There are many challenges that recruiters deal with on a daily basis… A shortage of qualified talent and closing candidates with multiple offers. However acquiring new clients, and creating a healthy relationship with the hiring manager is where it all begins.
On this week’s show, I interview the principal of Sydney, Australia based, Infinite Talent Group, Bijan Yusufzai. Bijan will discuss how he leverages a relationship marketing strategy, and how it helps him stand out in this highly competitive industry of talent acquisition.
Kody Bateman: Welcome to our latest version of the Relationship Marketing Weekly Show. This is another one of our international shows because we have a guest all the way across the Pacific pond, over there in this place called Australia, coming all the way from Sydney, Australia. A very dear friend of mine, Mr. Bijan Yusufzai. Sorry, but – Bijan Yusufzai out of Sydney, Australia. Bijan, welcome to the show today.
Bijan Yusufzai: Thank you, Kody and thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be here and thanks for the invite. I’m really excited to share my story with you and to the rest of the world. Obviously how I share SendOutCards and utilize and enhance SendOutCards tools in my business. So thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
Kody: Absolutely. In fact, a very unique business that you run. By the way, say hi to Liza for me. This is Bijan and his wife Liza , our relationship marketing specialists in Sydney, Australia. Bijan also is an owner of a company called the Infinite Talent Group. So you’re basically a head hunter. You go out and you find technology talent for big technology companies and again, the name of your company is Infinite Talent Group. So we’ve never interviewed somebody from your space before. So this is going to be really, really good.
Very competitive field that you’re in. I mean this is huge. Obviously we live in a technology world. There’s a ton of technology talent out there. Tell us a little bit about what you do and why it’s so competitive.
Bijan: Yeah. Well, in the technology space, there is a high demand, especially here in Australia and I’m sure around the world, for very specialist IT consultants, particularly in areas that I deal with, which is mainly ERP systems, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle. It’s a highly, highly competitive industry as you see, absolutely. We have not only shortage of skillset, but we have a lot of recruitment companies in our space, particularly in the IT space that are – everyone is after the same particular sort of skillset.
So it makes it very challenging to find talent and our job is to make sure we have a good network within our database, within our reach, that we can easily tap into and provide that skillset to our clients on a demand sort of basis.
This all varies from a contract to permanent placements. But nonetheless, you’re absolutely right. It’s definitely a highly, highly competitive industry and we always have – need to be very on top of our candidates and consultants in the industry to know where they are and what sort of technologies they’re working on. So it is – yeah.
Kody: So you need to create relationship on two fronts. I mean obviously you need to create relationship with those you’re recruiting and create relationship with those that you’re recruiting for. So you have a company that hires you to go find talent for them and you want to create relationship with a lot of those companies because you want them to call you when they need to go find the talent and obviously there’s a lot of people that you could call.
In addition, the people that you do go out and find, you know, create relationship with them as well. So relationship is key. It’s a very, very important thing, especially in a competitive environment like yours.
So tell us a little bit about some of the things that you do. You utilize a system called SendOutCards. It’s one of the best relationship marketing programs out there today. What are some of the things that you do to create relationship? Let’s say with the companies that are trying to recruit people. Why will they call you? What kind of things do you do that makes you top of mind when they go to find talent?
Bijan: Absolutely. That’s a great, great question. This is I think one of the key things in our industry is relationship. Because when they meet someone, particularly the client that needs IT specialists, having hundreds of other recruitment companies that might be doing similar things in our space, how are they going to choose someone like me versus another 50 that they know or 10 or whatever that they have on the panel?
The key to that absolutely is relationship, how you build the relationship. One of the key things are – obviously I’ve learned and everybody knows about is people like to deal with people that they like and trust and they have always good relationship with.
So one of the key things that I build relationships is definitely I always keep in touch with them and my philosophy is that I work uniquely with people, that I get to know them on a professional level, but mainly also on a personal level.
It does take a bit of time, which always is the key to understand the client and SendOutCards has been a very, very effective relationship marketing tool in my space and I actually have made a habit of whoever that I speak with and the clients that I’ve been dealing with in the last few years, I always have a campaign that I send cards, Christmas cards. One of the campaigns is Christmas cards, thank-you cards and opportunity. When they gave me opportunity, I send them card and brownies or a small little gift to appreciate that you are giving me the opportunity.
This is one of the keys differentiating with my clients that I just stand out from that perspective and they understand – they know me really well and when their needs arise, I’m always on top of their mind and I’ve got some really amazing stories to share obviously later on to sort of give you an example of how this has been a help for me.
Kody: OK. So you’ve been doing this since 2012. So you’ve got a system where you stay in touch. Key points, you know, always a thank-you, always during the holiday season, always, “Thank you for referring whatever.”
