[Podcast] Don’t Put The Used Mini Vans Up Front – How to Use Passive Talent to Increase Sales

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Keeping a healthy pool of passive talent engaged is great for your recruiters to come back to when that talent turns active. However, if used correctly, your sales team can also use passive talent to demonstrate the types of candidates you represent to prospective and new clients.

To access the “Going Beyond Small Talk” eBook referenced in this episode, please click here.

Kortney Harmon:

Dealerships don’t put used mini vans up front. The used mini vans are not the cars pulling the people into the lot to sell more cars. The same goes for MPCing candidates to prospects. When you are calling prospects, you’re going to share the rockstar candidates that’s head and shoulders above the rest, the cars, and the front of your lot.

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 sales teams or why your passive talent strategy with your sales teams isn’t translating to revenue. Last show, we talked about what your teams are doing wrong with passive talent when it comes to recruiting and how it’s not translating to pipeline for your teams. So if you missed it, you can check it out on any podcast platform, it’s already live. This week, we’re going to take that same topic and flip the coin to your sales teams. It’s not how you’re attracting the candidates this week, it’s what you’re doing with the passive talent after you have them and why your sales teams aren’t turning those proactive calls into revenue for your organization. So we’re going to talk about five top reasons your team’s efforts aren’t translating into dollars. Last show, as we talked, your teams effectively attract those top level passive candidates in your industry, but that’s only half the battle.

That’s great that your teams are pulling out all the stops with the talent that’s so hard to find. But what happens with them now? Do those passive candidates sit in your database till something comes along that’s perfect for them? Because we all know we’re going to forget about them before that perfect thing arrives. Frankly, you talk to too many people. You can’t wait on perfect. Do you send out a mass email to all the clients in your database saying, “Look here, look what I’ve got?” I’m not saying that’s wrong. When I ran an IT desk, it happened so often. I received so many emails on a daily basis from vendors. However, the problem with that, that it was the only communication that I received from that vendor, and guess what, I started to ignore them. Have you seen something being similar at your desk? I want you to watch for that cadence of these types of emails and really be cautious if your teams are sending just emails.

I want you to ask yourself, are your candidates, are your sales representatives calling those top clients to give them first rate of refusal of this amazing talent that you have? If not, you should be. Or are you trying to use these candidates to get new business? Again, if not, you should be. So great news, there’s many different options for your teams in these situations. But the question is, does your teams know what to do when they have that most placeable candidate, that MPC and this instance? Let’s say you don’t have a job for them that fits them right now. They’re proactively looking, they’re ready to leave their job. Let’s face it, the percentage of times that I see this exact situation and it just gets entered into your database or in a note or in their file is alarming. Because this is money for your firms.

I know I’ve seen firsthand, most firms are leaving money on the table by failing to just have a process in place for their teams to execute having that most placeable candidate in hand. Your teams aren’t being directed on what to do, so that’s what they do. They do nothing. They don’t make the calls, they don’t try to place the top level talent. They don’t email, and that talent gets lost in the shuffle. Most organizations I’ve worked with has really left this process up to the salesperson, salesperson that’s receiving the talent, I should say, of what they want to do with the candidate. The owners, leaders, managers, they’re not guiding, they’re not managing or even tracking the metrics of this process. So I’m going to go out on the limb here and I’m going to guess there’s two groups of people at this event today. The ones that are saying, Ooh, MPCing. We don’t do that enough. I know we need to do it more. We’ll get to this group in a minute.

And then there’s the other half of this coin that’s going to say, “Doing MPCing is old school. Those calls are no longer effective, Kortney, they just don’t work for our firm.” So, I love polls. Let’s take a quick poll to see where you stand. Katie’s going to throw a poll up for us right now and I want to see where your office stands. Does your office currently handle taking an MPC to market? There it is. So do you, yes, you really do, when you see the benefit from it? You got it down 100%, we’ve done it, but we don’t do it all the time. We should do it more or great, great question. I’m not sure. I have a good read here.

It’s kind of split. Honestly, it’s almost evenly split across the board. A few more have done it and they do it really well, they see a benefit from it. So I want you to kind of listen in as we talk through this. Now, for those of you who might be thinking, it doesn’t work. I want you to think about something. I want you to think how are you tracking the success of those types of calls, those MPC calls. How do you know they’re not working? If you’re like many other firms that I’ve worked with, you’re looking at the outcome of the calls as not being effective as the end result. Well, they didn’t go well. They didn’t need our service or they didn’t have an interest in the talent that I was representing. That call just didn’t work. That type of call didn’t work. However, what you should be looking at is this is a symptom of a lack of process or coaching in your business.

