If you keep your eyes open, there are people all around you in your daily life that can teach you really valuable recruiting techniques.
I was reminded of that on a recent walk through the Water Tower Place mall in downtown Chicago. It’s seven levels of shopping paradise – at least if you ask my wife, my daughter, and my mother-in-law, who were with me in Chicago after visiting my daughter in college.
My 7-year old son knows that the second floor of the mall is home to a Lego store, so we were chasing behind him as he darted into building block heaven. As I looked behind me, I noticed that the rest of my family was now talking to a stylishly dressed cosmetics salesman at the Orogold Cosmetics kiosk.
I wasn’t worried. My wife is a pro at politely listening to salespeople and then walking away. However, as my son sat building a robot at the Lego table inside the story, I peeked out the door and saw that they were all still listening to what the cosmetics salesman had to say. In fact, they looked like they were actually kind of enjoying it. (My daughter Kaley looked downright fascinated!)
Twenty minutes later, I made my way over to seehow the ladies were doing. I walked into the middle of one of the best, most professional, most engaging sales presentations I had ever heard. The sales professional’s name was Nadav, who I later found out was originally from Israel but was now part of a small group of owners who ran four cosmetics kiosks throughout the mall and across the street.
After he had made my wife and her mom an offer on a moisturizer and de-wrinkler they couldn’t refuse, I stuck around to ask him a few questions. I wanted to find out his secret to selling in a highly competitive environment – a mall on the Miracle Mile in the middle of touristy downtown Chicago, where finding bigger, better known cosmetic brands in flashier settings.
I came to find out that Nadav was a highly successful professional, who had studied his market and taken time to develop his technique. His all-time best single sale in the mall was $13,000 to one person, so this guy was a pro.
I asked him to share some of the principles that made him successful. What he told me has direct application to any college coach looking to connect with his or her prospects more effectively, as well as sell them on their program (even if it’s not he biggest brand on the block):
- Earning trust. Nadav tries to earn the trust of each customer before he tries to sell. Without trust, he says, he can’t justify why they should buy his product from him. We’ve talked about earning trust before…how do you earn trust with your recruits, Coach?
- Mastering the approach. Nadav has put a lot of time and attention into how he first establishes contact with a new customer. That sets the tone for the relationship, even if it’s for only a few minutes. If he does that correctly, he says “I have the chance of earning a customer for ten years.” How much time to you put into figuring out what your approach sounds like to your recruits, Coach?
- Compliments. Part of his approach is to compliment his potential customer. It’s such a simple act, but extremely powerful. And yet, many coaches don’t continue to compliment their recruits throughout the process like Nadav does. ”Compliments”, says Nadav, “help make that connection. And everyone that I talk to likes to be complimented.”
- Knowing more about his competition than his own product. “I don’t know if I can tell you everything that’s in our product, but I make sure I know everything that’s in my competitor’s product.” Why? Because he wants to make sure he can outline the differences between Orogold Cosmetics and whatever brand of cosmetics they are currently using. He isn’t focused on “negatively recruiting” his competitor; rather, he wants to be passionate about outlining the differences between his product and others, as well as passionately explaining why his is the better solution. ”From start to finish, I believe in my product and am excited to sell it.” Are you passionately selling your program, and highlighting the differences between you and your competitors in a professional way?
- 10 lines. Nadav has ten memorized, rehearsed, fall-back one-liners and conversation points that he is ready to use with any new customer. If the conversation is lagging, or they seem to be uninterested, Nadav has a stable of tried-and-true lines to get the conversation going, or to make his customer laugh. He’s practiced them, and figured out why they work and when he should use them. It makes him comfortable about approaching any customer in any situation. Do you have a set of conversation points, questions, or one-liners to help connect you with your recruits, Coach?
- It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. In other words, the “feel” of the language you use with your prospect is even more important than the facts you are relaying to them. Why? As we’ve said before, our research clearly shows that today’s teenage prospects are focused more on how you are making them feel, whether they are reading a letter you’ve written or engaging with you through social media. That’s one of the big reasons we focus on the overall tone of the messages and recruiting strategy that we help develop for our clients. The first thing recruits look for is the ability to trust you and connect with you (just like someone trying to figure out which cosmetic product to use).
- Only sell what you think your customer needs. Because he’s talented, Nadav could probably trick a lot of people into buying as much as he could. But he holds to a principle of “only selling my customer what I truly feel they need.” That helps build trust. And, it’s the right thing to do.
- “I love my job because it’s hard”. Nadav works in an extremely competitive market. It’s a $43billion dollar industry comprised with tens of thousands of products being sold by hundreds of different companies. If you’re going to work in cosmetics – or in college coaching – you’d better love your job, because it’s hard and takes place in a competitive environment. Approach your duty as a recruiter with passion, excitement, and an attitude like Nadav. If you do, you’ll probably be successful at what you do.
So if you find ourself walking around the Water Tower Place mall on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, make your way up to the second level and spend some time with Nadav at the Orogold Cosmetics kiosk next to the Lego store. You’ll probably end up buying some expensive cosmetics, and you’ll learn some incredible recruiting techniques that you can use in your future recruiting efforts.