Why Most Recruiting Leaders Are Unable to Develop Cold Candidates

Welcome back. It’s another Recruiting Conversations with your host Richard Milligan. And today we’re going to actually discuss a question I had recently after an event, which actually tickled my funny bone, but that’s not that hard to do. I’m a bit immature in that particular area. Maybe it’s the fact that I had kids later in life or that I got married later in life. But I am still growing up today and so I love to have fun. I love to have a good laugh. That’s part of my personality. So let’s talk about this. I was recently speaking at an event and at the end of the event someone came up to me and asked me this and I’ll try and capture the exact framework, where they said, “What’s the deal with you being so fixated on developing cold leads?” And I’ve never been asked that question before. So I thought we would just address it here on the podcast and talk about that. I am a huge studier of data. I think that data predicts things before we as human beings actually realize what’s going on. And so where we look at trends in terms of numbers, those can become early predictors for what’s actually going to follow. In a lot of industries, what I know… I’ve seen a larger trend in all industries where I saw a survey for here in 2019 that said that 85% of Americans say they’re satisfied with their jobs. Now, in some industries that trends as high as 94 to 95%. So if we’re only looking for a warm lead or a hot lead, someone that’s already in the job market or someone that’s already made a commitment to make a move, we’re really limiting the amount of wins that we can actually have because then it starts to come down to a couple of components. It starts to come down to the fact that our timing has to be spot on, that even the environment that we’re presenting our opportunity in is perfect, because how you present, where are you present, the mood that the person’s in that you’re presenting to, all those are critical factors in how someone receives the opportunity you’re presenting to them. And so when we start looking at all the peripheral factors around this, one of the reasons why I’m so fixated on developing cold leads is this, some things just don’t change. Okay.

There’s certain things that are what I call evergreen strategies. Okay. There’s non-evergreen strategies, things that are always going to change, but from an evergreen perspective, one of the things that I know about us as human beings is that we do business with people that we know, like and trust. And that has not changed going back thousands and thousands of years ago. So with that being true, if we can come to an agreement on that, then one of the things that we should… I think elevates this idea of why we should be fixated on developing cold leads is that you got to build trust with someone. They’ve got to know you, they’ve got to like you before you ever get to a place before they’re ever willing to align their talents with you. So if we can come to some consensus on that, then what I would say is why aren’t we focused primarily on developing our cold leads? Because if at some point everyone’s going to have a trigger event, average timeline for employment is somewhere between two and three and a half years depending on the industry. So if someone’s going to have that trigger event, then don’t I want to actually be positioned as someone they know, like and trust, so that they’d be willing to pick up the phone and say, “Hey, we have a relationship. Things have changed over here and I would like to talk to you.” And this is one of the reasons why I’m so fixated on developing cold leads. Now what this means is that we actually have to have a system in place. If we don’t have a system in place, then we simply are just creating activities that have short runways on them, right? So I think a lot of salespeople think in terms of, let’s just go muddy the waters. So we act like we’re a bull in a china shop just trying to make something happen, just trying to create energy. And if you don’t have a system beyond doing, say initial research and making that… in our research we’re identifying this person as someone of interest to us, and then beyond that actually stepping into this and having initial contact, we can do those two things all day long. But if we don’t have a followup system in place, then we are constantly losing energy because we’re only going after that 5 to 15% that would say they’re unsatisfied where they are right now. So here’s what I would say. Why are cold leads important? One, this is going to be who we’re mostly going to speak with, right? And so once we’ve spoken with someone, we’ve invested time to qualify them, right? And we’re talking about just to connect with them, we’re having to qualify them. Right? I mean in most places we’re looking at their previous work tenure, we’re looking at… if you’re hiring in the space of being a recruiting leader, like what I coach too, you’re typically looking for someone that’s already got experience in the industry. So we’re looking at production, we’re looking at the intrinsic value that they would bring in terms of reputation and brand to the organization. Why in the world after doing investing all that time to qualify and just connect with them would we flush all of that time, energy and effort away. It only makes sense to capture on that, right, by having a system. So because this is going to be who we’re mostly going to speak with, this is one of the reasons why I’m going to be so fixated on developing is called leads.

The second part of this is most of you are fishing and smaller ponds, right? This podcast is being produced for recruiting leaders. So the recruiting leader is someone that a team and then is also responsible for recruiting to that team. It means a lot of your primarily focused on a single market or maybe a state. We may have some regionals listening to this that might be focused on a larger geography, but once you start fishing in that smaller pond, what you find is that this is actually a pretty small group of people that you’re actually going to pursue. If you’re typically looking for a producer who already has experience and has production history, that means that you have a limited number of people that you would actually recruit. So that’s the second reason why cold leads are important to us. Okay.

