The Solution to your Sales Problems Part 2 – Order of Selling – Sell Yourself

January 16, 2016 by   •  1 Comment

It’s Saturday night. I thought the UFC fights (Dillashaw v Cruz) were on tonight. They are not. Obviously I’m in a foul mood. Tonight was taco night with my sons and now I’m stuck listening to Untold Stories of the ER. Possibly the worst show on TV. So forgive my tone if I come across as impatient.

Order of Selling. How important is that? What is that? Why does it matter? Well hopefully we’ll answer all of those questions:

Let’s start with what it is and what it is not:

1. Sell yourself
2. Sell your company
3. Sell your goods and services.

Now, you’re disappointed. I can tell. You already know this. Here’s what I also know. If I call you right now and tell you a buddy of mine needs a new phone system, you’re going to call him, schedule a demo, show up at his office, ask him if he likes to fish, you’ll tell him you like to fish too, and then you’ll jump right into wanting to know all about his phone system.
That’s an F grade.

Let’s start from the top:
Sell yourself
We’ve all heard about rapport building. We’ve heard the same nonsense advice. Look around their office, notice pictures of kids, trophies, vacation photos. YAAAWWWWNNNNNNNN…let me know when you’re done with that.
How about we start with MEANINGFUL rapport building? How about we sell ourselves through our GENUINE CURIOSITY and INTEREST in this stranger sitting across the table from us? We can sell ourselves with these CATEGORIES of questions. God help you if you ask these as THE questions:

Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it? Why do you do it that way? How can we help you do it better?

Who are you? I see you’re the CFO. Forgive me, I’ve always wondered, what exactly are the responsibilities of a CFO? Gets him talking…telling you how he became a CFO. You can start asking great questions about how he got stuck worrying about the phone system. You can thread in great questions about his CFO responsibilities at his last job. You can even ask how they budgeted for IT at the last firm.

Your curiosity and interest in him SELLS YOU!! I want your prospect walking away KNOWING that YOU found him to be amazingly interesting. If you can’t do that, let me know, i’ll help you but if you can’t figure that out, you’re playing the sales slot machine and assigning incorrect logic to your wins instead of recognizing that it’s a random occurrence.

When the ball gets thrown back to you play along. You’re their to listen and learn not tell your life story. When asked about yourself, give two great sentences and follow up with a question. Just like a carpenter hitting a nail. Two powerful swings and he’s onto the next one. So, Karl, tell me about yourself. “Well Lance, I’ve been selling IT for 4 years now, I have two dogs, and I love skiing. Let me ask you Lance, how did you get stuck talking to me about IT?” Get the attention back to him and direct him where you want to go.

MASTER THIS PIECE. PRACTICE. Can you get people talking? Try at the next PTA event, the next golf outing, the next whatever the hell it is you do? If you can get strangers talking, you’ll own this!

We’ll work on selling the company and the goods and services next time. I have to go see this episode about the man who’s pug swallowed his severed finger.

The Solution to your Sales Problems in 7 steps…part 1

January 6, 2016 by   •  Leave a comment

Selling is tricky. We know this. Nothing new, nothing revolutionary. I’m here to tell you however that you’re fighting this battle with your hands tied behind your back if you’re not following these fundamentals. I didn’t invent them but I’ve been teaching to these fundamentals for over ten years. Do them and you’ll resolve the biggest problems in your sales game. Don’t do them and you’ll continue to be perplexed as to why you’re chasing deals.

1. Set the next meeting date before you end the meeting you’re at. Every time. No exceptions. We all know what it feels like to have a great meeting and then have to chase the person for the next two weeks while their excitement wains and you get more desperate.
2. Establish time frame. If you know when they want to GO LIVE, you solve 30% of the riddle right then and there. You now have a shared goal with your prospect to meet their deadline. FYI “as soon as possible” and “yesterday” are not answers. Narrow it down and establish next meeting dates from there.
3. Budget. Ok, calm down, take a breath and rethink this. Don’t get junk in your head about “they don’t have a budget,” “no one will tell you,” or “it’s rude to ask.” First step is to know your prospects revenue. This is not difficult. ASK. Second step, know how they make IT spending decisions. Third step, ask them how they budget for IT. If they have a process, praise them and fit in. If they don’t have a process, let them know that’s ok and that’s what YOU ARE THERE FOR. Oh and one way to make sure you DON’T get the budget? Ask them “WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET”
4. Referral request. I’m not going to over explain this. At the end of the meeting (THE FIRST MEETING), simply say, “Hey Bob, it was great meeting you. Not sure if you and I will do business, but give me the names of a couple people you know who could use our services.” If you’ve done a great job at selling your self, you’ll get a great response. If you’ve done a poor job and you’ll be embarrassed by the whole process.

