As a recruiter, I often found it’s easier to win new business when up against longer established competitors.
Read this costly recruitment story and find out why…
Last year, I coached three experienced recruiters who were setting up a new office on the outskirts of Sydney.
Their job was to win new business. They had an opportunity to springboard their careers forward by making this new branch uber-successful. They should have been excited to experience the thrill of the chase, to find out where competitors operate and to then take business away from those competitors.
Of course, any new recruitment consultancy competing with pre-existing firms is going to have some initial challenges within the first few months. But when I met them on teams, I was shocked.
This is what they told me…
“It’s hard for us to win new business because the other recruitment firms here have long-establishe brands”
Personally, I think it’s easier to win new business when up against longer established competitors, but I’ll come on to that in a moment.
First, here are 5 of the key business development activities they were NOT doing:
1.As part of their day-to-day engagement with candidates, mapping out where competitors operate by systematically gathering hiring manager names during conversations with their candidates.
2.Impressing target company hiring managers by taking verbal references on candidates who were former employees of those hiring managers and then cleverly and professionally converting those new contacts into their clients either immediately or at some point down the line.
3. Meeting prospective clients that recruit regularly, even if those prospective clients are not recruiting. And then CLOSING the prospective clients to commit to recruit via them for their next hire.
4. Using LinkedIn to identify future job openings (not adverts) and then proactively marketing high-demand clients to the hiring managers where the recruiter knew there would soon be a vacancy.
5. The Replacement Hire technique. Message me on LinkedIn if you’d like to see a free video of this beautiful, little used technique to create vacancies that don’t exist.
They knew 3 of these tactics (not number 3. or 5.) – so why weren’t they using them?
The simple answer is leadership.
Before reading on, it’s important to know that two of the three recruiters have now left the industry. I’ve also disguised the location (it wasn’t Sydney). The remaining recruiter was very receptive to coaching and is now a decent performer in another firm.
There was no real leadership. The business owner was seduced by the experience levels presented to him by recruitment-to-recruitment companies.
He assumed that they would have high-level sales skills and that they would be good at winning new business.
But his big mistake was not agreeing the best activities to win business and then not measuring and reviewing the results each week.
If, for example, he had at least measured the 5 business development activities itemized above then he would have been able to review the results of those activities each week. If he had done that, he would have exposed that the main lack of capability was their lack of ability to establish a need for his recruitment company’s services.
How strong are your recruiters at establishing a need for their services?
That’s the real reason why the three recruiters thought they couldn’t win business, NOT because their competitors were better established. The three ‘experienced recruiters’ were all sorely lacking in sales ability – particularly the capability to ask the right questions and uncover problems caused by the current suppliers – i.e. professionally establishing a need and selling the best solutions.
So, what’s happening in your business? Is it time for you to get your hands dirty, meet with your recruiters one-to-one and evaluate whether they are use using the very best business development activities?
You don’t necessarily need to use the 5 business development ideas above, you just need to make sure that your recruiters are using the best techniques for your business. And to remember the old management adage…
What gets measured gets done.
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