With email and social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), there are plenty of ways to reach clients these days. However, many recruiters find that nothing works quite as well as the old fashioned phone call.
You likely already know the basics of a good phone campaign, such as the importance of doing your homework before a call and that call volume is key. Those basics apply to contract staffing “cold calls” as well, but there are a few additional things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure you are talking to the right person.
It used to be that recruiters always went to hiring managers for contract job orders. That appears to be changing as contractors become a more constant fixture at many companies, which are building blended workforce models around them as part of a long-term business strategy. Many companies, especially larger organizations, are putting the human resources department (HR) in charge of all talent acquisition, including contracting. This includes approving vendors for contract job orders. So you won’t get far without HR at these companies. For this reason, more recruiters are starting with HR for all their job orders, or at least keeping HR in the loop as they discuss open positions with the hiring manager.
2. Be a problem-solver.
You have probably heard that you should listen more than you talk during a cold call. That goes double for contract staffing cold calls. Find out what obstacles the companies are encountering and then recommend contract staffing as a solution if it makes sense. This is how you can go from being a recruiter or a salesperson to a true staffing partner. There are several questions you can ask to determine whether they may have a need for contractors:
- Do you have a special project or critical deadline?
These situations often require extra staff or specialized skills that won’t be needed forever. Your clients can bring in contractors to fulfill those needs and simply end the contracts when the work is done.
- Do you have a backlog you can’t address due to budget issues?
Companies can utilize contractors to pick up the slack, even during a hiring freeze, because the funds for contractors come out of a different budget from direct hires, and contractors do not create a long-term financial commitment.
- Are you concerned about potential tax risks associated with 1099 independent contractors (ICs)?
The government continues to step up enforcement and the penalties for worker misclassification. Therefore, if there is any chance that a company’s ICs are misclassified, it is critical that they evaluate the IRS guidelines and reclassify those ICs as W-2 employees. You can help by offering to convert the employers’ ICs to W-2 employees who will then be employed by a contracting back-office. This allows your clients to escape the high costs and administrative burden of employment without the risks of audits, back taxes, and penalties.
3. Not all calls have to be cold.
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Remember, 80% of a recruiters’ contract staffing business comes from their existing direct hire clients. Are all of your clients aware of your contract staffing services? Have you asked them the questions above to determine their need for contractors? If not, it may be time to catch-up with your best clients.
Contract staffing is also a great way to address a current client’s fear of making a direct hire commitment. If they are unsure of a candidate, you can allow them to try the person on a contract-to-direct basis. This allows them to evaluate their skills and knowledge on the job and then decide whether or not they want to extend a direct hire offer.
If you have marketing materials dedicated to your contract staffing services, now is the time to use them. You can mail or email them to your prospects to remind them about your discussion and what you can provide them. Or if you were unable to connect on the phone, the marketing materials can go over the major points and hopefully encourage them to call you.
If you now work with a contract staffing back-office, they may be able to help you create marketing documents. For instance, recruiters who use Top Echelon Contracting’s back-office services can sign up for free customized marketing materials.