Does your team know what to do when they receive an MPC? Are they to put them on a list? Do your teams add them to a workflow to track the calls that they need to make on the account of this amazing talent? Honestly, your client needs to hear about them. How many calls are your teams making for this candidate? How many companies are they reaching out to? How many contacts at each company? More importantly, do you have a process? These calls are the proactive approach to sales, not the reactive. This is displaying the type of talent you represent. We aren’t just calling on a job posting that we’ve seen on a job board or a generalized sales call. We’re showing value from the minute they pick up the phone. Katie, are you ready? Poll number two. I want you to be honest.

I want to know, do you currently have a process for your sales teams and or account managers when they get a most placeable candidate? Do you have one in place today or yes, it’s a seamless transition? “Well, we have one, it’s not really followed. Each of our sales teams does their own thing or we need to do better.” I appreciate your honesty. The number is rising on my end on we need to do better. Right now, my answers are minimal on, yes, it’s a seamless transition. So thank you. Thank you for being honest. For those of you, your sales teams do their own thing, I’m happy that you can rely on a sales team. So, now that we have an honest assessment of your organization, I want to dive into the good stuff. Let’s talk about the top five reasons your passive talent strategy isn’t turning into dollars with your sales team. And one more poll for you later.

So number one, the reason it’s not working. The number one reason is the fact that your business leaders or yourself aren’t putting an emphasis on the process. Whether you don’t have a process at all, which kind of looks like it, or you aren’t pushing your teams to execute that process. Let’s face it. Either way, it’s lacking. Are y’all okay? The bigger question is, how many of these call blocks are you having your current sales team do each week? Better yet, each day. I know each of your teams are caught up in the reactive state of our industry, but you cannot ignore this approach. You’re leaving money on the table. It’s like thinking you can use one tool to get a job done effectively if you’re in construction. A hammer is not the go-to, it’s not going to solve everything for you. Or one pitch to strike out somebody time after time in baseball or softball. Or let’s say fishing one bait to catch every type of fish out there. It just won’t happen. It’s not how it works in any industry. You have to have multiple tools.

I’ve been personally stressing the importance of passive talent for weeks. Hence, why we’re talking about this topic for two shows now. But I was at a conference, I was actually at two conferences last week, and one was the Sanford Rose Conference, and Greg Doersching said something that just amplified my thoughts, but he put a timeline on it. He said that taking an MPC to market is going to be one of the fastest ways to make money in the next five years, five years. Your organizations are going to have to work harder. You’re going to be missing out on dollars if you do not make this a part of your sales strategy from today on, for the next five years. I feel like squints from San Juan, I’m sorry, I’ll just watch that with my kids forever. Forever five years. I’m going to compare MPC to pitching. So for those of you who don’t know, I was a collegiate pitcher for softball.

I loved it, honestly, some of the best times in my life. But taking an MPC to market is just like pitching, if you think about it. As a pitcher, I had many pitches to use in my arsenal of tools against a batter. Was one pitch going to do the trick every time? No. But more importantly, what happened if I didn’t practice each of my nine pitches each time I had a chance? Would they be effective when I needed them to be? No. I’m going to tell you, in college softball, we practiced for three hours daily as a team. And that wasn’t including the hour to hour and a half that pitchers were mandated to be there before the team. We had to personally sharpen our skills each and every day to be effective when game time hit. This is no different in sales. As a sales associate, you have many different methods of sales when you’re coming to a client.

If you don’t practice each of those methods, including your pitch when taking an MPC to market, how do you expect that pitch to be effective when you need them to be? How are you going to get your client not zoning out when you’re speaking? So moral of the story for point number one is, you have to have a process and you have to practice it. Ensure your teams are dedicating call blocks each day to practice your business and really have a balanced desk with different approaches. So prepare, make sure you’re doing the things that you need to. That takes us to number two, not being prepared. I know this seems vague, but it’s the truth. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Just like talent going into a job interview, your teams need to prepare for the sale. Ensure that you’re calling the right types of people.

Find out everything they can about that prospect. This work is done before you ever even pick up the phone. As sales, we’re so determined, we’re so excited to pick up the phone and call, but did we do our due diligence before? The question to you as leaders, how are your teams determining who they’re going to be calling? Are you as a leader creating that list of prospect companies? Or are your sales associates creating that list of prospect companies? Because by the what it looks like over here, your sales members do their own thing. So that’s a skill in itself, being able to create that list of prospect companies. Hopefully you’ve trained them on how to find those companies, what your parameters are in your office, what’s the size of business that you are in your target range? That’s another topic for another day. But more importantly, does that list of prospect companies turn into actionable workflows that your team can work through?

