[Podcast] Build Trust and Open Doors: The Multi-Channel Touch Plan Strategy for Your Sales Team

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Gaining new clients is the key to growing and scaling your talent business. Do you have a written process for your sales team to follow? Listen in on best practices of a multi-channel touch plan strategy for your team to start using today.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Don’t forget to use different approaches. Don’t have the same canned message each time you reach out. Your voicemails and your emails should build with value. I’ve seen so many people get this wrong. With everything that they have, they throw everything that they have out of the gate. No intrigue. All push.

Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Crelate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters, and I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is the Full Desk Experience, where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes, and technologies.

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about why your touch plan strategy isn’t equaling new logos, or more importantly, revenue for your teams. So many firms get this wrong. That happens for several reasons. Sometimes it’s a lack of process. Sometimes it’s a lack of training. In a lot of cases, it’s really exacerbated by the fact that most softwares for staffing and recruiting firms simply don’t measure the metrics that you need to assess and coach your teams to better success. Or if it does, these reports are so siloed, hard to run, that it becomes a chore that someone has to suffer through at the end of the month or the end of the quarter, rather than using real-time, integrated data as the real heartbeat, the vital signs of your firm.

Again, we’re talking about specific touch plan strategies, what you can do to improve your team’s success rate. But if you’re the operations leader or leader in general at your firm, you need to think about how to measure the effectiveness of the processes that we’re going to talk about today, how you’re going to build it as a template of processes to hand to every member of your frontline team. And honestly, if you’re blocked from doing that measurement or custom workflow setup, you have to know that it’s going to be extremely tough to sustain any changes to put in place based on this session and most of the sessions on this show.

So, let’s talk new business. Think about reaching out to potential prospects. We have to have a plan. And today, for purposes, we’re going to say that’s a touch plan strategy. It’s your outbound attempts at connecting with potential prospects, a new logo, someone who doesn’t know you or use your services at this point in time. We’ll talk about more inbound traffic in two weeks, so, selfish plug, join us in two weeks. We’re going to talk about that social selling topic, but today, we’re going to focus on what we’re saying to prospects, the cadence of when we’re saying it, and what channel it’s being set on.

An effective touch plan strategy for new business development really starts with that sound strategy that you as leaders establish, that your teams can implement because you know what it takes to be successful in this business sector. It’s your conscious decision regarding what methods, approaches to use to identify, source, communicate, and at what cadence to do business with the best companies in your industry. There are over 20,000 staffing companies in the United States alone. Those companies are operating over 39,000 offices in this country. And according to the American Staffing Association, there are around 3 million employees on average who are working through staffing agencies in the United States, so you have to stand out if you want to succeed.

Let’s face it, if you don’t have that established process on what good looks like for this touch plan strategy when acquiring new logos or talent for your teams to follow up on, it’s essentially allowing your teams to throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks. Don’t get me wrong, my kids love to do this when I cook, better yet to assess if I’m a good cook or my food is done, but they don’t know any better. If you don’t have the right strategy and platform to track that, you’ll never have the same process happen twice with the same person, let alone across your teams.

How do you know what’s working, what isn’t, and what is the way of what you’re training your new associates whenever they come into your organization? After you have that strategy established, then you have to track the accountability. This is where your system comes into place. The accountability of process is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful.

When working with teams across the United States, I’ve seen leaders know it takes multiple touches to gain new business. They’ve preached the idea to be persistent, really push for the number of touches, but they never really had the groundwork laid out for their teams to follow, let alone the system to track the effectiveness. So, I want you to think about that. First, this, then that, or this email format, then this pitch. That’s what I’m thinking of, touch plan strategies.

It’s the topic that’s probably really maybe being discussed a little bit more because teams are creating automated processes to assist them in their journeys when attracting new clients. After all, one of the top growth areas for sales teams is AI. Its adoption is forecasted to grow around 139% over the next three years. Sales teams have already realized the power of using AI to craft compelling customer experiences, focusing specifically on automating parts of our process to help with the task-oriented parts of our day that really drive conversation and interaction.

However, I am not here to talk about automations today. I’m going to tell you that cadence of approaches and methods that you can use to prepare for setting up that sequencing if you’re using our software, but also tell you what I’ve worked with with teams across the United States to set up the exact roadmap for their teams when attracting new clients. Leaders, in order to automate your processes, you have to establish them, so I want to start there.

I have two back-to-back polls with you, so get your little mice ready, your mouse. All right, first question for you is, do you have your touch plan strategy established for gaining new clients? Again, that touch plan strategy is first this, then that. This pitch, this email. So, yes, you have established processes. Maybe you give recommendation on number of touches, but you leave that up to your sales associates to really drive that number. Maybe no, you don’t want to be too prescriptive within your businesses, or maybe you just need to do better and you’d love some more ideas. That’s why you’re here today.

All right, I have a few of you that have established processes. Great. Maybe you can pick up a thing or two. Recommended number of touches, we’re going to get to that. So, I’m interested, for those of you who answered yes, you have a recommended number of touches, be prepared. I’m going to come back to that to see what you do. Some of you don’t want to be prescriptive, and those of you who want some better ideas, hopefully, you can gain some additional knowledge as we’re here today.

