Ask Barb: Working In a Small Town

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Sep 5, 2012

Dear Barb:

How do you differentiate in a small market town? I work in an area where there are less than ten local agencies. It is difficult to say we are not the same as other firms because basically we are the same. How can we address this other than time, money, risk, and top talent? It is a small town with a small pool of candidates. Also, we don’t need any more competition, is there a way to keep other agencies from opening in our area?

Sandra J. – Small City in Canada

Dear Sandra:

The only differentiator is you. It’s the level of commitment you make to provide clients and candidates with results. It is the level of service you deliver. You may have the same candidates – but do you prep them better? Do you understand what will motivate them to make a change? Do your candidates have better retention records?

It is positioning yourself as a Trusted Advisor vs. a Vendor. You need to communicate with clients when you do not have an open order sharing information that your clients will consider valuable. We have programs in the Top Producer Tutor on how to go from being a Vendor to a Trusted Advisor. Go to for a demo.

You can’t keep competitors from moving into your city. You need to position yourself as a consultant and trusted advisor and develop rapport based on trust so they continue to understand the value of utilizing your services vs. current or future competitors.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Would you like to Ask Barb a question? Email her at Each month in The Fordyce Letter print edition, Barbara Bruno answers questions from individuals in the Recruiting Profession. We will bring you some of these Q&A responses from Barb each week on

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