The Principles of Great Business Development Calls

  By Jon Bartos  |    Wednesday August 30, 2018

Category: Expert Advice, Motivational, Productivity


Great business development and marketing is the most important aspect of being a big biller. Sure, finding the perfect candidate for an open search assignment is an exciting moment in any recruiter’s day and contributes significantly to the overall success of achieving their goals. More important than fulfillment, however, is the role that business development plays in the process. Effective marketing is the biggest factor in any recruiter’s success. 

There are three key principles to establishing a strong marketing foundation. It all starts with obtaining high quality searches. The better the search you have to recruit on, the more placements you will make. Period. Most of us agree with this concept; however, practicing seems to have become a lost art. Time is money and you want to make sure you are spending your time on searches that will result in placements. Ask yourself about the searches you are currently working on – are you guaranteed a placement if you find the person you are looking for? Resources are too valuable today to be risked on uncertainty. A good search means that “if” you find the right candidate, your client will hire them―no maybes and no excuses. 

The three key business development principles follow. Integrate them into your marketing approach to increase your effectiveness immediately. 


Quality is everything. How do you achieve it? It’s not just about getting Job Orders. It’s about continually improving them so you have great Job Orders. The better the Job Order you are working on, the better chance you will net revenue from your efforts. This is true for Contingency as well as for Retained Search. The best way to increase the quality of your searches is to increase the quantity of Job Orders that you have. Here’s how the principle works: A starving man will eat a moldy loaf of bread. Why? He’s starving; he will eat just about anything. However, the more food he has to eat, the more particular he will become. The principle works the same with recruiters. The more Job Orders you have to work on, the more selective you can be about the ones you will chose to work on. If you have an abundance of only “C” Job Orders, chances are you will not see great results and you will have to start focusing on getting “B” Job Orders to improve your results. This is done by doing more marketing and doing more volume—getting more Job Orders on the go. Once you have upgraded to “B” job orders, you will no longer want to take any more “B” job orders, and will want to start looking for the true “A” Job Orders, or real “Search Assignments.” A critical step in this evaluation process is utilizing the Job Order Matrix, a fantastic tool that will help you to qualify the Job Orders that you get. ( 

Once you focus on quality and have continued to upgrade your Job Orders to “A” Search Assignments, continued marketing will allow you to then focus on the next level, getting money down and retained work. The quantity of Job Orders you achieve (volume) will resolve the quality of the Job Orders.



When recruiters focus on marketing, it’s really exciting to get new business in. Managers like to see an abundance of new LOGOS, increasing the recruiting footprint with more companies in different regions, giving the company larger potential. Yes, we all agree that volume is the key to quality; however, here is where I suggest caution. Diverse marketing efforts could be killing the productivity in your office and costing you thousands in revenue. Most million-dollar producers today don’t have twenty accounts they focus on and do business with. The average number is between three and seven. New business is critically important but we often overlook the easiest and quickest way to achieve more business: developing additional business within existing accounts first. 

Below we will illustrate seven different selling situations in business today. They are listed in descending order from the easiest to get to the hardest, with the percentage of success rate on the right hand side from top to bottom. If obtaining good search assignments is your objective, the place to start is with existing accounts first and with the existing contacts you already have. Work the process by going down the chart to “new” contacts within existing accounts next. After avenues for new contacts are exhausted, go to the next level of business development to “C” level and keep moving down. This will ensure that you are working as efficiently as possible in developing new business and increasing the amount of search assignments on which to work. Once again, by increasing the volume, it will help to solve quality problems by allowing you to continually ‘topgrade’ each search as you get new ones in. The goal is to maintain a solid book of business on which you can continually work to upgrade the quality. 


• Current Industry, Current Account, Current Contact

• Current Industry, Current Account, New Contact

• Current Industry, Current Account, New CEO Contact

• Current Industry, New Account, Known Contact

• Current Industry, New Account, New Contact

• New Industry, New Account, New Contact

• New Industry, New Account, New CEO Contact




In addition to developing volume in marketing to achieve a higher level of quality in search assignments and working the process to market the most effectively, it is equally important for a recruiter to include insight in all marketing efforts. Insight is knowledge of a person, market, company, or anything that adds value to the person you are talking to that is beyond the ordinary. The more insight you can share, the more value you bring to the other party. Combining a strong insight statement with each marketing approach will double your success rate. For example, “Mr. Prospect, did you know that Gartner research stated that in 2018 the mobility software market is poised to explode due to mobile phones having the bandwidth to support mobile applications that only rugged mobile handheld computers could do previously? Are you ready to take advantage of this growth opportunity?” 

The more insight you can offer when making business development calls, the more “value” you bring to your clients and the more effective, impactful, and successful you will be. It’s all about value—and insight immediately gives you that. 

By implementing all three principles in to your marketing plan—1) only working on quality search assignments, 2) start with the easy button of recruiting – existing accounts first to achieve volume and to ensure the ability to create quality, and 3) providing insight to your clients—you will dramatically increase your success.

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