Or is it just some Excel list? Are they being measured on their efforts or metrics of that list? Hopefully you have a system like ours here that will allow you to track and measure those metrics and talk about it in your one on ones each week to see where they are on that list. Help them add more prospects and graduate the prospects to clients and the clients to key accounts so you can continue to develop your business. Now, if your teams meet with potential customers unprepared, it’s going to show. You better bet your prospects are busy researching you once they hear your name. What if they know you better than you know them? Not only will preparation help you communicate better and ask the right questions, but it’s also going to tailor the candidate that you are pitching to your customer and customize your sales pitch and the voice and have the right benefits that would strike the right chords with that particular prospect.

You can also look at the prospect’s, professional and even personal background to establish a good rapport. Can you note that you went to the same college, went to the same conferences, or a part of the same groups on LinkedIn or even the same connections? Rapport builds trust, and no one will buy something from you if they don’t trust you. After all the age of the internet, you absolutely have no excuse for not doing your homework. I mean, if you’re in recruiting, isn’t it essentially like having your private investigator license? Because I bet you as a recruiter are going to find something for everyone. So, moral of the story for number two is not only to be prepared with your list of prospects and the people that you’re calling, but also understand the connections that you share. So, number three, we’re diving right in, number three. The number three reason this strategy isn’t turning into revenue is because your sales teams are not establishing value.

Now, this is after the assumption that your teams are able to get the prospects on the phone. I heard an analogy from a coworker, and I love this when thinking of MPCing, I want you to think of a car dealership. When you pass a car dealership, you always see the really flashy cars in front. It’s the new ones, the latest greatest, the bright shiny colors, the amazing rims through the attention grabbers. Those are the types of cars that are going to get potential buyers into look around. Now, does everyone walk away with the Mercedes or the Porsche or the front row cars? No. They might walk away with something in the back, something more suited for their needs. Dealerships don’t put use minivans up front. The use minivans are not the cars pulling the people into the lot to sell more cars. The same goes for MPCing candidates to prospects.

When you are calling prospects, you’re going to share the rockstar candidates that’s head and shoulders above the rest. The cars and the front of your lot. You want the talent to be applicable to their business, but honestly, it might just be too much for the client that you’re calling on. They might be too expensive. They might have too much experience, but their value is topnotch. However, the point of this call is to show the rockstar talent that you’re representing. This is the type of value you can provide when working with your company. We don’t want our firms to send over candidates that your prospects or clients could get themselves. We want them to be a value add. We don’t want you to send over use minivans to your clients or prospects to review. We want them to know anytime you send over talent, they’re a must see, end of story.

Now, the other part of this conversation is what you’re saying to get the attention of your prospects. I have seen so many sales associates fail to do this part of this process effectively. Since we’re already talking about car dealerships, I don’t want you to sound like a used car salesman. I can’t stress this enough. Practice your MPC pitches in the morning. Draft them in your one-on-ones with your managers. Write them in the notes of your candidates within your ATS so you don’t have to search them every time you need to talk to someone about this person. This was one of my favorite hacks when working with recruiters. Have your pitch when you’re making your call block. You already know what you’re going to say. Go write that pitch in the notes of why called that client or in the candidate’s file. So when you get a call back from that prospect, from the call block you made about Susie, your MPC last Tuesday, you can find that record and seamlessly transition into the pitch that you are going to tell them last week, without having to make something up on the spot.

Now, when you’re trying to sell something, or in this case someone to a prospect or client, instinctively, you want to talk a lot, you want to talk passionately, you want to describe the benefits, the great features your talent is offering. You want to flaunt your knowledge and you push and you push and you push. But I’m going to tell you that’s not entirely effective. Pushy sales people don’t go far. Considerate ones do. So let’s be honest, you’re not the only one selling out there. So let’s not be that sales associate reciting the entire resume of the person you’re submitting. Don’t be the used car salesman, so less is more in this sense. I’m going to put on my trainer hat for a second because this is so important, I don’t want you to miss this. You should be saying three things tops when you’re talking to a prospect, when you’re MPCing, and then I want you to listen.

You might be asking, Kortney, what are these three things? What should I be saying on these calls? You might have heard them as sizzle statements or fab statements. No matter what you call them, it should be concise and deliberate and allow you to listen. My favorite three things that I like to tell people to say is, number one, I want you to say a fact about your talent that’s applicable to this industry, Something that’s non-negotiable. Let’s say they’ve been in the accounting and finance industry for the past 25 years, so I know they have experience. You should talk about number two, an achievement of that candidate. When you think of achievement, you need to think of it in terms of quantifiable metrics or numbers. This candidate has increased their book of business by $3 million in the last six months or something that’s applicable and fits your industry.

