Applicant, “I don't deal with/like headhunters

Again, the grand strategy is to keep the conversation going and get information.  Some good opening questions:

“Did you have a bad experience with one?”  (Don't speak until you get a reply)

“Maybe I'm in the wrong business, could you tell me why?”

“It would be helpful if I knew why, so I don't make the same mistake.”

“Bob, suppose you were the owner of this recruiting firm, and you knew that recruiters had an image problem. What would you do?” (don't speak until you get a reply).  Then say to them that you are doing exactly that, embellishing of course on your response depending on what they describe.  After this initial statement and some words of wisdom from them, you can go back to your selling sequence.

“I think you can agree that there have to be some very good headhunters.  It's just finding them that's the problem, isn't it?  I have found good positions for people who otherwise might have taken something less rewarding.  Don't you agree then, that I could be a good guy and that I might be helpful to you?”

Another good technique;  infer that only experienced professionals use executive recruiters.  Entry level people have no choice but to answer ads in the paper and subject their resume to an endless stream of bureaucratic red tape.  If their resume happens to capture the attention of a personnel agent, it may be forwarded to the hiring authority.  In almost all cases, professionals are represented to other professionals by executive recruiters.