Self Development
How do I build a culture of business development? 

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.

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