I’ve discussed in an earlier post how demand for temporary and contingent workers has exploded in recent years. Driven, in part, both by the impending implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and by changing hiring trends, growth in the temporary staffing industry shows no signs of letting up any time in the near future.
If you’re a salesperson who wants to survive in the staffing industry, you already know that you have to work hard to win and retain clients. And if you’re a salesperson who wants to be successful in the staffing industry, you know that you have to do even more.
The key to success lies in your unique value proposition: what you offer that sets you apart from your competitors. Price plays a role in any business relationship, of course, but clients and prospects give value high consideration, too—and often place even more weight on that than on price alone.
If you cannot prove that your company brings more value than the competition, however, then price will always be the deciding factor. Fortunately, with a service-oriented disposition, a dedication to building long-term relationships, a lot of hard work, and a bit of creativity, you can create your own unique value proposition.
During my years in the staffing industry, I developed a number of winning strategies for adding value to my services. Here are a few of them:
- Offer to review or rewrite some of your clients’ job descriptions. This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in this field and lets you get a closer look at a client’s hiring needs and perhaps suggest ways in which you can meet them.
- Perform onsite orientations at your client’s office on your temporary employee’s first day of work. By helping the hire settle in right away, you make it easier for him to get up to speed in the new position, thus becoming an asset to the client faster (and one that reflects well on your services).
- Hold monthly performance review meetings with your client to identify areas of improvement both for your agency and for your agency’s employees. Soliciting—and acting on—feedback from your clients shows that you value their input and goes a long way toward strengthening your relationships with them as well as improving your services.
- Give your clients regular updates on recruitment, management, legal concerns, and other issues of interest to HR managers. Providing useful information (ideally, in an interesting and accessible format) helps your clients stay current with news in their field and demonstrates your interest in the success of their business.
- Include outplacement services free of charge. On the surface, this may seem like a negative for you. But you can make up the business by placing the candidate in another role with a different client. And the goodwill you generate with the original client will strengthen that relationship—and may one day pay off in spades when he or she seeks your services in the future.
- Host a quarterly roundtable and invite your clients and prospects to share ideas on managing their contingent workforces. By hosting a roundtable, you help your clients expand their own connections and gain insight into new practices—both of which can help their businesses grow.
- Host an HR educational seminar that’s approved for HRCI credits. Your clients will appreciate your interest in helping them improve their business acumen. And as their businesses grow, they are likely to have increased staffing needs that you will be well-positioned to meet.
- Cover the cost of training for skilled labor positions or jobs that require specific licenses. This action may cost you a bit up front, but you’ll reap many returns on this investment. First, you’ll recoup that expense in the form of fees gained from placing those employees, Also (and perhaps more importantly), your client is likely to send more business your way in the future, knowing that you’ll be able to provide people with the needed skill sets and qualifications.