As a recruiter looking to grow your business, you face two main bottlenecks:
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Can you find more businesses to hire you?
Can you find the right candidates for those businesses?
As every recruiter knows, both of these bottlenecks come down to the same thing: relationships.
In order to grow your customer base and candidate database, you need to find more businesses and candidates. Then, you need to build relationships with them so that they know you and trust you.
At a small size, this is a straightforward task, but as you grow, scaling these relationships becomes a challenge. You only have so much time in the day, and the number of relationships that need to be built is often more than you can handle.
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Usually, this problem is solved by growing your team and spreading the relationship-building responsibility among many people. However, many recruiters are also turning these days to another method for building new relationships at a scale that wouldn't be possible on their own: publishing a book.
A book allows you to, in effect, replicate yourself. Once written, the book can be consumed by thousands or millions of people, building trust and connection with them without any additional effort from you.
Of course, a real relationship still takes time, but a book can do the hard work of building loose connections with thousands of readers, thereby opening the door to deeper relationships with your biggest fans.
Here are three of the most common ways successful recruiters use their books:
1. To Generate More Leads
By writing a book that is valuable to your clients, you provide value to thousands of prospects, give them an easy way to talk about you and your work to others, and attract those who are suited to work with you.
The best part? When these prospects find you, they don't see you the same way they see most business owners. You aren't just another recruiter – you're the person who literally wrote the book on the topic!
Eric Herrenkohl did this with his book, How to Hire A-Players. By providing great advice to business owners, Herrenkohl became the source of information for his ideal customers. When these people needed more in-depth help, they went straight to his firm, Herrenkohl Consulting.
2. To Find Potential Candidates
While networking with businesses is difficult, building up a database of candidates can be even harder.
In a world where most recruiters are spending their time on LinkedIn to find the right candidates, imagine the advantage you'd have if you cultivated a database of candidates just waiting for the roles you need to fill?
By writing a book that appeals to the types of candidates you need, you can become a leader in the field. With a strong reputation and following, you will have an accessible pool of candidates to tap into to better serve your clients.
As the author of The End of Jobs, Taylor Pearson did this perfectly. He built up an enormous following of young millennials looking for career opportunities through his book. When Pearson launched Get Apprenticeship, he turned his following into his primary source of candidates.
3. To Improve Sales Conversions
While some recruiters are fortunate enough to have prospective customers meet them and engage them immediately, most have longer sales processes than that. For some, the process involves calls, consultations, and meetings. For others, it involves an automated email sequence. Regardless of what your sales cycle looks like, a book can improve it.
Ultimately, the sales cycle is about building trust with your prospective customer. It's a time to get to know each other and show the prospect that you are the person to trust with the task of finding the right candidate. No piece of media builds this trust better than a book. When a client knows that you wrote the book on the topic, they see you as the expert. You aren't just another recruiter – you are the recruiter.
One of the smartest recruiters I've ever met brought two copies of her book to every client meeting. The presence of a physical book established credibility with her clients and kept her top of mind. She also encouraged prospects to spread her message even further by giving away the second book.
People like to say that a book is the new business card, but that isn't right. Everyone has a business card. You can go to Office Depot and get business cards. You can't go to Office Depot and author a book.
What sets a book apart is that it's a piece of you. You aren't just promoting your company, you're sharing your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas with the world. This can be scary, but it's also the thing that makes books so effective.
In a world where marketers are learning to fake more and more, successful recruiters are focusing on the things that can't be faked. One of the few things that can't be faked is a great idea.
When we encourage authors to think of a book as a marketing tool, that doesn't mean that the book shouldn't be valuable. Just the opposite. To succeed as a marketing tool, your book needs to impress prospective clients, demonstrate your credibility, and compel readers to share it. None of that can happen without a quality product.
Fortunately, if you have great ideas, creating a quality product isn't as difficult as you might think.
Zach Obront is the cofounder of Book In A Box, where he helps busy professionals write and publish their books. He's also the author of The Book In A Box Method, a step-by-step guide to going from idea to published book.