Part two to this question, Katie, are you ready? We talked about the strategy, but do you have the technologies set up to aid your teams in client acquisition process? As you’re thinking about this, is it sequencing? Is it your sales workflow? Do they work in conjunction so you can measure what good looks like? So, yes, you use your technology to aid in your process. Maybe you use sequencing and workflows, but maybe you need work. Maybe your process is laid out but not integrated with tech. That happens very frequently. Or maybe you just need help overall with the process and the technology.

I got split for the most part. I have people that are using sequencing workflows, but maybe it needs a little work. And then some of you use, but you maybe need help with tech and process, and that’s fair. That’s the first step of this process. All right, thank you so much, Katie. I appreciate that. That is such good insights for us.

It’s known that today, sales professionals only spend 36% of their time selling. Sales teams struggle keeping up with data entry, administrative tasks, agreements, internal company meetings, traveling, training for themselves, not to mention if they’re a mentor, a coach, or a leader of a team, and so many other tasks that really take them away from being customer-facing. This doesn’t include that split for those teams and smaller offices that are both the hunters and the farmers getting new business and maintaining older relationships.

Unsurprisingly, 57% of sales professionals expected to miss their quotas this year, so it not only seems logical, but it seems critical that we keep it simple, as simple as possible for your teams. Use your ATS to track the outreaches that you have. Ensure that they have the proper sales workflow, and that’s really been designed by your teams. We have to have the platform set up for the ease of use and simplicity.

Anyone a Colts fan? I’m not, but someone on our team is, and he told me Jim Irsay … I’m sure I’m saying his name wrong … Irsay, the owner of the Colts, just last week, he sent me an interview that he had, and Jim said, “When you’re struggling, you have to simplify. And when you simplify, it leads to better execution.” That is so true. Professional sports or business approaches, it is true to nearly every industry, so let’s dive into the good stuff. Let’s dive into those touchpoints, when and what types your team should be using.

Again, whenever I say touchpoints, that’s the attempts of the outreaches that you’re making in order to even get a conversation. We aren’t talking about what you say on the phone to overcome the resistances, not how you’ve engaged the person on the other end of the phone or how you win their business. This is just the attempts that you’re making to even get to that make-or-break moment. Are you making calls to leave voicemails, emails, social media connections, comments, likes, LinkedIn video messages, or what other avenue that you see useful in your industry? We’re going to talk more about each of those in a minute.

When it comes to the number of touchpoints necessary to guarantee prospecting success, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests response rates rise with each outreach attempt, and statistically, across the broad spectrum of data, that number is around five to 12 contacts. Don’t tell anyone. Katie, don’t yell at me. I’ve seen more around eight to 12 when coaching over the past few years. COVID may or may not have something to do with that.

There’s two important caveats to this number. First, every industry and buyer persona is different. You know that. While eight touches might be the right number for your company, seven or five might be right for another. This is why you must have supporting data and metrics. Test and observe your response rates over time. Is it the avenue that you’re taking, the channel, or is it the messaging on what you’re saying?

The second caveat is related to the first. In order to see accurate results from touchpoint testing, you must choose a number and stick with it, each and every prospect that you engage with each and every time. Most sales associates vary in the number of attempts they make based on a particular buyer, but how will you discover that magic number, so to speak, for your industry, territory, or even situation without consistent data? So, I encourage you to run a test period.

Now, what I’ve created with many offices is a touch plan strategy ranging from 14 to 16 touches in about 10 to 12 weeks in duration, depending on your industry and person. That’s about one and a half touches a week. Or how do you do a half a touch? I’m not quite sure. Some cases it’s one a week, and some cases it’s two. We’ll dive into this very shortly.

Poll number three, we’re on three now, Katie. We’re already like buzzing through this. Out of curiosity, do you currently know how many touches it takes in your industry for your teams to be able to earn a conversation? This is earning. This is showing value. What are you doing? How many times do you have to connect with somebody or reach out to somebody before they give you the right to have the conversation? Okay, I have a few people saying four to seven. Few people saying eight to 10, 10 or more. There’s some people that have no idea, and that’s okay.

Those people that are zero to three, props to you. You must have it down to a science. I love that. There’s at least one there. Realizing what good looks like is truly the first step. The second is having your team execute that effectively. Did you know that 48% of sales associates never follow up with a prospect? They make one call, and they’re out. 48%, that’s nearly half, and only 10% of sales associates makes more than three contacts. Majority of your sales are done between five and 12. Your teams are falling short if they’re not a little bit higher.

Now, those of you who know your numbers, props to you. You seem to have your industry down. Your teams are weeding themselves out just by merely not putting in the work that needs to be done in order to reach the bare minimum of touches to earn the right for the conversation. It’s like they’re waving the white flag saying, “Nah, I don’t need that prospect,” just because they don’t have the cadence of touches that ensure that they got to the bare minimum, and the system of record that shows you the holistic view of their prospecting, their calls, and their messaging, just realizing reaching out multiple times doesn’t work unless you’re varying your messaging. Every time you contact a prospect, you need to provide value in a new way.

