you have them in the “consistent” bracket.

Step 2: Look at who you’re connected to within the business and how can you improve it!

Visually seeing what the annual and quarterly spend is, as well as how many hiring managers you’re connected with and the terms of business, will enable you to see what you’re currently doing with these clients and where you could improve. 

Step 3: Who can you move on to a retained or long-term agreement model?

This may not be possible for all of your clients, but consistency comes from creating agreements that secure you business and enable you to be a true long-term partner for a client. 

Whether this is moving onto a retainer model, or even something that resembles an embedded or RPO model, look at something that can be consistent for both parties.

Step 4: Now, look at your “spot business” (tier c) section and see what improvements can be made.

Now, this is where people can go wrong with their client roster – don’t ever neglect clients who give you spot business. 

Sure, there will be some clients that you’ll never be able to move up to the “next step” – but the vast majority you should be working on in the background. 

Just because your “A” client is great now, doesn’t mean that by tomorrow things could drastically change.

Repeat the same process using the table above and create a sustainable plan that will enable you to consistently work on tier C clients in the background.

Step 5: Review your efforts quarterly

Recruitment as we know it has drastically changed over the past 5 years. 

And, more so now than ever before – you must keep up with the pace. 

Reviewing your efforts quarterly and looking for incremental improvement across all of your clients will enable you to keep a watertight, but also fresh, client roster.

Review, plan, and take action. You’ll feel more confident – and you’ve got a much higher chance of being successful.

 

What sustainable habits do great recruiters have?

#1 Client catch-ups

Whether they are a current client or a prospective one, never underestimate the power of a monthly catch-up. It could be a call, a text, a zoom, or a coffee – don’t forget it! Make sure you’re adding value to these calls every month.

#2 Candidate catch-ups

The same goes for candidates, too.

Placed, not placed, or in process (obviously) – catch-ups are a priority.

Remember, how can you add value each month? Is it sharing content, insights, or news?

#3 Check in with yourself

Too often in recruitment, it’s easy to get swept up in your own world when you’re busy and trying to build a sustainable desk. 

Check-in with yourself once a month from a technical, personal, and growth perspective – set goals and stick to them for the following month!

See you in 2023!

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Limitless Learning Edition #38

Mindset + Burnout | How can you spot burnout in your teams?

The recruitment market has changed rapidly over the past couple of months. And, as we come to the end of Q4 – a lot of us are (understandably) going to feel pretty exhausted.

That, coupled with Christmas around the corner – can lead to a lack of motivation and potential burnout.

Long-term subscribers of this newsletter will know that we’ve covered burnout and mental health many times before, but this time I really wanted to focus on the signs of spotting burnout in your team and how to tackle it.

What are the tell-tale signs of burnout?

Self-doubt: When someone’s confidence is knocked, and they’re stressed – self-doubt starts to creep in. 

Although this isn’t the only “symptom” of burnout, it can be an obvious indicator of the early signs that someone is battling with themselves internally. 

Procrastination: With self-doubt comes doubting the ability to complete simple (and complex) tasks. 

This leads to procrastination, either due to the fear of getting something wrong or the fear of tackling an overflowing workload.

Dip in performance (or a continuous downturn in performance): Who remember’s when my podcast was called The Recruitment Rollercoaster? – That’s because it is. 

There will be continuous ups and downs no matter what. But, sudden dips in performance or a steady decline in deal flow, pipeline, and daily activity can show that someone is struggling. 

Irritable and/or overwhelmed: Behavioural changes are a great way to spot stress and/or burnout. 

If the individual in your team is all of sudden appearing to be overwhelmed or irritable, this can be a tell-tale sign. 

Unable to complete simple tasks: Is their inbox overflowing? Are they unable to complete simple follow-up calls or standard admin tasks that the “average” recruiter could complete fairly quickly?