So think of this in numbers or percents only. It really makes the impact of what you’re trying to say that your talent has accomplished. And last but not least, a benefit. A benefit that the company you are pitching this candidate to could understand, could really hit home for them. This could be linked back to the research you did when you were preparing to make the calls, or you could even gather this information during your conversation. What this means to you, Mr. or Mrs. prospect is, you could add someone to your team who could not only bring the expertise to your organization, but increase your book of business by $3 million in the next six months. They will be more impacted by those numbers. Now, the last thing I want you to do is listen, wait for a response. Don’t feel the need to keep talking. Silence is golden sometimes.

So the moral of the story for number three is make sure that we bring the cars to the front, the good cars to the front of your sale. Not the use minivans, and be deliberate and concise on your pitch. Don’t bring everything but the kitchen sink to this call. Okay, which leads me to number four. You’re not listening. You’re too busy pitching. Let’s face it, your sales associates may not listen. They prefer to talk at a client instead of listening. But that’s why we have one mouth and two ears surely. Over the course of training thousands of frontline recruiters, the most common error that’s costing your sales associates money is that they’re too busy thinking of the next thing to say versus actively listening. It’s something that I do that you do, but I want you to teach your teams that silence is not bad and asking questions is key.

Or just merely remembering the statement of, “Tell me more about that.” We’ll get them so much further than constantly needing to sell. Let’s take that statement above that I went over where we talked about features, quantifiable statements and benefits. Most of your prospects are not going to need that exact person at that exact time when you call them. If they do go play the lottery, it might be your lucky day. This process is to not only share your value, but allow you to listen. When that prospect says that they’re not looking for someone like that, at this point in time.” So many associates say, Okay, I’ll follow up via email with my contact information.” If you do need something, reach out. Now, that sounds good in theory, but where they’re leaving money on the table is not asking more questions around that response. If you’re looking for, or let’s say that client is not looking for that person right now, who are they looking for? Listen for the subliminal messaging and what they could really be saying.

I want you to encourage your teams to ask more open-ended questions. Honestly, your listening to talking ratio should be 60 40. Listening more and asking targeted questions helps you understand the customer’s business, tailor your messaging better. It’ll help you get to know them as individuals, their preferences and taste, and show you that you are different from others in the industry. And the best thing is, by asking these questions and listening, you enable that potential customer to do all of the job for you. They’re reveal their main pain points, tell you ways how you can help them without directly asking that. This is especially valuable during the prospecting or that qualifying proposing stage of the sales process. So, I want you to look at what’s currently gone on in your organization. Are your teams doing the MPC calls but not gaining leads or potential job orders from them?

Again, that’s a symptom. It’s a symptom of not actively listening or not asking the right questions. Sorry, I smile because while I was working with offices, I had a list of questions. I called them my, oh crap list of questions. Oh crap, they’re not talking to me, how do I get them engaged? I don’t want to lose them as a prospect because I’m only going to get their voicemail next time. That was my internal dialogue. Do you recall those conversations? I’m sure you’re having them today, and I guarantee your teams are as well. Asking the right questions not only helps that prospect get engaged, but it helps you uncover initiatives, resource allocation, growth forecast, quarterly goals, challenges, problems, and pain points that those prospects are facing right now.

So I ask you, do you have a list of questions developed either by you as a leader or your top sales associates to help stimulate conversation for your teams to use when they’re talking to prospects or clients? This is something easy to put together during lunch and learns to help your teams grow and learn from each other. So Katie’s already ahead of the game. She put the last and final poll question up. I want to ask you, do you currently have a list of questions for your sales teams and account managers to stimulate conversation?

Yes, they’re prepared. We talk about them during your huddles. Our team’s good on their own or we don’t, but I’d love to see some examples. I love it. Everyone says, “We don’t, but I’d love to see some examples.” So for those of you who are attending today’s live event, great news, we’re going to send you an ebook of questions that’ll help you start on the right track. Katie may even put it in the chat. Look at that, she’s so good. She put it in the chat so you can download it. For those of you who are listening via podcast, you can check off the show notes to get your downloadable version there. So as we talk about this, moral of the story for number four is ask the right questions and listen. All right. Number five, last but not least, is your sales associates are not able to effectively close the call.

Now, when you think of closing the call and staffing and recruiting industry, it’s not always about placing the candidate. There’s so many parts of our journey. It’s about closing the call to the next appropriate step and your process. That step can and does vary. In this case of MPCing, you may be closing the call to an introductory conversation for the prospect and the candidate to connect. You may be closing the call for a follow up, to take a job order on what this company really is looking for, for their open position. You might be closing the call to a fee agreement or service agreement, so your two companies can do business. Or you might be closing to meet for a site visit at a prospect site where you can learn about more about their needs. It’s all about closing the call effectively. If you don’t have to make a placement to think that this call’s going to be successful. You’d be surprised how many times talented sales people are selling for the sake of making that signature sales pitch and killer slide show.

