Five Pitches That Will Never Get You My Business (And One That Will)

Nov 22, 2013
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.

Rejected stamp - freeAs a vice president running a growing manufacturing company, it’s not uncommon to have two or three staffing agencies stop by my office on a daily basis and perhaps one or two annoy the heck out of me by trying to slip in the back door with a cold call or lame generic email. I think our current record in one day is somewhere between six and eight.

Fortunately, I have a wonderfully patient receptionist to smile and take their information, occasionally blocking and tackling for me when I walk through the lobby and one of them is trying to throw cookies, brownies, or, worse, one of their company notepads at me.

After 22+ years in manufacturing, working with dozens of staffing agencies and hiring thousands of temps, I’ve outgrown the cookies wrapped up in a cute smile approach.

While I appreciate the effort, it is certainly not going to score my business.

Here are five common sales fails. You will fail:

1. If you don’t take two minutes to get to know me or my company.

It amazes me when I walk through the lobby and hear a staffing manager talking with my receptionist and asking, “Hey, what do you guys do here?” Really? Seriously? You can’t take two minutes and Google my company?

I’m a health nut. As a general rule I don’t eat cookies. If you’d take two minutes and ask my receptionist you’d know.

2. If you are a one and done.

I’ve been using the same service for two years now, why would I talk to you if you stop by one time and just leave a card? It’s not that I’m playing hard to get, but I have a stack of one and done cards. Why would I call you? Is your business card part of a magic trick? Covered with gold?

3. If you are a flavor of the month.

Sorry folks, but if you just opened your office in my neighborhood, why would I risk my business?

4. If you mention the four hour guarantee.

If you do happen to catch me in the lobby, you bring up the four hour guarantee as a benefit in the first 30 seconds. (Or it’s one of the first bullet points on your marketing material.)

All I hear is you’re lazy and relying on me to screen your people. I don’t want your four hour guarantee; I want a guarantee that you have done your job and screened the people you send me so I know they show up ready to work.

If you fail to show me the money.

If you don’t come across as a strategic cost savings partner, don’t waste my time. End of story.

If you can’t show some initiative and put together a two or three page PowerPoint to get my attention, or great flier explaining in detail how you will save me money, have a nice day.

If you haven’t figured out by now, MY time is money, dazzle me with low turnover rates, free training, safety assessments, team-building exercises, lean manufacturing, etc. Dang! Give me a reason to talk to you.

The majority of the staffing industry I see on a regular basis has the ‘online dating mentality’ of dressing up to look good and head out on the town speed dating. In this day and age, that simply isn’t good enough to score my business.

This week I had a new staffing agency waylay me in the lobby and hand me an amazing PowerPoint presentation explaining how they wanted to be my cost reduction partner. They wowed me with their team building guides and training, their low safety incidents rates. They showed me where I could save up to 30% on my electric bill (over $1,200/month), and to top it off, shared the details of a government program that helps pay for up to 80% of training for my employees.

I looked at the staffing manager and said, “You had me at hello!”

Image courtesy of cooldesign /
This article is part of a series called Tips & Tricks.
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