Now, you might be asking, Kortney, where do I do all of this at? I think it’s standard practice to just do email or voicemail for prospecting over the years in the staffing and recruiting industry. For whatever reason, social media, or, in this case, we’re going to talk about LinkedIn, is taboo to some leaders. It can be a great tool for prospecting if you use it correctly, if you teach your teams what good looks like.

Again, depending on your industry and buyer persona, I have seen most hiring authorities be present on LinkedIn. Even if their employees may not be present or active, if they’re in construction or manufacturing, the people pulling the strings and hiring and firing have really grown over the last few years. After all, there are 750 million active users on LinkedIn, 180 million of which are from the United States.

Did you know LinkedIn has one of the most high-quality audiences? Four out of five users really driving decision-making processes, and their companies are present on that platform. And LinkedIn is responsible for the lead traffic for business to business, and really their lead conversations are three times higher than any other platform. Not to mention the generations that are coming into the workforce are more technologically and socially savvy than I have in my pinky finger. And at one point in time, I considered myself to be cutting edge with technology and our social platforms.

Now, with all of this being established, it goes without saying, when you start a touch plan strategy, you must define your ideal customer profile and who that prospect list truly encompasses. This strategy does not and will not work if you’re randomly picking new people each day to connect with, if you’re following the squirrel outside. You must establish that prospecting list, have it in an actionable, trackable workflow in your system of record, and track the progress.

There’s only one way that you’re going to know if what you’re doing is working, where your teams are in their journeys to gain new logos. So, I urge you. Today’s strategy is just that. It’s a strategy and a process, but if you’re not using the tools to measure, track and coach from your holistic view of your business where you stand as a leader, then you’re doing your team and yourself a disservice.

Katie’s going to help me at the end of this. We’re going to drop an ebook in the chat at the end of the live event today, or if you’re listening on the podcast, check the show notes, so stay tuned as it’s going to have the example scripts, the touch plan strategy one to 16. And I’m going to share with you as well today the outline that you can use to create your team’s own touch plan strategy to put into your sequencing or actions or reminders of your ATS. You need to scramble for every script because I’m not going to tell you every script. But be prepared, you’re going to get a document at the end of this.

Now that we’re really into the touch plan strategy and we know that you need to have around 14 to 16 touches in around 10 to 12 weeks, we need to start somewhere for first touches for these potential prospects. My first step, I encourage you to connect with your prospects on LinkedIn. I know it sounds taboo that social is first. You have to connect with the person. At the very least, follow them on LinkedIn.

Now, my preference is to always connect, so you can add a value statement or ask an engaging question. And add a note when sending your connection so they can send a response back. The goal here is connection. This is not your time to sell. So many people do that wrong. They want to sell from the word go. So, let’s talk connecting versus following. When connecting, you have a chance to not only see their content, but they can see your content as you start to develop it. Now, we’re going to talk next week more about that social selling or inbound strategy whenever you’re talking to prospects, so you’re going to have to optimize your LinkedIn profile, all of those wonderful things. So, come in two weeks.

Following only allows you to see their content, but you and your individual messaging when connecting and you add the little note, be sure to personalize it. Talk about your mutual connections, the college that you shared. Ask the question on a post that you saw them share, or comment on working in the same industry. As basic as it seems, I do this frequently myself. But when connecting with people that I’m looking for specifically, I often say that I’m connecting with fellow leaders in the staffing and recruiting industry. That’s no different than you.

That could be in an accounting and finance or veterinary health or whatever that looks like that, but you’re hoping to connect and network more in the future. It’s not invasive. Honestly, who doesn’t want to just expand their network on LinkedIn? That’s what it’s for. But don’t just let the data sit in LinkedIn. You need to use that one system of record that kicks off your sequencing plan or your touch plan strategy in your ATS. Believe it or not, I’ve seen people use their LinkedIn as their ATS and only put maybe key notes in their system.

I know we’re past Halloween, but a horror story I’ve seen firsthand is a firm that decided to do just that. They were sending InMails till their hearts were content. They had LinkedIn projects set up, automated searches, the whole nine yards. They didn’t come out and say it, but their ATS was just a little too much time for them to do the dual entry. The ATS kind of suffered, and then LinkedIn changed their pricing model. And the owners decided they didn’t want to pay for that upgrade anymore. Guess what happened to their data? Poof! It was gone. They didn’t want to renew their license, and they didn’t want to follow through with that contract, so their data was removed.So, please, if you do nothing else or take nothing else from this conversation today, ensure your teams are getting your data into your systems.

So, you’ve connected with these potential prospects. It’s your way to get the name to start to be recognizable, so when we talk about social selling and inbound strategy, you start to be looked at as a trusted consultant label, that you want to start sharing value-added posts and information.

Step number two in this process, we already connected with them in step number one. Step number two happens the following week. Remember, we talked about one to two connections a week. I’m going to say this happens week two. You don’t want to smother them in messages, content, and insights. Within the first 24 hours. It would be a great next step to be triggered in that sequencing plan for your ATS to remind you to maybe go like and or comment on a post of that same prospect.

Yes, you have to leave your ATS, but hopefully, you have that trigger point to remind you to keep them on your engagement plan. By leaving an engaging question or related post like, “Great post, Gwen. When your company is doing or preparing for whatever this article was about next quarter, what are you doing differently? How has that impacted your approach?” Or, “Great information? What challenges do you see this future trend having on the accounting and finance industry in the next six to nine months?” you want to show your value and knowledge in the industry where you’re looked at to be worthy of the conversation that you are laying the foundation for.