In the next part, we’ll talk about the order of selling. Until then, comment or email us. Disagree with us, let us know.

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Best sales advice ever. Get curious or get out

March 3, 2015 by   •  Leave a comment

Right now we at Bering McKinley are putting the final touches on our Sales Workshop.  It’s a compilation of everything I’ve learned about sales from partners over the last decade and from my own experience of selling every work day for the last 16 years.  Super excited to see it all come together.  As I stare at the screen for hours at a time, I sometimes have to remember what it is I’m trying to accomplish with the workshop.  Someone who is helping me put this together asked me earlier today “What’s the NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE you’d give to a seasoned or rookie sales person?”  I was frustrated that I couldn’t come up with a great answer.  Right now, sitting at Panera Bread in Alexandria, Virginia, the answer struck me, so here it goes.

GET CURIOUS OR GET OUT!

Now, let’s get some background.  The Salary Surfer has contributed a ton to this blog so I do have to give her credit here.  The initial advice I came up with is not as eloquent and is almost offensive but I’ll put it here anyway.  “Leave your d*ck” in the glove box.”  What does that mean?  Well as the Salary Surfer might tell you, women are better sales people because they don’t go into a meeting preparing to show their prospect how knowledgeable they are or how smart they are.  Women, the Salary Surfer might tell you, are their to learn everything they can.  They don’t come at it like a man would.  They are OK learning about their prospect, their business, and their needs.  Often time men want to take control and show that they know everything about the prospect, know about their business, and know exactly what they need to do.

So, let’s draw on that Curiosity…

1. It’s ok to to ask what somoene’s title means.  CFO?  I know it means Chief Financial Officer, but what does a CFO do?  Show your curiousity.  Shut up and learn something

2. How did you become CFO?  Were you a CFO somewhere else?  Were you responsible for IT there too? How did you budget for IT at your last position?

3.  What does your company do?  Oh you make nuts and bolts for NASA?  Can we go see how a nut and bolt is made?  What are they made of? How did you learn so much about this?

4.  How does technology play a part in the making of nuts and bolts?

5.  Why do you make nuts and bolts that way?

6.  How can we help you do what you do better?

That’s what we call establishing meaningful rapport.  Your curiosity in your prospect demonstrates your intelligence, your humbleness, and your difference as a sales person.  You don’t need to be the one doing all the talking.  Establish your credibility by listening, not talking.    And for God’s sake don’t bring a technician with you on the first call.  That ruins everything and interrupts the order of selling.  Remember, sell yourself first, company second, and goods and services last.  Bringing a tech rushes us to goods and services and makes the curiosity part almost impossible!

Good luck ou tthere!

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Effective Hourly Rate

September 18, 2014 by   •  Leave a comment

Effective Hourly

Effective Hourly Rate Calculations – If you don’t know, now you know

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Real life of an IT Provider

February 19, 2014 by   •  Leave a comment

I talk to over 150 IT owners every year in one capacity or another.  I feel like I know what your work life looks like and I feel like I can sympathize and empathize with you.  A couple months back I was on one of my 10 a day sales call days for our peer groups.  I called Seth*not real name* and had my socks blown off.  This guy was REAL.  He’s a one man shop and he is one of the most articulate people I’ve encountered ever.  He has a great analysis of his situation.  After our call he sent me this email.  I asked him if I could share it on my blog.  He said definitely.  It’s taken me 5 months to finally get around to it.  I reread his email every few weeks.  Every time I read it I’m impacted differently.  Right now, I’m inspired.  As a management consultant our goal is help people SEE what life can look like, help them define what they want, and then help them achieve that end goal.  I want Seth as a client.  I want to see what happens when a 51 year old man gets serious.  After I post this, I’m going to call him and see what I can do.  What are you going to do after you read this?

 

A little bit more to explain my situation…

 As I’m sure you’ve gathered since you mentioned the “older guys” deciding to “get going,” I’ve been in business for a very long time and have more or less intentionally been comfortable, but not really trying to grow.  I never wanted to be one of those guys who lives for business, and misses out on things like going on vacations (long or short), being able to eat dinner with the family, sit and watch TV in the evening, etc.

