In my years as a recruiter I have found one thing to be true. Recruiting is not about talking. It is about listening.
When I first got into this industry, I was under the impression that recruiting was about being able to talk with candidates and convince them that the job I was calling about was the job for them. As I found out, it is not. It is about asking the candidate what they want. Hopefully, you've done your job sourcing and this candidate meets your requirement, but ultimately you need to listen to the candidate. They need to tell you their strengths and what they want in their next opportunity. Letting the candidate talk is the best thing you can do. Ask open ended questions and just get them to spill their guts. I'll guarantee that not only will you be more confident in your candidates when you do have a match, but because of that relationship and understanding, you are much more likely to place the candidate. It might not always be in the position that you originally called them about, but new positions always come along and they might be a fit in the future. Candidates are also much more likely to send referrals to you when you listen. Have you ever had a manager ask questions about a candidate and felt that you weren't confident in your answers? LISTEN more!
I also always assumed that getting client's to sign agreements or send you their openings was the hard part. From there the fills and placements would come naturally. Nope. You need to listen to your clients. I know in many cases, that a lot of us don't have hiring manager access... There is always someone to talk to though. Ask questions and LISTEN to the answers. A lot of us 'hotshot' recruiters think we can read manager's minds and anticipate what they want. You can't. Unless of course you have worked with them for years... When you get a new req, call the manager and qualify BEFORE you start recruiting. You'll get more interviews and thus more hires when you listen to the manager and ask questions about the opening. I find more than 50% of the time that the reqs we get are inaccurate or incomplete. If you don't talk to the manager, you could be wasting your time. So call them and LISTEN to what they have to say.
Anyways, that is my rant about listening. Asking questions is the gateway to listening, so be prepared with good questions. The key is, once you ask the question, seal your lips and listen. You will be more successful!