In previous posts we discussed how to build and illustrate value during your sales process by out-valuing your competition and helping your clients and prospects calculate the ROI of temporary staffing. Today we’d like to share some insight on another equally important aspect of building a business: generating a healthy pipeline of leads.
If you ask ten different staffing company owners to tell you their most successful lead-generation tactics, you’ll probably hear about ten different methods. Some staffers say that cold calling is a thing of the past, and others swear by content marketing or leveraging their LinkedIn networks. Considering how many “best” methods are out there (and that most of them have some degree of effectiveness), your best bet is to cast a wide net.
As you choose which tactics to try, you may want to consider at least one of the three methods listed below.
1. Host an educational event that is pre-approved for HRCI credits.
Have you ever attended a local SHRM chapter meeting that was sponsored by a benefits broker, employment attorney, or payroll service provider? In addition to having prominent placement for their literature and marketing materials, the sponsoring company typically has an opportunity to give a presentation to the audience. One of my clients at Mamu Media takes this practice a step further by inviting 150 senior HR leaders to an annual “HR Cafe,” a night of education and cocktails at an upscale venue. My client always makes sure to have the event pre-approved for HRCI credits and uses this fact as an additional hook to attract their target audience, the senior HR leaders they’re selling their services to.
2. Make it a corporate policy to call on three employment references for each candidate you deem eligible for hire.
During my time in staffing, reference calls were often our most productive means of generating leads. We adopted a corporate policy to call on at least three references who were either supervisors or managers—and, wherever possible, avoided calling HR staff for references.
The benefit was actually twofold. First, this practice differentiated us from our competition, thus serving as a selling point to our clients and prospects. Second—and more importantly—we trained our recruiters to fill out lead forms. On the back end of calls to check references, after establishing rapport with the supervisor or manager, the recruiters would ask the supervisor or manager questions about how the applicant was hired into his or her department (e.g., internal hire or hire through an agency) and who was involved in the hiring decision.
3. Send out a secret shopper.
What’s the best way to find out what companies your competitors are hiring for? Ask them! It’s unlikely, however, that they’ll give the answer to one of their competitors. So present yourself as an applicant instead: show up to an open house or, better yet, send in your resume and try to land an interview.
This tactic isn’t for everyone, of course. Some staffers might feel uncomfortable with the ruse, and others might think it violates an unwritten code of business conduct (even though it is perfectly legal). Those who use this practice, however, often reap big rewards.
Ultimately, though, it’s just another option on the playing field. Chances are good that a secret shopper has walked through your own doors at some point in time. Remember that awesome candidate who disappeared off the face of the earth after you interviewed her? That was probably a secret shopper from another firm who went through the interview process to learn about your organization’s practices and contacts.
Maximize the Odds
In addition to maintaining a healthy pipeline of sales leads, any staffing firm that wants to succeed in this highly competitive field must also source superior candidates. Finding those candidates can be tricky, though, especially if your competition is to trying to find them, too. So be sure to try several techniques, because you never know which one will hit the jackpot!