The ability to influence is a key skill to develop whether you are a; billing consultant, independent recruiter, recruitment manager or director. I would go as far as saying that it is THE skill to learn when it comes to billing more and managing a team. I want to cover this in more depth for you so this is part one of a two part series. Let’s get into it.
The classic definition of the word influence is; the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself. In other words from our perspective it is about getting someone to say yes.
- We influence our candidates to work with us as a recruiter
- We influence our clients that we are the recruitment company they really should be
- We influence our team around the value of picking up the phone or sending one more email
By using our influence in these areas our business grows. The next question is how we influence, specifically what do we need to do and when?
The subject of influence was studied by Professor Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University who wrote a New York Times best seller called The Psychology of Influence and Persuasion; it’s well worth a read by the way.
Through his research he discovered 6 key influencing strategies that are at play when people make decisions. There are; reciprocity, commitment and consistency, liking, social proof, authority and scarcity. Let’s put our recruitment focus on these and explore how they might work for you.
A posh word, with the underlying principle that as humans we like to return favours. According to the idea of reciprocation, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer ‘concessions’ to others if they have offered them to us.
For instance that interview training advice you gave to a client at a networking event. Allowing one of the team to go home early to watch their daughter’s school play. What can seem simple acts can store up ‘credits’ for us in the reciprocation stakes.
Do you think that candidate you placed in her dream job might mention you to colleagues who are looking for an honest and skilled recruiter? Probably, especially if you ask her to. What about the client where you went the extra mile that was outside of the original agreement. Don’t be surprised if they suddenly find another three or four jobs to fill that you weren’t expecting.
Commitment and Consistency
These two often go in hand. As a general rule people don’t like to back out of a situation once they have publicly committed to something or someone. I know this works. A few years ago I agreed to run the New York Marathon! I committed to a friend I would do it and my own integrity around keeping my word resulted in keeping my commitment and crossing the finish line; eventually.
Quite a lot of consistency also kicked in. Those of you who have ever run a marathon will know it takes dedication and work. You need to put in the training consistently or it will be incredibly painful and hard!
In a recruitment setting these two influencing strategies are easy to demonstrate. Though many recruiters don’t. How many consultants do you think forget to keep candidates informed? Perhaps they ring a passive candidate a couple of times and then give up?
I talked about this in another article about sales stats. Over time consistency will pay off. How does this work? The more contacts and touches you have with people; client, candidates, team members, the more people trust you. They know that you deliver on your promise. You call them when you said you would. You keep them informed, even when there isn’t any real news. People then start to appreciate the time and effort you take.
Here is an exercise for you. Pick three or four people that come into your mind. Reflect on how you are approaching them? How often are you in contact? Is it all about you? Or do you have a structured plan where you diarise, conversations, emails or meeting for a coffee?
Time for some reflection maybe? How could you use reciprocity? Would you describe yourself as committed? With all the other pressures you have how can you be more consistent in your approach?
In part two I am going to cover the next three principles. Look out for it next week.
If you are a billing manager and found this article useful you might want to join us here; at the next billing manager development programme. It runs three times a year and is by application only.