Again, first two steps are not to sell, but they’re to create and secure that connection and really build relationships without ever asking for a sale. 79% of business buyers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who’s a trusted advisor, not just a sales rep, someone who adds value to their business. Customers seek that personalized interaction with brands and experts, that sales reps, they learn and understand and really anticipate the needs of their clients like a personal consultant.

Now, that you have your name floating around the good old interweb, and you’re building your brand and foundational awareness with your prospects, it’s time to pick up the phone on week three. Now, you can change this approach around to however you choose, but if you have this set up again in your ATS, it’ll remind you to say you’re on step three. Me personally, I know my step three is always re-picking up the phone and reaching out. I’m not sure about you, but over my years in this industry, I’ve found it to be more beneficial to do a two-for-one here, so step three and step four is this week.

I said some weeks we’re going to double up a phone call and a follow-up email. I always encourage people to leave the voicemail first because you do have the chance of someone picking up that phone and being able to have a business conversation. Amazing for you if you’re in that zero to three connections. I have a few people there. Maybe that’s your time. However, despite all of your best efforts, your sales reps may only connect with about 3% of prospects because 97% of the time they had no choice but to leave a voicemail. And in a typical week, those voicemails could generate a grand total of one return call each day.

I don’t want you to leave everything but the kitchen sink and the voicemail, but be deliberate in building upon your message. When I worked at MRI, we trained new franchise owners coming into the network, and oftentimes, those owners maybe didn’t have recruiting experience but maybe had industry experience. Those franchise owners maybe didn’t really know the approach, but I’m going to tell you, they had the best call return percentage than anyone else. Seems kind of crazy, right? They didn’t have the experience in sales and recruiting, but people were calling them back.

So, we studied that first voicemail. What was the best one to leave? It could go something like this, and this is the only script I’m going to give you. Good morning, Jeff. My name is Kortney, and I’m working on a project in the accounting and finance industry. And I would love to speak with you, ask you a few questions, and get your insights. If you could please give me a call back before the end of the day, it would be greatly appreciated. My number is 555-555-1234. I’ll also follow up with an email, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

My email would be triggered immediately after that call from a templated letter or a templated email form, and it would go out the same every single time. Again, it could be triggered in your sequencing, but those hiring authorities could be able to communicate with you through their channel of choice. So, those emails and voicemails were vague. You shouldn’t be selling at this point in time. It should be creating intrigue, making them feel smart. But my project requires some insight from them. There’s no pressure on buying. That call return percentage was so much higher than anyone else’s.

So, step five, we already passed one through four. Step five, my recommendation is to go back to LinkedIn. You started with LinkedIn, you got your phone call, your email out of the way. Make sure that you’re connected with them number one. If you’re connected, make sure you thank them for their time. Thank them for the connection, and ask them an intriguing question, thought-provoking. If not, go back to liking and commenting on a post. Don’t forget to tag them in maybe the question you’re asking to bring it front and center of their alerts.

I know I’ve pushed or have pushed it for social and prospecting, more even so since COVID has happened, because everyone started working virtually. So many people … I don’t know about you. Mine’s there. You just can’t see it … have LinkedIn app on their phone. They’re able to check messages at home after their workday, after supper, the kids and sporting events. They’re done with … Maybe they’re in bed for the night. You have a higher chance of connection and conversation as they have this thing with them 24/7. Honestly, you have a direct link to their inner circle to get their attention.

Step number six is maybe where I differ from most people. My strategy is different just because this is what I love. Now, don’t worry, I have a backup plan if you don’t like my approach. But I want to take our last quick poll, Katie. Are you ready? Have you ever heard of LinkedIn or left a voicemail or video message on LinkedIn? This is my question. Have you ever left a video message or a video on LinkedIn? Didn’t know you could do that. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t used it. Left a voicemail but not a video message, or maybe you’ve used both.

All right, I’m going to teach you something new today. What if I told you by just leaving a voicemail or a LinkedIn video message that you could decrease your touches to connections by just throwing this in the mix? I’ve seen it work wonders with so many business development teams, bringing in two to three new clients a week, merely because it’s different. Remember, there’s 20,000 firms out there. Be different. Step outside of your comfort zone. If you’ve heard of it … And we’ll get to this at the end if you have questions, but as long as you’re connected with someone on LinkedIn and have the mobile app, you can send someone a LinkedIn voicemail message or a video message.

So, step number six, I leave either a LinkedIn voicemail … the caveat is you do have to be connected with them … or you can craft your message and send an InMail or a LinkedIn message. Seven and eight, you’re back to the phones, phone and email back to back. Maybe send them an article. Ask for a question. Ask a question that maybe is really applicable for their businesses. Step number nine, back to LinkedIn commenting. Like and comment. Be present on their profile. Again, you should get a reminder from your system.

