How to Grow Your Staffing Agency and Stand Out From Competitors

December 26, 2017

In order to grow your business, there is one this that every talent professional must embrace: recruiting is a sales profession. After spending years in this industry, this is one thing I know for sure, although it took me a little while to learn.

I entered this profession because I loved people and wanted to make a difference. However, at the beginning my approach was more customer service or social worker and I was not successful. The people I initially loved frustrated me when they changed their minds or priorities. I even began to question if I could succeed as a recruiter.

But, not wanting to “throw in the towel,” I enrolled in sales and negotiation training, which changed everything. After the training, I created a repeatable sales process and have now placed over 10,000 people in jobs throughout my career. I’ve also interviewed, hired, supervised and trained thousands of recruiters worldwide.

Why recruiters need a sales mindset

Potential recruiters often say to me that they want to become a recruiter because they love people. I explain the challenge of having people on both sides of our process -- if they don’t have sales experience or want to sell, we discuss other careers they might find more fulfilling.

Recruiters have to be tenacious because they hear the word “no” much more than “yes” and rejection and objections are part of their daily routine. Not to mention the gut wrenching problem areas of the job including: counter-offers accepted, no-starts, offer turndowns and no shows. These situations could wipe out someone who doesn’t have the resilience it takes to be in sales.

However, in order to grow your staffing agency as a whole, a sales mindset isn’t enough -- you need a repeatable sales process that will it is easier to close more business and consistently attain higher levels of production and success.

How to develop a repeatable sales process to bring in more clients and candidates

If each one of you has your own approach to selling your company’s products and services, replicating success and scaling your company will be difficult. It would also be difficult for you to identify the “repeatable sales process” you utilize when you successfully close business.

All members of your recruiting team should follow a proven, predictable sales process with allowances for individual personalities and selling styles. This will make it is easier to close more business and consistently attain higher levels of production and success.  

Before you can establish a repeatable sales process, you need to complete these four fundamentals:

1. Identify your best business

Review your most profitable clients over the past two years to identify your best business by determining the following:

  • Size of the company/entity
  • Geographic location
  • Industry
  • Buyer demographics: title, age, gender, educational level
  • Products and services purchased
  • Common denominators
  • Price and profits
  • Accounts receivable aging

This business represents the business that is filled -- it is what you do and it does not represent purple squirrels or mission impossible. Once you identify your best business you want 85% of your marketing efforts to target that exact business. This enables your recruiting team to focus 85% of their recruiting efforts at that best business which allows them to pipeline talent in advance of needs.

This type of focus will enable you to fill a much higher percentage of business that is written and provide your clients with improved results, which will generate more business and leads.

2. Identify additional ideal clients

Once you have identified your ideal clients, you must consistently identify more client leads with a similar profile. Your next great client should mirror your current great clients. This can be achieved by the following:

  1. Develop a client referral program for existing clients, goal 50%
  2. Define sources for gathering leads needed each month to exceed sales goals
  • Leads generated through marketing efforts
  • Networking - personal and professional
  • Leads provided by your recruiting team
  • Leads and inside information provided by candidates interviewed
  • Hot companies – identified by interviewed candidates
  • Social media
  • Websites
  • Trade shows

3.  Identify provable benefits

Ideal clients must be shown provable benefits and results provided to past and current clients. To do this, you must:

Obtain and share testimonials and feature them on your:

  • Website
  • Under email signature line
  • Marketing materials
  • Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile
  • Document client results
  • Compile case studies to prove benefits delivered

4. Know your stats and individual ratios

Sales is a numbers profession and numbers take the emotion out of developing an effective repeatable sales process. Document the sales process you have in place today and track results-oriented activity.

  • How many contacts result in a verbal presentation?
  • How many contacts result in a meeting?
  • How many presentations or meetings result in an order, contract or assignment?
  • What is your closing ratio?

What you don’t measure doesn’t count. To consistently improve your performance, document everything as you:

  • Test one strategy against another
  • Test the results of one script against another
  • Test one approach against another
  • Test the use of one provable benefit you mentioned on our call versus another
  • Identify triggers that result in sales

With these fundamentals and test results in hand, you can now create your sales playbook, a proven step-by-step process you can implement to most efficiently locate, qualify and ultimately sell the value of what you provide in a systematic way with a predictable outcome.

And last but not least, here’s what you should do to differentiate from your competitors

  1. Send written expectations to prospects and clients (i.e. what you can expect from me and what I need from you to attract the talent you will hire and retain).
  2. Start out the conversation with “Has anything changed since the last time we talked?”
  3. Use percentages when taking orders, contracts or assignments to really understand the position
  4. Ask for a specific target date to fill the position
  5. Request three interview times when you write an order, contract or assignment
  6. Identify what problem exists as a result of the vacant position
  7. Send a copy of your requisition to everyone involved in the hiring process
  8. Share testimonials
  9. Learn to effectively overcome all objections
  10. Advance your relationship from vendor to trusted advisor, consultant and friend
  11. Don’t only talk to your clients when you are making money from them
  12. Be at your best when problems occur

Implement these fundamentals and tips and you will develop a repeatable process that lands the clients you deserve to represent.

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo

To receive blog posts like this one straight in your inbox, subscribe to the blog newsletter.