They’re not actually concentrating on selling or process of selling. Did you know that 63% of sales interactions end with the sales rep not even asking for the sale? Don’t just assume that they’ll call you when they need you. It’s just that automatic response to get you off the phone. I need you to close for the next step of your process. Having the mentality to step into a sale determined to turn that prospect into a customer is something that’s practiced. It’s driven, it’s measured. You actually have to ask the prospect to buy as blunt as that is. And the earlier in the sales process you do that, the better. Remember to close to the next step, gain a commitment each and every time you talk to that prospect and keep that relationship and prospect alive. You might be asking, Does this work? You bet it does.

I’m sure you’ve seen examples of it as well. But let me give you an example of my own. Some time ago, a client that I was working with noticed that the most successful sales reps would ask for their agreement at the beginning of the sales process, a fee agreement, sales agreement, whatever you call it in your office, instead of asking for it at the end. So we decided to introduce an earlier sign off in their sales process and it worked. Asking for the commitment earlier in the process resulted in a staggering 50% increase in the number of closed sales for that office. Talk about dollar signs [inaudible 00:29:11]. That’s proof alone that closing your calls more effectively to each step of your process will result in cash in. Okay, we covered a lot today. There has never likely been more of a candidate driven market that we’re seeing today.

Remember, taking an MPC to your prospects is just a method to get your organizations closer to the money and the challenging market that we’re in today. And it’s going to be so for the next five years. So, it takes both talent and skill to master this approach. Just like in sports, in order to reach mastery level in sales, you need to practice. You need to take risk. You need to make mistakes and learn from them. So Katie, let’s dive into our AMA. I am open to your questions, and don’t forget to put them in the chat. It looks like there’s already quite a few going on, but don’t forget to put them in the chat. You can stay anonymous and our show producer can read them or we can bring you up on stage.


Thanks, Kortney. Great show Today. We did have several questions. For those of you that were asking Crelate specific questions, we’ll get you in touch with professional services or customer success to get those answered. For the purpose of today’s show, I will be asking questions from the chat related to today’s topic. If you think of anything also after the show, feel free to email us at [email protected]. So the first one I’m going to pull on stage is Miss Jackie. And Jackie, you will go ahead and see a little window pop up. We tried this two weeks ago and let me see if I can still pull you on stage, Jackie. I apologize, thank you for the patience. Jackie, I’m just going to go ahead and ask Kortney, and if you have follow up questions you can ask them in the chat [inaudible 00:31:08] Kortney Live. Says she’s totally okay. Jackie’s question was, what is a good subject title for an MPC email?

Kortney Harmon:

That’s a great question. So, Jackie, I’m going to not answer your question, but answer your question. Number one, I don’t encourage you, I don’t encourage you to just send an email. I love to make sure that I follow up via phone call because again, the phone is where you have the most impact. It’s where you have the most persuasion. If you can absolutely send a follow up email, post your call. For me personally and what I taught through that touch plan strategy, as we get to that point and you’re saying, Okay, I’m attempting to call this prospect, but let’s face it, in today’s world, it takes 10 to 12 touches to try to even get a prospect on the phone. So with that being said, I would try to call first. Me personally, I like to reach out via LinkedIn. They see my name. I like to send them an invite with a personal message, then I get to the point of I’ll make the phone call.

After the phone call. I’ll follow up via email, and then in the title of that email, I’ll say, “Sorry, I missed you.” But it’s also following up with my conversation. So then they’ll go, “Okay, you know what? I’ve seen her name. I’ve heard her name before.” So, they’ve already connected with me on LinkedIn. They’ve heard my name via voicemail, and then I got an email. If anything, they’re going to pause and say, “You know what? Maybe I need to call her back. I’ve seen her name a few times. Maybe it’s something that I need to do.” So I’m not going to give you a direct answer to say what’s a good title for the MPC email, I think creating that FOMO of saying, “Hey, I’m missing out on something, this person really knows what they’re talking about.” Making sure they understand my company and personal brand to say, “I need to talk to this person. She’s very smart, is really where you need to be.”

So I don’t have an answer just to say the capture subject line of an email to get your attention. Again, I think it’s a follow up from a phone call.


She says sometimes the email provokes them to call you back.

Kortney Harmon:

Yes, sometimes the email does. It’s all on your preference. I love to call first email second or make that correlation almost simultaneously. So then they’re going to trigger that. So you could call first, You could have that pre-call email, but I would try to invoke a sense of urgency if you send it before. So really the idea of the sense of urgency, I don’t want you to miss out. It all depends if they’re a current account or a prospect account too. So if they’re a current account, I want to give you first write a refusal. If they’re a prospect account, I want to tell you about somebody that I’m speaking with. So it depends on your approach.


