7 Steps To Saying Yes When They Ask “But Can You Deliver?”

Jan 24, 2014

Stairway up - freedigitalIn the press to take advantage of the slowly improving economy, a growing number of recruiting and staffing firms find themselves over-selling and under-delivering. Consequently, clients are receiving inconsistent results and the quality of service standard for our industry is falling.

In response, prospects as well as clients are increasingly asking, “But can you deliver?”

You must carefully consider your response to this question. Companies are frustrated by sophisticated sales presentations that have little real relevance to the actual delivery of services. With minor modifications, they have already heard most of these presentations from your competitors. Therefore, you must ask yourself, “Can we deliver every time, on time, without exception?”

The answer can be “Yes.”

Differentiate Yourself

Regardless of economic conditions, the ultimate competitive quality differentiation should be your process for service delivery. This quality differentiation can be achieved through the proper implementation of the following steps:

1. Understand that the real value of your service is not the providing of qualified employees and temporaries. It is in whether or not these employees and temporaries will have a positive impact on the performance capacity of the client’s organization.

2. Only work with clients who meet your firm’s realistic criteria for accepting business. Properly presented, your criteria for accepting business can be your unique selling position.

3. In addition to what is normally covered, when taking orders/assignments, concentrate on gaining a clear understanding of the performance outcomes the client is seeking (standards of measurement and how they will be communicated), the structure in which the employee will perform (management operating style, peer interface, as well as access to both internal and external resources), and the job related skills and experience required in order to perform at or above the identified standards.

4. Gain commitments from your client to work within the parameters of an adaptive and interactive process for delivering the agreed upon services. This includes recognizing you as an essential participant in the process from beginning to end.


Identifying talent is just the first step. The process is not complete until that talent makes a positive and measurable impact on the performance capacity of your client’s organization. Your process must reflect this reality.

5. Execute a program that results in the recruitment (attracting) of the required employees. Remember, there is no shortage of qualified employees; it just so happens that most of them are currently employed. Whether for direct hire or for temporary positions, in order to achieve consistent results your staff must be trained in the proactive techniques for identifying, approaching and attracting those individuals who are not actively seeking a new employment opportunity.

6. Properly evaluate those who have been recruited against the agreed upon selection criteria. This must include not only the evaluation and verification of appropriate skills, experience and motivations, but also the match between the functional preferences of the potential employee and the management/operating style of the client. In no other area of service delivery is the staffing industry as a whole more lacking than in its ability to consistently and properly conduct behaviorally based evaluation interviews.

7. Give a full commitment and follow-through to the agreed upon process until the client’s needs are met to its satisfaction. This area presents the greatest opportunity for quality differentiation. However, this can only be accomplished if you have successfully completed the steps listed previously.

If you wish to increase both client share and market share, you must have the wherewithal, willingness and courage to raise the performance standard for your organization.

Do not let the “Pac-man” mentality of our industry define the bottom line potential of your firm. Carefully focus your company’s resources only on those opportunities that meet your established criteria for doing business; gain agreement from each client to work within an adaptive and interactive process; and then and only then, give a full commitment to achieving results that meet or exceed your client’s expectations.

By operating in this manner, when the question is asked, “But can you deliver?” you can stand tall, look them straight in the eye, and without hesitation say, “Absolutely, and let me tell you why.”

As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.

Image courtesy of renjith /
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