I have been talking to recruiters in training recently about client generation techniques. Over the last few years there has been a steady rise in the use of social media although many of the recruitment businesses in the UK (and beyond) seems to be failing to get to grips with using it effectively.
When I ask the question in training about how recruiters generate business currently I get a quick response of the following:
Lead chasing – A great way to gain immediate business although there is a limit to the number of hot leads a consultant seems to be able to generate.
Sales calls – Still one of the most powerful ways to win clients and under utilized by some businesses.
Email mailshots (everyone has a different noun but intrinsically it’s the same) – Responses get weaker as firewalls, spam filters and individual response to cold emails evolve. Permission based marketing is different but how many recruiters have a database with double opt in prospect client email addresses??
When I push harder to get people thinking more about how they generate business we get answers such as:
Referrals & recommendations – Great but how many do you get per day? I would also play devils advocate that anyone who says they win 100% of their business through referral is letting their business down if their service is truly that good. Get out and share that and stop being a secret service in your space!
Linkedin - Although the majority find decision makers on Linkedin and then phone them and there is nothing wrong with that! Many of the groups have lost the original concept of discussion and have become spam sites with little interaction and everyone promoting their latest and greatest product or service.
Cross selling – Even in the largest multi disciplined businesses there is room to improve the level of shared clientele.
All of this made me cast my mind back to when I was a hands’ on biller (not so long ago, in fact I even did a piece of successful 3rd party recruitment recently!). I remember that I, and colleagues, spent a lot of time producing quality content information to send and share with the market. Today I see that there is a stronger movement towards content based marketing. With such an immediacy of access to information anyone can find an article, video or blog that will provide the information they need. Quite often the client you want to do business with is probably not in buying mode for a new agency/recruiter. Even when they are recruiting they are not necessarily on the market for a new service provider.
How can we engage with these people?
Share some content. Most recruiters sit on candidate and client databases that are full of raw data that could be presented as infographics to share and educate. In part this is what social media is great for isn’t it? share opinions, discuss, argue if you really want to but nail some colours to the mast and engage with people.
What are the most valued employee benefits in aerospace engineering?
What is the profile of the typical Java developer and what are their hot buttons when looking at changing contract or employer?
What recruitment methods have proven to be the most successful in your market this year?
How many businesses in Sussex have recruited a procurement specialist and what was the average time to hire?
What are the best interview questions for a first time manager to use to hire into their team?
What are the biggest mistakes that hiring managers make at interview according to part qualified accountants?
What do digital project managers think is the most important feature of a prospect candidates CV?
All of these questions could be answered by recruiters who work those markets. I would also imagine that if I asked them at the pub they would be able to give me loads of insight. Don’t get me wrong, there are some enlightened recruiters who deliver this but they are such a minority in the grand scheme.
Lots of recruiters ask me how they could win more clients. If I were them, I would step forward and develop some high quality content and share it – On my website, in my blog, on Linkedin (though it is losing its real discussion value in a lot of groups), in out bound marketing through email and post(!). Very few recruitment agency websites are effectively SEO’d and this is such a great contributor to building onsite and offsite SEO. Perhaps even creating a permission based list of prospects who are interested in content who one day may convert to clients.
Have a look at Louise Triance's blog which also covers the importance of providing rich content to increase your client and candidate base and with companies such as Red Rocket Media now offering services to produce content on your behalf there really isn't any excuse!
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