Step 10 is that LinkedIn video message. If you left a voicemail, leave a video message this time. Back to the email and phone. You’re at step 12,13 at this point. This is maybe your Hail Mary. I’ve had people over the years do so many unique things that went above and beyond and really just matched with their brand. One of my favorite lines was from someone that was very funny, brought humor to their brand. That’s just who they were. Now, according to my seven-year-old, that wouldn’t be true with me. She told my husband last week, “Don’t tell mom, but she’s not very funny.” Understand, child. That’s not me.

But this gentleman brought humor to a social presence, and his Hail Mary voicemail, an email, said something along the lines of, “I hope you’re doing well, Sue. I’ve just reached out a few times to you via social and email and voicemails, and I haven’t heard back from you. I sure hope you’re okay and not in witness protection.” So funny, the attention grabber, and so many people reach back out to him because of his messaging. But you’re going to have to build that yourself. Build your brand, and build your messaging, and stick to that.

Last but not least, step number 14 to 16. Snail mail is not dead. Send a card or a physical piece of mail or a magazine. It might not be your first choice, but it definitely is something that can be utilized. This is just an outline. I know we kind of rushed through it here at the end, but make sure that cadence flows. Use social, phone, and email, social again, phone and email, and just continue that cadence. Build, sell, or push an MPC. If you’ve had the ability to listen to our one podcast about don’t put the used minivans up front, we talked really about merchandising your talent.

So, Katie will drop the ebook in our chat if she hasn’t already. I have not even looked. Yep, there it is. In the document we’ve shared, feel free to scroll to pages eight to nine where you can really feel that you can develop your own process. Remember, 80% of sales are made between the fifth and 12th contact. You must have strategic approaches on this topic. Don’t leave money on the table not using the tools or having the systems in place like your ATS to help you schedule those sequencing plans so your teams don’t give up after three contacts or just merely forget because they’re so busy.

I don’t know if you know this. Crelate actually has sequencing and can show you the success rate of the messaging of the emails that you were sending. You can set up scripts to help the call whenever you have that next conversation and what your voicemail should be to help you guide your teams and so much more.

Okay, Katie, I’ve talked a lot, and I know the question will probably be thrown out there about the LinkedIn audio and the voicemails, so I’m sure that’s going to be coming in. But let’s dive into the AMA, and if anybody has any questions because I didn’t check the chat at all. Look at you. You even threw up the episode five. Look at you go.

Katie Jones, producer:

Can you hear me?

Kortney Harmon, host:

I can.

Katie Jones, producer:

Great. It switched back over to my headphones a little bit, but anyway, I can hear you still, so it’s okay.

Kortney Harmon, host:


Katie Jones, producer:

The first question coming in and Tom has asked, “Who should be writing the scripts for our touch points? Should I leave this up to the salespeople themselves, leadership, somebody in marketing? Who does this?”

Kortney Harmon, host:

That’s a great question. Some of you may have a marketing team that can help you with this process. I think your key leaders have to be the one that are developing this because they’ve been in the industry. They know what works, what doesn’t work. Honestly, you as a leader, maybe the head of everything, know what you want your people to be saying.

So many times we leave it up to our top salespeople because they’re successful. But what happens with the new generation that comes in? What happens when that person leaves our organization and we no longer have that statue of what good looks like? So, we really have to come up with that on our own. We really, as leaders, should say first is insights. Second is maybe slight pitch on maybe your three uniques of your organization. Fourth touch is maybe telling them about a first right of refusal for a candidate that they’re missing.

And then your teams can fill in your fab statement or your sizzle statement to what that looks like. But I would say you should have the shell outlined. Your emails can be vague. Honestly, you can use them across industries. So, if you have manufacturing and accounting and finance, template those emails, pull in your marketing team. The nice part about that is once you start to establish this routine and you establish and start measuring what good looks like, you can determine if it’s you’re messaging or the avenue that you’re going after these prospects at.

So, you can really get into the coaching and the assessment of the metrics when you have the right systems in place. And that’s one of the things that I saw about … I’m not here to all talk Crelate by any means, but I love that, that I can tell if messaging is working when I’m actually doing these sequencing plans.

Katie Jones, producer:

Colette has a question also. She says, “How do you handle prospects that aren’t necessarily, say, on LinkedIn or social media at all?”

Kortney Harmon, host:

Colette, that’s a great question. Honestly, you can still have the same touch plan strategy, but you could have a 1B in case you find out your person doesn’t have social. So, you can then implement it with having additional touchpoints, so phone and email, phone and email. You could send a snail mail sooner in that process. So, you can really make this plug-and-play.

In the document that Katie dropped in, you’ll see that there’s 6A and 6B. You can pick and choose. I don’t know if you’re into Bear Grylls. It’s like choose your own adventure. My kids watch that stuff all the time. You can say, “All right, this is my standard.” But if you find someone that doesn’t have any social, maybe it could be Facebook, depending on your industry. There are people that have very strict opinions about that. You could use that in default, but I would say add snail mail into that sooner.

If you get to that point, send different pieces. Those people stand out in my brain over the years of who I’ve worked with. When they’ve sent me something, I’ve kept something on my desk, I’ve kept a business card. I am a little old-fashioned, but those are the things that I think it’s a plug-and-play and you say, “This is your number one option. This is your number two option.” You can still have say over what that process looks like, and you can still, whenever you’re tracking and coaching those metrics, you can say,” I see that you’re in this prospecting stage. We can’t get this person out of here. What have we done?” We can go to their system of record. We can see what they’ve done, and we can be able to coach them effectively to say, “Hey, go try this,” during their one-on-one and be able to move them forward in that process.