So you’ve been doing that what? About five years. So do you get a lot of referral business? I mean how has that affected the referral business that comes in? Now, I mean referrals are king in a competitive environment.
Bijan: Absolutely. So here’s a great story about the referral business in my industry. Some of the specialist consultants that I deal with in the IT space, majority of them are doing contract work. So they will go in and out of contracts from project to project.
Now some of these guys are fairly senior, very specialist. So I keep in touch with the majority of these contracts throughout the last five or six years.
I get to know them on a personal level. I do know their kids, where they live, where they work, what they celebrate and I make sure to put that in a campaign, in the SendOutCards campaign.
So they get cards from me, about four to five kind of touch points a year, with brownies and then if I’ve got – someone’s kid’s birthday is coming up, I send a birthday card to the kids. So what that does is a – even when they go and work for a project, they start – even if it’s not through me, but they usually call me to let me know that look, I’m about to start this project. I’m going to talk to our senior directors or the IT managers, that we’re going to need more people and I need you to supply us with more consultants.
That’s really amazing because of that sort of a competitive industry, that it does come back in terms of referral business, from that perspective.
Kody: One of the things you mentioned, which I think is really important on this show, because a lot of people are really getting down now the importance of a thank-you card. I mean like it’s pretty common. I’ve often taught that the most effective touch point is the thank-you card. If you’re going to master one thing, make sure you master that.
You though have mentioned that you make sure that you hit – that there’s four to five touch points a year, which is the second point that I try to teach clients and customers all over the world how important it is to have multiple touch points. Not just one, not just a thank-you, but multiple touch points throughout the year. So that you can stay top of mind.
Obviously you do that. So what’s the difference between four to five touch points a year? What we mean by touch point is a physical, tangible card, sometimes maybe a gift with the card. It goes out four to five times a year. In your perspective, how significantly better – or is it significantly better to have those mobile touch points versus just a thank-you card once a year?
Bijan: Oh, definitely. It’s a very significant difference. Being in touch five different ways or in five different times and that’s throughout the year, it just creates a lot more better relationship because every – whatever that period is, they would still have that sort of a mindset that they know that I’m sending a card to them and they will always remember me as opposed to just one thank-you card.
One thank-you card may kind of stay with them for a while. But because of it being such a busy environment – and again, there’s a lot of other recruiters out there that – keeping in touch with them but that differentiates me where if I’ve got these five touch points that I keep sending cards and gifts, it’s something that they will always remember. They won’t forget that because that’s something – it’s more tangible like you said.
They would have a card. They would be sitting on their desk at work or they have a card. They’re sitting at home. That kind of reminds them of me throughout the year. So it’s a huge differentiating factor, definitely.
Kody: Well, yeah, and we appreciate you sharing that because one of the things that we emphasize – we got a big event that’s coming up in Salt Lake City next week. We’re going to have relationship marketing specialists in from all over the world. One of the key things we’re going to be emphasizing is that practice, the importance of the multiple touch campaign, just how significant that is versus just one touch point here or one touch point there.
We’re introducing a lot of really cool multiple touch type of products that’s going to help businesses. So I think it’s really cool that you mentioned that.
Now you have a really cool story I would love you to share. This might be a great way for us to wrap up the show. You tell the story about – you call it the $250,000 card story. Love this story. So if you could share that with us to close this up, that would be great.
Bijan: Absolutely. Every time I actually remember – I mentioned this story. It’s just a great joy to share that story because it is really amazing how that turned out without me even focusing on that this is going to translate into a $250,000 deal.
So I’ve had a client that I was after for a while and this lady is a senior project director of this particular organization, who was running a project, an IT project and I happen to know a few people that worked on that project before from different – various different organizations and I knew that I could help her supply with the specialist.
The challenge part was that she was a very busy woman and I know that there were a whole bunch of other recruiters in the industry who was also after her for this particular project, so they can supply. Every time I try to approach her by email or phone call, I had a gatekeeper, her personal assistant that would sort of say, “I’m sorry. She’s not available. She’s in a meeting. Call another time,” and this went on for a good eight to nine months, almost close to about a year.
So I never really gave up. Every few weeks or a couple of months, I would call again and tried to see if I can get in touch with this lady and in one time I called, her personal assistant said, “Sorry. She’s actually not in the office. She had to leave because her mom passed away. She’s in a different state. She will be back in about two weeks’ time. Try again.”
So at that time, I – obviously I hung up and I felt bad that at this time obviously, her mom passed away. So I will try again in the next two weeks. But as soon as I hung up the phone, it kind of came to me to just send her a condolences card. So I hopped on the online SendOutCards and created this card that said, “Sorry for your loss. Hoping that you and your family are doing well. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.”
