I had worked in recruiting for almost 8 years before I transitioned from recruiting to sales in December 2014. I was a high delivery recruiter with tenure at LaSalle, and people told me I’d be great at sales.
Some say the best recruiters are like great salespeople, and in many ways, this is true: both involve cold calls, diligence, good timing, and a little luck. You’re often engaging someone you’ve never spoken to before, trying to offer help and advice. You have to arm yourself with great data, and be quick to respond to their almost guaranteed objection to you calling in the first place.
Recruiting and sales both live and die on metrics: in recruiting you track calls, phone screens, in person interview numbers, submissions to clients, client interviews, etc. In sales, you measure yourself by cold calls, live conversations, meetings set, meetings attended, entertainment, networking events, etc. In this sense, I thought the transition would be fairly smooth, but…
My transition isn’t going as well as I thought it would back in December.
There have been challenges I didn’t anticipate: I stepped into a field where the best salespeople have deep, 10+ year relationships with managers and HR, and my job is to somehow open the door for LaSalle.
The reality is that I was starting from the bottom, despite being at the same company in the same industry. It’s like being a 30-year-old freshman in college.
But my transition has taught me a lot about this company and about pushing through the challenges:
Your teammates care; lean on them
At LaSalle Network, we are in this together. Whether I’m trying to overcome new objections or looking through a contract and I see unfamiliar language… I know that some of my teammates have seen these things! You cannot be afraid to ask a teammate to spend 5 minutes of their time to offer their expertise. Someone “paid it forward” when they were new, and someday you’ll be able to do the same!
Sometimes, just sharing your challenges and frustrations with teammates can help – when teammates you look up to admit they’ve had similar challenges, you remember you’re not alone.
Get excited and share success
You worked hard for your sale, let everyone know! Your coworkers want to celebrate with you, and you could make new connections. LaSalle has an open floor plan, and one of the best things about it is that you never know who knows who. Often you’ll hear someone say, “I just got a meeting with so and so” and someone will shout, “I know someone there, let me know if I can help!”
It happens daily, and I’m very grateful for this part of our culture. It helps volumes!
So much of sales is timing; you can go through days and weeks where you’re just getting stalled. Nothing comes through. The job is defined by “activity over time = generation.” That’s all it is.
So I grind. I’m on the phone all the time, trying to get more meetings. You could have one day where you make 80 calls and no one picks up, and then the next day 6 people pick up and you get meetings. Every day is different, and you just have to keep your own emotions in check and stay positive.
Your activity over time, combined with your resources will build the starting points of your success. It does not guarantee success; people still need to like you in a meeting, our recruiting teams still need to deliver on candidates, etc. But don’t let the grind get you. In time, you’ll reap the reward for your efforts.
Share with your manager
If you’re feeling frustrated, sometimes just talking to your manager can help; they can offer validation that what you’re doing makes sense, or they can offer solutions or new approaches.
No sale is ever easy; talk through challenges with your manager. Trust your instincts, but a manager is there for a reason – they know what’s best for the company.
Remember: It takes time!
People appreciate consistency: it’s all about follow-up, hard work, and diligence. When I call people, I don’t usually hear “Oh geez, another salesperson.” Instead they say “Oh Rob, I know you.”
Our prospects and clients want to know that they will be working with someone who has put in the time themselves and who will be there to support them long-term. Time combined with consistent results will result in relationships and growing your business. The time and diligence is my job as a salesperson, and the consistent results are on me and our recruiting team.
While we don't sell a product, we are selling a brand, and our brand is the best there is in Chicago for staffing and recruitment. It has been so much fun to be a part of our growth since ’08, and to be in a position to ‘sell’ our brand daily. I couldn’t ask for more as a business development manager!