Great. Thanks, Kort.

Kortney Harmon, host:

You’re welcome, Colette.

Katie Jones, producer:

Kim has a follow-up question here, Kort. She knows that Colette talked about not using social media if that’s not applicable, but where does texting fall into this touch plan strategy?

Kortney Harmon, host:

I love that. Texting used to be like, “Oh, don’t text your clients. Don’t text.” I don’t know how you guys stand. I’m a person to say I don’t think there’s a fault in texting. I personally like to text after I’ve established a relationship. That’s just my personal opinion. You can take that however you need in your industry. I think texting has a big push in our industry. I think it’s something that is very impactful. I don’t know if you’ve been here before. You may have heard me say this, but texting is really to really drive action.

So, I think about that, and my client’s like, “Hey, I sent you a proposal. Hey, I sent you a candidate to review. Check your client portal.” Or in my candidates, “Hey, I sent you a job description. Hey, can you confirm that you’ll be there tomorrow at 8:00 AM?” I really think that’s already after I have established a connection with them. Now, you could put that in your Hail Mary. You could put that in your process. Colette, I love that. You’ve had clients take the lead on texting.

There are so many people. This is so much easier than surfing through their emails on a daily basis because they’re caught up in meetings. They’re caught up on whatever they do, but I think you’re going to only know that based on your buying persona of the people that you’re working with to know if that’s easier for them. You could even, dare I say it, in your voicemail to say, “You know what? I have your information. I’m going to shoot you a text if that’s better.” You could say that in, let’s say, your fourth attempt for your voicemails. You could let them know that you’re sending that, prepare them for that conversation, and make it worth a shot.

I, just by rule of trade, make sure I can establish a connection first, and I know that’s something that happens easily throughout that process after I’ve established a relationship because I get more feedback, more interaction immediately whenever that happens. Again, social’s, the connection. Texting is the action. Email is for information, and the call is really where you have the persuasion. You understand their needs. You hear their resistance, but it gives you that ability to combat and really give that consultative approach to what you’re trying to convey versus do you need a guy. I got a guy.

Katie Jones, producer:

Absolutely. Love that, Kort. Actually, you were correct. Louis does have a question on LinkedIn voicemail, and he was wondering if you need anything special to leave a LinkedIn voicemail or video message or how that works.

Kortney Harmon, host:

I’m going to do this. If you are connected with someone, Louis, you have to make sure you’re connected with them. So, you’re establishing that social connection first. That’s your first touch plan. You’re not trying to sell. Most people will connect with you. No problems. Second off, you have to have the mobile app on your phone, so that is step number two. Now, I’m going to pull up Katie for all intents and purposes since she’s our show producer, and I can send her voicemails and video messages that she can just disregard.

Whenever I click on … Oh, look. There she is. Look at her beautiful face. If you click on the message portion, there’s actually a three … Click on message. Sorry, it’s not keeping up with me. Whenever you click on message, there is a microphone and a paper clip at the bottom. As you click the microphone and you click and hold it, it will record you while you’re leaving a voicemail. The minute you let go of your thumb, it will ask you if you want to send this message. It says, “Send voicemail message.” Yes, I want to send that. So, that message came through to Katie as a voicemail message versus me having the automated I want to send her this. I’m going to go copy this from my ATS. I’m going to go put it in here. I can make it personalized, and Katie got it.

The other thing is, if you click the paper clip, you can actually take a video of yourself. Now, this is really outside … oh, there’s my fireplace. There’s me. Hi! This takes people out of their comfort zone. They don’t want to be on camera all the time. Like me, I’m on camera all the time. It doesn’t matter. Again, I’m going to tell you this is different. At my last two organizations, I had people step out of their comfort zone and start using this video messaging aspect, and literally, within the first week of using it, the one person had three new logos. She was in manufacturing.

I had one in healthcare that gained two new logos in a week where they were struggling. It was like we’re mid-pandemic, possible recession. We’re getting to the point where I don’t know what to do. People, they don’t want to pay for a service. It’s just about being different than the 20,000 other organizations that are out there. And I don’t know about you, I haven’t got many video messages. But I’m going to tell you those people that do, they talk to me as my name. They say, “Hey, I’m real. Pinch the skin. I’m a real person. I’m a real boy.” No, I’m not a boy, but you get the concept, right? Sorry, the whole Disney movies things come to my brain whenever I’m talking from my children.

You have the ability to stand out, so I would encourage you, Lou, if you are testing this out, either send someone in your office or use Katie and I as a Guinea pig. Connect with us. Send us a video message and a voicemail. Happy to guide you in that right direction. There’s a lot of videos out there as well.

Katie Jones, producer:

Colette has a follow- up question to this also, “Is there a minimum level of activity that your prospect needs to be spending on LinkedIn?”

