1.) Defuse the sales pressure.
You must defuse the pressure inherent in the sales process by acting like a consultant rather than a salesperson. If your marketing objective is to find clients for whom you can truly provide value, then your prospect will sense this, and tend to be more open to what you have to say. The key is to let them know early on you are someone who does business differently than many of the recruiters they may have dealt with in the past.
On the first phone call you could say something like this:
Before I describe my service to you I’d like to let you know that we don’t operate like a typical sales-driven firm. We don’t pressure people and we don’t chase people. Frankly, I’m not sure if we’re the best firm to help you, but if you could grant me two minutes, I think we could figure that out quickly.
2.) Send a powerful letter to hiring authorities.
This allows you to make a two-part introduction. You may want to read the book Selling to VITO (the Very Important Top Officer), which outlines a method for sending a letter and following up with a phone call. Be sure to send the letter in an intriguing way to ensure it gets opened. Hand address the envelope. It should be thin on bragging about your firm and thick with specific information on how you can help them to save time and money.
3.) Provide value-added services for free.
This is a great way to add value and build rapport. Conduct salary comparisons for a company’s staff. Offer to keep a hiring manager aware of trends in the marketplace. Regularly send relevant articles. Offer to be their insider confidant; their eyes and ears in the marketplace. Here’s a low-key script that will help set you apart, and which you might also use to generate a dialogue with dormant clients:
I’m not calling to do business with you now as my guess is that you don’t need outside help with hiring at the moment. I’m calling to make you aware of some complimentary services that we offer and to learn more about your business goals to see if there may be an opportunity for our firms to work together in the future.
4.) Conduct excellent reference checks.
If you’re struggling with securing new assignments then start doing references on candidates who have worked with the companies you want to do business with. To attract new clients this way you must take them through a process that “wows” them and makes them think. I know of a firm that uses a 68-question reference form and uses this as a primary marketing tool.
5.) Try a new script.
A method that I picked up from Danny Cahill is to call a hiring authority and offer to provide either recruiting services for him as a client or to help him as a candidate. After your introduction you would say something like this:
I’d like to support your career in one of two ways:
- When the time is right I can help you to find a stronger position for yourself, or
- I can help you to recruit talented people for your group. My goal is to understand your needs and help if I can.
6.) Referral based marketing.
Make this your primary marketing goal. Surprise and delight your clients with great service so that they want to refer you to their peers. Have a referral reward for candidates who tip you off on job openings. Get referrals from clients after you fill a search. Who are their peers? Who do they know in the industry?
7.) Follow Up magnificently.
Keep in mind that it takes seven exposures on average for someone to purchase a new service. Look at follow-up as being more important than initial contacts. Have a plan to execute seven points of contact with each potential client worth pursuing. Use both direct and indirect methods of contact.
8.) Use email as a form of marketing follow-up.
I hope all is well with you. We haven’t spoken in a bit and I wanted to follow up to see how things have progressed in your department since we last talked. I was wondering what you saw on the horizon in terms of adding new staff this year. Let me know if there is there anything that I may be able to help you with.
Even if you are not hiring for a while, feel free to call if you need to keep a pulse on what the market looks like for certain skill sets or if you would like us to research salary comparisons for your current staff.
9.) Get written letters of recommendation.
Get written letters of recommendation from as many clients and candidates as possible. Try to get these on their company’s letterhead. Shoot for one per week and after a year you will have over 50 powerful letters. These letters can become a powerful marketing tool if you use them properly.