Talent shortages are the perfect time to pitch for a retainer because this is when clients really need our recruitment expertise to fill roles.
But convincing your client to go with a retainer is still always going to be challenging because essentially, you’re asking them to pay for work before it’s done.
There are a few different strategies you can use to show them you’re the only agency they need, and that a retained contract is the way to go – here’s a few to try.
1. Use reports
You know what you can achieve when given the time and space to work a retainer, but talking up your achievements isn’t always enough – you need to support your claims with data.
Use your CRM’s Reports Dashboard to produce custom reports that support your claims that you’re the only recruitment expert the client needs for their hiring needs.
For example, you can create reports that prove just how relevant you are to their niche, showing how many placements you’ve made in their industry over the last year and create redacted reports on the number of relevant candidates you have in your CRM that are ready to go.
You could also report the number of retainers you’ve won to show how equipped you are to do the job justice. It’s all about using the data to show the client they’re in the safest hands possible.
2. Produce case studies
It’s important to show the prospect that working with you on a retained basis means they instantly become a high-priority client – otherwise, they’ll think they’re paying more for the exact same service.
Produce a client-specific case study that demonstrates how being able to dedicate your time to one priority client on a retainer has helped them overcome a hiring challenge. This should give them a play-by-play look at the different processes and methods you used to source, engage and recruit quality candidates. A case study allows you to showcase the depth and value of your work in a way that’s clear, tangible and convincing.
Finish off your case study with a testimonial from the client you focused on as this acts as social proof of your credibility. Hearing another company’s positive experience will increase your client’s confidence in your abilities and make them more likely to go with a retainer.
3. Offer a ‘shared risk’ package
The idea of paying for a recruitment service upfront can be off-putting to clients, especially if they’re already comfortable working with a contingency plan. How can you guarantee that the client will get their money’s worth?
Offering a shared-risk package is the perfect way to show your client how confident you are that you can fill the job.
Retainers are normally paid in three parts: When you take on the job, when you send over a suitable shortlist and the last payment on the candidate’s start date. But a shared-risk retainer package involves staggering your payments even further so that you don’t receive parts of the fee until the candidate is successful in the company and passed their probation.
By offering to share the risk of the candidate not working out, you’re showing the client just how confident you are that you’ll recruit the perfect candidate and make the retainer worthwhile.
Sharing the risk also builds trust that can be great for future business - it only takes one retainer to work out well for you to win more in future.
4. Utilise talent pools
Thriving talent pools are something your client might never have seen before, so use them to your advantage.
Create anonymised talent pools in your CRM that clearly show how many candidates you already have in your pools that are extremely relevant to their role.
The great thing about talent pools is how specific you can tailor them to a role, so set your pool up in advance of pitching your retainer so you can use it demonstrate just how relevant your candidate network is to their hiring needs.
5. Create a bulletproof retainer pitch
Selling a retainer can be pretty nerve-wracking even when you’ve got a few under your belt, so you need to practice your pitch so you feel totally confident in arguing the need for a retainer over contingency – if you’re not convinced, the client won’t be either! The important thing is to enter the conversation completely prepared with all the answers and examples you need to confidently pitch for a retainer.
Here are a few things to include in your retainer pitch:
- The challenges involved in working this role on contingency
- The benefits of going with a retainer over contingency
- A clear plan on how you will deliver a shortlist and to what timescale.
Have examples and data prepared to back up each point and this will really leave your client out of reasons not to go with your offer.
Download the eBook below for guidance on how to create a retainer pitch that your clients can’t resist!
Growth Specialist Paul was a Principle Consultant in the tech sector before joining Firefish. He loves changing the way agencies recruit with software.