Kortney Harmon, host:

All right, Colette, come up on stage so we can talk about this. Is there a minimum level of activity that your prospects need to be spending on LinkedIn? I would say so, if I’m understanding your question correctly. You can tell me if I’m wrong. Your prospects are going to probably see it. No. Do they have to be on there a bare number of times or posting so many times a week? You have to eventually, and we’re going to talk more about that social selling next week because you want your brand to be known. You want that window shop for yourself and your organization to be front and center, and you want to be providing value.

But your prospect, as long as they open up their app and they look at it, no, I don’t think that there’s any fault. They might not open it every day like you and I do because they’re not in the recruiting business, but they probably are still pretty active. 750 million people, 180 million in the U.S. alone. I guarantee you they open it once a week, once every two weeks, regardless, even if they’re not heavy into this platform itself.

But I would say no, I don’t think there needs to be a bare minimum for their activity or their audience. Again, this is just you for your name and your face and your brand to start to be established. We’ll talk more about your profile next week. Does that answer your question, Colette? Perfect.



Kortney Harmon, host:

Come next week so we can talk about social selling because I have even more passion about that.

Katie Jones, producer:

Oh, John, do you want to come up, and then I’ll ask?

Kortney Harmon, host:

Oh, of course.

Katie Jones, producer:

Yay! Okay.

Kortney Harmon, host:

John, make sure your camera is the right one, John.

Katie Jones, producer:

Yes, facing the right way. Although we do enjoy the view from your window. I’m going to go ahead and send you an invite right now, John.

John, guest:

The question I was asking, we tend to do more senior-level searches anyway, so our approach to recruiting candidates is very similar to our approach. So, I thought it’d be interesting to hear your perspective on how you differentiate these two touch strategies from prospecting for new customers versus prospecting for candidates.

Kortney Harmon, host:

I love that. Obviously, your value is different when you’re talking to clients because you want to show the types of candidates that you represent, the types of value that you can bring. You want to be the trusted consultant to not only help in the boardroom or their next presentation or their next way to gain new budget. So, there’s different conversations. I like to spin that a little differently in recruiting. I’m not your typical send them a job description. You’re working with high-level people. They want to know who they’re going to become out of this.

If I take this job, who am I going to be molded to? Who am I going to become? It’s not who do you need today, but what’s in it for me? Everyone wants to know that. They want to know what’s in it for me. Who am I going to become? What skills am I going to get? Because after I leave this organization, what is my value going to be? So, it’s opposite. We want to tell them what their value is going to be, not what our value is. You’re going to work with an organization that you can become with a cutting-edge technology.

I was in Microsoft sales and Microsoft technologies, so when I was doing stuff, it was dynamic. CRM was like the hot thing or it was Azure development. You’re going to walk out of this cutting-edge technology. This is the person you’re going to be, and you’re going to be so much more marketable, whether it’s construction … or not construction … whether it’s contract or it’s perm. But I think that the story just twists. We want to drive what their value is going to be, what they’re going to get out of it, versus here’s the bullet points you need to give us. Does that make sense?

John, guest:

Now, that’s once you have the conversation going.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yeah. Oh, so you’re saying attracting new.

John, guest:

Yeah, that’s past the touchpoint.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yeah, and I still think it’s probably possible. Whenever you’re thinking this, John, is this passive talent or this is actively engaging, like you have to [inaudible 00:43:40]?

John, guest:

It’s funny. Yeah, when you were talking about the number of touchpoints for us, we look at active and passive are going to respond in one to seven, and the inactive are those eight to twelves.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yep, they’re the people in the corner office that aren’t looking, but you have to put a different spin. Honestly, I still don’t think that’s different in the messaging, but I think it’s, first off, you’re connecting with them. Then you have to-

John, guest:

It’s how much pain do they have. What determines that somebody’s active or passive? Whether it’s looking for a new job or looking for a search firm, it’s what’s their pain. And they’re more likely to respond to our sales outreach if they have pain. But we like to qualify that to make sure we’re not going to get in there and feel their pain too because they’re not meeting our criteria for being a good customer.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yeah, absolutely. I think whenever it comes to recruiting those passive talent that you’re saying, that they’re not going to move right now. It’s, “Hey, let’s have a virtual cup of coffee.” I talked about this in the SIA event that we did last week. Closing to an objective. I know we’re not even closing, but what objective are you having your teams close to? Are you trying to say, get them on the phone for an interview? Maybe take that different step to say, let’s have a virtual cup of coffee.

I’ve had so many people … This is so new compared for what I’ve experienced … so many people after a connection on LinkedIn, based on what I do, they’re like, “I would love to have a virtual cup of coffee just to learn about you.” And it was 15 minutes. That was it. Introductory conversation, no pressure, no strings attached.

John, guest:

We say, “What’s your objective?” We want a defined objective, and what do you want them to feel? What emotion are you trying to elicit from the engagement?

Kortney Harmon, host:

And what do you want them to feel during that time? What do you want them to feel? Do you want them to feel the pain, or do you want them to feel … What else do you want them to feel?

John, guest:

Yeah, and that first one, we don’t want them to feel pain. We want them to feel curious, and then it’s value like, “Oh, I can get something out of this.”

Kortney Harmon, host:

It’s FOMO.

