➢ Selling the Client Opportunity

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Our Approach to the Initial Message

Search clients would do well to assess how well a search firm represents their company and sells the opportunity they are entrusted with.  An executive’s first impression of your company will come from the recruiter you choose for the project, and judgments will be made and action or inaction determined based on the first message left by the recruiter, so presentations need to be carefully crafted.

Keeping in mind how deluged we all are with messaging, and therefore skeptical, the message has to be right on target and has to accomplish several things.  It has to include the most compelling aspects of the opportunity and the company, of course, but also has to have balance, so it doesn’t sound too good to be true.  Every position has challenges and downsides and to be credible, it helps to include some of these in a message, so the executive feels he is getting an accurate picture.

Another is the inclusion of some of the key qualifications of the candidate desired, which allows the executive on the receiving end of the message to self-select or opt out.  It also communicates that the recruiter is primarily interested in hearing back from qualified candidates.  This is the mark of a recruiting professional, with high regard for his own time and the time of executives he communicates with.

Depending on the level of the position, including the name of the client company and location may be appropriate. We are careful to anticipate the questions that might quickly come to a candidate’s mind, and to offer the respect of including those answers in the presentation, to the extent we can.  In a voice message, 40 seconds might be ideal, but a 60 second voice mail will not push attention span limits if there is no extraneous information and if there is an interesting unfolding story.  It is our job to paint an attractive, but balanced and accurate picture of the opportunity, one worthy of a prospect’s time, and to provide all the information he needs to make a decision.  If we do it well, and include insights, we will hear back from individuals with interest in the position, and also from others with interest in us and what we do.  This offers a business development opportunity to us as a by-product of the search.

Finally, the presentation should communicate something about the personality of the recruiter behind the message.   If too formal, it can seem stuffy and lack genuineness, and if too informal, unprofessional.  It needs to be communication between two like minds, with similar status and job demands, laid out in plain English, as a clean outline of a business proposition worthy of consideration. Surprisingly few firms do this artfully, and all too often, the first call comes from a junior associate, who lacks the experience and executive selling skills to deliver a compelling message.