Looking to Close More Business? Try Some BANTER.

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B


banter - an exchange of light, playful, teasing remarks; good-natured conversation

Well if it were only that simple, we would all be closing more business.  I know that I can exchange good-natured conversation with the best of them and certainly enjoy supplying one or two teasing remarks.

As you might imagine that is not the banter to which I refer. I am referring to something that is critical to the ultimate success of any one in the business of recruiting and talent acquisition or sales in general. I am referring to something that if used on each and every call will help close more business, make our jobs easier, more enjoyable, less stressful and more rewarding. I am also referring to something that is often ignored or misapplied by even the best recruiters and sales professionals. I am referring to BANTER – Budget, Authority, Need, Time Table, Expertise and Resources.

I know what you are thinking, just what we need another acronym. But this may be (no promises) the last and only one you will ever need to drive your business. Let me explain.

Before deciding to do business with a potential client, all of us attempt to gather information on the opportunity and how our services or products can help solve the potential client’s problems. There are some critical questions that need to be asked as part of the needs analysis and this is where the BANTER starts.

  1. Does the company, department, division have the Budget for staffing? Too often this question is never asked. Most of us just assume that since we are talking to someone about filling positions that the budget is there. Too many deals, too much hard work has gone into recruiting efforts that have died because the budget wasn’t there in the first place.
  2. Does the person to whom we are speaking have the Authority to hire for this position? Are we speaking to a decision maker? Are there more decision makers in the picture and can we speak with all of them? Again, too many deals, too much hard work has gone into recruiting efforts where the decision maker, the person with the Authority to hire has not been identified.
  3. Is there a Need to fill this position? This is probably the one question that all of us in recruiting either ask directly or get the answer by asking “Why is this position open?” Understanding the Need is critical to our search for candidates as well. It becomes part of our sales pitch to potential recruits if used properly. However, no Need no business.
  4. Is there a Time Table or an expected start date? Is this time table realistic or wishful thinking? Good recruiters usually have a feel for how much time is required to build a slate of qualified, interested and available candidates that can be presented to a client for interviews. In many recruiting efforts the time to fill a position is more a function of how the client manages the scheduling of interviews, feedback and decision making. Is this something that recruiters can and should control in order to fit the Time Table? Maybe we should.
  5. How much Expertise does the company have internally in staffing, recruiting, sourcing, screening, interviewing and selecting great talent? Asking this question even for a direct hire placement provides information about who the competition is. It is also a critical question for those of us offering recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services.
  6. Does the company have enough Resources to fill their positions?  If the opportunity being discussed is a one off spike in demand for talent are the internal resources capable of handling the demand? Again a more critical question for RPO type firms but still good information to have for all types of recruiting engagements.

If you decide to try some BANTER as suggested remember this. If you don’t get good, realistic answers to any of the first four questions chances are you should not agree to do business with that particular company. No Budget or no Authority or no Need or no Time Table then you should say no deal. It is just not worth your time and effort.

However, if you do decide to take the business anyway, or if your approach is to not use the BANTER approach at all then maybe you should consider the original definition above and use as much good -natured conversation and some light, playful teasing remarks.

I have one about a candidate who goes into his interview carrying a duck. Call me if you want to hear the rest.


Views: 465

Comment by Noel Cocca on June 12, 2012 at 6:04pm

Umm Jennifer, I ummm, love this post!  So Frickin true....I was lucky to be trained to ask these questions to make sure a hire is actually possible...they can seem obvious to some recruiters but I bet not enough use this...thanks!

Comment by Theresa Hunter on June 13, 2012 at 11:38am

I too was trained to have your trusty job order form and to ask the all of the above questions.  What happens when you most of the time can not talk with the hiring authority, they are not going to share with you if they have the budget, you get an answer of when we find the right person on the timetable that was what happened when I went into the legal field.  I am not saying that I never talk with the hiring authority but it is pretty rare because sometimes one of the hiring partners is another state and the office that has the need is in a different state.  I try to do things as I was trained but sometimes I go with the flow.  Do I like it...hell no but if I want to make a placement I do it how the firm wants it done.  I sometimes push a little harder than I would like to but until they tell me to give it a rest I continue.  It would be so much easier if they followed like the training I had said that they should do it.  You know answer all of your questions return your phone call within reason and be excited about interviewing your candidate.  Not take forever to get back with you about a resume of a very specialized candidate that they tell you they are looking for, literally having to drag answers out of them about why they don't want to move forward on a candidate.  I know that it sounds bad but I do enjoy what I am doing I am just not doing it like the book says that I should and because of that I am probably missing out on a lot of placements.  So if someone can tell me a better way to get the responses or time that I need to get all of my questions answered I would be happy to listen and maybe even schedule a conference call so that I can listen to them talking with a potential client to see how it is done.  : )

