New client acquisition is the lifeblood of any business, but especially so for growing staffing and recruiting companies.
Research has shown that a 10% customer attrition rate is typical for most companies; most of that at no fault of the company. Over a ten year period, a company can stand to lose their entire client base if they choose to do nothing about it.
Considering that new client acquisition is such a critical component to the health of a business, what are some of the things you can do to insure that the pipeline of new clients continues to flow? Generally speaking, every company should utilize a combination of active and passive methods in generating new clients. Passive methods involve things like marketing and advertising that direct traffic to you. Unfortunately, passive efforts take time to generate results so there should always be an active component to your efforts at generating new business. This is where your sales team comes into play.
Here are some of the strategies and tactics that were effective for me in bringing new clients on board for the staffing and recruiting services we offered.
First, you need to be patient.
Taking the long view is critical when it comes to bringing new clients especially in staffing. Hiring managers get calls from account reps all day long so it’s going to take a while to get traction. Typically it took me 6-8 months to bring a client on from first contact. If you have an integrated marketing strategy, you may be able to shorten that time frame up a bit. In order to maximize your chances for success, you need to have a consistent strategy that incorporates both active and passive efforts. Here’s a great place to set up ticklers in your staffing and recruiting software to stay in touch.
Second, don’t be afraid to use “spies.”
Sun Tzu in the Art of War noted that what separated ordinary people from extraordinary people was the ability to cultivate information from their adversaries through the use of spies. Sun Tzu observed that if you were able to gain information about your adversaries’ motives, strategies, and tactics you held an advantage you could exploit. In staffing, your “spies” are the competitions’ working temps and consultants. Build strong relationships with them and they can often give you insights into new initiatives and projects. Being armed with the right candidate at the right time positions you to bring a new client into the fold before your competition is even aware of a role opening up.
Third, be asymmetrical in your approach to cold calling.
Every lesser competitor of yours is trying to work a 9-5 schedule. What you should do is concentrate your call blocks on “off” hours. I had the most success in getting my hiring managers on the phone from 7-8:15 am and after 5:30. If you can discipline yourself to call your key targets during those times, you should have excellent success in moving the ball forward and breaking accounts.
Lastly, take a marketers’ approach to your business.
What this means is that you have to think of multiple ways to get your name in front of a potential customer. You should be managing an active target list of at least 20 accounts and you should be reaching out to them consistently every 2-4 weeks. The all hands on deck approach works well here. Ideally, if you can combine marketing, with your calls, emails, and networking events, you should have a high degree of success.
When it comes to new client acquisition, there is a wealth of information out there on what your approach should be. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works. I consistently used these steps and it helped me bring on 19 clients in 27 months. An effective strategy paired with solid tactics and tools is a winning formula for success.
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