The number of live job vacancies reached a new high in the first quarter of 2022.
In line with this statistic, good recruiters are more in demand than ever, so it’s logical to be charging more for your services.
Add in the record levels of inflation plus the hike in job board costs and suddenly increasing your fees can feel like the only option to keep turning a profit. No matter what your motivations are, breaking the news to your clients will always be tough. How do you ask for more money, but keep them happy in the process?
Here’s our take on how to increase your fees and keep all your clients by your side:
1. Demonstrate the value you bring
People generally tend to purchase based on value, not just price and your recruitment services should be no different. The catch is that if you want to increase your fees based on value, you’ve first got to demonstrate your worth.
Communicate your strategy and show them you have a solid plan to fill their vacancies with top candidates. Whether it’s innovative new sourcing techniques, or your amazing tech, be sure to talk it up. Are you utilising a candidate portal? Are your talent pools full of potential matches just for them? These are the kind of USPs that will really prove your worth. If you’re using the best professional resources to deliver results, your clients will see your true value.
2. Repackage your services
Repackaging your services is another great strategy for topping up your prices so that they fairly reflect your current recruitment offering. Essentially, you’re having a restructure, so it will only make sense to clients and prospects that your fees have been adjusted.
This process can work both ways: For example, you might increase your rate for a full end-to-end contingency service but discount your rate for taking away productised elements of your service like organising interviews and candidate screening.
Not everybody will jump at the chance of paying you more, so this ‘repacking’ of your various services will help cater for all budgets – and help you retain your clients! But if you’re hoping to move away from contingency models and align yourself with retained clients, this can be a great way to test the water and see who’s really worth your time. Just make sure you can demonstrate your expertise, and the time and effort required at each stage.
3. Add in a grace period
When you’re adjusting your fees, the last thing you want is to p*ss off your clients by giving them no advanced warning. To cushion the transition, it’s essential to add in a grace period. Letting them know of price increases well in advance is a common courtesy that can make all the difference. This allows them to plan ahead and adjust their budget accordingly.
It’ll also reduce the chances of you dealing with an angry customer who’s reacted emotionally to a sudden jump in your pricing.
4. Prepare to handle objections
While increasing your fees is sometimes necessary, it’s not always going to go smoothly! You’ve got to be prepared to handle any objections in a professional way that keeps both you and the client happy.
I find it’s helpful to map out a list of potential concerns they might have to help you consider what your response will be, should the issue arise. If you can do this with a colleague, they’ll no doubt be able to share some experience and wisdom with you too.
A client might ask you ‘So your costs are increasing – why?’'. In this situation, it’s better to have facts and figures ready to go than to be stuck fumbling around for answers. If you can bring evidence to the table, they’re more likely to be understanding and empathise with you – after all, they'll no doubt have other costs increasing for their business too!
5. Communicate clearly
If you present yourself as a top-grade recruiter whose service is worth a premium price, you can't afford to present the news of a fee increase in an unprofessional manner – it’s the surest way to p*ss of your clients!
No matter how quick and easy it might seem, don’t send an informal email out of the blue. The most professional (not to mention human!) way to communicate the news of your fee increase is to do it in person.
Arrange a meeting, check-in with your client and their needs and use the opportunity to break the news and explain your reasons. Any client that’s worth your time will appreciate that you are handling a potentially difficult conversation in a professional and personal way. This will earn you respect and keep them on your side. Be confident and don’t apologise. You know your skills match the new fees, it’s just about showing them too!
In case you want some more tips on setting yourself up for a win and getting ahead of your competition, have a look at our eBook below!
David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.