How to win in the transfer market


Every time you pick up a trade paper or listen to the industry jungle drums these days, there’s news of yet another industry high flier moving on. It’s beginning to look like the football transfer market. Head-hunters must be raking it in, perhaps not on the scale of football agents but there’s good money being made. But before I look at how to attract the right person into your business let’s analyse what makes someone a valuable commodity.

Sticking with the football theme, most followers of the beautiful game know top managers (Rafa Benitez of Liverpool, for example) buy players who have proven records. The theory of the track record is that if they have done it once they can replicate it elsewhere. This is all part of risk management as not many want to gamble on unknowns, though some will take a chance on potential (a Peter Crouch type). So the experienced person should boost your bottom line.

How can you compete when it comes to capturing the services of the person of your choice? A good starting point is to pre-empt why the chosen one may want to leave their existing position – location, salary, bigger company etc. But one thing you may have overlooked is an equity stake. It doesn’t matter what size your target’s company is, it may not have what they crave – a stake and a say in policy. You could provide the thing they want – an equity stake. But before you offer the crown jewels to a stranger ask yourself some searching questions such as “Can I work with this person?” and “Do I really want to give up total control?”

If you carry out an exercise that shows what financial benefits the candidate might bring to the table you will get an idea of their true value. For example, if the appointment means your company will grow by 100% and gain higher net profits and a bigger share of the market, that would be a result. However, if the same financial forecast shows lower net profits and little or no change in market share, think twice.

To attract the right person, draw up a remit of what you expect from any prospective appointee and match this with who you have in mind. Approach that person direct or through a third party for an informal chat. The chat should be based on a question and answer session that must include the question, “What would you want to join us?” This direct approach is easier than the cat and mouse game that is the norm. Once you know what it will take to land your man, consider whether or not you will get value for money before you make an offer.

Good hunting and I hope you get the person you want.