Why you're a bad salesperson (or recruiter)

They all send SPAM

This is the most obvious and I can’t emphasize this enough.  I have never been to a conference or training where the presenter talked about the value of bulk messaging.  Do you know why?  Because it’s awful and incredibly ineffective.   It’s easy to identify and it sends the wrong message.  They usually look like this –
Dear (insert the wrong name here),

I work for this company that you’ve never heard of

It’s glaringly apparent that I know nothing about you or your organization

Send me your availability


Awful Salesperson / Recruiter

Does that ever work?  Has anyone ever really gotten a sale that way?  I guess it’s possible, there’s a sucker born every minute but it will never work with this guy.   I’m also amazed at the number of messages that I receive from recruiters that include a job description.  Not just any job description, but one that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with my background or interests.  All that you’re telling the recipient is that “Hey, I’m lazy and I really don’t give a crap about your company or you as an individual”.  You may think that you are being more efficient or saving time but the reality is that you’re setting yourself up for failure and hurting your brand.  If you’re doing it, stop it.

They approach every conversation with just their goals in mind

Too often I observe people going into conversations with a sole focus on the sale, commission, or placement.  This is a bad behavior and one that you need to do some soul searching to recognize.  When I’m dealing with our vendors, it is my expectation that they are approaching each situation with our company’s best interest in mind.  That is being a true partner.  I would hope that they would never try to sell me something that wouldn’t benefit the organization or push us towards a direction that didn’t make sense for us.  They may lose that particular sale, but you build credibility and trust and as a result, will have greater long-term success.  The same thing happens with candidates.  I know that we all have metrics that we’re trying to achieve.  However, I too often see recruiters trying to jam square pegs into round holes.  It is possible that an opportunity is not the right fit for someone and we need to be cognizant of that.  Again, you may get that particular placement but the long-term ramifications are huge.  If you are a third-party recruiter and you place someone that doesn’t work out then you lose credibility.  If you are an in-house recruiter and you place someone that isn’t a good fit you are harming your organization.  I don’t know about you, but my bonus and 401K are tied to my organization’s performance so there are selfish reasons for me to be concerned about this.  And finally – you’re screwing with one of the most important components of someone’s life.  Think about how much of your sense of purpose, happiness, and ability to provide for your family is associated with your career.  Don’t be a jerk, think about others. 

They don’t follow up  / keep in touch

I think that most people would agree that communication is key to any successful relationship.  Now, we all have known people whose friendship seems to be full of convenient timing.  In other words, you won’t hear from them for a long time and when you do, they need something.  I have had salespeople like this and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  They don’t visit, they don’t check-in, and they don’t try to improve our professional relationship.  However, when it’s time to renew a contract or pitch a new product, they show up with a smile on their face.  Under those circumstances, it’s easy for the customer to make note of the
salespersons self-centered motives.  Again, it sends a very bad message.  We can do the same thing as recruiters.  A pipeline is useless if it’s nothing more than a list of names and numbers.  Take time to build your network, to understand your clients and candidates, and position yourself as a partner.  Relationships can’t be enhanced in the absence of communication.  It can be time consuming but with effective time management and a little commitment, it’s something that can improve your partnerships and business results.

They lack transparency

Similar to communication is transparency.  The thing is that candidates and customers don’t like surprises.  You can avoid this by sharing information and being as honest as possible.  I think that we tend to try and avoid conflict or disappointment by putting spin on a situation that would be better addressed with
forthrightness.   From a customer perspective things like price hikes, changes to the product, or changes in support structure shouldn’t come out of left field.  For candidates, not having proper information around the true specifics of the job or the culture of the team that they would potentially be a part of can be damaging.  The best-case scenario is that a lot of people’s time ends up wasted.  The worst-case scenario results in a bad hire and we all know the effect that can have. 

I could go on and on about this.  I really could.  As I was making notes on this subject it quickly occurred to me that I have a ton of thoughts related to this topic.  I’m sure that many of you do as well.  We have all experienced a bad salesperson or a bad recruiter.  The good news is that there are a lot of good salespeople and phenomenal recruiters in the world.  I interact with people on the positive side of the spectrum every day.  Even more encouraging is that there are a lot of talented folks that do it right and are willing to share what they know.  Take time to seek these people out, take a “partner-like” or consultative approach with the people you interact with, and put a smile on your face and you will be just fine.  


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