Sell more to your existing customers
The easiest people to sell to are those who already buy from you. You have terms in place, a track record of success and an engaged audience of managers who will provide advocacy for you. My over-riding observation is that once a client becomes a customer, over time the relationships changes from one of attentive and proactive to reactive.
The attitude that some consultants have is:
“They give me all of their jobs already”
“If they need anyone then they’ll contact me”
which opens the door to complacency and can begin a disengagement process as other agencies capitalise on being more proactive. To sell more to your existing customers consider the following:
Who else hires? Stop gravitating to your favourite contact and start to work the account
What else do they hire? Is this something that you or your colleagues could help with?
What other sites do they operate from?
Who else is part of the group?
If this is something you think could prove beneficial, the mission on Talent Builder “I need more jobs” gives you tactics and support tools to help you develop more business from your customers.
Engage with your lapsed customers
A lapsed customer is someone who has spent money with you in the past, yet has not done so in the last 6 or 12 months (you decide on the timescale to describe a client as lapsed).
There is only a finite number of reasons for a client to lapse. I totally get the fact that you may have elected to stop working with them. The most common reason for a client to lapse tends to be assumption. Assuming now you’ve done business that the supplier status is secured and they will keep coming back to you in the future.
A frightening realisation is that the manager you worked so hard to recruit for could have forgotten you. You may have placed an absolute star with them. Over time the memory of how they hired them dims to become “We hired her through an agency, I think”. Ask candidates and clients how they got specific jobs or hired team members. Many will not remember the name of the recruiter or their agency – or even if it was an agency!
Build two things – A re-engagement strategy for lapsed clients and a process to reduce the number of your existing customers from becoming your future lapsed audience.
- Make a list of everyone you have invoiced in the last five years.
- How many of them have you invoiced in the last six months?
- What has happened to the rest?
- Did you drop them, did they drop you or did you just drift apart?
- How many of the original managers are still there?
Build personas for your target audience
Who are you looking to do business with? If the answer to that question sounds like “Anyone who runs a development team” or “Any companies in the pharmaceutical industry looking to hire” then you would benefit from being more specific.
A persona is a profile for a fictional prospect where you describe:
- Who they are
- Their background
- Experience, qualifications, demographics
- Their current challenges and problems
- Preferred communication methods
- Objections to working with you
- Your matching USPs and solutions
For a recruiter you might have four or five personas that you define. HR, CEO, Line Manager, Functional Head and a High Value Candidate. These personas will change based upon political, social, economic and technological changes. All of your communication (social, email, phone calls, Linkedin) should be designed to solve their problems and position you as a credible partner to work with.
Set Your Dream 50
The Dream 50. These are the clients in your market that you would most want to work with. It is likely that it’s going to take some work to nurture these relationships. Who would you most like to work with? Consider the following to help you develop a good list.
- Business plan and growth phase
- Products and market they operate in
- Recruitment supply chain (Fragmented, PSL, Disorganised)
- Employer Value Proposition (good and bad can be equally as attractive to work with)
- Brand identity (Rola Cola is better than Coca Cola, quite often)
To really know what a good client looks like for you then look at the businesses you are most successful with. Yes, they may all be digital agencies – perhaps the B2B communication specialists who support the life science industry turn out to be the ones you have the most success with. You also have an automatic value proposition for them.
Using the Dream 50 Target Client Conversion Plan within the Talent Builder Content Library you’ll have a sales plan for the next 13 weeks defined and ready to go.
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Use Google Alerts to find rich leads
Google Alerts are a Recruiter’s best friend. How many websites do you bookmark or intend to go back to and then forget?
Google Alerts help you to track the most important information in your market place and have it delivered to your inbox in real-time. Great things to track and follow with your Google Alerts could be:
- Your crown jewel accounts – keeping up to date with their news, announcements and jobs
- Dream 50 target clients
- News about your sector and industry
- Jobs posted directly on websites
- Press releases to keep you up to date with fresh prospects
- Networking events, conferences, expos and meetups
Given there is no apparent limit to the number of Google Alerts you can have running, full Boolean logic accepted with up to 32 keywords, Google’s own advanced search commands and the fact you can use your work email address rather than a gmail account all makes it easy and valuable. Oh, it’s also free!
