It’s interesting to profile certain types of organizations that we have worked with over the years. Some organizations are clearly transactional, just get the job. They prefer to conduct their own process. They don’t return phone calls or e-mails (promptly) – all they really want is a few resumes. They prefer to to take matters into their own hands and conduct the search their way. Before you know it, a month or so has gone by and NOTHING has been accomplished. And I mean NOTHING! Candidates become confused, nobody knows who’s on first, and the outcome is quite predictable. OK – ugly! They also prefer to act out their own version of Monty Hall when it comes to paying their invoice. They want to play “Let’s Make a Deal” for the services we perform to find the very best talent in the land to help them scale their business at a discount. Sort of like buying a rug at a flea market. What? Are you kidding me?
I have a lot of names for those types of organizations but prefer to use “former customer” as the best way to describe them. Yep. That works for me. When the phone rings and they need help finding people, I have only two words to convey my thoughts. “Not interested.” Nope. Not now. Never. Life is entirely too short. Why should anyone spend time and cycles on bad customers who simply don’t care? Guess what? I don’t – and never will. Time is truly the most precious commodity any of us have. 168 hours or 1,440 minutes each week. That’s it. We are all issued the same amount of time each day and once its used, we never get it back. Never. Why waste it on people who just don’t care? It’s a no-win proposition for everyone involved.
Then, there are clients – like GOLD, a precious commodity. I love my clients! They are perfect. Oh YEAH! They, unlike the former, understand the search business and prefer to follow a defined process to ultimately find people who will make a difference for their organization. They understand that doing a detailed search is much more than sending a resume. Much more. They value your time and return your phone calls and attend scheduled meetings and conference calls. It’s collaborative and yes, it’s a partnership. It’s an unspoken trust that you have and everyone “gets it”. When they call (and they always do) a few months later, we jump at the chance of working with them again. It’s a joy! They pay their invoices on time, refer us to their friends and colleagues and you know they will be a client for life! I certainly do!
I have lots of files in my office for search assignments we’ve completed over the years. I always make sure each file is updated and that we have the most up to date accurate information about our greatest asset. My client files are in my office safe and secure right next to my desk. I know each one of them personally. We talk all of the time. That’s the way real business partners conduct business. By contrast, the “former customer” files are stored somewhere in an unmarked (dusty) box (which actually should be sealed permanently) somewhere in my attic or in our storage facility.
In fact, come to think of it, I’m not sure exactly where that box is… I guess I should find it. Oh well, it really doesn’t matter. Nope. I’m good.
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….