More Misconceptions: Closing The Deal
This has been a very good week. I brought on a new consultant for our Consulting Division; I landed a new client for my coaching practice; I closed a prospective client for our consulting practice; and most importantly, I was able to put a major search assignment back on track. That last accomplishment provides the greatest immediate benefit as it is a new client who I want to nurture.
It should be no surprise that taking on a new client is always a learning experience. As my job is to make the client’s job easier and more effective, learning to adapt to their management style is vital. Some clients are easier to adapt to as they have more experience working with Executive Recruiters. Others, well, not so much. In this case, I am working directly with a C-level Executive, not the VP of Human Resources. He needs to fill a key position which will be a direct report. I am learning to adapt to his management style. This is clearly my responsibility. However, it has been a challenge.
The first step is to pre-close the candidate. In this phase, I work to learn the specifics around the candidate's requirements. I don’t want to be “in the ballpark” when I complete this task, I want to be sliding into home plate. This is an important step that makes the offer and acceptance process smoother and shorter. Well, my new client omitted this step and went directly to the candidate with an offer. That’s fine, he is the client. However, he didn’t copy me on the offer letter, so I was out of the loop. Fortunately, the candidate kept me informed, and we discussed his issues.
Their negotiation was via email, not good. I did not insert myself directly into the discussion, allowing it to play out. Sadly, it became bogged down almost immediately. A few days later I received an email from the client, asking for more candidates. I was dumbfounded. They were not that far apart so I saw no reason why this hire should not close. Immediately, I scheduled a call with the client. When we connected later that afternoon, I asked that he give me his perspective on the impasse. As it turns out it was a policy issue that he could not resolve. I asked that he give me some time to confer with the candidate to understand his perspective. My client agreed, and I placed the call.
When the candidate returned my call, he told me that he was waiting for a response from my client. That explained why the discussion had broken down. Both were anticipating something from the other. I then asked him to explain his needs to close the deal. He told me that he was looking for a little more base salary to compensate for certain benefits that were not as generous as his current situation. From my calculation the difference was less than 4% of the base salary offered; however, my client heard something else. I relayed that information to the client with my recommendations. The good news is that he still wants to hire this candidate and the candidate wants to take this job.
At this time, the deal has not closed, but I am confident it will.
Conducting a negotiation via e-mail alone is problematic. E-mail is very helpful to confirm a discussion, to outline points of agreement and follow up items. It is not as useful as an exclusive means of conversation. Verbal communication is better suited to gain clarification and understanding. In this case, the parties to the discussion were relatively inexperienced and failed to understand the other. This led to the impasse and my need to become involved. This result would not have occurred if they had used an experienced mediator to facilitate the negotiation.
Most clients want me to facilitate the job offer/negotiation process and to help close the transaction. This is an integral part of our work, so we have a lot of experience. This experience leads to a skill-set, i.e., a benefit one receives when they hire a Recruiter. You are well advised to take advantage of these capabilities to help ensure an optimal outcome.
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Jim Weber, President
New Century Dynamics Executive Search
Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal
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6. Outplacement Assignment – Atlanta-based Manufacturer: New