5 Ways Your Agency Can Beat Off the Competition

The recruitment sector is no stranger to competition, but it’s fair to say that things are reaching boiling point in this respect right now. But you don’t need us to tell you that. If you’re finding yourself in a constant ‘race to the finish line’ with only seconds to spare, you’re not alone. More and more recruitment agencies are telling us that they’re frustrated by having to share their best clients with other agencies and that they’re constantly on the back foot when it comes to securing exclusivity.
Getting a client to work with your agency and your agency alone can seem like a tough call and granted, it’s something that’s unlikely to happen overnight. But making this your goal will not only bring more security, it’ll save you time and raise your market position (and feel-good factor) no-end.

Here are my top five low (and no) cost ways that you can fend off the competition and gain the competitive edge you’ve been looking for:

1. Listen

The best way to improve any business is to really listen to your clients’ pains and problems. It may well be that you think you know what keeps your clients awake at night, but do you really? Have you identified their real pains and problems and put them into words; have you bent over backwards to solve them in more innovative ways than your competitors? One of the toughest skills to make time for in a busy world, listening is a task you simply can’t ignore. If it’s a while since you really listened to your clients, today’s the day to go the extra mile.

2. Aim to do only what you’re BEST at

The market needs you’re addressing today are unlikely to resemble those you were addressing 5 years ago. It may well be that you’ve carved yourself a couple of nice niches in the recruitment sector, but unless you’ve spent time really looking at your overall business profile in the last 18 months or so, it could be that you’re missing a trick or two. When was the last time you really sat down and examined the global strengths and weaknesses of your agency? Are you completely au fait with the opportunities and threats facing your business today? Sometimes in business we’re guilty of focusing solely on getting to the end of each week and we miss valuable opportunities that are staring us in the face. If you haven’t done it recently, work hard to identify what you’re best at. What makes you different from all the other agencies your client could choose? In other words, what are your USPs (Unique Selling Points)? Where can you add real value to the service your clients are getting from you?

3. Put those USP’s and value statements into words

Once you’ve identified what you’re best at, it’s time to put that into words. You need to make sure that the benefits of working with your agency are expressed across all your marketing material (website, brochures and the social media as well as your front-line sales force) in such a way that your clients think you’re virtually psychic. You need to make clear in every communication with the outside world that not only do you understand what keeps your clients awake at 4am, but that you’re the best person to relieve them from this pain.

4. Invest in your people

Once you’ve listened to your clients, identified what you can do better than the rest and have taken the time to put all that into concise and hard-hitting words, it’s time to make sure your whole team is singing from the same hymn-sheet. Like the assumptions you make about your clients, it’s only too easy to assume that your team “gets” the detail of what you’re trying to achieve. Maybe they do; and if so, that’s great. Maybe they don’t; in which case that’s a real opportunity missed. Take time to share your findings (of points 2 and 3) with your team so they buy into and demonstrate your values in every action they take.

5. Grow your most valuable asset

We all know that getting a client is a tougher call than keeping one, and we’re all guilty of taking our existing clients for granted from time to time. When was the last time you made a real effort to give your existing client base some TLC? When did you last look beyond your top handful of clients and focus your efforts on those lower down the list where you can either up or cross sell your services? You might just be surprised at the value that lies in those clients you worked so hard to secure in the first instance.

As the expression goes, there’s more than one way to reach your destination and conquering competition by looking it straight in the eye is a great way to start.

Suzi Larcombe

Suzie is a Copywriter who specialises in B2B copywriting. She creates blogs, web copy, brochures, slogans and LinkedIn profiles for a range of SMEs.

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