John, guest:

Then we start slowly … Yeah. We slowly want to start eliciting what the pain point is because they’re not going to share the pain until they trust us.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yep, and it is creating that FOMO from the get-go with candidates. It’s, “This is what we have. These are the things that we’re working on,” or, “You’re not looking, and that’s okay. I want to stay connected for whenever you have that outreach, and these are the people that we’ve worked with.” Yeah, I love that. I love that you don’t have them feel anything but curiosity in the beginning. Too many people worry about selling. They’re too busy thinking about the next thing to pitch them on versus actively listening to the actual needs of the talent and the clients that we’re talking to. It happens with so many.

John, guest:

Yeah, and I think that goes directly to the customers too. You want to have that same approach and understand how you can provide value. It’s interesting. I do think about our model, which is more education-driven. We’re using that same approach with prospective customers as well as prospective candidates.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Yeah, I love that value. And the value that you can provide too with your metrics of your ATS can be that consultative value too. These are the number of candidates. These are the number of touches that we’ve been successful with because it’s going to be able to then drive that to your clients. It gives you that holistic view of your business, so I think those are amazing. And, Katie’s-

John, guest:

Yes, you mentioned ratios a couple-

Kortney Harmon, host:

I did.

John, guest:

… weeks ago or maybe last week, and I’ve got one of my people following up with Crelate because we pull a bunch of metrics out to create the ratios we need, and we’re wondering if Crelate has perhaps gotten better and-

Kortney Harmon, host:

She is in-

John, guest:

… can kick out the ratios-

Kortney Harmon, host:

She is in contact with support, so hopefully, that will work. I love that.

John, guest:


Kortney Harmon, host:

Thank you so much for coming on, John. We always appreciate your insights.

John, guest:

Ah, I appreciate the [inaudible 00:47:18]. Thank you.

Katie Jones, producer:

Thanks, John.

Kortney Harmon, host:


Katie Jones, producer:

Kort, I was hoping that we could share one bonus handout for all of our loyal listeners who have hung on this long. I have also … I know … dropped … I will drop right now. In case you missed it from a previous live session, this is the going Beyond Small Talk ebook. So, the first book that we dropped is Kortney’s first guide. This is initial contact. The second ebook that we’re getting ready to drop in the chat just now is going to be what to do once you’ve got those people on the phone and steps to keep the conversation going.

I’m going to drop that now just as a little bit of a bonus content, but, Kort, I think that’s it from the audience for now. I’ll reiterate this in the chat. Oh, John’s on the button. Thank you, John. But if you guys have any questions that we didn’t get to today, please email us at [email protected]. Kort, I’m going to hop off stage, so thank you.

Kortney Harmon, host:

Awesome, and I will wrap up. Thank you, Katie. Thank you, John, and all of the other people for asking great questions. Thank you so much.

In closing, remember developing a touch plan strategy is the key to the success of your teams in the strategy to get new logos and gain new business, and, as John says, for your recruiting platform as well. This can be plug-and-play on both sides. Leaders, it starts with you, those that have a holistic view of your business. If you don’t have the tools in place to help automate pieces of your process, create those templated letters. Teach your teams on how to use reminders and how to keep track of the processing of the prospects that you need to connect with.

Not sure if any of you are fans of the E-Myth Revisited, Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber. He really hits home something that I feel like I passionately preach daily. He says, “But for ordinary people to do extraordinary things, a system, a way of doing things is absolutely essential in order to compensate for the disparity between skills of your people that they have and the skills that your business needs if it’s to produce consistent results. Now, in context, the system becomes the tools your people use to increase their productivity to get the job done in the way it needs to get done in order for your business to successfully differentiate itself from your competition.”

Leaders, what he’s saying is it’s your job, most accurately, the job of your business to develop the tools and strategies and to teach your people how to use them so your teams can succeed. So, be intentional and deliberate and give the path to least resistance when helping your teams establish new business. Use the tools in hand to keep track of your touch plan strategy, measure its effectiveness, keep it simple, and create the muscle memory for your teams. It’s like a well-oiled machine, and as you give leaders the metrics and the KPIs that you need in real-time, you can see the potential value by sales stage, whether it’s prospecting, qualifying job orders, prepping for placements, filled or lost orders.

Not only does your team deserve a roadmap or a touch plan with the tools to make their jobs easier, but as leaders, you deserve tools like that that will give you detailed metrics and breakdowns on your expected value per associate per placement. This makes your job of tracking, coaching, and overall holistic view of your business from prospecting to clients and beyond a seamless transition.

If you found value in this episode or any other live events, please tell one person. Invite them to our next live event session, or share our podcast with them. It would really mean so much to us. I would love for you to join us on November 29th as we talk about your inbound strategies, the dos and don’ts of social selling.

I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the Full Desk Experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to [email protected], or ask us live next session. If you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen, and sign up to attend future events that happen every other Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern/12:00 PM Pacific.

Show notes

In this episode, you’ll learn:
  • The importance of having a communicated and written new-client sales process for your teams
  • Where your teams might be falling short in this process
  • An immediately actionable multi-channel touch plan strategy your sales team can use to gain new clients
  • How technology can come alongside your teams in this process
  • Using social media in new and unique ways to engage with contacts
  • Ask Me Anything session
To download the Multi-Channel Touch Plan Strategy eBook referenced in the show, please click here.
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