Spending more time working from home/withdrawing from social activities at work: Although the majority of agencies now have a hybrid or completely remote models, one of the obvious signs of burnout is a behavioural change toward socialising at work. 

Whether it’s end-of-the-week drinks or team lunches, if you notice a change in behaviour or someone who was once extroverted suddenly becoming introverted, this is an obvious sign. 

Now, what are the not-so-obvious signs?

Overworking/too much overtime: In recruitment, we’re all used to working long hours. For those who are in the first year of their career – this will resonate with you all too well! 

But, there’s a big difference between working longer hours because you have the motivation and desire to do so, and working longer hours because you can’t focus during the day or get your workload done in a reasonable time. 

Sure – the odd late night is something we’ve all done, but when it becomes a daily thing, this is a problem. 

This can sometimes be hard to spot as a manager because of the culture in recruitment, and can cause severe burnout much quicker. 

Weight change, tired eyes: Although you should never comment on someone’s appearance – as a leader, you should keep a mental note of this. 

Some people are great at hiding their stress and burnout, so look out for things such as a sudden change in weight, how their eyes appear in the office or on zoom, and also how they are dressing. 

This sounds, in theory, invasive – but the bottom line is you must be observant to the smaller, less obvious changes and ensure that you’re looking after your team. 

Not turning on their camera as regularly as they used to: We are living in a digital world, where hybrid working, remote working, and being behind a screen has become the norm. 

And, something else that has become the norm is less “rules” around camera etiquette. 

Now, this is great – no one should be forced to put on their camera. 

But, if you’re operating a remote recruitment team it’s crucial that you have some level of FaceTime with your team members so you can look out for burnout. 

Recruitment and burnout can often go hand in hand – but it doesn’t have to be this way

Burnout is so complex – especially in the recruitment world where the “old school” culture really is to suck it up and get on with it. 

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. 

So many of us have been burnt out time and time again over the past couple of years – and this time, we need to try to focus on creating a culture and open conversation between leaders and their team members about burnout.

Beyond the top-line things such as checking workload and asking “are you stressed?” – what else are you doing?

Here are some ideas

  • Make taking annual leave mandatory
  • Always make time for 1-2-1’s that are centred around how someone is feeling rather than how someone is performing
  • Talk about burnout regularly to encourage open communication
  • Set boundaries about working hours and don’t encourage “hustle culture”

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Limitless Learning Edition #37

10 things you can do to grow your client base today

Step 1: Data is king: assess how much each of your clients are spending and group them into A, B, and C.

A = Biggest spenders

B = Average spenders

C = Spot business

All the clients in group A should then be graded into the following sections:

Consistent: This is a client that uses you on a monthly or bi-monthly basis as a minimum.

Sporadic: They may spend a lot of money with you, but no more than once a quarter or even a couple of times a year.

Then, look at group B and do the same. 

Group C probably won’t formulate your watertight client roster until you bump them up to B or A and have them in the “consistent” bracket.

 

Step 2: Look at who you’re connected to within the business and how you can improve it!

You’re vulnerable if you only have one key contact with a client.

Ideally, you want three to five solid contacts with your clients, not one.

Once you’re aware of this, map it out …

Visually see the annual and quarterly spending, how many hiring managers you’re connected with, and the business terms.

It should be a beneficial exercise enabling you to see what you’re currently doing with these clients and where you could improve. 

Whether it’s slightly improving the terms of business or increasing the time you reach out to these clients (or the number of hiring managers you’re connected with), you’ll start to build some solid foundations for your dream client roster. 

*Top Tip* We had this shared by a top performer in one of our recent sessions at Recruitment Mentors.

Have you ever asked your clients for their company org chart?

If you haven’t, ask; you will be surprised how many yes’s you get. 😅

 

Step 3: Who can you move on to a retained, long-term or exclusive agreement model?

It may only be possible for some of your clients, but consistency comes from creating agreements that secure your business and enable you to be a true long-term partner for a client. 

