Recruiters – Got A ‘Fee Problem?’ Handle The Objection? Or Read This…..

By Andy Preston | Recruitment

Aug 06
Improve Sales Conversions

This was one of the key points in my speech, last time I spoke at the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Many recruiters and recruitment company owners come to me for help, complaining that they can’t get high enough fees or rates, for potential placements they are working on.

Now of course, fees are just one of the objections that I deal with in my Recruitment Sales Training sessions, but they are a major concern, so let’s look at this first!

Those recruiters and recruitment company owners tell me ‘the market has got tougher’. They tell me ‘competitors are desperate to win business’. They tell me ‘clients won’t pay the fees they used to’.

I tell them in return ‘you don’t have a fee problem, you have a differentiation problem’. Let me explain a little more…..

Thinking BusinessmanIn any sales situation, if the buyer can choose from a number of different vendors, and they consider those products or services as ‘the same’, how will they make their decision on who to use?

Quite simply on 2 factors. Relationship, and Price. Which in effect are – the vendor that they know/like/trust the most, and the vendor that will give them the best ‘deal’.

Let Me Give You An Example….

Think for a moment…. If you’re a hiring manager (or in HR), and all the recruitment companies and all their candidates appear very similar, how will you choose who you go with? Probably the agency you know/like/trust the most and the one that gives you the best ‘deal’ on fees or rates!

Therefore the problem occurs earlier in the sales process. And it’s caused by your failure to differentiate! Because if the prospect didn’t see you (or your candidate) as different, it forced them to decide on Relationship and Price as mentioned above!

Are You Falling Into The ‘3 Question Trap?’

Most of the differentiation problems are caused early in the sales process, and often by the recruiter themselves! A typical example of this is when the recruiter falls into what I call the ‘3 Question Trap’.

The Trap is when you ask the same three questions that most of your competitors do. And you probably ask them early in the call (like your competitors do), so the impression on the hiring manager or HR person is ‘ahhh, you guys are all the same!’ – which immediately puts their buying (or non-buying) decision down to Relationship and Price as mentioned above!

That’s YOUR fault, because it’s your behaviour that caused them to think like that!

So what are 3 questions that might mean you’re falling into the 3 Question Trap?

Here are some examples….remorse

‘Have you got any vacancies/are you recruiting at the moment?’
‘When are you next recruiting?’
‘What fees do you pay your current agency?

How many recruiters ask these questions? Most of them! Therefore when you ask them, the impression on the hiring manager or HR person is ‘you guys are all the same!’

This is a common problem, and one of the reasons I wrote my ‘Stand Out Selling’ sales methodology (and adapted a specific version just for recruiters – which I also talked about at the conference), helping you to stand out from your competitors, win more business, and do so at higher fees! That’s something I go into more in my training sessions, but here are a few ideas that will help you for now….

Andy’s 5 Top Tips For Standing Out From Other Recruiters…

So, if you’re going to try and Stand Out from your competition, what sort of things can you do?…..

Andy’s Tip Number 1 – Differentiation Starts From Early In Your Sales Call

Firstly, make sure your calls don’t all sound the same as your competitors do!  That they don’t start in the same way.  That they don’t sound the same (because believe me, most recruiter calls do).  That they don’t give the impression you’re exactly the same as every other recruiter that rings up!  Otherwise you’re going to struggle…..

Andy’s Tip Number 2 – Sell You And Your Company, Not The Candidate!

If you want to win a ‘customer’ rather than a ‘transaction’, stop selling in candidates! You might win this time, but next time the client may well choose a better candidate from your competitor! Not good for building long-term business!

This obviously means making a change if all you’ve been trained to do is ‘market out’ candidates in the past.  But well worth incorporating some Stand Out calls into your prospecting activity!

Andy’s Tip Number 3 – Get To Them BEFORE They Are Ready To Buy!

If you’re really interested in a long-term relationship with that person and their company, start talking to them before they have a vacancy – because at ‘vacancy’ stage they probably have a preferred agency they want to use – and it probably isn’t you!

Andy’s Tip Number 4 – Change Your Questions!

Stop falling into the same 3 Question Trap all your competitors do, and use some better questions on your sales calls!  Come on, you don’t really want people to think you’re the same as all the rest, do you?

Andy’s Tip Number 5 – Start Being More ‘Choosy’ Over Vacancies You ‘Work’

Most recruiters will work any vacancy they come across…. Without any real thought as to their chances of filling it – which means they stop doing new business! Make sure you and your team don’t fall into that trap!


If you want some help yourself, or you want help getting your team to be more ‘Stand Out’ than Standard, and getting past stubborn fee objections (or any other Recruitment Sales Training needs), call +44 (0) 161 401 0142 or contact Andy here……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Follow Me

Andy Preston

Recruitment Sales Speaker & Trainer at Andy Preston
Andy Preston is a top Global Sales Speaker, Master Trainer and Coach, with a specialism in the Recruitment industry.

Named as one of the World's Top Sales Gurus, Andy creates 'Stand Out' Consultants and Salespeople worldwide, with his revolutionary 'Stand Out Selling' Sales System.

With a specialist version for Recruitment, 'Stand Out Selling - For Recruiters' helps consultants stand out from their competition, win more jobs, and do so at higher fees!

Previously a trained Professional Buyer, then the Top Salesperson in the UK, Andy Preston has now trained more than 130,000 Consultants and Salespeople, in more than 40 countries, on 6 continents, since 2004!

Andy is best known for his work in 5 specific areas, within the Recruitment Industry...

1) Prospecting/Cold Calling/Business Development
2) Controlling The Recruitment Sales Process
3) Influencing Clients And Candidates
4) Motivation And Selling Against The Competition
5) Helping Consultants Close More Deals, At Higher Fees!

With more testimonials than any other Sales Expert online (330+ on LinkedIn alone), Andy's work is recognised worldwide.

You can contact Andy here for more information, and how he may be able to help you!

Andy's Recent Accolades.......

* The World's Top Recommended Sales Expert
* Ranked UK's #1 Sales Trainer - LinkedIn
* Top Sales Expert - Geniecast
* Top Sales Influencer - WittyParrott
* Top Sales Experts To Follow On Twitter - Evan Carmichael
* 10 Sales Experts Every Salesperson Should Follow On Twitter - Etail Insights
Follow Me