Perfect. I have David, and David has asked, do you have a specific touch plan strategy, as you mentioned, something proven out to be effective.

Kortney Harmon:

I do David, I’m not going to lie. If you’re familiar with, there’s many different out there, so you could be familiar with Butler Street, different sales process, but I like to think of so many touches in so many weeks. So if you’re thinking of a prospect, I like to think of, I went back to the idea pre-COVID, it used to take maybe eight to 10 touches to get a salesperson or actually a client on the phone. It used to take eight to 10 touches, that was pre-COVID. Post-COVID and this virtual world that everybody lives in, if it’s not coming through this thing, it doesn’t happen. So I really, again, I talked like I want to connect with them on LinkedIn first, a phone call, an email. The problem with our industry, people think that there’s one avenue to solve all of our problems, but I want you to be creative.

Not only should you be posting stuff on your social that they should be interested, and whenever I say social, it’s whatever platform that your industry uses. It could be Facebook, it could be LinkedIn, it could be Twitter. Twitter was really big in the IT industry, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t grasp onto to it. But I think it’s really the idea of changing the cadence. One of my other favorite things was, again, this thing looks like I have a lot of notifications. On LinkedIn, you have the ability after you connect with somebody, that’s always my first go to. You can send personal voicemails on LinkedIn if you’re a connection with them, you can send videos. These are things that are different than what people are doing now. People are relying on calling on voicemails of their work and saying, “Oh my gosh, you need to call me back.”

What happens? What happens during that time of that day is, that client or that prospect gets busy with their day. They don’t check their voicemail till they’re leaving. But honestly, if you send that voicemail via LinkedIn, the app on your phone, when does people check this? After the kids go to bed, after dinner, on their way home, hopefully they’re not driving. If they have to take a train, that would be great, but that’s the time that they respond to this stuff. So I want you to think of Cadence to make sure there’s a variety in it, as well as making sure there’s different mediums and using it. So I’m not going to lie, David, we’re probably going to do a whole nother podcast on a touch plan strategy because I nerd out on this stuff. But definitely stay tuned for future episodes because we’ll be diving into it. But I would just encourage you to have your think about what’s successful in your industry. It’s going to be different from manufacturing to IT.


I have a couple questions that have come in, but they’ve asked to remain anonymous. This listener says, “You mentioned prospecting list, and it has me thinking, what is the best way to measure my team on their prospect?”

Kortney Harmon:

That’s a great question. So, whenever you think of prospect list, I don’t know about you. A number one is I would encourage you to have a number. There’s not like a magic number out there, but within the offices that I’ve worked with, it could vary from a sales associate has 80 prospects, they have 175 prospects. It all depends on your industry. So I’m not going to give you the magic number. What I want you to think is, have a number. But then you could also think of the whales, almost the untouchable clients in your industry as well. So, you have your normal prospects as well as your whales, the ones that could make a big difference in your industry or your business. But I want you to think of workflows. Where do you want to go with them? How are you tracking?

Again, I’m going to refer to this, but if you have an ATS like ours, you’re not only going to be able to track the workflow of your prospects, but where your calls are going for your MPCs. So we can actually create a workflow, tracking them through the number of attempts, reach outs, if you’ve called them, have they turned into a job order? But I think it comes down to measuring. So we talked about it taking eight to 10 touches pre-COVID, 10 to 12 or 10 to 14 touches post-COVID to get a hold of somebody. But I also want you to remember that 80% of the sales are made between the minimum of fifth and 12 contact. So it goes back to that touch plan strategy, David. Don’t let your teams fall short in their attempts, but make sure you’re tracking that. And I would encourage you, please don’t be tracking it on an Excel sheet because then you’re making your people do dual entry.

Please make sure it’s in your ATS. So whether it’s a workflow, it’s a list, whatever, I don’t necessarily know what ATS you’re using. But that would be something to think of and make sure you’re working through them, whether it’s on a weekly cadence to say, Where are you with these prospects? But we want to make sure, again, those prospects are turning into clients. Those clients are then turning into key accounts for revenue. Katie, I just saw the question, so I’m going to repeat it. Can you please repeat that percentage? 80% of sales are made between the fifth and 12th contact.

