We all know the kind of clients we would like to work with, but how are we going to get them?
Building a recruitment business is not about hitting clients over the head with a big stick and dragging them to your cave. It is much more of a seduction. We need to get our potential clients to like us before we get any further. All our focus needs to be on them.
Forget any old-fashioned thoughts of selling, in our world we need to take a very soft approach to professional selling. First we sell ourselves to our prospects, starting with knowing, moving to liking and working towards trusting.
Very much like the building of a loving relationship, business relationships take time to foster, ensuring that the other parties needs are being met, and that the relationship is enjoyable, albeit in a business environment.
So, here are my first 6 steps to help you get started.
1. Know who you are after
We all work best with certain types of clients. Regardless of the type of clients we think we want in our portfolio, understand the kind of client you work best with and focus all your attentions on them.
2. Find out where you can meet them
You are very unlikely work with anyone in a proper relationship without meeting them first. Find out where your target clients go and go there too. Where do they eat, where do they drink, where do they network? Are they involved in certain types of groups, or is it best to meet them on their home turf?
3. Make your approach
There are two main ways to do this, decided based on your client which is best:
a) Direct – walk up to them at an event, or telephone them at their desk, and engage them in conversation.
b) By introduction – Get someone you know to introduce you. This is great, but requires a good network. (If you have been on my courses you will know that I am big on networks!)
4. Have a reason for them to choose you
Understand the benefits that you offer. Remember: You first, your service second, your firm third.
5. Keep chipping away
This is really important. You need to persevere and be confident and resilient. A number of the above stages you will need to repeat over and over again. You need time to build a relationship.
Remember the end result you are after, and don’t force the pace. This is VERY important, there is a period of seduction. Take your time.
6. Strike when the time is right
Don’t beat around the bush, when the time is right – go for it! You are about to start a fantastic relationship for the future.
About the author: James Nathan runs the James Nathan experience; the Business Development, Sales and Service Excellence Expert for Professional Recruiters.