Having been in the Staffing Industry since 1993, I have weathered a few downturns – 3 to be exact. The 2001 Dot Com Bust. The Great Recession of 2007. And now the Coronavirus Crash.
I’ve learned a few things during and emerging from recessions – both from my own sales experience and from helping clients successfully navigate them.
TRUTHS and TIPS for Winning New Clients
The hardest part of the sales process today is just getting a response.
It takes 8-12 touches just to get a hiring manager’s attention in today’s e-world of information overload.
Hiring managers run from us because they see staffing firms as all the same.
Research from Haley Marketing shows 50% of salespeople stop after the first touch and 89.8% stop after the fourth touch. That means the 10.2% of salespeople who “pleasantly persist” beyond the fourth touch are winning the business.
The only real differentiator your competitor does not have is YOU, so it is YOU that you must leverage.
Those who stay in front of clients and prospects during the recession fare much better than others who let salespeople go and hunker down waiting for things to improve before rehiring. It is those proactive firms that take market share and end up winning in a recession.
You may luck out and get a job order every now and then – but selling to everyone isn’t a strategy and will not make you a top salesperson.
You need a well-researched target account list of the right buyers to campaign. What industries and skills are in highest demand in your market for the foreseeable future? How should your target account list change due to COVID-19 in anticipation of industries in high growth and new types of jobs being created?
The best reason for hiring managers to respond to us is because they have an immediate need and we have candidates. That’s why skill-marketing a candidate (aka MPC marketing) is still the best strategy for getting a job order.
I trained staffing salespeople in consultative selling for many years. Only after many years of buyers giving us a “so what, who cares” look when we told them how great we were did I finally admit that breaking a new account starts with a very simple transaction. There is really nothing consultative about it.
Ask your clients what they most value in working with a staffing partner and you’ll likely here just three things: whether the provider can deliver the right candidate, at the right time, at the right price. Consider this comment from the global head of talent acquisition with a major pharmaceutical company that spends just under $200 million annually in temporary and contract labor.
Our guiding principle is
“securing the right candidate, at the right time
and at the right price.”
Knowing that despite the size of their temporary help spend buyers only care about three things makes your job as a salesperson much easier.
Stop memorizing elevator pitches about why our company culture and our candidates are better than the rest. Everyone says their candidate quality is better, and the hiring manager just wants us to prove it.
Instead, focus your efforts on winning that first job order to prove yourself. Save the consultative selling for later – after some trust has been built.
No one gets snail mail anymore. Try using it as a differentiator. What is old is new again!
Alternate phone / email / LinkedIn and other vehicles of communication in your touch plan strategy.
Use authentic, un-salesy scripts that resonate with the hiring manager you are targeting. What you say in your approach is very, very important, so give some serious thought to your message with each and every touch.
Pass along educational information your prospect cares about. Google is your friend! Be of service.
The phone is not dead. During a phone call breakout in one of my live workshops of 15, all 15 connected with someone by phone. At 2pm on a Friday.
Make at least 9 touches to a hiring manager before sending a “Hail Mary” email. If you want to know what that is, book a virtual coffee meeting with me below and I will be happy to share it.
Powerful openings: “You were referred to me.” “You’re someone we should know.” “We can help you one of two ways (get a new job or fill a position).”
Do not allow someone to ghost you after you’ve had an initial connection and they expressed a desire to work together. Persist until you get a response, even if it is not the one you were looking for.
Finally, follow these five best practices from top-performing staffing salespeople:
- Work smart (time-block your calendar to make sure selling happens).
- Do not try to wing it (have a strategy).
- Stay the course (that is what the touch plan is for).
- Use the phone (especially now, people want to connect).
- Network “strategically” (show up where your buyer is and be of service).