Angela, I have a lot more if you want to dive into those. But I encourage you, again, don’t let your teams fall short, have a touch plan strategy. Know where they are, me personally, whenever I was running a desk or when I was coaching people, I wanted them to always understand my first touch was always LinkedIn connection. My second touch was always going to make a comment on their LinkedIn profile on something that they posted for engagement. My third was a phone call. My fourth was an email. My fifth was whether it was a LinkedIn voicemail, but I knew what that strategy was each and every time I called a prospect, so I didn’t have to go like this, where am I? Where should I go?


Alex has asked, “What would you define as a key differentiator when marketing and NPC compared to other organizations that are doing the same?

Kortney Harmon:

I want you to think about, Alex, you can re-ask if I’m not elaborate on this enough. But I want you to go back to that car lot. So what are the types of talent that you are seeing in your industry? It can’t be someone that’s just applying to a job board. Those are nine times out of 10 passive talent. There are the people in the corner office that aren’t applying to jobs, or they’re the people that have made a difference in their sales organization. Or those quantifiable metrics are hands down, a no brainer that whenever I would say those metrics, it would be like, “Oh yeah, I need that.” Or it could be at least the idea to say, “How’d you get that person? I’m not having those people apply.” Because if your clients or your prospects are saying, “I’m not getting those people that apply, I need that type of talent.” They’re going to come to you time and time again. And hopefully you offer different solutions to say, okay, whether it’s contract staffing, or you could provide them the types of options that they need. So they need to go to nobody else.

I think that’s what it really amounts to. I’m referring to more process oriented differentiators versus better candidates. Okay, fair. Whenever I say process driven, it goes back to that touch plan strategy. Alex, I think people need to be using this, whether it’s not just the business phone. Don’t just call the business phone. I love being on the idea of if you’re connected with those prospects, go ask engaging, thought provoking questions on posts that they’ve done on social. Not just the good old pat on the back, “Great post, I loved it.” But go to that post and say, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. What are you doing to currently combat quiet quitting?” I’m just using that because it’s the top of my brain. “What is your organization doing for quiet, quitting? How are you overcoming this obstacle?” But ask a question that shows your knowledge and your insight of this industry to show that you’re worth talking to. You’re welcome, Alex.


Angela has said, When tracking our outreach, is there a better way to do this in freely? Angela, since this is more of a product question, I’m going to go ahead and defer you to customer success and professional services for after unless Kortney-

Kortney Harmon:

No, I want to tell Angela. Angela, when you talk to them, ask about employment search. That’s what I was going to say. Ask about employment search within the product services team because they’re going to be able to help you walk through that process, give you the different workflows, not only for MPCing, but your prospects and clients.


Absolutely. We actually just done that feature last week in our group call, so that’s actually very timely. Good remembering Kortney. David has another question as it relates to the touchpoint plan.

Kortney Harmon:

All right, David’s question. Any views on text messaging when that would be done in the touch plan? I’m not going to lie, texting is a very touchy subject with prospects. I want you to think of that. So, could it be done? Absolutely. I would say depending on your industry, maybe David, start with the texting or the messaging feature in LinkedIn because it will go to most people’s phones and as you talk to hiring authorities, they’re going to have LinkedIn on their phone is my guess. Most people even in manufacturing have LinkedIn on their phone. So it’s going to pop up just like a message. Now, if you’ve already established that and they said to reach out, that’s a different story. But I want you to make it concise. Now, texting is to prompt an action. So the phone is necessarily for persuasion, social is connection, email is information, but text is action.

So if you do use texting in your touch plan strategy, I’m okay with that, but I want you to make it A, later in your process. Also after an email follow up. But also prompt it to say, “I’d love to talk to you about X, Y, Z.” Or if you’re doing it for MPCing, “I have an amazing candidate, I would love to tell you about. 25 years of experience, increase sales by 3 million in six months, when’s the best time for us to chat?” Make it short, sweet, concise, and really prompt the action to say we need to speak.


What is the most common cadence of MPC calling you have seen in office? And do they make calls weekly, biweekly? How often?

Kortney Harmon:

That’s a great question. Honestly, most people put MPC in office when we have time. So it’s that proactive versus reactive. But I want to tell you, if you are not making time for it, it’s probably not happening, especially because you’re not measuring it. You’re not having those conversations weekly so when you go into those one on ones, it’s like, “Okay, my manager’s going to ask me about this.” So what I would encourage and what I have worked with in the past is really the idea of have a daily call block. And now whenever I say call block, it doesn’t have to be a power hour, you don’t have to dedicate a full hour to calling these people, but I do want you to do it daily. So whether you’re working with the same impact player or most placeable candidate you’re working with maybe for the entire week, make calls with that person for the entire week, 30 minute block. An hour block.

So those are really things that I want you to make sure your teams are doing daily versus weekly or biweekly. Because it’s just going to keep your desk balance. And again, it’s going to be the most quickest. Yeah, the most quickest way. That sounds like my kid saying that. The quickest way to money in the next five years, hands down. So make sure you’re dedicating time to it or it’s not going to happen.


