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  May 26, 2015  

Strategic HR Weekly "Sales" Tip #26

"They just don't understand..."

Last week, an HR consultant responded to the HR Value Wheel I sent out with, "My clients are only interested in 2 things. Get the right people and keep them out of court! Small family owned businesses just don't understand all of the strategies involved."

Let me start out by saying that this consultant did NOT tell me that she wanted or needed more consulting work to do. I think she's totally satisfied with "the market" she's chosen (small family owned businesses) and that she doesn't need any additional work to keep herself busy. So this Tip is not about "her", but it IS about the way she said something that I often hear from HR practitioners and HR consultants who are NOT satisfied with where they're at in their company or with the amount of business they have, respectively.

Let me expand. At one of my HR consulting training sessions I asked the group to write down the top 2 reasons why prospects do NOT use their services. The short list came down to:

They don't want to spend more money
They don't understand what we do
They're lazy
They think they'll lose control
They don't understand the value of what we do
They think status quo is okay

Then we dissected the reasons for not buying a bit. The gist of the conversation went like this...

ME: Let's dig into these reasons a bit.
ME: Why don't they want to spend more money on your services?
HR group: (blank stares)
ME: Really. Why don't they spend the money and move forward?
HR group: They don't see enough value in it.
ME: What value should they see that they don't see?
HR group: Compliance - employment is risky.
ME: Any other value they don't see that they should..................................................................?
HR group: Uh, best practices - like how to write an employment ad better. If they do that, they'll save money by not having to run the ad a 2nd time. And resume reviews - if we do that for them, it'll save them time.
ME: Okay, let's look at that ad issue. Is there any other value to writing a better ad?
HR group: Ummm........................................................
ME: Does it help them attract better employees?
HR group: Yes!
ME: Is that valuable to a business?
HR group: Yes!
ME: How about having you review resumes more effectively? Does that help them attract better employees?
HR group: Yes!
ME: So is Better Talent Attraction one of the values prospects should better understand?
HR group: Yes!
ME: In your sales materials, do you have a sheet to show a prospect ALL you can offer them that will help them Attract Better Talent?
HR group: No. No piece of paper. We usually just talk about Employee Benefits for that issue.
ME: Why don't you talk about Writing Better Employment Ads and having you do Better Resume Reviews?
HR group: Don't know. We never thought about it that way.
ME: Should it be there, if you want to be able to better teach prospects how you can help them Attract Better Talent?
HR group: Yes!

This conversation continued with the HR group, addressing some of the other "no-buy" reasons, and we identified several other big value areas that their services impact that they agreed they were doing a poor job communicating.

What was the purpose of the session? Well the Owner of the HR firm pegged it during a break when he said: "You know when you look at that list of reasons why prospects don't use our services, with very few exceptions, the drill-down on those reasons always come back to US, don't they? And yet when you asked that question, we all blamed the prospect for the reasons. We didn't look at US and take responsibility for our own poor results."

So if your "HR sales" results (either internally to the C-suite, or externally to prospective clients) aren't quite where you'd like them to be, take a few steps away from the process and look at all the pieces and challenges objectively. And when you write down your "no-buy" reasons, make sure each phrase /reason starts with "I" or "We" and NOT "They".

Once you take 100% ownership of the problem, then your solution development can truly begin.


Rob Blunt       View our profile on LinkedIn
President, 4-Profit-HR

phone: 866-868-5885