Lead Conversion – An 8 Step process to increase success

Expert AdviceA new business desk lives and dies by the leads that are generated. Generating leads however is the first step. The fun is chasing them! This is also the measure of the consultant’s sales skills, the conversion ratio of leads into requirements. To successfully convert a lead into a requirement it is important to consider the following facts:

The client has decided to not use you (or at least at this stage to use someone else, perhaps even from a PSL).

The client may be part way through the recruitment process and happy with the results thus far.

Both of these will therefore contribute to the fact that the client may say “No thanks, I don’t need your help” This in turn brings new definition to the word “No”. No means “Not yet”. When tracking and chasing leads a consultant must ascertain when “yet” is. Although this may sound easy, the client will not know when until the unforeseen happens. This is the most powerful time to utilise implication based questioning techniques.

“What will you do if your supplier doesn’t come up with the right CVs?”

“What will you do if they don’t turn up for interview?”

“What if they turn out to be unsuitable?”

“What if they take an offer elsewhere?”

“What will you do if they are offered more money to stay where they are?”

“What will you do if they accept an extension at their current employer?”

“What if they don’t turn up on their first day?”

Clearly we ask the right question relative to where they are up to in the process.

Now we understand the above we can look at the 8 step structure as to how to convert a lead into a requirement.

1.   Find a suitable candidate

The candidate doesn’t have to be anything more than suitable by technologies, location (maybe), rate/salary, title and industry sector. Anything more is overkill as you are likely to know no more yourself! Calling to chase a lead with a candidate compared to without is 80% more likely to get the client to give you the requirement as you have something that they want! Calling leads without a candidate is therefore pointless – give the lead to someone else.

(There is the option to “ghost” a candidate which works very well too because you can create someone who is as close to ideal as you want. You could use the CV of the candidate who gave you the lead as clearly they were good enough to get an interview. My only caveat to this is that you need to have the consultancy acumen to pull this off that comes with experience).

2.   Call the client “Regarding the vacancy”

This means when you get through to the client tell them you know they are recruiting! (Most gatekeepers will have been briefed to filter out spec calls from other suppliers so saying you are calling about the vacancy to them will just send you to the dialling tone!). The client is therefore much less likely to deny it.

3.   Present your candidate in brief

Give the client the key reasons why you think they will be interested in the candidate. Less is more here as you want them to be on the hook rather than give them too much information so that they can reject the candidate.

4.   Ask a question early on

Get the client involved! Get them used to talking and the sound of their own voice. “How do they sound to you?”

5.   Be prepared for objections

As we know already, objections are buying signals so treat them as such. Pre-empt the most likely objections you may encounter and think about what you will say. What will you say to:

We have enough CVs. Let’s wait and see how our response goes. We are interviewing next week. We don’t use agencies as we are trying to cut costs. We have a PSL. If you are not quite sure, then perhaps now would be a good time to decide!

6.   Get control of the situation

Ask questions! The person who is asking the questions is the one who is in control. As a minimum find out where they are up to in the process and what the next step is. Get clarification on dates and timescales. “We have interviews next week” isn’t good enough. “How many? When is the last one? Who are you seeing? What do you like about them? What will you do if they turn out to be unsuitable?” Fill in the requirement form so you can find suitable candidates to tempt the client with!

7.   Send a CV – to every lead

Getting a requirement from a lead will not happen with every lead it is possible to send a CV or candidate profile to every lead. Give the client evidence as to why they should be using you now and in the future.

8.   Track it properly

Track the lead at each critical stage, following up to see how the interviews went, who they offered it to, make sure the candidate resigned and that they have started! It’s not over until the candidate starts and gets through the probation period.

Again like all things this takes discipline and effort to make it work. The rewards however are excellent.

Use these other tips to increase your sales success:

How to work smarter, not harder, as a recruiter

How to break PSL’s – read this before your competitors do!

Recognising what makes a Grade A assignment.


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