Client Needs Vs Your Needs: How A Good Discovery Prioritises Both

“The customer is always right”. We hear this all the time, but is it true? To an extent yes, but in this selling landscape, no business is better than bad business. The best recruiters are taking a more consultative approach to selling because it adds value to the experience and closes more deals, but it also lets you sell on your terms.

Our CEO, Ryan McCabe, believes the first steps to value-added selling is a solid discovery but not only about your client’s needs, but you also need to get yours across. He’s shared how you can get the most out of your discovery meeting to make sure you have everything you need to get the job done!

What do THEY need?

If you’re buying a new product or software, you’ll probably have experienced the salesperson asking you questions. This is the discovery phase which unfortunately many recruiters skip right past, instead going straight to the job spec. 

By adding a discovery stage and asking questions, you have the opportunity to show you know what you’re talking about and that you care about your client’s outcome. Instead of just getting a  job spec and rolling with it, ask questions! Share your expertise too. For example, if they say they have multiple stages of interview with the same interviewer, get to the bottom of why this is. You could recommend mixing it up or even just taking out a stage to help them hire faster.

Remember, if you don’t understand or even know all of their pain points, you have less leverage.

Another key point to always be mindful of is that YOU don’t determine your value. The client determines your value. Here are a few questions Ryan put together to help you get to the bottom of the “what?”.

  • Why is it empty?
    • Why did they leave?
    • Why were they let go?
  • What was/is the target fill date?
    • How are you tracking towards that?
  • When was the last hire made in this department?
    • How did that go? 
    • Who interviewed them? 
    • Same process?
  • Based on the above, share your expertise to build credibility!
    • Ways to reduce the time to have someone in the seat.
    • Changes to process, scope of the role, salary, etc.
    • Similar lessons learned from a similar client.

What do YOU need?

Sure, value-added selling is making sure your client is getting exactly what they want, but you can’t be chasing bad deals. They need to know what you need to get the job done. And that’s not you being rude. It demonstrates that you care about the end result, and it breeds trust. It’s not about making demands, it’s about explaining what you need to increase your chance of giving them what they need. 

Key areas you could focus on are:

  • Job title: Have you filled a similar role recently?
  • Salary: Is this less or more than your previous placement? Is it above or below market?
  • Location: Have you run a search here previously? Is it fully remote?
  • Skills: Are all of these required? Are any of these “nice to haves”?
  • Exclusivity: Are you up against any other agencies?
  • Interview slots: Have you agreed interview slots? If not, can you?

By asking questions like this, you have the opportunity to widen the brief and show your value. A great example of how you can add value is listening to their answers and working out ways you could fill this role faster. For example, if they’re hiring for a sales role and require a university degree, you can recommend removing this “nice to have” skill to widen the talent pool and get someone in faster. 

So, although the client’s needs do tend to matter more than yours, by getting your needs across you’re benefiting them in the process. It creates mutual respect and offers a much higher level of service and satisfaction for your clients (and yourself), which is often missing in sales. Take notes and put these discovery notes into practice. We’ve already had tons of positive feedback from recruiters who’ve followed this methodology. 

Finally, if you’re more of a visual learner, watch Ryan’s webinar on value added selling here >>

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