THE FIVE RULES OF SUCCESS
TRAINEE CONSULTANT TO TOP BILLER
Written By Stephen Joseph
HARD WORK BEATS TALENT, WHEN TALENT DOESN’T WORK HARD.
Here I am, sat in my office, overlooking the beautiful towers of London, and today I have the task of checking and signing off the commissions from the previous month – a job I always enjoy.
As I’m working my way through the list, I notice that that vast majority of the commissions are being paid to a select few; in some cases the difference is as much as ten times! Now, before we get to the nitty gritty, I would like to confirm that everyone here is on the same structure and starts their own cold desk.
It got me thinking… Why can’t the others do more? Is it skill? Is it effort? Talent? Education? What are the deciding factors between those who win and those who don’t? And, more importantly, what does it take to be a top biller?
RULE 1 - BE THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN THE ROOM
“You might out skill me, but you will never out work me”
I ask my trainee recruiters to think of a major achievement, something they’re proud of, and they ponder... Some have sporting achievements, some academic, some physical, and so on and so forth.
I then ask, how long did it take to get there – and was it easy? Of course, they give the inevitable answer: no.
So why, I ask, do they think that they can succeed in building a desk with only a half-assed effort?
Everybody wants to be a top biller, and everyone wants the big commission cheques; that is, until they see what it takes to get there.
It can be misleading to look at the top billers in your office and judge them based on the outward work ethic you see them demonstrating now. This job changes and evolves as you build your client base but, rest assured, they have at some point done what you’re being asked to do.
I remember reading a quote from Jeff Bezos about the early days of Amazon; he said that they regularly worked 100-hour weeks, just on the basis that they could get two weeks’ worth of work done in one.
So rule one is simple: whist you’re still refining your skills, simply outwork your rivals.
RULE 2 – GO BIG OR GO HOME!
“After all, when did minimum become the standard?”
I am certain that all recruitment companies have KPIs to some degree – even if they claim they don’t, they’ll have standards under a different name. Naturally, there will be a minimum level of X and Y that needs to be done to stay on top of your pipeline and keep the machine moving. So, rule two: double everything. If you set out to achieve double, falling short will likely mean at the very least over achieving the expected minimum, which will in turn increase your pipeline, secure more placements and overall build your confidence and credibility in the process.
RULE 3 – PICK UP THE GOD DAMNED PHONE
“What you lack in skills, make up for in numbers”
As with ‘go big or go home’, the same is applicable for your calls. I’m still a firm believer that the vast majority of business should be done over the phone as a first point of call (excuse the pun). So, if this applies to your sector, you should at the very least be doubling the outbound calls of the current top biller. They are likely to be at least twice as skilled as you; doubling up will be the easiest way to bridge that gap.
It was one of my favourite speakers, Jim Rohn, who said, “What you lack in skill, make up for in numbers,” – and I believe that’s as true to today as it was when he said it first in the 80s.
Rule 3: make those numbers count.
RULE 4 – YOU ARE THE AVERAGE INCOME OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH
“Be careful where you get your advice”
It always fascinates me how trainee recruiters tend to gravitate towards those at the bottom of the leader board. Perhaps they are more relatable, or more giving with their time? But think about that for a minute – how much useful advice can someone at the bottom of the leader board give?
Despite the top billers being less approachable or more busy, it’s important you take appropriate time to learn their ways, for it is their advice, if applied correctly and consistently, that will make the difference.
Rule 4: avoid the watercooler effect. Take as much positive influence as you can from those who are in the position you aspire to.
RULE 5 - DON’T BE AN ASK HOLE
“Ask hole”: In short, it means someone who is always asking, but never doing. I love this term – it only recently joined my vocabulary. The last rule is to apply to the advice you are given at the earliest opportunity. Do it quickly, concisely, and consistently. After all, how long to you think the advice tap will be on if you never apply anything you are told? So, last but not least, rule 5: don’t be an ask hole. Ask for advice and use it.
SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE WHO WIN AND THOSE WHO LOSE IN THE GAME OF RECRUITMENT?
In summary, if I had to choose one characteristic or skill that separates the winners from the losers, it would be attitude. It certainly isn’t the degree you achieved at university, the sales experience you’ve had or the fact that you’re the loudest, most confident person in the room. What matters, at least in my opinion, is that you have the right attitude. So…
Show up on time, looking sharp.
Always be present – not just physically, but mentally too.
Aim to double all relevant KPIs.
Seek advice from your peers and, if possible, sit near them and socialise with them.
Take and apply any advice you are given, immediately and consistently.
And finally, expect to win. Do as much as you can to prepare and then after that, expect it to work out.
You will be surprised how far a good work ethic and a positive attitude will take you.