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June 2017
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Wolves in sheep’s clothing

 

 

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Executive Hire News › Archives › June 2017 › In the spirit of Crosshire : Wolves in sheep’s clothing

In the spirit of Crosshire : ‏Wolves in sheep’s clothing

Rental Rate Roy has to deal with an unwelcome phone call.

I am in the privileged position of having personnel who have been referred to as ‘Gatekeepers’, ‘Rottweilers’ and ‘The Arsenal Back 4’. They protect me from the cold-calling sales people who use ever-greasier tactics to gain access to ply their various trades. Recently, they kept a log of the number and types of callers they had intercepted over the past three months, and it was quite a list: mobile and landline providers, 23; tracking devices, 17; hirers touting for business, 16; leasing and finance, 12; utilities, 9; recruitment agencies, 9; diamond blade suppliers, 7; fuel and oil providers, 6; vehicle and van sales, 2; waste and skip hire, 2. Most of these I refer to as commodities where price is the lowest common denominator.

I am proud to say that few got through. The only ones who succeeded did so either because I’d picked up the call directly, or the tactic was so cunning as to be highly admired. The best was a spiv who had called and said, “Can you put me through to my pal Roysty…. don’t worry, we’re personal friends…,” from which my team assumed that someone who was that familiar must be a close acquaintance. Once through, he started with, “Hello, Roy, how’s your day going?” and not a more professional approach of, “I’m so and so from wherever.” It seems that this is an increasingly common ruse. Suffice to say, the call didn’t last too many nanoseconds before he realised that, while the Arsenal Back 4 may have failed to stop him, the keeper was in fine form by booting him by the crown jewels into the long grass.

However, recently these underhand tactics took a slightly more sinister approach. Our hire manager took a call from a guy calling himself Steve from XYZ Construction, advising that he’d got a local site starting and were we interested in supplying him. Naturally our manager eagerly said yes, upon which Steve asked to speak with our sales executive. Now, by pure fluke, the aforementioned executive had been off-hired by yours truly in January, based on the fact that we’d employed him the year previously as High Priced Talent, only to find out he was just High Priced! Fantastic at selling everything we didn’t have in stock and, on the rare occasion that we did have the requested asset, he’d virtually give it away and throw in the transport. After nine months of endeavouring to make us a registered charity, I advised him there was a disparity in mutual views.

So, not wishing to be indiscreet in revealing these facts to this potential new client, our manager put Steve through to me without telling him my position, but advising me who he was and where he was calling from first. I answered, “Hello Steve, I’m Roy - how can I help?” His response was, “Oh, hello Roy, I’m not actually Steve. I’m Daniel from ABC Recruitment and I wonder if you might be interested in a job working with a National Hire Company?” As you can imagine, I quickly made him aware of my position and the demise of our sales executive, at which point I expected him to terminate the call out of sheer embarrassment. However, unashamedly he continued, proposing to act on my behalf in sourcing a replacement! He subsequently sent an e-mail, which I eventually responded to, advising him that his tactics were despicable, devious, and deceitful, at which point I ran out of insulting adjectives beginning with “D” (well, clean ones anyway).

From a sales perspective there seems very little loyalty in our industry. Recruitment consultants act like hyenas, endeavouring to run up sizeable fees by displacing staff and re-locating them, sometimes even then approaching the company from which they have just plucked their recruit in an attempt to get a double whammy by filling that vacant position, too. I have heard of salaries of as much as £70,000 on a basic bandied around for supposedly ‘good’ people, when all they do is take their existing customer base to the new company at the disadvantage of their previous employer.

Gone are the days of sales people showing loyalty and selling the merits of their company on the levels of service provided or as being geographically suited to a customer’s needs. They are now commodities, who are themselves punting commodities, working for the highest bidder based on moving metal at any cost. This is reflected in the hire rates and transport rates. The demise of Hewden was a sad day for our industry, not least that a highly respected name of long standing had fallen, but also for the fact that commercial logic within the business had long since disintegrated. The commodity dealers had temporarily won the battle, but ultimately lost the war.

As a final comment, my e-mail to the recruitment consultant advised that they were to desist from ever contacting our company again, either in writing or by phone, and failure to adhere to this instruction would result in legal action for harassment. So beware: the next call you receive might well be from a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Rental Rate Roy
     
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