Looking to Close More Business? Try Some BANTER.

By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B

banter – an exchange of light, playful, teasing remarks; good-natured conversation

Well if it were only that simple, we would all be closing more business. I know that I can exchange good natured conversation with the best of them and certainly enjoy supplying one or two teasing remarks.

As you might imagine that is not the banter to which I refer. I am referring to something that is critical to the ultimate success of any one in the business of recruiting and talent acquisition or sales in general. I am referring to something that if used on each and every call will help close more business, make our jobs easier, more enjoyable, less stressful and more rewarding. I am also referring to something that is often ignored or misapplied by even the best recruiters and sales professionals. I am referring to BANTER – Budget, Authority, Need, Time Table, Expertise and Resources.

I know what you are thinking, just what we need another acronym. But this may be (no promises) the last and only one you will ever need to drive your business. Let me explain.

Before deciding to do business with a potential client, all of us attempt to gather information on the opportunity and how our services or products can help solve the potential client’s problems. There are some critical questions that need to be asked as part of the needs analysis and this is where the BANTER starts.

1. Does the company, department, division have the Budget for staffing? Too often this question is never asked. Most of us just assume that since we are talking to someone about filling positions that the budget is there. Too many deals, too much hard work has gone into recruiting efforts that have died because the budget wasn’t there in the first place.
2. Does the person to whom we are speaking have the Authority to hire for this position? Are we speaking to a decision maker? Are there more decision makers in the picture and can we speak with all of them? Again, too many deals, too much hard work has gone into recruiting efforts where the decision maker, the person with the Authority to hire has not been identified.
3. Is there a Need to fill this position? This is probably the one question that all of us in recruiting either ask directly or get the answer by asking “Why is this position open?” Understanding the Need is critical to our search for candidates as well. It becomes part of our sales pitch to potential recruits if used properly. However, no Need no business.
4. Is there a Time Table or an expected start date? Is this time table realistic or wishful thinking? Good recruiters usually have a feel for how much time is required to build a slate of qualified, interested and available candidates that can be presented to a client for interviews. In many recruiting efforts the time to fill a position is more a function of how the client manages the scheduling of interviews, feedback and decision making. Is this something that recruiters can and should control in order to fit the Time Table? Maybe we should.
5. How much Expertise does the company have internally in staffing, recruiting, sourcing, screening, interviewing and selecting great talent? Asking this question even for a direct hire placement provides information about who the competition is. It is also a critical question for those of us offering recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services.
6. Does the company have enough Resources to fill their positions? If the opportunity being discussed is a one off spike in demand for talent are the internal resources capable of handling the demand? Again a more critical question for RPO type firms but still good information to have for all types of recruiting engagements.

If you decide to try some BANTER as suggested remember this. If you don’t get good, realistic answers to any of the first four questions chances are you should not agree to do business with that particular company. No Budget or no Authority or no Need or no Time Table then you should say no deal. It is just not worth your time and effort.

However, if you do decide to take the business anyway, or if your approach is to not use the BANTER approach at all then maybe you should consider the original definition above and use as much good- natured conversation and some light, playful teasing remarks.

I have one about a candidate who goes into his interview carrying a duck. Call me if you want to hear the rest.

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