One of the reasons we track practices and trends in recruiting is that the lessons learned in getting candidates to say "yes" to a job offer (a sale by another name is still a sale) apply readily to other selling processes. Some are very basic, but bear repeating.
In Lou Adler's article "Get Off the PC and On the Phone" in today's Electronic Recruiting Exchange, we are reminded that the best way to deal with "no" answers is to frame the early part of the discussion where "yes" is the only logical answer to the question. Specifically talking about cold-calling "passive" (not looking) candidates, Lou advises:
"Recruiters need to lead the cold call conversation by asking appropriate questions. The best ones are those that can be answered by a yes."
Lou contends that candidates have legitimate reasons to say "no" if we don't provide information early in the conversation that says what we have to discuss is worth listening to. Lou says:
"When a candidate says no to anything, especially early in the recruiting process, it's usually because he or she doesn't have enough information to say yes, and the opportunity doesn't seem worth spending the time to consider it."
So it's up to the recruiter (or any salesperson, for that matter) to provide enough information up front to intrigue the candidate (or any other sales prospect).
Yes, the basics of good cold-call work apply across industry boundaries. When we forget them, we get rejected . . . for good reason. Take a look at Lou's article, and see if it rings any bells. In our efforts to employ sophisticated techniques and technology, we often forget the basic tools of our trade. Don't let this happen to you.