This article originally appeared in ShortList on 7 July 2016 at 12.06pm
The most effective recruitment managers employ true sales intervention skills that go beyond traditional coaching, according to industry trainer Ross Clennett.
To be successful in any industry, managers must possess three competencies: integrity, reliability, and listening, says Clennett.
But to drive a sales team forward, they also need "sales innovation" skills, he says, because "so much time is wasted by recruiters working on assignments that they either shouldn't work on, or trying to unstick a deal when they don't have the capability to do it".
Sales innovation is an intervention in a challenging situation where a recruiter isn't gaining progress, he says, whereas regular coaching "is just what a manager does to continually develop the skills of his or her people".
Sales coaching is one-on-one, not group training, and is done in real-time, Clennett adds.
A classic example of where a manager should adopt a sales coaching approach is where a consultant has referred candidates across to the client in several batches, and the client has said, 'no I'm not interested, send me more'.
Others include where a client is unresponsive to contact; hasn't returned signed terms and conditions of business; has promised but not delivered a job description; or has promised but not provided feedback on interviews.
Managers with effective sales coaching skills will be able to spend time with that consultant to show them a new way to approach the problem, Clennett says.
In other words, he says, the manager shows how to "counter the rejection of the candidates [or] to manage or change the expectations of the client about the caliber of candidates for the money that the client wants to offer".
"It's about prioritisation"
Allocating time to this interventional approach is crucial because recruiters don't receive a larger or smaller fee based on how many hours they invest in filling an assignment, Clennett told Shortlist ahead of his presentation at the 2016 RCSA international conference.
Recruitment managers and team leaders do have the time to take this approach, he says, noting that he sees many allocate too much time to their own billings.
"They should be referring marginal jobs to other recruiters and they should just be focusing on jobs that they're working on exclusively, or high-value jobs. I've seen many team leaders dealing with jobs that in my view, they shouldn't be dealing with."
Managers should be passing along smaller jobs to their team and using these as a coaching opportunity, says Clennett.
Leaders who don't spend enough time on sales coaching and innovation with their consultants are among the key factors driving sales staff disengagement and sales staff turnover, he warns.
"It's not time management – that's a smokescreen. It's about prioritisation."
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