So it’s kind of a really simple card. But just whatever came, I wrote it, sent it off to her and then I forgot about it. In about two weeks’ time, I had a call and so I answered the call. It was – she called me, the director to say, “Look, I just wanted to call you and say thank you for the card. It really touched my heart. It was something that I came back – obviously with the loss of my mom,” and she was a bit upset about it, but came back at her office. There was only one card and the card was sitting on her desk.
She opened it and it really touched her heart and she was – so she was really appreciative and then immediately she said, “Well, look, what do you do? How can I help?”
I said, well – and I explained to her. I said, “Well, here’s what I wanted to also speak to you about because in the last few months, I’ve been trying to reach out to you. I’ve got this amazing consultant that can help you out with the project.”
So she was really happy about it and said, “Well, look, how can we – if you’re not in my panel of approved vendors,” which I wasn’t. I said, “Well, when can we meet?” “Can you meet me next week?” I said, “Well, absolutely.”
She’s in a different state from me. I said, “Well, look, can I come and meet you on Wednesday at this time?” She said, “Yeah, absolutely.” So she gave me a time to meet with her. I quickly booked my ticket and flew to meet with her. We met and she’s a really busy woman. We ended up sitting, actually chatting in a café for about 2.5 hours.
Bijan: And then it was so amazing for me that she actually talked less about work, but talked more about her family. How many kids does she have? Where does she live? What happened? So it’s just an amazing conversation and connection that we’ve had for that 2.5 hours and immediately after that, we finished the meeting. She said, “Look, I’m going to call the procurement manager. I want to make sure that you are on our panel and we’re going to start working together.”
So I came back and that really translated into $250,000 for that particular project, which is still ongoing by the way. I’m still having a very good relationship with her.
Kody: You know, I will tell you what’s amazing about that story is that because you sent a heartfelt card to her, it initiated, like you said, a connection. You flew to meet with her. You meet at a coffee shop. Two and a half hours of basically talking about life, not really about business.
That’s the power of this relationship system that you use. That is the power that – there’s not a two-hour – I don’t care how good of a sales guy you are. There’s not a two-hour presentation you can give anywhere on the planet to anybody that’s going to have the effect that that conversation had, that you had with this lady.
Making a connection on a personal level. After all, isn’t that what life is? I mean we all get so caught up in business all the time that we forget the fact that people – businesses are run by people. I’m a person. You’re a person. She’s a person and we’re individuals and we have goals and desires and families and things that affect us every day.
If you can spend two hours at a coffee shop making personal connection with somebody that you may possibly do business with, how powerful is that? So I just love that story for so many other – so many reasons. The other thing that I notice about the story is you’ve been reaching out to her. Prior to all this happening, you’ve been reaching out to her over and over up to a year.
You said up to a year, you’ve been trying to reach her, telling her who you are, what you do. You finally send this card. You know, a condolence card and when you finally talk to each other, what’s interesting, she still didn’t know what you did. She didn’t even know what you did, you know.
Bijan: Yeah, absolutely not. Yeah, it’s amazing because she didn’t know who I was.
Bijan: And just really taken by – who is this person? Why am I receiving this card? And that was truly something that I – it really blew my mind away too. I don’t know how this happened, but obviously it’s the power of what you can do tangible. Just sending a heartfelt card to someone like that.
Kody: Absolutely. Well, there you have it everybody. Infinite Talent Group out of Sydney, Australia. My good friend Bijan Yusufzai. We appreciate you being on the show with us. We’re going to see your wife Liza [Phonetic] in Salt Lake City a week from now. You’re going to sit home, take care of the family, which is a great thing. Say hi to those two beautiful girls of yours for me as well.
Bijan: I will. Thank you. Thanks Kody. Thanks for appreciating. Thanks for what you do and this is really amazing. It’s really an honor to be a part of the whole SendOutCards community and family. Look, it’s just an amazing tool. I absolutely love it. I use it on a daily – there’s not enough time to be honest. There’s not enough time for me to sit and send all these cards because I talk to a lot of people and I would have loved to – actually as a matter of fact, I’m thinking of getting someone, an admin person, that completely, fully dedicate their time to utilize more of sending cards to whoever that I speak with every day because it’s just – one thing is that it’s a relationship-based business for whatever we do.
Bijan: So that’s always going to differentiate me and build it – like really long-lasting relationship with the people around you.
Kody: Well, thank you Bijan. I appreciate you and hope to see you soon when we’re in our travels. So take care everybody. We will see you next week on another version of Relationship Marketing Weekly. Take care now.