 So with the exception of having an actual employee for a few months back around 1992, and having my then 19-year-old nephew as an unpaid intern about a year ago, I’ve been just me all along, and have done VERY little marketing.

 Unfortunately, I’ve got two major things that are problems with that.  First, as I said on the phone, I lost a good 100+ seats from my best client about 3 years ago and that’s not something that’s easy to replace, particularly if you’re not doing anything in the way of real marketing.  More recently, another location of that same client with a server and about 30 seats was sold off.

 So now I’m left with a small handful of clients, nowhere near enough income (at this point, I’m not even sure if I’m breaking even), and pretty much no budget.

 Add to that the fact that I’m 51 and have nothing stashed away for retirement except my wife’s fairly small 401K.

 So yeah, I HAVE to try to really ramp up the business over the next 10 years if I’m going to have any chance of ever retiring.

 Of course, I’m obviously on an extremely tight budget.

 My best year ever was 2010, which was a little shy of $200K gross.  Probably my worst year ever was 2011, which was UNDER $100K gross.  The good news about 2011 was that I sold almost no product (under $5K COGS) whereas 2010 was about $55K COGS.

 I’ve been edging back up since then; this year is (so far) well over $100K (closer to $150K) but I had about $40K in COGS.

 Being short on cash, I have to make the BEST decisions on how to use what little there is.

 $250 a month isn’t HUGE, of course.  Add in two trips to Chicago (around $400-$500 airfare each), hotel, meals, etc., and you’re probably talking about a good $2K additional ($1K per trip) and you’re really at more like $5,000 a year (a little over $400 a month amortized out).

 But I have to weigh that against using that money for other things.

 There’s <PDQ CONSULTING>, for instance, which, from what I understand and from watching the webinars, is more TRAINING on how to be better and more efficient.  I forget, but I think that’s around $350 a month (and is month to month, so no long-term anything).

 I wouldn’t even consider XYZ’s ABC Club at $1,200 a month plus the quarterly meetings in <the south>.

 There’s also simply taking that money and putting it towards actual marketing, which may very well have the LARGEST return on investment.  If I spend the last little bit of money on a peer group, that’s fine and dandy, but then if there’s nothing left over for actually building the business, what’s the point?

 Certainly, a decent peer group can be worthwhile.  That’s not my issue.  My issue is whether with an extremely limited budget it is the BEST use of the money at this point.

 Obviously, my biggest concern right now is getting more business.  There are other things that could improve, of course… better billing practices (I’m horrible at it – slow and money flies out the door because it never gets billed), being able to better handle the paper on my desk, being more efficient in using Autotask (or CW if I switch to that), being more efficient and better using Kaseya, etc.

 But none of that matters if I’m not able to have enough business to pay the bills.

 Marketing is easy if you know who your target is and why they should buy from you.

 That part is one of my biggest questions: why ME instead of any of the other 10,000 computer guys in LA?  I’m realistic.  I may have more experience and knowledge than 90% of the guys out there, but that doesn’t translate into anything you can SELL to clients as a real benefit.  “I’m smarter” isn’t a usable USP.

 As a “one-man-band” I know full well that there are things I just can’t do as well as larger competitors.  LA traffic can be horrible; my best client is 19 miles via freeway and it is usually a MINIMUM of half an hour and most of the time, at least 45 minutes to an hour to get there.  Another client is 8 miles driving and it has taken me over an hour to get there; minimum is around 25 minutes.  As a one-man-band, I just can’t ever guarantee that I’ll be anywhere within some given period of time.   I can’t guarantee one hour or two hour response time, which is something that a firm with multiple techs that are physically all over the place on any given day can guarantee.

 I can’t guarantee that I’m going to answer the phone, and I don’t have a real helpdesk that a larger firm might.  In order to do that, I’d have to outsource, which costs more money, which means that I’d be more expensive than the competition just to have what is probably worse service.

 So my sticking point for a long time has really been “why me?”  That’s one of the most important things for marketing.  If I can’t tell someone why they should buy from me instead of someone else, then how am I supposed to get clients?

 Interestingly, I’ve spoken to a LOT of other guys over the years, many on ASCII, at conferences I’ve attended, etc.  Nearly all face the same problem – having no real idea why someone should use them instead of someone else.  If they give a reason, it is the same reason that everyone else gives – which isn’t a reason at all.  When EVERYONE says, “Buy from me because I’m purple” then being purple is no advantage (and no, “purple” isn’t code for anything; I just picked a random, nonsensical trait).