Whether this is moving onto a retainer model or even something resembling an embedded or RPO model, look at something consistent for both parties.

If you can’t do this, look at who you can agree on exclusivity with and what you can get in writing! 

 

Step 4: Look at your “spot business” (tier c) section and see what improvements can be made.

Now, this is where people can go wrong with their client roster – don’t ever neglect clients who give you spot business. 

Sure, there will be some clients that you’ll never be able to move up to the “next step”, – but the vast majority you should be working on in the background. 

Just because your “A” client is great now doesn’t mean that things could drastically change by tomorrow. 

Repeat the same process using the table above and create a sustainable plan that will enable you to work on tier C clients in the background consistently.

 

Step 5: Review your efforts quarterly

Recruitment as we know it has drastically changed over the past five years. 

And, more so now than ever, you must keep up with the pace. 

Reviewing your efforts quarterly and looking for incremental improvement across all your clients will enable you to keep a watertight and fresh client roster.

Don’t underestimate the power of having a plan.

If you ever enter a month or a quarter with the nonchalant approach of “I’ll put more work in”, – you may experience limited success.  

Review, plan, and take action.

You’ll feel more confident – and you have a much higher chance of success.

What a great time to do an exercise like this as we close in on a brand new year as well! 👊🏻 

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Limitless Learning Edition #36

10 things you can do to grow your client base today

1. Go to industry events.

Finding niche events that your key clients and candidates go to is a great way to get face time in a setting that isn’t forced. 

Sometimes, client meetings can happen prematurely – so instead of wasting a client’s time, go to an event instead where you can meet them in a “softer” way – slightly more casual, and also allow them to put a face to a name.

2. Join industry-relevant social media groups.

Whether it’s WhatsApp, Slack, Discord, or LinkedIn – there are a ton of social media groups out there that are relevant to you. 

Make sure you’re present and offering your input and advice. It’s all about offering long-term value beyond just recruitment.

3. Prioritise catch-up calls (and book them in)

I know I bang on about the power of a catch-up call, but how often are you checking in with clients with who you haven’t signed terms yet? Make it a priority!

4. Start a newsletter for your niche.

If I’m not solid proof that a newsletter works – I don’t know what else to tell you! It creates community, it allows you to have a regular touchpoint with a large group of people, and it allows you to showcase your value.

5. Simply just….ask (for more clients)

A good old-fashioned cold call, email, or LinkedIn message never hurt. 

Some clients love a direct approach, so make sure that you’re mixing it up.

6. Start your very own podcast.

You will be surprised how effective this can be to generate clients & recruiters are perfectly positioned to start one.

Sometimes recruiters just need another reason to speak with people beyond the typical stuff – jobs, candidates etc.

A podcast is a great reason & a brilliant door opener.

I guarantee you that you will get way more “yesses” from potential clients if you reach out with “how interested would you be in being a guest on our podcast where we interview senior leaders in our space to educate & inspire future talent in our industry?”

7. Invest in your personal brand.

LinkedIn is every recruiter’s bread and butter, so if you’re still using it to just post jobs – you’re doing it all wrong. 

Even if you post twice a month, it’s better than nothing. 

Having a presence in the market enables you to build a name for yourself, thus making it easier to win clients. 

8. Ask for an introduction a week.

Utilise your current network, ask for introductions, and make it a weekly habit to cultivate new client relationships.

9. Host your own events or roundtables.

If attending events becomes successful for you, start hosting your own. 

They can be budget-friendly (often completely free if done virtually) and create a relaxed setting based on education and adding free value. 

Networking is key.

10. Use your successful projects & partnerships to win new business.

If you haven’t put together some of your best-case studies then you’re missing a trick.

Clearly demonstrating how you have saved X business time & money can become some of your most valuable sales collateral. 

Ensure you focus on demonstrating the problems you solved, the outcomes you achieved & start using these stats in your client outreach – it works.

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