“I took your course but to tell you the truth, I just don’t have the TIME to do what you do,” the caller explained, almost apologetically, before asking if I had time to take on some more work. She then went on to describe her long background in recruiting, admitting in the tale that it has always been the front-end part of the job, the sourcing, that she has never really been comfortable with. Not only did she find it awkward, she explained, she also remarked, “It takes so much time!”
Yes, it does. There are no two ways to say this. Sourcing takes a lot of time, and this part of a job’s anatomy is commonly missed, skipped and/or glossed over by hiring managers. Not only does it take a lot of time, even for a skilled sourcer, it takes oodles and oodles of time learning the fine art and science of. I estimate, in the first module of the telephone sourcing training course, “The Magic in the Method,” that I have spent thousands, yes, literally thousands and thousands of hours, sourcing.
Recently I read an article about selling. It compared selling to running a marathon - going the distance. So it is with sourcing. It takes time to “close the deal”- in the case of sales the author pegged the process anywhere from one to thirty-six months, to “qualify the prospect, strategize with management, put together a presentation, present a proposal, negotiate the terms, and close the deal...time for the prospect to compare with the competition, build trust with the salesperson, justify to his boss, and give us his autograph.” In the case of sourcing we usually don’t have the luxury of months; weeks is the norm and less than two the preferred. But the process is much shorter for us - we don’t have to jump through the hoops of relationship building that most of a sales process entails. The similarities between the two activities are more similar, though, than this appears.
What we need in boatloads is Persistence. Like in sales, if we lose focus, if we stop attempting to make contact with our intendeds, it’s a pretty sure bet someone else, someday, is going to walk away with that prize. What sourcer will it be? The persistent one, of course!
It is recommended that a salesperson stop calling, IF he stops calling at all, after the fifth call. This is because it is estimated 70% of prospects won’t even make a decision until the fifth call. And that’s not necessarily a decision to buy - just a decision to take things to the next level! This phenomenon in the face of the fact that 92% of salespeople stop calling on the new prospect after four calls, and the greatest majority (44%) after the first! Personally, I don’t think it’s a wise choice to EVER stop calling - I think you know, by now, my philosophy: “If they have any of my time I want to be paid!” Working on a per-name-rate rather than hourly, it is my mantra, as you can easily decipher.
Why do 92% salespeople stop calling too soon? Maybe it’s because they don’t know what to say after they say “Hello” or maybe they just don’t know how to stay in the hunt. I propose that it’s a similar reason why many would-be sourcers give up after that first one or two calls - it’s a small part of not knowing what to “say” but the biggest part is that they don’t realize that they just have to stay in the hunt long enough to finish the race. It may be an hour and it may be ten. It might be ten and it might be a hundred. Whatever it takes - you just have to stay in the hunt. You have to cross the finish line. You just have to keep “showin’ up”, as many great success stories will attest to.
“What do you say, anyway?” I get asked over and over. “How DO you get these names?” they exclaim in pleased surprise. “Why can’t my sourcers do what you do?” they half-wail in indignation. “You’re my secret weapon!” another customer tells me. “TechTrak is poetry in motion” one person sent in an email, asking if I would put his remark on my website as a Testimonial. I assure them, it’s not what I say that matters so much (in fact, I “say” very little!), rather, it’s HOW I say the little I do say. When they press further, I admit to the real secret sauce - persistence. I don’t complain when their fifty name job took me as much time as someone else’s hundred name job. I don’t remind them of same in an attempt to curry favor; I have posted my rates and I stand by my rates knowing that at the end of the month, when I shake that blanket out fresh out of the dryer before folding it and putting it away, that most jobs will have evened themselves out to reward me handsomely for my patience over the term. Many sourcers don’t get this. Many people in many walks of life don’t get this. If you get this one simple premise, it will put you out in front of the pack in most situations.
Sourcing is a marathon. You can’t finish if you drop out. Do you have a strategy to go the distance?
“He conquers who endures.”
Postscript: Sourcing is a tedious, time consuming process. Some people have the patience for it, others do not.
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