 Another big fear and concern is the whole cloud thing, along with Microsoft clearly not wanting partners.  Manufacturers want cloud because they can make all of the money themselves, forever.  If they have anyone to pay, it is peanuts.  Many guys who push cloud services talk about all the money they’re making doing conversions.  Unfortunately, that’s a one-time thing and isn’t sustainable.  Once you have (or someone else has) converted all of the prospects out there, then there’s simply no one left and no income to get.

 Some talk about how “cloud” makes it easier for us because we don’t have to worry about the day-in and day-out work of maintaining things like email servers.  True, but once you’re outsourcing everything, what value do YOU provide?  What makes a client want to give YOU money to use Office 365, for instance, instead of just going direct – for probably less money?

 Here in LA, Internet connections aren’t that great or that cheap.  DSL is too slow, cable is unreliable and not that cheap (although probably the best option for most), and EoC is just expensive and not necessarily fast unless you spend a LOT of money.  Some people I talk to talk about 10 Meg connections for a couple hundred bucks, but around here, something like that would be more like a grand.  It is just too much for a small business of maybe 10-15 people to spend every month.

 Yet as companies like Microsoft virtually FORCE everyone into a cloud model (discontinuing SBS, for instance), there’s still at least some resistance in places like LA – but it is harder and harder to buck the trend.

 Nearly everyone understands that you can’t make a living on just the measly commissions you’d get from cloud services.  The one real way of surviving in a cloud world is to be a cloud provider, and that means providing server solutions for clients on your infrastructure, whether you build it out in a datacenter or rent someone else’s infrastructure.  Unfortunately, that all tends to mean a lot of money, and that means being large enough to have a large client base to make it worthwhile.

 The change isn’t going to happen overnight.  There will still be conventional “MSP” business for some time to come.  But unfortunately, as there’s less and less of that business, it is going to be harder and harder to GET that business.  It is unlikely that smaller, onesy-twosey shops are going to survive for very long.

 Sorry if I’ve gone on too long.  I just wanted you to know some of my concerns and that I’m not necessarily just one of those, “Oh, he’ll never be a client” kind of guys but rather that I have to address the concerns in the most efficient and cost-effective ways and at this point, I’m not necessarily sure that a peer group would be the BEST investment.

 

Managed Print Services…What do you do?

February 3, 2014 by   •  Leave a comment

Managed Print Services….sounds like a cool concept.  I’ve heard lots of reasons why people swear by this as an offering and lots of reasons why people would never go there. I received this email the other day and thought I’d throw it out to you!

Josh,

Something that I have been tossing around for the past few years is to offer Managed Printer Services.  At least in our area of the state I have been seeing some growth in the companies that offer this.  XYZ Company is the largest now, the place that EX EMPLOYEE just went too, PDQ are doing real good with getting network business and printer business combined.  I have reached out to two local copy machine places to see if we can either partner with them or refer business to them and both of them are into this also.

Can you reach out to your contacts and see if this is something that is happening elsewhere?

Desktop Virtualization. What do you use for a VDI solution?

December 10, 2013 by   •  Leave a comment

Every week I get lots of great emails from clients and friends in the Managed Services Provider industry. Much of the time those questions are related to best practices and specific requests for information about tools like ConnectWise, AutoTask, LabTech, etc.
Lately I’ve been getting even more requests about Cloud solutions. I had a request from a great client earlier this week so I decided I’d go to my network and see what kind of responses I’d get.

Hopefully these provide something useful for you.  Email or comment and we’ll get your input on here as well.

Here was the question. “What do you use for VDI?” I got great responses from experts like Harry Brelesford, Karl Palachuk, seasoned veterans like Nick Seal of brightstack, and Bill Stucklen of Marathon Consulting and Stack Advisors

Here are their replies:
Well . . .

We’ve looked at several options. So far we haven’t found one that we would sell to our clients. In general the problem is speed. The virtual desktop really has to live right next to the virtual server, and then you have to connect with a beefy enough client to process the video locally.

That brings up the second problem. In the very small business space, I don’t know if there is a market for virtual desktops. A good high-end thin client will run $600-700. For larger companies that makes sense at some point. For small shops there are too many advantages to having disc space and computing power locally. So for just a little more they can get a “real” desktop computer. And even if they spend $1200 on a desktop PC, they’ll still be ahead for the money after a few months not paying for a virtual desktop.

