If you’re the owner of your own recruitment agency, you know one of the biggest challenges is generating new business and maintaining a predictable flow of repeat business.
Companies of all shapes and sizes across every industry struggle with business development, from identifying and closing new deals to creating repeatable, predictable sales cycles.
As the owner of your own agency, the challenges you face are even greater. In addition to wearing multiple hats, you have to be creative with your time and competitive with less resources.
But, don’t let that stop you. While name and industry recognition might generate your competition more leads, that’s far from what it takes to close new business. It takes creative thinking, problem solving, perseverance, and grit to close a deal.
Whether your sales pipeline is drying up or you’re looking for a few new ideas to incorporate into your existing strategy, check out these business development / lead generation approaches:
Networking / Events
In a service based industry, there are no pricing tables or competitive analyses for prospective clients to compare and contrast offerings. Instead, potential leads have to rely on word-of-mouth, existing relationships, and cursory searches to decide which companies to initially engage. It’s a game of chance, unless you actively take steps to build a strong personal network.
The truth is sales is rarely about what you offer but rather who you know.
To build strong connections, you have to expand your network beyond your inner circle. Consider attending local networking events, frequently participate in and add value to active social communities, or go to tradeshows and conferences attended by your target client. Conferences can be a gold mine for prospective leads, looking for a solution.
With the proliferation of online content from companies claiming to the be the best at X,Y, and Z, consumers are more skeptical than ever before making a purchase. Do you know what they don’t question? The recommendations of trusted colleagues and friends who have experienced similar problems in the past.
Don’t limit referrals solely to your recruiting efforts when they can be one of the most reliable tools in your sales arsenal. Remember, your clients can be an asset. If you continually deliver quality results, don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction.
What if there was a tool that existed that told you which companies were actively hiring, the number of roles they are looking for, and how long on average they have been recruiting for a given role? Wait, there is! Job boards are a treasure trove of information, begging to be reverse engineered into a lead list that you can work.
Use job boards to identify which companies within your space are actively hiring, and flex your search skills to identify the hiring manager or decision maker at any given company. You can even use the same tools you use when recruiting to find contact information. Just remember to craft an engaging initial email, and be persistent with your follow up.
I’m sure you have seen those lists (“Best Companies to Work for in 20XX”, “Fastest Growing Companies”, etc.). We all have. They are more than an opportunity for a featured company to pat themselves on the back. They are a signal that a company is in a high growth phase and likely in the middle of a hiring spree.
Like job boards, use these lists to your advantage. No, they don’t offer the most qualified leads, but they give you insight into a growing business. Use that information to tailor your pitch and get your foot in the door.
There are usually two types of posts on a company’s social media page — links to blog posts and job ads announcing open roles. Can you see where I’m going with this?
You probably already spend a good part of your day on LinkedIn anyway. Take some time in between sourcing candidates to scroll your newsfeed and build a prospect list. If you’re like me and impatient, send an InMail to whoever posted the update. Or, you can wait and simply reference the post in your initial email.
Almost everything previously mentioned is a form or outbound sales. It requires that you go out and find new leads who may or may not be qualified and try to warm them up through the sales cycle. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can exhausting and time consuming, if that is your entire sales strategy.
Instead, consider borrowing elements from inbound marketing to make your digital presence consistently work for you and attract warm, qualified leads. At a minimum, make sure you have a contact form on your website, making it easy for contacts to get in touch with you.
To really dive into inbound, consider building case studies or adding client testimonials to your site to add credibility to your work. Bonus points if you gate the content behind a landing page so you can collect contact info from the downloads.
Repeat Business > New Business
The ideas listed above are targeted primarily at generating new business. New business is great, but it’s a harder sale as prospects are likely largely unfamiliar with you, your services, and your process. It requires you spend significant time educating a lead before they ever close, but repeat business is an entirely different story.
It’s an easier sale. People find comfort in familiarity and prefer to stick with what they know works. If you are looking to generate more business and if you are consistently delivering quality results to your clients (and that’s a big if), you should always start your business development efforts with your current clients.
Do you have a growth hack not listed above? I want to know. Share your own strategies in the comments below.