The third reason is this, there isn’t much competition for them. Most people are looking for the person who’s already experienced some sort of trigger event that’s now ready to make a move. So if there isn’t much competition for them and if it’s more difficult and you’ve got to have a specific process to just even get in front of them, which is one of the things that I teach and you’re able to get in front of them while they’re cold, guess what? You’re the one that’s on speed dial when that trigger even happens. And so the third reason why I’m so fixated on these cold leads is that I want to be in blue ocean. I don’t want to be in the bloody water, I don’t want to be over here where everyone’s fighting for this person that’s talking to five to seven companies. And when someone’s had a trigger event take place, a lot of times they I start engaging in multiple conversations when they don’t have trust already built with someone. So if I work to build relationship prior to that and I’m in front of this trigger event, I think that’s what great recruiters do. So when that trigger even happens, I am the only person that that individual makes contact with because they know, like, and trust me. The fourth part of this is… we know that if we handle this correctly, okay, and when we handle this correctly, we’re presenting ourselves as what I call the attractive leader. That means that we’re leading with our vision. We’re leading with our value system, our core convictions, our beliefs, and we’ve got a strong process or system that we follow. Then guess what? I truly believe this, that the cold candidates are in play. It takes anybody to go find warm, hot talent. Okay? I can find anyone that doesn’t even have recruiting experience that can go find warm, hot talent and move them to an organization. But it takes someone who has a process, a system, and the right mindset to get in front of a cold lead. But if they do that, here’s what I think. I think that we are intrinsically designed as human beings to be motivated towards core value alignment, to be motivated to move towards someone who’s got clarity and where they’re going. That means they have a vision, someone that’s got clarity and can communicate clearly why they do what they do. This person’s operating in their passion zone and I think that when we arrive on the scene with someone that’s operating in the passion zone, that can clearly communicate those three components, core values, a vision and why they’re doing what they’re doing, that we all want to draw swords and fight with them. Okay. Now that’s kind of a Braveheartism. If you haven’t ever seen Braveheart, you might have to watch that movie and figure out who William Wallace is, but one of the things, I know there’s a moment in that movie where William Wallace arrives on the scene of a battlefield, and if I just relive that movie scene for a moment, he rides up and for the first time he’s really being recognized in front of a large group of men. And up to this moment he’s really been kind of a mystery. People have heard of him, him and his small band of brothers he’s been fighting with behind the scenes, but there’s been this noise that he’s been defeating the enemy on a small level. And suddenly one day in front of where there are these two lords that are about to ride out to what is, it looks like it’s a battle scene, but it’s not really a battle scene. There’s two lords are going to ride out and what they’re actually going to do is get awarded more land, more honor, more wealth for not actually fighting. And suddenly you’ve got this group of men that are these Scottish peasants that are leaving this battle scene saying I didn’t come here for this. I didn’t come here so that they could get more land, get more title. I’m not here to fight for them. And they begin to leave this scene of the battle. And William Wallace rides up on the scene with his small band of brothers and he calls this group of men who are now leaving the battle scene into something that’s much bigger with clarity of vision, clarity of why and clarative core values. And these men turn to fight this battle in this moment because there was clarity around those three components. William Wallace was operating in that passion zone. And I think at a deep level, we as human beings want to be called into that and this word satisfied to me, actually content… you could almost draw a straight line from satisfied to being content to status quo. Right, and I love the definition of status quo in Latin where it says that the definition of status quo is a mess we’re in. I would dare say that when we look at people who say we’re, I put in quotation, satisfied where we’re at, that at the end of the day there’s a large lack of leadership, that there’s not a lot of direction. They’re not being called into what I call that bam zone, that belonging, affirmation and meaning zone, where at the highest level we want to have a larger meaning of what we do in the day to day. I think that when leaders approach cold leads correctly, they call people into this bam zone and people are willing to make change when they thought that they were satisfied. So this is a big reason for me why I think we should become fixated on developing these cold leads.

So let’s talk about a couple of major components that are key factors and having success with them. Okay.

Here’s three things you focus on. Number one, affirmation, affirmation, affirmation. I’ve talked about this in a recent podcast. I’m going to bring it up again. There’s three things here. Affirmation will get you in front of them. As an example, I checked out a few places to get some information on you before I reached out to you and I was impressed with what I saw and then I will mention what I saw. Okay? That’s the first thing.

The second part is you got to give them a big reason on why they should meet with you. If you think there’s significant market change coming over the next 24 months, talk about that, right? If you see a lot of consolidation going on in the upcoming year and you believe there’s more to come, talk about that. But you have to figure out some big reasons why they should meet with you.

Here’s the third component. Remove all tension, okay? This is relationship building only. This is not recruiting, okay? So if someone’s willing to meet with me and they’re willing to continue this conversation, then it’s not a recruiting meeting. It’s a relationship building meeting. So remove all tension, okay? And then what that means is that when we get in front of them, we’ve got to be prepared to actually have a relationship building meeting only with them. Okay? So you’ve got to have an agenda for this. Here’s what I would tell you as a side note, never, never use negative information about their situation, their company, or anything that’s self-serving to you. The reason why I say that is that it will immediately diminish your opportunity to build relationship with them. Anything that’s self-serving, okay, removes the fact that they could see you as an authentic, real individual that’s not trying to actually recruit them. This is relationship building first. This is how you get in front of your cold leads and that you’ve got to build relationship for them before you can ever move them to a place where you might have the opportunity to recruit them. Okay, so we’ll never use negative information about their company, even if we know it. About their leader, even if we know it. Anything that may be self-serving, if we use that diminishes our opportunity to build relationship and so you’ve got to be aware of that. Okay.