I’ve heard some folks at Microsoft “hint” openly at meetings that they are on the verge of releasing a powerful VDI sku on Azure. We’ll see how it compares.

Bottom line: I’m not sure the market exists for this at the small end of SMB, and if it does, the products are not ready yet.

Another…

We’ve quoted a few VDI solutions using VMware, but have not yet sold anything.  The biggest problem is cost.  We have had two engineers train on it, and while it’s technically better, the pricing takes it out of possible options.  When businesses want to refresh their environment they have several options.  VDI is the most expensive option.  We live in a world of <$500 desktops, so asking a client to double that cost when they are generally price sensitive goes nowhere.  Microsoft licensing is too expensive for the proper licenses.  It’s usually an on-site admin that sees all the benefits, but that doesn’t translate in to any sense to the CEO/CFO when they are looking at something like $1200 per user with license costs when they can save hundreds per user with either terminal server or standard desktop roll outs.

 For the near term, Terminal Server and Citrix make shared/terminal server environments make more sense, or image based desktop deployments and we’ll continue on those paths.

 Beyond cost, a big thing to consider is SAN performance.  As SANs are more and more commoditized in the next few years the performance will be there.  Personally, I see brightstack offering the service and keeping it in mind for our next hosted design.  We will be ready, but I don’t see the environment as ready for it until around 2015 unless either the client understands the same benefits as the engineer or Microsoft changes their pricing scheme.

 

Another

Citrix platform xenapp…we worked with some creative developers that created interface that allows us to deliver desktops under a multi-tenant solution.

 

Another thought from Brooklyn:

Here’s what I can tell you about VDI. I jumped on the bandwagon three years ago and went full tilt that this was the future. Largely it will do what it says if you spend 1000s of hours working on it. It’s not right for small businesses where each person does multiple roles. If you have a large organization where you have a lot of users doing one function (like data entry), then it may have a place. But most of the companies than the MSPs deal with will not find a good market for some time. The tech is there for big companies, not small.

 

Effective Hourly Rate for Managed Services Contracts

November 18, 2013 by   •  Leave a comment

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about effective hourly rate lately. I thought I would do a quick post here:

Example: If I paint your house for $100 and it takes me two hours, my effective hourly rate (EHR) is $50 per hour. If it takes me four hours, then my EHR is $25.

Comparison: If you have a managed services agreement with $1000 in monthly revenue and $100 in hard costs, then you have $900 left over. If you want a MINIMUM of $150/hour then the most time you can spend is $900/$150 = 6 hours. That is your BUDGET for that contract. Never exceed your budget and you’ll be in great shape to match up your EHR with your stated hourly rate. Any time under 6 hours spent will INCREASE your EHR.

Folks, this is critical to understanding the profitability of your managed services contracts.

Let me know if you need some help! Do this!

Josh Peterson

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EO NYC | Verne Harnish |

May 29, 2013 by   •  Leave a comment

I had the very special opportunity to join a client at his local EO chapter the other night in NYC. That group is amazing. I’ve never been around such an energetic excited group of business owners. Definitely considering joining my Chicago chapter. The event was centered around a presentation given by Verne Harnish. This was my second time seeing Verne Harnish and I was amazed again.

I wanted to share two of his themes that really resonated with me and hopefully for my clients and YOU.

1. Come up with your number one initiative. Know it, own it, and work on it 3 hours every day. You have to know what you’re aiming for and commit to it. In conjunction with this point, Harnish suggests that most of what we are offering in our business should be jettisoned and we should focus on core offerings. He went on to point out Steve Jobs’ strategy when he limited the offering of Apple products to Pro and Consumer; Laptop and Desktop.

2. The second point he made is my favorite ever. He has such a great way of speaking and delivering the message. Let’s compare and contrast. My version of Verne’s message is “stay the f*ck out of your employees’ and manager’s way; you’re screwing it up and they hate you.” Harnish, much more productively and diplomatically suggested that “80% of an owner’s time should be spent outside of the business.” Love it. If you can’t figure out why internal projects aren’t getting finished, processes aren’t getting developed and implemented, or just why shit isn’t getting done to your satisfaction, I can assure you it’s because of YOU.

I love the saying that “you can’t serve two masters.” Well when you are trying to lead a change initiative in your company you’re likely ham handed and over bearing. Your employees then have to serve YOU and the PROJECT. Not going to happen. Lead by working with your staff to determine the outcome that best serves the company, then get the hell out of there, set a deadline, and follow up.

