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Get Better at Cold Calling Employers By Doing These 6 Things

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

For many employment practitioners, making cold calls to employers is often a dreaded chore. However, I've seen many who enjoyed it, because they were good at it and were able to help many of their jobseekers into work.

Below is a list of things top employment consultants do to keep the employer on the phone, and have better conversations.

1. Have an attention grabbing opening line

Your opening needs to be compelling. This is not the time to do a long pitch, but a short what's in it for them opener. The opening line should be no longer than 20 seconds. Why should they listen to you? What can you, your jobseeker or employment service provider do for them? Also, what do you know about them? Have you done your research?

Here is an example:

Intro: “Hi John, this is Jenny Taylor from Hope Employment. The reason for my call is that we specialise in helping construction and design companies like yours with incentives for hiring. I follow you on LinkedIn and saw your recent post about winning the landscape design project with the Sunshine coast council. Congrats!” (No longer than 20 seconds. This is not the time to pitch, but to rather hook the employer in and create intrigue.)

Please note: The above intro example is just one out of a hundred possible scripts. We must always contextualise the script based on who we’re calling, their industry, or the specific job seeker we’re marketing.

2. Gather some insights about the company

As in the example above, your 20-second opening line should also show that you have some insights into who they are as an organisation. Have they been featured in the media? Have you read the CEO’s letter to shareholders? Do you know anything about their industry? Does the person that you’re speaking to post on LinkedIn? Or, perhaps someone that they know has referred you to them? If so, make a reference to those things in your opening line.

3. Make sure that they are speaking more than you are

The most important part of the call is not the pitch, but the questions that you ask. It’s important to transition from your 20 second intro to asking questions quickly. If you stay in your intro for too long, then you’re going to trigger the employer’s fight or flight. This will then make you come across as too pushy. So, it’s critical to shift into asking questions and engaging them in a conversation as soon as possible. Firstly, we must identify if the employer has a need, who they are, how they recruit, what are their recruitment goals, and if relevant, what type of candidate they are looking for.

Here is an example:

Question 1:May I ask John, will you guys be looking to recruit personnel to help assist in this new design project”

Question 2:Okay perfect, and how do you usually do your recruitment”

Question 3:When it comes to hiring for these roles what are the top 3 qualities that you look for in a person?”

Once again, the script needs to be in context to who we’re calling and our specific goal. So the above questions must be changed to suit who we’re speaking with.

4. Sound confident and speak with conviction

When making the call, especially to more senior people, many employment consultants get nervous. Usually this is often obvious in the employment consultant’s tone, speed, and even the use of filler words. Before picking up the phone, it’s vital to prepare yourself mentally. Make a list of reasons why making this call is important and how it will change the jobseeker’s life. Also change the negative story that you’re telling yourself about yourself, jobseekers, and even about Reverse Marketing. But most importantly, work on your physiology. This means everything from the way you breathe, smile, walk and sit. Perhaps do a little powerwalk, or dance before getting on the phone to boost your energy and confidence. And most importantly, take a deep breath in, sit up, pull your shoulders back, and smile and dial.

5. Use trigger events as a point of reference

A trigger event is when there is a change in the company that triggers them to want to make internal improvements. Perhaps they want to make an impact, create a positive change, boost productivity or profits. This could be on an individual, team, operations, or corporate level. Studies show that you’re 5 x more likely to close with trigger events. Some examples of trigger events are things like a new CEO, exec, or as diversity and inclusion manager. Or a large customer announcement, project, tender, new mall, office, building, and even the annual letter to shareholders which exposes the company’s strengths, weaknesses and future business goals. Using these insights in your reverse marketing strategy, will help you make more intelligent calls. Also, you can use the specific trigger event as a reference in your conversation to grab their attention.

6. Warm up the call

It's important to remember that a cold call is just the beginning of the sales process. A cold call should never be a onetime event, but a part of your sales cadence to fill your pipeline with qualified leads and create awareness. It's important to have a follow up strategy and continue to create awareness and nurture the relationship. The warmer the lead is, the easier the follow up call will be. Also, don't just use one communication channel to reach the prospect, but do a combo of phone, voicemail, email, handwritten letters, door knocking and of course LinkedIn. This will increase your probability of reaching the lead, and qualifying them into, or out of your sales pipeline.


Come join our Business Development for Employment Practitioners Workshop to learn how you can gain access to hard to reach recruiters and hiring managers.


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