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over 6 years ago by Daniel Keen

Consultant or Sales Person?


After two client meetings I have become inspired to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to discuss the importance of taking a consultative approach with clients. 

The first of my meetings was with a large company to discuss the impending legislation changes with regards to travel and subsistence. The second, a smaller company wanting to discuss their growth plans. In both cases the meetings were driven by the client, they had come to me for information and advice. 

Neither meeting involved discussing extra staffing requirements, supply chains or preferred supplier lists; in both cases they wanted to get my advice on how they could run their businesses going forward, not to discuss what I could supply. 

In the first meeting, we discussed growth plans for the client. He wanted assurance that what he was doing was correct. We discussed his plans to enter new markets; how economically viable they would be to enter, current market trends; who to be tendering jobs from, and the usefulness of joining industry schemes such as CHAS and Constructionline, resources such as Construction News, ABIs and Glenigans. He also wanted advice on legislation such as worker rights and the Fair Payment Charter. I’d like to think that he left with a better view as to where he will take his business. 

The second meeting was to discuss the forthcoming travel and subsistence change. Despite Meridian having recently held a seminar discussing these changes, I still recommended that the client ensure he got advice elsewhere. 

The response I received reminded me of why taking a consultative approach to my work is important. My client told me that I was his advisor on all such matters and that he trusted what I said and would go with whatever I advised. He reminded me that I was the expert. 

That is when I became inspired to write. 

Too often in recruitment it is easy to become sales people; looking for the next piece of business, the next opportunity to supply. However, we are the experts in our fields, in staffing, within our industries and we have a duty of care to share this knowledge. 

I came out of those meetings with no bookings, no additional margin, nothing to write on my board. However, I did come out a richer consultant, knowing that the advice I gave will help both clients maintain and grow their companies. A good recruiter should not just be selling, focusing on the margin; they should be offering their clients added service. Advice. Consultancy. 

It’s important that recruiters remember to ask themselves ‘”what added value do I give my clients?” 

Are you a consultant or a salesperson?