Business Development (and being good at it) is a core part of any recruiter’s internal makeup. 

To be a good recruiter, you must be good at business development – but the attitudes and approaches to business development have evolved over the years. 

Long gone are the “old school” methods that a lot of us relied on in the early 2010s, and instead, recruiters have to be a lot more creative and open to switching up their business development techniques. 

Whether it’s the classic phoning through a switchboard, or engaging in LinkedIn groups or sending voice notes on WhatsApp, we’ve had to get creative – variety is the spice of life!

It’s important to recognise how economic and cultural shifts have changed how we view and approach business development. 

The pandemic was a pivotal moment for the whole recruitment industry, we were forced to do business development completely virtually, eliminating client meetings and also struggling to pick up vacancies and build relationships. 

It’s valid to assume that this has impacted individuals’ fears around business development – and instead has potentially created an unhealthy or avoidant approach to it.

However, building a culture of business development doesn’t need to feel scary or overwhelming. It’s all about ensuring that the environment that you have is nurturing, encourages learning (time to make some mistakes!) and finally, always looks at the “bigger picture” of recruitment.

How can you effectively build a culture of business development?

Here are our 5 key steps.

#1 Get rid of phone fear

Fear of the phone makes no sense when you’re a recruiter. We spend 90% of our time on the phone – and for good reason, too. The basics need to be solid in this line of work. 

If you have a team who are scared to speak on the phone then they’re going to struggle to build a solid desk, and they probably will fall out of love with recruitment. 

You have to get rid of phone fear – and the main way to do that is by encouraging healthy phone times in the early stages of someone’s career.

Before you roll your eyes and say – “I don’t want to measure someone’s phone times, we aren’t in the 80s” – we absolutely agree. 

You don’t need to become a militant measuring how many hours someone spends on the phone – but instead, you need to lead by example. It’s also important to explain why phone fear is detrimental to someone’s success in recruitment. 

You can lead a horse to water – but you can’t make it drink. You shouldn’t have to force people, instead, you should nurture them and show them the beauty of the phone and the importance of having a good relationship with it.

We don’t even need to give you statistics – it’s common sense that you’ll have more success doing business development through a phone conversation than via a LinkedIn message. 

#2 Don’t be selfish

Business Development is hard. You have to deal with constant knockbacks, gatekeepers, difficult hiring managers and a ton of hoops which require jumping through. 

It’s mental gymnastics at the best of times. Being selfish and not opening doors for your team to succeed damages everybody. 

Let go of your ego – and bring your consultants into business development calls where they can get small wins. 

Build confidence and try your best to help them with warmer relationships. If you don’t have that opportunity, then focus on call coaching and giving your time to people who need it. 

Selfishness in business development and gatekeeping accounts is pointless, there’s enough business for everybody to win. 

#3 Find BD in your everyday activities – instead of it being a “to do”

Although for some, separating client and candidate work is crucial to find rhythm and organisation with their desk, business development should be woven into everyday activities, as opposed to being split up with dedicated time. 

This can take time to master, so don’t expect your team to be able to do this overnight. Instead, focus on giving them training whereby they can always get something BD related out of a call – even if it’s a qualification call with a candidate. 

Once you develop a mindset of business development being a part of everyday activities, it will become easier (and less daunting) as a by-product.

#4 Get people excited and inspired

This job is hard, really hard; and, people can tell when you sound scared, bored, or disinterested on the phone. 

You need to inspire your consultants and remind them how valuable our line of work is – and the impact that they can have on clients’ and candidates’ lives. 

They have the opportunity to speak to a variety of people every day, and depending on their market – working with some of the most innovative and exciting companies in the world. 

They get to mingle and talk with intelligent people and can make a true impact on someone’s life. 

Sometimes, having this positive dialogue within the office (or virtually depending on your working environment) can make a huge difference. Once everybody has a positive attitude and external dialogue with BD, it will naturally become easier over time. 

We work in a sales environment – so don’t lose that buzz that a sales environment must have to keep people motivated. 

#5 Be patient, good BD takes time

Patience is a virtue – and patience is something a lot of us recruiters don’t always have….

Don’t expect your team to become BD wizards overnight because you’ve given them a few pointers and introduced them to a few hiring managers. 

BD is a constant activity that needs to be invested in, and there will be peaks and troughs even with the best consultants. 

Focus on small, achievable steps that your team can take and have patience that the right activities will generate fruitful results in the long-term. 

We want recruiters to love what they do, but also ensure that they feel supported and nurtured to be the best versions of themselves for clients, candidates, and the people they work with. 

See how Hector can support you in building a culture of business development today.

Hiring and acquiring great talent is a lengthy process – and doesn’t always guarantee success. 

Especially in challenging markets, many recruitment companies are looking to ensure that their teams are lean as opposed to hiring en masse. 