All right. Here’s the last part of this. What can you do to improve your ability to turn cold leads into something more? Let’s address that. What can you do to improve your ability to turn cold leads into something more? You have to have a system or a process that you follow that is a relationship building process or system. Okay. Let me give you an example of what that could look like. Most of us have a recruiting process or a system we follow. As an example of that. When we get someone on the phone, we use a phone script like would you be interested in talking about a new opportunity? Would you be interested in talking about a leadership position? Something that gives you more influence, something that gives you more money, something that gives you anything that might be what I would classify as the opportunity improvement offer. Okay. This has to be a relationship building model. Okay. This is what it could look like. You need to have what I call a value equation. Okay. What can you give that’s a value to people that you can give away without any strings of attached. Let me give you an example of some of the things that over the years I’ve used to really build relationship where I’m giving things, giving in essence these value bombs, these gifts to them away and these don’t have to cost money. This does not have to be predicated on you spending money to do this. Some of the things I’ve given away over the years are books. If I had a good phone conversation with someone, then I would say at the end, even if they weren’t willing to meet with me, I would say, “I would love to send you one of my favorite books. What’s a good address that I can ship that to?” Okay. That worked extremely well for me. I could tell you story after story of people that had that book one time, sat on their desk for six months and someone in their office picked it up and actually asked if they could read it and then that individual came back to me and said this individual read this book and brought it back and said it brought value to them and it just reminded me I needed to reach out to you and connect with you again. And that turned into the relationship building, beginning of the relationship building. I’ve had lots of people that I sent books to that would actually take the book, read it, and then converse back and forth with me via text and over a season would then move to my teams because it allow me to move into what I call the surrogate leader role. And that word surrogate actually means in place of. Okay, so let’s just talk about that for a quick moment here. The word surrogate means in place of it. So what that means, if someone’s lacking leadership and I show up and creatively figure out how I bring leadership to someone, then they’ll lean into my leadership and where that happens, then there’s this value equation where I’m actually bringing more value to someone than they’re getting from the current leadership, and now I have the ability to step in and move them into a partnership with me, move them into being part of my team. So books are a great way to do that. Another great way to do that is to do this through podcast. I listen to a lot of podcasts. Okay, find great podcasts that you can share inside your inside your industry where there’s things that are value you can give away to them. Find good influencers that are bringing value, that you can share articles, you can share videos, you can share any content that they’re delivering. Okay. You need to become a content hub of sorts, where you can actually then just in turn become not a content creator, but a content curator, books of value, videos of value, podcast of value, influencers that are delivering these things of value, articles. Look, if you know someone, you’re trying to recruit leaders inside this space of recruiting leadership, my podcast could be one of those things are of value that you give away. Okay, cool websites. For example, if you’re in the real estate community or you’re in the mortgage world, there’s a Win By Noon Planner, so winbynoon.com is a planner that I’m someone that’s inside the mortgage industry as successful leader inside of the mortgage industry develop a planner idea of how you actually win by noon. That would be a great place that I could actually direct people to. Just ask, “Hey, did you know this exists that, have you seen this planner?” I might actually buy a quarterly planner form and send it to them and direct them to that. That’s something of value that I can give away without any strings attached. Okay. This is a great way to have a relationship building process or systems by having a value equation. One of the things I’m a huge fan of is LinkedIn. LinkedIn over the last couple of years has gone from being a recruiting platform to actually being a relationship building platform. It’s now a place that you have to see as a content hub. I believe every recruiting leader should be delivering daily content on LinkedIn. The reason why is that it is the sweet spot right now for being a content hub and is a place that you can actually give value away that can become part of your value equation, just like it is mine. If you go look up LinkedIn, I’m delivering value there every single day. About every 10 days I’m dropping an article, a extreme value bomb that has a lot of hyperlinks in it, a lot of video content that we’ve already prerecorded. A lot of documents that we’re dropping in there as hyperlinks and these articles that were delivering us. That’s part of our value equation. That is how I would go about this. How do I improve my ability to turn cold leads into something more? I have a value equation with no strings attached. Okay, so you tell I can get a little fired up about this. Even though I’m still trying to get over this daggum bronchitis. Every once in a while I let a cough slip here. So I appreciate you bearing with me in this, but this is why I’m so fixated on developing cold leads is because this, if you’re going to win at scale, you got to figure this out. The people that figure this out are going to be the ones that grow in 2020. And so you have to have a system around this and so there’s lots of value in this. You can go back through this, listen to it again. There’s a transcription of this on recruitingconversations.com. Go there, check that out. I would encourage you to go there and check that out and you can download that, and even if you want to dissect some of these things, put this into a to do list. That’d be great way to start looking at how you’re going to approach a cold leads in the upcoming year. So I appreciate you listening today. I’m going to jump off of here now because I’m a couple minutes late for a meeting, but I wanted to get this to you on the podcast today, so thanks for listening. Have a great week everybody, and I look forward to talking to again here on the next, Recruiting Conversation podcast.

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