Attracting top talent, retaining top talent, and the impact of technology changes at such an accelerated pace are just three of the challenges faced by most talent acquisition professionals in today’s competitive job market. Yet, staffing and recruiting professionals are often regarded as a vendor vs. a consultative workforce/workplace expert.
The need for client-based strategies
It is essential to separate yourself from your competition and elevate your client relationship from vendor to trusted advisor. You can accomplish this by implementing the following four strategies:
#1—Understand the needs of your clients.
You must conduct the most thorough research on your client companies and the individuals you’ve targeted. Websites, social media, trade publications, and recent press and media will elevate the quality of your conversations.
It’s impossible to position your services effectively until you understand the precise recruitment challenges and problems faced by each specific client and their specific industry. Ask more informed questions to uncover priorities. Clients prefer to work with people they enjoy. When you allow clients to talk about themselves and what is important to them, they like you more.
Position yourself as a consultative workforce/workplace expert who can help them anticipate trends, save money, and attract the best talent. Discuss the impact of technology or the aging Baby Boomers on their strategic stages of the hiring process.
When you start providing your clients with valuable information that will impact the future of their firm, they’ll start to share their concerns, problems, and future plans and ask for your advice and assistance to help identify talent needed to achieve their objectives.
#2—Customize your services.
Years ago, the staffing and recruiting took this approach to marketing, “Let me tell you about the services we have to offer.” This is referred to as the WWD (What We Do) approach and is no longer effective.
In today’s competitive marketplace the new approach has become “What Services Do You Need?” Then you customize your services around the needs of your clients. If a need exists that you do not offer, you refer them to someone who can provide the services.
Flexibility is the key to customization of your services. Hiring authorities understand the value of complementing their core employees with a flexible workforce. Most firms realize if they are not hiring some flexible employees, they are overstaffed. If you are not currently providing temporary or contract employees, you could refer your clients to firms who offer these services or add contract staffing services to your model.
#3—Infiltrate their company.
Client development is a process that can take months to develop and years to nurture. Today’s hiring authorities are changing jobs at a faster pace than at any other time in history. After years of developing rapport and trust, you don’t want to lose your client when your contact changes jobs. You don’t want to revert back to the status of vendor after years of positioning yourself as a consultative advisor.
Develop multiple contacts within each client company. Identify the names of every hiring authority who hires the type of candidates you represent. Also identify subsidiary or parent companies of each client. A referral to recruiting solutions in the same company is the best business because of the inferred level of trust.
Your president should know the president of your clients, and your contacts should represent different levels of authority within each client company. The perfect scenario is that the hiring authority who leaves continues to utilize your services at their new company while you maintain doing business with your current client.
#4—Develop a lifelong relationship.
It takes time to develop strong working relationships with your clients. Your goal is to form lifelong friendships and relationships where you become this person’s sounding board. Do your best always to provide them with the top candidate available vs. the best person in your database. Provide your clients with valuable information and insights when you are NOT making money from them.
Attempt to learn something personal about them with every third contact. Clients would rather talk about anything, other than discussing what you have to offer. When they realize you care about them, that they can trust you, and that you deliver what you promise, then they will value you as a trusted adviser and never put you in the same category as a vendor. Implement these four strategies into your recruiting desk as soon as possible. They can help separate you from the competition, improve your relationships, and increase your production.
Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS is a guest writer for the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog. You can hire her for your next conference or event or for in-house training. Barb’s training techniques have guided thousands to a higher level of sales and profits. She is best known for her methodical, easy-to-implement strategies that she shares with her audiences. Her enthusiasm is contagious! If you would like to hire Barb, please call 219.663.9609, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Good as Gold Training online.