However, for a lot of recruitment companies, long-term training and development can often take a back seat – especially if your agency is a size that is too small for an in-house training function. 

As recruiters, we are all used to being put through pretty much the same training programme – how to talk on the phone, crafting great emails, business development and candidate management. 

For a lot of recruiters who start to hit their third or even fourth year of billing, the hands-on training naturally drops off. 

This can then create an imbalance and also a bottleneck for development – meaning that the whole team ends up hitting a glass ceiling instead of growing together.

If you’re in a position where making new hires isn’t on the cards, you need to ensure that you’re investing in your people – no matter what stage of their career they’re at.

How can you get the most out of your current team?

Ensure equal client distribution: land & expand

“80% of your clients shouldn’t be acquired by 20% of your team”

You have a team for a reason – and that’s to work together on maximising your clients and key accounts. People shouldn’t be gatekeeping line managers or relationships because at the end of the day, nobody benefits from this approach. 

Instead, a strategic approach should be taken to client relationships and business development – a core team should be used as a point of contact but equally, the rest of the business should have a clear idea on how they can get involved in each client.

Landing and expanding will not only enable you to retain clients better, but it will also enable everybody to win and embed themselves into your client roster. 

Your clients’ happiness and customer service should be a #1 priority, and even smaller accounts take the work of a team – you cannot expect for it to be managed effectively by one or two people. 

Create intentional space to share what is (and isn’t) working

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

But, if it is broken – why are we not communicating this? 

Regardless of your team size, you need to ensure that intentional space and open conversation is had to raise grievances and also to share ideas/things that are working. 

Our industry has changed a lot even over the past three years – and we should all be working together to help each other internally and share things that are working. If things aren’t, what solutions can be brought to the table? 

You want to have a team that feels unified and aligned, not a team that feels disjointed. 

Utilise incentives and gamification effectively – it shouldn’t be overkill

Incentives can be a great way to motivate your team and also incentivise them to perform better – but they should be used in moderation as a purpose to boost, rather than seen as a day-to-day activity. 

Sometimes, incentives can breed toxicity, especially if you have a wide variety of team members and personalities. 

Not everybody is going to respond well to constant incentives and gamification – choose your timings wisely. 

Relinquish control

No one wants a micromanager, and no one wants to feel like they’re being controlled – especially in a recruitment environment. 

Of course, there needs to be an element of managerial oversight, but consistently controlling your team members and trying to predict outcomes is the definition of “hot air”. 

You will get no-where with this approach. 

Allow people in your team to make mistakes, lead from the front, and guide them where necessary. 

Relinquishing control will also enable you as a leader to grow and develop which will inadvertently benefit your team in the long-term. 

Use data

Data is king, and if you aren’t measuring your team’s performance, then how are you supposed to equip them with the tools they need to succeed? 

Your CRM should be a core focus ensuring that it is coded properly, people are utilising it effectively, and you’re regularly using it as a point of reference to demonstrate growth (or show areas for growth). 

Equally, this data should be shared and be able to be accessed by all, so even on an individualised and personal level data is being utilised. 

See how Hector can help you maximise the potential of your teams.

When running any kind of training and development program, it can often be difficult to quantify the success of it straight away. 

Everybody learns and processes information differently, and because of this, you’ll always have varied results post-training. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the training wasn’t effective, it just means that it takes different time for different people. 

However, if you don’t measure your training’s effectiveness at all, then you can run the risk of having disengaged cohorts of trainees, which instead turns your training efforts into a vanity project.

Training is about keeping people accountable

Let’s be honest, no one likes sitting through hours and hours of training. Even if you have the best attention span in the world, a lot of us (especially in recruitment) are doers. 

We want to get out there and start making an impact immediately. 

Training isn’t just about giving people the tools and information that they need to be successful, it’s keeping them accountable to actually use it

So, how can you ensure that training is successfully implemented (and absorbed)?

Have a clear plan on how training will be followed up

Whether the training is a small module or an extensive amount of training spread across a few months, create a clear action plan on how training will be followed up, why it needs to be followed up, and who is going to be involved in the process.

Particularly in recruitment, we have to learn a lot all at once, and very quickly. 

This means that we need to give recruiters clarity on when certain elements of training will be followed up so they have enough time to practice and implement it themselves. 

It also opens up the opportunity for recruiters to express their concerns or feedback around areas of training that they may have found difficult. 

That way, as a manager/leader you have a clear line of communication with all employees and everything has been agreed on (no hidden follow-ups!)

Ensure that the training has been planned with the employee in mind

You need a healthy mixture of practical, written, reading, video, and group exercises to ensure that trainees are going to be stimulated. 

Even for senior individuals undergoing training – it doesn’t have to be boring and sitting in a classroom. 