Okay, great. Looks like we have maybe one or two more questions. This one comes in from John. I’d like to ask, if this is the same John from two weeks ago, I’m so sorry we can’t put you on stage, but we’ll get it figured out for next time. John says, “Not sure how to phrase my question though. There is a stage in negotiating with new prospective customers and marketing and MPC. I’d love to hear more about those dynamics, especially as the candidates we’re touching are typically VP and above. What methods do you use to determine how to manage these? Is there a contingent rate, flat fee percentage? Who do you tend to negotiate with on needs?

Kortney Harmon:

All right, John, whenever we’re talking about this and we’re saying when we’re working with VPs, like the audience that we’re talking to, is my guess. I’m guessing I’ll wait for you to respond, but that is my guess. And this comes with that preparation. Yes. Okay. That comes with that preparation. So I’m going to tell you, I see this a lot, where we’ll say, Okay, yeah, we’re working with VPs and above, and I’m calling the HR manager to say, “Hey, I have a great person for you.” And honestly, we’re not on the same lens of focus, we’re not speaking the same language. This person is not going to make an impact. So, this is why I encourage your teams to encourage at least one to three connections. No, not hiring managers or not HR managers. Yes, please, no. But really make one to three connections. But this really comes where building and training comes into play.

So is it the CEO that you’re reaching out to? Is it the president of the organization? Is it the person that that would report to, whether it’s operations, whatever that looks like. But most of the time, the lens of the people that we’re talking to is a miss because those sales people were like, “Oh, I’m calling three people in that organization, so let’s just check that off the box.” They look at it as a, to do a task, a black and white. Where we have to really think about the focus of the person that we’re talking to, and they don’t always do that. So think about what’s above the level that we’re talking to. So if we’re talking vp, it would be president, CEO, board leader, something along those lines that it’s going to say, “Okay, I need this person. It’s going to resonate with me.”

So making sure we understand the organizational structure of the industry that we’re working with is crucial, and that also has to amplify to your teams, John. So yes, you know that. I know you’re a smart guy, but it also has to trickle down to your teams. Do your managers know that? Does your sales teams know that? And making sure we’re repeatedly having those conversations because not only are we adding people to our organization due to turnover, due to different opportunities, but we need to make sure we’re sharpening that tool set of our pitches each and every week.


John, has a follow up question. So when CEO board leader says, You’ll have to talk to HR to figure this out, or even how much will this cost? Do you have a scripted-

Kortney Harmon:

I, yeah. I really… Do I have a scripted answer, no, but I can tell you what my answer would be. I would say, I completely understand that I need to talk to HR. They have a part of this process as well. But can you tell me a little bit more about what you’re looking for in this organization or in this role? How will this person be successful? We can talk costs later, but first and foremost, I need to understand your pain point. This is where it comes down to listening more and asking more questions. I can’t give you an answer without understanding your problem more than what I already know today. And honestly, your HR manager, as much as they may be involved in this process, this probably affects you more than anybody. Could you give me 10 minutes of your time so I can better understand how I can make your life easier?

I don’t necessarily know if that answers it, John, but it’s really about understanding and asking questions even though they’re directing you to somebody else, understand, agree to it, ask for the personal introduction to that person. Maybe encourage a call with the three of you, the HR manager, as well as the person that you’re speaking with, depending if they have the time, But I think that would be a good place to start.


Absolutely. I’m going to hop off stage.

Kortney Harmon:

Awesome. Now, in closing, I want you to remember, leaving money on the table starts with you as leaders. Remember, as leaders, we have to have that established process for when your teams are executing, taking that MPC to market. Give coaching, feedback to make each interaction better than the last. And don’t forget to measure what success looks like through those workflows where you’re tracking the outcomes in taking your talent to prospects. Have an expectation of the number of call blocks weekly, the number of calls or presentation or the cadence of those interactions. And have that preferred list of oh crap questions that you’re providing your teams to keep that call alive. Hopefully that document helps you get a baseline or foundational start to your questions that you should be giving to your teams.

Measure your teams on their efforts around the process, and continually have the accountability conversations during your morning meetings, your one-on-ones with your managers, and even your quarterly reviews with your team. Don’t forget to join us in two weeks on October 11th, where we’re going to talk about AI. And truly understand how it’s best suited to help your staffing and recruiting businesses, as well as understand the implications of what’s going to be happening in the future of our industry when it comes to artificial intelligence. I don’t want you to miss out. This is all the rage in our industry because we think that we could be replaced. You very well might be if you don’t tune into next week.

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.

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