Nurture your leads
Where do you record and track the leads and opportunities you discover in your market?
Good record keeping is step one in winning more new business. Developing a nurture and conversion process is where the real money kicks in. A good process will help you to become more consistent and efficient.
How many times do you think a recruitment consultant discovers a good lead and then gives up with it after one or two conversations (or even attempted conversations)?
Set priorities for your leads – High, Medium and Low
Classify your leads – job lead, projects, growth companies, avatars (I have put together a full list of lead types and how to convert each in the “I need more jobs” mission on Talent Builder).
For each class of lead define your nurture process to develop:
- Two-way qualification (you assess them as well as present yourself as a prospect)
- Consideration (nurturing the potential client and discussing solution)
- Buying (Engagement and instruction to work together)
Pick the right tool for the right job. For each lead focus on the right weapon of choice to nurture the lead to the next stage in the buying journey. Do they know who you are? Why should they work with you? What will it take for you to become a partner of choice?
Build displacement plans for your competitors’ clients
Who do your competitors currently work with that you don’t?
What is your displacement plan?
Who do you work with where they also instruct other agencies? How can you take the lead and displace those other agencies?
When all things are equal, relationships win. How strong are your relationships across the decision making units in those businesses? What steps are you taking today to embed them further?
To displace a competitor from an account you need to establish yourself as a trusted advisor. To do this requires two things:
Think about it for a moment. How do you build trust? Trust comes from empathy. Situational fluency to understand their position, challenges, goals and objectives. Invest time in understanding them and their business. Know them better than the incumbent supplier who could have started to become complacent or even resentful.
What advice can you give them? What do you know that could be valuable to them? What trends do you see and what predictions could you make regarding the market. What are going to be the challenges for businesses in the coming months and years? How can you become the solution to these things?
Map your competitors’ contractors/temps
As a contract or temp consultant, growing your base is an ongoing mission. Grow from 20-30 and then hold the line. Grow from 30 – 40 and again, hold that line. As you grow your book your reputation in the market will grow with it. To find your future business, map your competitors’ placements.
When you know:
Who their temps/contractors are
What they are working on
The duration of the placement
The hiring manager who took them on
Their pay rate
The probability of extension or going permanent
The potential finish date
You now have a map from which you can run your resourcing (pull a temp out and create an immediate backfill opportunity), your candidate led marketing (market out your competitor’s finishers before they do as they’re too busy trying to squeeze the extension) and your sales (the managers who have contractors or temps on site definitely hire them!)
Bring NGJs into the funnel
Next Generation Jobs
These are your future backfills. Every permanent candidate who goes for an interview has a chance of getting the job. Those candidates who have a notice period will need to resign. Who are your top 10 candidates who would have to resign to take another job?
What have you done to build a relationship with their managers before they quit?
Imagine them all resigning next month to a manager who has spoken to you twice, entered the consideration phase of the buying journey and has decided they will give you a go the next time they hire. In-coming business, here we go! Honk Honk!
Of the 10 you pick, you might place two or three of them. A competitor might place one (they’re not as good as you) and two get something through their own means. That’s 6 resignations. Again – just imagine you’d had a discovery meeting with them on Zoom, shared a case study and a talent map with details of salaries, benefits packages and skills assessment. You get first dibs on a job to close on a deposit led solution.
Use a funnel to track your leads
How many leads do you discover per day? How many do you convert from lead to committed client, as a percentage? If you don’t know, then there is an opportunity to get better at finding the right types of lead that convert with the greatest ease to generate the most revenue. Look at your top 10 clients – how did the trading relationship start?
On a whiteboard – draw a funnel.
Put your leads on post-it notes and track them through the buying journey. Any that are stuck, put them in the box on the left. Run your sales meeting around the lead funnel each week. What are the plans to drive more of the leads through to buying?
Set a goal of conversion. If you don’t know your conversion then run the board for six weeks to then calculate it. Then set conversion goals.
It is likely you will be better at converting some leads more than others – know what a good lead looks like for you and find more of them. Triage your leads to make sure you have everything you need to track and nurture them. A visible funnel on the wall will keep it front and centre and will positively force you to work your leads with more tenacity.