It’s the toughest part of any marketing/sales professional’s job. Tracking down and engaging your target client.

In a world full of information overload, you cast out the lure hoping for a nibble that turns into a bite.

Interesting how even with email, text messaging, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, et al., communication between individuals is even more cat and mouse than ever. We are all bombarded with promises, solicitations, inquiries and demands. No wonder more and more folks decide to turn off and tune out.

The key element for success has always been establishing relationships and building trust. Very hard to do by even the most compelling email messages. People ultimately do business with people they relate to, like and trust to get the job done. To do that, you must engage on a personal level, i.e. on the phone, over lunch and happily over Happy Hour.

Social media gets all the hype today, particularly Linked In, the be all, end all to every hiring manager and recruiters talent needs. Linked In plays all sides, appealing to both in-house recruiters as well as headhunters like myself.

Ultimately though, it’s the connection that counts. Companies and candidates alike  want to be treated as individuals and to be cared about. Treat a candidate like an online commodity and they will hunker down and hide.

We spend an enormous amount of time in the effort to make those connections. First on the client side. We cajole, track, strategize and try to time our best chance of making a connection which may turn into a lead, which may in turn into a job order. Clients don’t spend any time making efforts to avoid – they just do!

It reminds me of dating and why I shun online dating sites.  A girl has a limited ability to give and receive rejection. Doing it for a living is enough for this particular girl! I am often reminded of first dates – the chemistry clicks, the conversation flows, you think you’ve got something going, then bham! Shut down, shut out and what the hell happened? No follow up and certainly no second date.

Candidates can be just as incommunicado. They are often inundated with too much work, too many solicitations or they are just disinterested – until and unless you can connect and compel.

I’ve learned after twenty plus years not to take it personally. This is the new norm in business. Getting through to prospects is a big business in it’s own right and folks pay lots of money learning techniques to make impactful connections. Hey, I’ve paid out some of those dollars myself. Nevertheless, spitting into the wind can be frustrating. Part of the dues we pay to be successful in Executive Search. After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

So, the chase proceeds. We continually adopt our craft to the times and technology. I sometimes miss the days when people answered their own phones, returned calls and spent their extra time with friends rather than Facebook.

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