- Too many in the workforce, lawyers included, believe in “The One Call Close” theory.
- If they’re selling something, they believe you should buy it from them right away.
- And if they’re looking for a job, they believe they should be hired right off the bat.
- If neither happens, the seller and job seeker moves on to the next target.
- But it shouldn’t happen that way. Good salespeople know how to be persistent much in the same way strong job seekers are tenacious toward pursuing work.
Summary: If you constantly do this in your legal career you will be successful. Doing so will increase your chances of getting hired and help you develop stronger business relationships.
He wanted me to hire him to train a sales force to do something called “The One Call Close.”
He sat there breathing heavily with a BATH towel in front of him that he was using to wipe sweat off his giant bald head as he spoke.
It was a strange experience. He’d apparently spent an entire week preparing his presentation for me and it contained all sorts of animations and so forth – it was pretty good.
He gave the presentation on an iPad. It looked like an iPhone as it was dwarfed by his giant hand.
I actually felt quite sorry for the guy because he was trying so hard. You have to admire people who are doing their best to succeed and make stuff happen.
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For whatever reason, he was also extremely nervous and fumbled around from slide to slide on his iPad. I could not wait for the presentation to end–I felt so sorry for this guy and knew I could not help him at all.
The reason I could not help him was really pretty simple: I do not believe in the “One Call Close.”
In a “One Call Close” you get people to commit to buy something, hire you and so forth in “one call”. If the person does not purchase right then and there, then you move on and “hunt” for a new prospect.
Many people feel that if someone does not buy something, or get hired immediately–all hope is lost. I see this with salespeople all the time. They call me once about something, I say “No”–and they move on.
Sometimes they call me back once or twice. With rare exceptions, they call me back three or four times. How rare it is, however, that someone ever calls me back more than that.
Most salespeople, job seekers and others only care about the “One Call Close.”
Many job seekers, salespeople and others proceed under the belief that they are approaching a standing army with their marketing efforts. Either the person responds to their email, telephone call, job posting and so forth now – or they move on.
How’s that for persistence?
I run a company called BCG Attorney Search – a legal recruiting firm. I would estimate that more than 50% of all attorneys in the United States have applied to work with this company in the past several years. We work with a lot of attorneys who contact us looking for jobs; however, we also reject a substantial number of attorneys who come to us looking for jobs as well.
When the company cannot work with someone who applies with us, we generally send them a nice email telling them we do not have any openings at the moment, and they are urged to check back with us for any potential openings in the future. These emails come from me. In the nearly 15 years I have sent out these emails (more than 500,000 of them), I would estimate that fewer than 10 people ever called me [on the phone] in response to this email a month or two later.
If these people had called me back in response to the email at a later date the odds are very good that I would have had an opening for several of them. But most people are preaching to standing armies –and do not realize that opportunities are fluid and move at different speeds. Employers have needs for different types of people at different points in time. Everything is fluid.
When I first started recruiting in the late 1990s, corporate attorneys were in incredible demand. The demand was such that someone from a three person law firm making $60,000 a year could get a job paying $150,000 on the opposite side of the country with a 500+ person law firm. They would have all of their moving expenses paid, get signing bonuses and so forth. A lot of these attorneys I placed during that time thought I walked on water – but it was something far different that created this demand.
When the same person got out of law school a few years previously, they were lucky to have gotten a job at all. What changed?
The market changed.
The market is always changing and people have different needs and demands at all points in time. If you apply to a job or try to make a sale at one point in time and do not succeed – the last thing you should do is give up.
Last night I was watching “live” television and was amazed at the number of advertisements there are on live TV. For the past several years I have generally recorded the shows I want to watch and then fast forwarded through the ads.
– I watched an entertaining advertisement for some sort of New Orleans rice with a man in a top hat who plays a trumpet.
– I watched another advertisement for a toenail fungus killer involving a male nude model being embarrassed about his toenail fungus while having his picture painted.
I have no interest in either toenail fungus killer or New Orleans rice; however, I doubt these marketers care. They would not be spending tens of thousands of dollars to run an advertisement on network television unless they got some sort of benefit out of it. Here, they are likely benefiting from (1) making their brand known and (2) appealing to the small set of people in the immediate market for New Orleans rice and toenail fungus killer right then and there.
An important component of getting a job, selling something and so forth is realizing the importance of always communicating with your audience.
Your potential clients are not a standing army either responding to your offer then or not. Instead, your clients are more akin to a “moving parade” – they are all in different places in terms of what they are seeking at all points in time. You want to be there at the point in the parade when they are interested in taking action.
For example, a recruiter may call someone on the phone while they are in the middle of a huge project with a deadline and cannot think about moving firms. They may sound hurried and rude on the phone. None of this means the person is not interested in a new job – but that’s what an average recruiter would think.
The next day, after working three straight days and nights with no help, the person may have missed the deadline and gotten a stern warning about their performance from their boss. They may be really upset about how they were treated. If you were to call them then (or email them then) they might be more likely to respond.
Most people feel they need to do one thing once and if it does not work at first they need to move on. You need to constantly be in touch with people and constantly establish trust.
In order to be as successful as possible in your career, you should be communicating with your target clients and employers at all times. When you are communicating personally you are establishing a relationship with people and doing something most people will not:
- People want to feel important
- People want to be chased
- People want to be cared about
- People want others to be interested in them
It often takes as many as eight or twelve contacts with a person before they even notice you. You can never expect people to open up to you and commit to you 100% after your first contact with them. This sort of thing does happen, of course, but it is rare and not common.
You always want to move people along a slow continuum. Let them see you in the market. Then email them and make contact with them. Then call them and so forth. You need to move people along and constantly be there. Just because they are not interested in using your service right now does not mean they will never be.
You need to constantly be in front of people and make them aware that you are there. Email is a great way of doing this. It is something people always appreciate because it shows you are interested in them and puts you in front of them. Personal meetings are another way of doing this. Phone calls are yet another way of doing this.
Constantly communicate with people. Whether you want them to hire you, buy things from you or simply develop a stronger business relationship with you, communicating is the key to success.
About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter. He is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in job searches and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.
About BCG Attorney Search
BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.
Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts
You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives
Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.