Cover - How Fit Is Your Recruitment Business


Do you have a business that's fit to scale? Discover your score and how you stack up.

Businessman has finished difficult telephone conversation

What To Do When They Say: “I Am Working With Another Recruiter!”

Posted by Nicky Coffin

It is a common problem no matter at what level you are in recruitment; trainee, manager, director
or independent recruiter and you know what I mean? That dreaded response… “We already have a supplier.” Yak!

This was the same problem that Andrew wrote in with at the end of last week. Andrew is an independent recruiter that is branching out into a new sector he has identified is a good fit and a match for him.

“Nicky I could do with a few suggestions. In the xxxxx sector I am targeting there is a lot of opportunity and competition. Last week was a bit demoralising I had three telephone conversations and didn’t get far. Quite strange as that normally isn’t the case. My conversion rate is up in the high 40%, though not this time. Any suggestions?”

Well I have Andrew! I am sure many people will have their own take on this and there are many strategies you can employ. Let me give you some ideas that will work.

1. Get a meeting

The thing is Andrew the boot is now on the other foot. You are going to generally ‘new’ prospects with your offers that don’t know you. So the connection you have with your current clients will have been developed over time – think the 7 points of contact model.

This means phone contact with current clients is OK when they are giving you a new job to fill. When it is a brand new client they don’t know who you are; human nature means they want to check you out in person unless, it is a really strong referral.

You must get a face to face meeting and that should be the objective of your phone call. Once you are in front of them it can, and should be a whole new ball game. Rapport is a key influencing skill and though it can be developed on the telephone face to face is better particularly at the start.

I know skilled independent recruiters who can have an 80% ++ conversion rate even when their potential new client is working with another recruiter.

2. Be prepared

Not that you weren’t! It is a common failing in many recruitment companies. Knowing what you are walking into helps enormously in planning your approach. It doesn’t matter that there is someone else they are working with; especially in today’s candidate driven market-hint!

3. Questions

Asking the right questions in a meeting like this will win it or lose it for you. I am not advocating one selling skills model over another and I have always found SPIN selling a life saver. You need to make your potential new client think. The only way you will do that is by asking question that will uncover his actual needs that keep him or her awake at night. SPIN selling is based on data from literally hundreds of thousands of sales conversations and a key fact in their findings is that in a complex sale ; which recruitment is, salespeople who asked the probing questions to uncover what clients really needed were the most successful.

I could go on and yet let’s leave it here with my top three that I think will make a huge difference.

Warm regards,


P.S. If you haven’t accessed my 6 steps webinar you can register here. No matter if you are an independent recruiter or a recruitment manager I reveal ideas and strategies that will change your results, in the right direction and forever. Here’s the link to sign up for that.  6 Steps Convert your Under Performers to High Billers