In recruiting, the biggest piece of infrastructure that needs to stay solid and sound is your pipeline. You should always be developing new clients and candidates. Even if you have a handful of solid, longtime clients that keep you busy…. things can happen, such as job orders being cancelled or put on hold indefinitely, or your client company could decide to move recruiting efforts in-house. Never take your pulse off developing new clients and building strong relationships with candidates… but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on end doing cold-call sales calls.
Here are 5 best practices when it comes to business development:
1. Make sure your online presence is strong and focused with a solid website and seamlessly integrated social media presence. One NPAworldwide member reported seeing a 45% increase in activity on their website, and could attribute 9 new clients over the last 6 months, just due to SEO and their website presence. Post articles geared toward your prospective client’s interests to give them value and keep your name in front of them. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in inbound calls, from new clients and/or clients we’ve lost touch with.”
2. Build a rapport. It’s one thing to have a fancy looking website and lots of buzzwords throughout your social media profiles. It’s another to be human and build relationships by offering genuine comments, thoughts, questions, etc. One NPAworldwide member makes it a practice to congratulate their clients after they make a placement. Several members have mentioned they send birthday cards, or congratulations cards after a client/candidate has a baby, etc. Another member said she sends a quarterly newsletter to all her clients and former clients with photos, blog articles, etc. Recruiting is a people business, and it’s important to make a strong emphasis to leverage those relationships.
3. That includes candidates. It’s important to keep constant contact with candidates, too… even after you’ve placed them or didn’t have success placing them. You have invested time to get to know these people and represent them in the marketplace… you never know if they will become a hiring manager one day, and need your help to fill a role. One NPA-er said that 33% of their customers ultimately became clients. Check in with them from time to time, and
4. Share good news! Testimonials, stories about recent placements, spotlights/videos about your company… This kind of information will show that you make an impact in the marketplace and keep your name in lights. Give a potential client documentation about how many people you’ve placed in that role/field, acceptance rate of offers extended, what your retention rates are, etc. Differentiate yourself and don’t be afraid to boast a little bit – this is how you can stand out amongst the other recruiting agencies out there.
5. Turn a no into a maybe. If you call a potential client and they say “I’m not interested” or “No, thank you,” don’t end the conversation there. Take the initiative to say “tell me about your hiring process” or “what are your pain points?” They might say “You know what, we’ve had a really hard time filling this management position… it’s been open 6 months, my boss has used two recruiting firms. Why don’t you send me your info and I’ll send it over to my boss.” One NPAworldwide member gets 10 hits a year by doing this alone: “It’s a little bit easier and less ‘cold’ than you seeing a job on Indeed and calling into HR. It’s warmer this way. Any call I make isn’t just recruiting, it’s business development as well.”