Comment by Jennifer Brownell on June 14, 2012 at 11:20am

Thanks for the compliment Noel and you are right, I do think that not enough recruiters use this or some variation of this approach. Which is why Theresa's comments are so true. Thanks Theresa for sharing your experience with trying to use an approach like BANTER. I think most recruiters can easily relate to what you wrote, but I also think that if more of us were to ask the BANTER questions, even if we did not always get the answers, it would begin to send a much needed message to hiring managers that not only is the information we are seeking necessary for us to do our jobs, it is necessary for us to decide CAN WE DO OUR JOB for this customer or without the answers, would we just be wasting each other time. Asking these questions is our way of saying, we are professionals, let us help you find great talent!

Comment by Theresa Hunter on June 14, 2012 at 11:55am

Believe me Jennifer I understand what you are saying but when I am dealing with a recruiting coordinator trying to get answers to those questions sometimes is an effort in futility.  I will reach out to the Partner who has the need and try to get some answers and I will explain to him my reason for the call so that I do not get started off on the wrong foot.  Most of the time they are OK with it and will be polite and talk with me but sometimes I will get a call from the recruiting coordinator saying don't call the partner again that is the reason that we are here so that they don't get those kinds of calls they are just to busy.  It is frustrating to say the least and I try to explain that unless I know what the Partner wants it is almost impossible to find the right candidate for you.  Here is the other scenario that is a tough one to overcome  you have sent a great candidate everything that the firm is looking for and you get the email we have decided to pass on your candidate but no reason as to why.  I call and I ask the question why have you decided to pass and the answer I am not sure why.  I ask it would be very helpful to know why so that I can find the right candidate the next time and not send a similar one to also be told no.

Comment by Jennifer Brownell on June 14, 2012 at 3:06pm

Theresa, each of your examples are classic. I think it is fair to say that most if not all recruiters have experienced what you describe. But the truth is that WE make the decision to work with clients where we know going in that we don't have all the BANTER questions answered or other red flags appear early on in the engagement. It is easy to say, well just decide not to work with that company. But deep down we just want the deal. We want to make that placement regardless. We know that we have "the guy" for that position. 99 times out of 100 we don't succeed, because it wasn't there to begin with. We should listen to that little voice that keeps nagging away at us saying "You don't have the answers, Don't do the deal".

Comment by Theresa Hunter on June 14, 2012 at 3:19pm

I have had that thought go through my head a zillion times but if I said I don't want to work with a firm that won't answer those questions I would not be working or at least very little.  When I get that chance to speak to the Partner believe me I don't let that opportunity go to waste.  I have my job order sheet and until he says I have to go I ask all the questions that I can.  It is the landscape of legal and if there is someone out there that works strictly in legal and direct hire that knows a different way I would be more than happy to listen.  I try to be creative when it comes to questions for the recruiting coordinator that has been helpful.  One of my questions is who will this person be reporting to and if I don't get all the info that I want I will take the chance and call him/her.  I have had my hand slapped a couple of times for doing it but that is OK especially if I get the info that I want.  : )

Comment by Jennifer Brownell on June 15, 2012 at 10:48am

No one said that getting the answers that you want would be easy, but you have the perfect name for someone looking to develop new business, Hunter.

Comment by Theresa Hunter on June 15, 2012 at 10:53am

That is so true.  When a candidate ask me to repeat my name I say Theresa Hunter you know like headhunter. A great icebreaker.  : )   I know that nothing worth having is easy but it is not like I can go around people, I am not saying that I have not done that but when you cause the RC to get angry you are taking the risk that they will not forward on your candidates or make it very difficult to do your job.  That is the nice thing about working for yourself I don't have a company metrics breathing down my neck so I can really pick and choose who I want to work for and with.


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2022   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service