You are an owner or an executive of a recruitment agency. You like thousands of businesses across the UK, are impacted by the rising inflation, pay raises, energy price increases and the latest political and economic turmoil.
Given this scenario, the tide is slowly turning into a potential downturn. Amidst the other worries, one of the major factors keeping you awake, or you have at least started thinking, is how do I get new clients on board?
Well, so many of us got used to inbound business that all the efforts were focused on attracting talent to fill the plentiful jobs. Coming out of a dry season of lockdowns and minimal sales, it was apt to concentrate on whatever generated revenues and margins.
Impermanence is the truth of life, and change is the only constant. Several recruitment agencies are trying to find an answer to how do we attract new businesses to work with us in case of a recession.
- How do we source and identify new jobs to fill?
- What steps can we take to develop new clients?
You’d know that any new vacancy or business requirements are discussed much before the actual job is advertised and/or partnered with the agencies to work on. However, starting your new business development activity is never too late because it is a funnel development exercise and takes time to yield results.
Here’s what you can do.
The buck starts and stops at you. It would help if you got in the zone of focusing on new business development. That means from the grass root level. The idea is to get your Consultants, Sales Professionals to focus on hunting for new business.
After the 18 months of the boom with inbound enquires, many got their sales and hunting skills rusty; you might want to put them through a refresher training or get help from a business coach to refine their sales tactics.
It starts with the mindset, strategy, tactics and ruthlessly executing the plan. Consistency is key.
Monitoring the progress on an average day on every aspect ranging from new leads sourced to contacts, conversations, the status of the leads, pipeline, etc. And tweaking the processes was required for the best possible outcome.
Conversations lead to conversions.
You need team members to focus dedicatedly on developing a new business pipeline. Your Recruiters get leads when talking to the candidates.
So developing the hunting mindset is crucial.
EXISTING CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS
Having an existing relationship in place means you don’t have to make an extra effort to build rapport; the initiative is to engage and further enhance the relationship. This is why account management is crucial, and reaching out to existing clients is much easier than new ones.
Almost every business is impacted by rising inflation, pay raises and energy costs. Talk to your clients about how they have been affected and their plans for sailing through this situation.
Discussing the current situation helps, and asking the following questions assists with clarity.
1. How has your business been impacted?
2. How are your clients reacting, i.e., have they subcontracted to save costs, put plans on hold, etc.?
3. Will you be restructuring?
4. Will you recruit team members to work on quality and business excellence initiatives like six sigma, lean, etc., to improve efficiency?
5. Will you be investing in automation or outsourcing to improve efficiencies
6. Will you be recruiting at any level in the next three to six months?
7. Are you planning on recruiting any temp/interim personnel in the short term?
8. Can we work with you to develop a talent pool for new markets you plan to venture into?
9. What are your short and medium-term goals this year?
These questions and many more can be used to discuss with existing clients.
These questions equally apply to any prospects that’d put recruiting plans on hold due to the ongoing economic scenario.
Remember the saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. An approach like this is always better than asking, “Do you have any vacancies”. There is no harm in trying.
REMEMBER, NOT ALL VACANCIES ARE ADVERTISED
Relying on advertisements and job postings is not always full-proof, and several vacancies are not advertised. It always makes sense to reach out to the Talent Acquisition Head, HR Director, Line Manager, etc., to find out if they are recruiting.
Old school approach, like talking to the candidates, always helps. Candidates are aware of internal happenings more often.
Many successful business development professionals and recruiters globally have used this approach to gather market intelligence, helping them generate new business and stay ahead of the competition.
The Internet is Pandora’s box with a wealth of information when used constructively. There are tons of jobs advertised across various sources. The key is to focus on your niche and execute the research, which needs patience and persistence.
Leverage the vacancy monitoring process by following the below steps:
- Develop the list of target companies
- List down the target job titles to recruit.
- Search on Google, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.
- A host of job listings will be published as a result of the search.
- Cut the clutter, i.e., several jobs advertised by other recruiters.
Make a list of all the relevant jobs advertised.
- Company name
- Salary details (if provided in the advert)
After sourcing these details, search on LinkedIn for the relevant contact and the decision maker for you to reach out to
- Company name
- Contact / Decision Maker
- Phone / Mobile
What you are doing is a market mapping exercise. The information is vital for your sales team to contact the right party.
Given that the jobs are already advertised, they might not need the assistance now. However, you still want to get out there and develop the relationship for future business because the sales process begins before the sale happens.
A tip about LinkedIn I received from the business coach and consultant Mike Ames is that following your target clients and making genuine comments on their posts is the best way to leverage this platform. If you believe you need help to sail through challenging times and want to scale your business, you want to talk to Mike.
After you’ve used the LinkedIn approach effectively, when you reach out to your target prospects via phone call or email, they might have at least heard or know of you. Whatever mode best suits your approach.
Vacancy monitoring is one of the techniques to help generate new vacancies. Yes, they might have other recruiters working for them; however, there is nothing to lose here, especially when trying to sustain and grow your business.
Chat about the business situation, challenges, and job(s) advertised, i.e., the current status of this vacancy, reason, etc. Your objective here is to engage and build rapport for the future against just trying to know if you can get to work on the job that’s been advertised.
“Desperate time’s desperate measures”, don’t just rely on one possible channel. Try and evaluate various modes, define what works for you and follow the approach by giving in 100%.
There are no shortcuts to new business development; it is hard work.