November 23rd 2004 was the day it all changed, I had gone through a couple of interviews and had met the ‘new team’. This was my first day in my new job and in all honesty...I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, or how fast actually this roller coaster of a career was going to be for me.
I was 27 years old, relatively a late starter into recruitment, I had just bought my first property with my girlfriend, driving around in a brand new Vauxhall Astra SXI. Disposable income was a wonderful thing and my weekends tended to start on a Wednesday! Prior to this I held a couple of sales positions for a large retailer and then a national hotel chain. Yes I had been on all the training sessions on sales processes, negotiation, and how to make a proper hand shake! (Yes, I actually went on a course on how to shake hands professionally!) But in all honesty I never really knew what selling meant!
It wasn’t until I became a recruiter that I actually learnt how to sell, suddenly I was faced with all sorts of objections now that I was in recruitment, I had only really come up against pricing objections in my previous jobs but now I was on the rollercoaster…and had no idea how to handle all these objections; rebates, pricing objections after an offer had been made, clients rejecting a CV because a candidate hadn’t put something of relevance on their CV, and no one even told me about the number of sales calls I would have to make.
All of a sudden I was now the middle man, I was now juggling more balls than I ever had to deal with I had to keep everyone happy. I had to manage 3 people’s diaries and I had to make sure the candidate arrived and performed well enough so I could send the invoice as quickly as possible. I still maintain to this day that the buzz you get from telling a candidate they have been offered a job is an amazing feeling…but don’t get me wrong the calculator is firmly in my grasp working out what fee I have just created.
Anyway, earlier I mentioned about the sales bit…now that bit I still find interesting! I’ve done this for 12 years now, and yes there have been good years, awesome years and like any sales job I have had my challenges along the way, my girlfriend is now my wife, we have 4 amazing kids and the car is now a Citroen Grand Picasso. When I first started in recruitment LinkedIn was only just an embryo, although he was probably applying for his place at university Mark Zuckerberg was only 20 and Twitter was a word only associated with birds! The tools we have now without a shadow of doubt are a huge advantage to us making money in recruitment – 35% of new applicants will approach social media before applying to a job and will use some form of mobile device to search for that new position.
I love my gadgets, I love my iPhone, iPod, iPad and I love waiting for Apple to launch their latest device. As much as this technology makes me shiver with excitement, the biggest device I have and the best bit of technology I use and what I believe is the best tool in the box is my mouth. I control it, it doesn’t need updating, yes it has got me into trouble at times but with all the tools we have I’m still a firm believer in using this method of communication, by far in my opinion it beats all the latest mod cons. My only real concern that as we all move with the times we will soon start to forget about how powerful this sales tool is. Career is totally irrelevant if we lose our personality!
Technology and social media is a wonderful thing, and I thrive on using it but let’s not forget the tools we use to get us to achieve our goals, sometimes the oldest tools are still the best method.
Bob Hoskins once said – ‘It’s good to talk’
When I say I never really knew what selling was, what I actually mean is I never really knew how to use my mouth as a tool, a bit like social media – many of us know what it is but do we know actually how to use it? (And like I have, make money from it!)