The recruitment industry is an incredibly tough and competitive sector, not only are there so many agencies competing against each other, consultants are also up against employers who do not use agencies, instead advertising directly. To succeed in recruitment consultants will need to excel in sales, be able to successfully promote their services and persuade potential clients to use their services.
Recruitment consultants will often spend large parts of their days on the telephone selling to prospective clients. Many of these prospective clients will have taken several calls from agencies and are likely to think 'not another agency', therefore it is the consultants job to prove they are not just another agency asking if they have any job vacancies. Recruitment has (in most cases) moved on from the old days of picking up a phone book and calling every number, spending valuable time pitching to the one man bands and trying to call companies who have since closed.
A successful recruitment consultant will plan, prepare and conduct research before making each call. They are selling a service and this service will not be the same for every prospect as different companies will have different needs. Before calling a company for the first time, find out about them. This does not have to be extensive research, a quick look through their website and a google search should explain about who they are, what they do, any vacancies they are currently recruiting for, any news stories about the company or their industry. Most decision makers receiving sales calls, whether recruitment or otherwise, will be sick of hearing the same spiel, read from a script which a bored sales person will have said many times to many different people that day, only interested in making money for themselves. By showing an interest and an understanding of the company the decision maker should show more interest in taking the call, especially if the consultant can make the call relevant, for example having experience in recruiting for similar companies and vacancies.
If calling an existing, lapsed client or just someone who has been spoke to before; what was said before? Did they say they could be looking to recruit at this time or did they suggest you keep in touch regularly. Whether the company has been called before or not showing a keen interest in the company, understanding their activities and in forging a working relationship will give the consultant an advantage over their less prepared competitors.
Most people working in recruitment will have been set sales targets including the number of calls to be made per day or week. This is an important key performance indicator and generally recruitment consultants who make more sales calls will gain more vacancies and make more placements, it is not simply a numbers game. Spending some time every morning and before every sales call preparing who to call and what to say will ensure the calls which are made are of a higher quality.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Navin is the owner of engineering recruitment agency RJN Selection, http://rjnselection.co.uk An experienced recruitment consultant, manager and trainer.