So, that’s my version. I’m sure I butchered Mr. Harnish’s eloquence and professionalism in delivering his well crafted advice but I think you’ll get the idea!

Candidates need to be treated like future customers

April 4, 2013 by   •  Leave a comment

I came across this blog post today and I love it. I see owners hiring every week and it is horrible how they treat the candidates who apply to their companies. First let’s think about this. To work for YOU would be foolish. Think about it. You are less then a million in revenue, you are barely profitable, you’re a management team of one, you expect the person to “hit the ground running”, you won’t train them, you’ll pay the least amount possible. Sounds like a GREAT place to work. On top of this, you’re going to piss off 99% of the candidates that apply for this wonderful opportunity. How will you piss these people off, let’s look. First, you won’t reply to the candidates you don’t want, second, it will take you forever to schedule the first interview, third, you’ll be a tough guy interviewer, fourth, you won’t call back candidates you didn’t select, thus leaving them hanging and wondering.

“So what” you say? Well everyone of the folks who you pissed off will be a future potential buyer of your services and guess what, they won’t touch your company with a ten foot pole.

My take away from this blog post below? Think like a marketer when you are recruiting. Today’s candidate is tomorrow’s customer. Plus, it’s just good karma too treat people who are at a low point in life with great respect and kindness. Be nice!!

Candidates Must Be Treated as Well as Customers
by Jessica Miller-Merrell
The saying, Candidates are Customers too, should be hung over every wall of Human Resources departments across the country. Sometimes we forget that each candidate that goes through the HR department will most likely influence a future purchasing decision of your product/service. There are some exceptions to the rule, but know, word of mouth spreads like wildfire and if a candidate is treated wrong, their friends and their friend’s friends will hear about it. Recruiters and hiring managers need to look beyond the old ‘recruit-to-hire’ experience and put on our new corporate hats. Purchasing decisions are made based on the aggregation of every little experience the company has with the market. Read below for the 3 methods to treat every candidates as well as customers.

According to the Candidate Experience Results over 21% of candidates said they were or have been customers to places they applied. As buying power increases in our growing economy it’s becoming more likely that those who are applying for jobs are customers. The idea that negative feedback travels faster than positive couldn’t be truer in this scenario. Even if a candidate isn’t qualified for a certain position, treating them as a customer goes a long way in making sure their experience is a positive one. There are multiple ways to achieve top results when recruiting, here a few that have helped in the past:

1. Invest in Candidate Relationships. This should be the ‘no-brainer’ bullet point for any recruiter. In order to successfully recruit top talent it’s essential that you’re investing in the actual relationships and not the end result of hiring. The goal in this part of the hiring process is to not be a pushy salesman, but show each candidate, regardless of qualifications, that they’re important. Building communities that show the focus on these relationships will engage and keep the customer beyond the candidate process. Talent Communities, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, even email marketing solutions, and other types of communities are out there, you just have to find which one fits your company best.

2. Don’t Upset Your Applicants. There has been a lot of discussion on the transparency of the HR department and the black hole of the candidate process. If you’re a larger company and receive thousands of applicants a year it’s sometimes impossible to return each call or follow-up with each resume. Many job descriptions carry the disclaimer that not everyone will receive some type of feedback due to volume. Although communication is not required for every applicant, there are some instances where the job status should be communicated. The cost of no communication could be loss of sales, referrals, which leads to less money in the bank.

3. Think Like Marketing. Recruiting is not just about filling an open position any longer. Recruiting is another form of marketing and the only way for employer branding to survive the hiring process is to create a candidate-centric approach that prioritizes the candidate experience. As recruiters you promote your company, which helps bring candidates into the hiring funnel while maintaining an ongoing relationship. This is the foundation in building up the candidate experience to not only keep the customer, but also find the best talent out there for your company.

There are numerous benefits to treating a candidate like a customer. When it doesn’t happen sometimes there are no consequences, but all it takes is one angry person to spread negative feedback. Each candidate interaction affects your brand. There are multiple sites out there that anonymously rate companies on their interview processes, you don’t want to be one of those with 0/5 stars. To combat this, make sure each applicant is treated like you would treat a customer making a purchase. The life of a HR professional isn’t an easy one and the candidate experience is hard to perfect, but with these steps you should be on your way to achieving better practices.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs, Huffington Post and Smart Brief. When she talks, people listen.

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