EPISODE 183   |   

July 28, 2023

Mentoring Mavericks: How to Build a Winning Team of Top Billers

Mike Silverstein

“Selling without selling” refers to an approach or technique that focuses on building authentic relationships with potential customers and meeting their needs without resorting to pushy sales tactics. The goal is to create a positive and genuine interaction with prospects, building long-lasting relationships.

This can be easier said than done, that is why our special guest, Mike Silverstein of Direct Recruiters, Inc shares how he applies this to his practice and he has helped developed multi-million dollar billers. 

Mike is the Managing Partner of DRI’s healthcare IT and life sciences practice. In 2014, Mike was inducted into the Pinnacle Society, which is the nation’s premier consortium of top recruiters within the direct placement and search industry. In 2016, Mike was named one of the most influential millennials by Staffing Industry Analysts.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [04:28] How getting fired from his first job led … Mike got into recruitment.
  • [08:16] Building a practice from scratch in the middle of a recession
  • [17:15] Figuratively depositing in the emotional bank account – hear young Mike’s strategy for building relationships with senior executives in transition.
  • [22:30] Mike reveals why you should “Never sell on the first call!”
  • [31:20] Practices on leads tracking and follow-up.
  • [33:19] Why you must hire team members to complement what you’re good at.
  • [38:24] Lessons learned in trying to grow a team.
  • [39:56] The one thing you cannot teach your team members.
  • [43:41] Hiring, mentoring, and developing million dollar billers.

“Never Sell on the First Call!”

Mike revealed the best advice he got when he was just starting as a recruiter. 

He shared, “I learned that if you can resist the urge to sell on the first call … you’re going to land in the friend or, you know, consultant bucket versus the person that five minutes into a call is asking for something. And if you can resist the urge to sell on the first call, you’ll have carte blanche to ask for stuff for the rest of your relationship because you’ve established yourself in the right part of somebody’s brain.”

I believe that this approach has contributed greatly to Mike’s success. Understanding the value of being genuine and authentic allowed him to gain respect from potential clients and other stakeholders. Mike shared how he applied these principles to grow a multi-million dollar practice.

Hiring, Mentoring, and Developing Million Dollar Billers

A fulfilling accomplishment in Mike’s career is how he hired and developed million dollar billers in their firm. Some of the talent he hired as rookies have gone on to become Partners. What are the key factors in build a team of high performers?

Here are some insights that Mike shared:

  1. You cannot teach self-motivation: “I think one of the things I learned is you can’t teach motivation. Like people have to be self-motivated. You can teach the skill, but you can’t teach them motivation.” 
  2. Build Relationships: Mike loves talking to people, whether it be candidates or senior executives, and would happily add value even if he is not pitching any business during the initial interactions. He described it as “depositing into the relationship bank”, which keeps him top-of-mind when there are positions that need to be filled.
  3. Be Top-of-Funnel Driven: “I’ve had to learn the hard way that you can’t be relying on any one customer or any one relationship. And so I am obsessed with top of the funnel,” Mike says. Being consistent in top-of-funnel activities like marketing and business development is key to consistent billing.

Complement Your Strengths with the Right Team Members

Another topic that resonated with me is our discussion on the value of hiring the right team members. A lot of solo recruiters and recruitment entrepreneurs tend to attemp to do everything on their own. But the most successful business owners I know are those who know how to delegate and hire team members that complement their strengths. 

Mike shared how this has been a game-changer for him when he hired an experienced partner to complement his strengths and weaknesses. He said, “And if recruiting is a combination of art and science, I’m the artist and she’s the scientist.”

If you are a solo practitioner, you might be missing out on opportunities by not building a team. If you’re in a boat rowing by yourself,you can only go so fast and so far. But if you have a whole crew who are rowing in the same direction, man, you can really motor!

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Today’s Guest

Mike Silverstein

Mike Silverstein is the Managing Partner of DRI’s Healthcare IT Division and Life Sciences Practice. In 2014, Mike was inducted into The Pinnacle Society, the nation’s premier consortium of top recruiters within the direct placement and search industry. In 2016, Mike was named one of the most “” by Staffing Industry Analysts, the global advisor of staffing and workforce solutions.


Mike founded the Healthcare IT practice in 2008. Under his leadership, the Life Sciences Practice has expanded and the HIT practice area has grown significantly year-over-year. Additionally, in 2011, Mike helped found what is now DRI’s Hospital IT group as a Managing Partner, which is concentrated largely on Hospital IT staffing and consulting. With a focus on recruiting from the Executive Level and C-Suite through individual contributor roles within healthcare software and services organizations nationwide, Mike’s diverse background helps him to identify exceptional individuals from startup companies to Fortune 500 corporations. Mike’s consultative style along with his personable approach enables him to develop trusted relationships with clients and investors in order to deliver high-caliber talent capable of leading companies in competitive and fast-changing business environments. Mike Silverstein is known as one of the top healthcare IT recruiters and life sciences recruiters in the United States.


Mike graduated Cum Laude in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He is a Cleveland sports fan, and enjoys music, socializing with friends, and discussing politics.

About the Host

Mark Whitby

Mark Whitby is one of the world’s leading coaches for the recruitment industry. Since 2001, he has trained over 10,000 recruiters in 34 countries. Mark has helped recruiters to double or triple their billings and owners to increase their team’s sales by 67% in 90 days.

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