“Is it appropriate to sell during a pandemic?”
Never. Stop. Selling.
Not even during a pandemic.
History shows staffing firms that invest in selling during recessions hasten their recovery.
Amping up sales efforts now – when fewer competitors are selling – positions your firm to take market share in the coming weeks as conditions improve.
But “selling” looks different right now.
Selling during a pandemic is solely about being of service to your clients and prospects.
It’s all about them, not us. And in terms of sales strategy, FREE is resonating more now than ever.
What can you do for your clients and prospects for free?
My car dealership sent me an email offering to change my air filter and disinfect my car FREE. An offer reserved just for their valued customers (that’s me).
Now, is it likely that while I’m there getting my free air filter, they will talk to me about trading my vehicle, or they’ll find something that needs servicing?
Yes, that’s likely.
But that isn’t the point. The point is my car dealer is being of service. And I made an appointment! Who knows, I may end up buying something (just not a new car or I’ll have a divorce!).
Being of service, not selling, is what people need from their suppliers right now.
For staffing firms, being of service means staying in front of clients and prospects with the kind of support only an employment services company can provide.
And ironically, not selling may be the best way to sell.
Those who stay in front of their clients and prospects being of service are finding their business is less negatively impacted. That’s because as their customers release temps and contractors, the staffing firm is offsetting revenue declines by successfully onboarding new accounts while they’re busy being of service.
Our clients are doing creative things to be of service and they’re getting results.
A Selling Branch Manager who implemented our Breaking IN! touch plan is closing two new contracts a week by inviting hiring managers to discuss how to prepare for a staff-up now, while their business is slow. That’s being of service and selling in the process.
One firm partnered with an employment attorney to host a webinar addressing important COVID-related HR questions. 24 hours after invitations went out they had so many registered that they had to expand their webinar capacity. I’m betting their brand will be remembered when it’s time to staff up.
Another client launched a COVID Resource center on their website for their clients’ reference. What a great way to drive employers to your website and create stickiness that has them coming back again and again for updates!
Here are some other ideas for being of service.
- Send out links to latest employment updates from SHRM, your employment attorney, ASA, and the Department of Labor. There is a lot of good information online and most of it is FREE right now.
- Facilitate a webinar on best practices for managing staffing levels during a recession.
- Host a virtual happy hour and invite a local musician to play or sing.
- Invite hiring managers to a virtual roundtable on Zoom and share tips on what employers are doing to keep employees engaged.
- Create a fun email marketing campaign with a theme that leverages what would ordinarily be widely attended sporting events, i.e. Major League Baseball, Derby Day, College World Series.
- Have recruiters focus on having more conversations with potential candidates. Not only will they be of service to candidates who may need help with their resume or a job search, they’ll fill the pipeline to staff employers back up quickly when hiring resumes. And they can generate leads and referrals if they just ASK, so give them a script and track the results.
As I’ve said for years, staffing is a sales business. We know that consistently selling produces above-market results, and no selling can drive us out of business.
So, we never stop selling.
But selling takes many forms, and even during a pandemic we can close new business if we just be of service.