Business development is one of the key aspects of being a recruiter – and whether you like it or not, making sure your skills in that aspect are as polished as possible is key to getting new clients in 2023. 2023 is the first time in over two years that we report a percentage of agency owners having pessimistic views about the year ahead and recruiters that can source new clients for their agencies will be worth their weight in gold.
With that in mind, you need a strong outreach strategy to stay afloat. Here are some of my best tips on differentiating yourself from your competitors:
Introduce video outreach
Like it or not, it is now a fact that the majority of business is conducted online. Like everyone else, your clients will be getting inundated with generic spam emails every day. If your email outreach doesn’t stand out from the crowd you are likely to land in the ignore pile with everyone else.
Attaching a short, personalised video clip is a great way to stand out. Not only do you get to put your personality across in a way that is nearly impossible to do with text, but clients will also appreciate the extra effort you have taken to engage them. The big secret here is that once you are used to it, producing a short video clip quickly becomes much easier than writing an email. So now you are impressing clients AND making your outreach much more efficient, allowing you to target more people in the same amount of time. Enter – the outreach hero!
Go back to events!
With the world getting back to normal after Covid, professional networking has returned as an effective way of engaging your market. If you can find a group in your market that you can join, it can provide you with a great platform for winning new business. Spending time in person with potential clients (and don’t forget candidates!) is a great opportunity to warm prospects up long-term. In addition to this, networking will help you keep your finger on the pulse of your market and tailor your pitch to the challenges in your niche.
If you can’t find a group relevant to your market, you have a great opportunity to start your own. I know a number of recruiters that have started networking groups for their respective niches and have really helped grow their profile within the market.
Send them a gift
Sending your prospects a gift is a great way to grab their attention if you get it right. Not only will it remind them of you and your business but also show the fact that you remember them, which can go a long way in the sometimes-impersonal world of recruitment.
However, for this to be an effective strategy you really need to think carefully about what you are sending. If you aim too low and send a load of branded merchandise (which can feel impersonal and salesy, blah!) your prospect isn’t going to engage with you as much as you would like. On the other hand, don’t go overboard: Yes, your prospect may have mentioned that his dream is to own a Ferrari, and he would be your best friend forever if you got him one… but just think of how many deals you need to close to make the money you spent on that back! The best tactic here is to aim for something personal, affordable, and quirky enough that your prospect engages with you.
Get your clients to do the selling for you
One of the most important things many recruiters forget is being able to back up their claims about how outstanding they are. We focus on sales techniques and pitches, but even the best pitch won’t work its magic if the prospect looks at your website and finds… nothing.
Having testimonials available to prospects to show them that you don’t just talk the talk can really help you build credibility. And if you are looking to win exclusive and retained business, references from people you work with will most likely be vital to your success.
The more you can get existing clients to write/say about how great you were as a recruiter, the better. Long-form content can make great follow-up material once you have a prospect on the hook. Of course, having industry-leading names giving you kudos is ideal, however, anything from anyone is better than nothing!
Getting clients to commit to a case study can be difficult – but one great tip is that next time a client asks you to shave a couple of % points off your fee, oblige - but only if they will give you a case study!
David is a Senior Growth Outreach Specialist at Firefish. After working as a 360 recruiter, he loves innovating recruitment with Firefish Software.