How can you switch things up? How can you create a training environment that is fun?

As recruiters, we aren’t meant to be in a classroom writing down answers to a Q&A. 

We need variety in our training methodologies and it’s your job as a leader to ensure that you’re providing that. 

Create a safe space for failure

We are all going to fail or get something wrong at some point in our careers. In fact, it’s probably a concern if someone has never made a mistake before. 

Failure enables us to become stronger recruiters and learn from our mistakes – and during any type of training – a safe space should be created to allow that. 

If we don’t support people’s failures, then they’re slowly going to withdraw from training and potentially even from their own role within the company. 

Approach everything (especially training) with a culture of positivity and you’ll see incredible results. 

Ensure the training is relevant for someone’s experience level

And finally, is the training actually relevant for this individual’s experience level?

This is where disengagement can occur – as recruiters need to be learning new things, not going over old ground that they already know. 

Putting a recruiter with 2 years of experience into business development training for juniors may sound logical, but the techniques that you’d be learning in a junior training session are far too basic for someone with that level of experience. 

Think about how you can adapt and improve training sessions and make them tailored for someone’s experience level.

Another way to do this is via communication – people are pretty self-aware (or at least they should be) of their faults and what they need to work on. 

A simple conversation to understand someone’s pain points and what they want to work on will also allow you to create a structured personalised training plan that you can both be excited by.

See how Hector successfully reduced the time it took for 360 success.

You may have noticed that we have made a few changes around here.

We’ve had fantastic feedback from our customers, partners and community since revealing our new brand.

So we thought we would take a minute to explain why the change.
Why we rebranded?

We have always had the same mission from the start of our journey: to help thousands of recruiters achieve their potential.

But, how we achieve our mission has continued to evolve with time.

The initial concept was an events business hosting monthly face-to-face professional development events for recruiters to attend each month.

But COVID had other ideas.

So we then evolved this to be an online learning community where like-minded recruiters with the same goal would hang out.

Our first group of 35 founding members joined the community in November 2020.

We then started to partner directly with recruitment companies to support them in upskilling their teams by having access to our online learning community.

We partnered with our first ten founding companies in June 2021 to work closely with them to get feedback on our overall service and solution.

For the last two years, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve our online learning platform to become a true all-in-one training platform for growing recruitment companies.

After working closely with our customers for the last six to twelve months, we’re finally rolling out an array of improvements to our overall learning platform that our customers have been crying out for.

It’s why we felt it was the perfect time for us to rebrand in line with releasing all of these positive changes.

Plus, if we’re being honest, we were also too closely aligned with our podcast because it was called ‘The Recruitment Mentors Podcast’ It would sometimes confuse people when we told them that ‘Recruitment Mentors’ was a training platform and not part of the podcast. 😅

What we have become and the pillars our new improved all-in-one training & development platform’s built on

We have had to learn the hard way that providing great training content isn’t enough of a strategy to have the impact our customers want when partnering with an external training partner.

Here are the pillars we believe make a proper all-in-one training & development platform – here is what we’re building Hector on.

At the core: The most up-to-date training & development available in the industry delivered by current top performers.

Pillar #1, Learn by doing, not just theory: Enable your teams to apply what they learn and implement the training on our learning platform.

Pillar #2, Implementation & Follow-Up: World-class customer success and implementation support to ensure training isn’t ineffective.

Pillar #3, Data & Analytics: Clear visibility on your team’s progress, usage, insight into skill gaps + further development needs.

Pillar #4, Tools, Templates & Frameworks: Curated resources for your teams to utilise and assets that support your business’s growth.

The exciting new releases we’re bringing our customers

Some of the features and product updates our customers have been requesting for some time that we’re so excited to release.

Learn from anywhere: Learn while on the go with our brand-new mobile learning app or from the sales floor on the desktop.

Learning insights to drive performance: Get equipped with all the insights you need with our new and improved analytics suite.

Action tasks and assignments: Learners can now apply what they learn on our platform through written, voice, and video action tasks reviewed by managers presenting brilliant coaching opportunities.

Plus so much more to come.

Last but not least, why Hector?

Firstly, it sounds bloody cool, and we wanted it to be called something entirely different from Recruitment Mentors.

However, the story of Hector will resonate with a lot of recruiters.

Hector originates from Greek mythology.

He became the greatest of Troy’s warriors through training, hard work, & courage.

But most importantly, Hector is remembered for his bravery.

Great recruiters choose to be brave every day.

We believe exceptional recruiters are a lot like Hector and think it’s the perfect name for our newly improved training platform that will support thousands of recruiters’ bravery throughout their careers.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been part of the journey so far, and we’re so excited to continue working towards our vision of changing the industry’s perception for good with Hector.

Let’s go! 🚀

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