Business Development in the Staffing Industry
By: Jill Friedman
To be successful at business development you have to truly believe in the product/service you are selling. It takes an outgoing personality and having thick skin, as rejection is a common occurrence in this industry, especially on the business development side. Business development in staffing has two key components, these two components are field recruiting and cold calling. Persistence and follow up are essential areas in this highly competitive industry.
Visiting potential clients in the field can be very challenging yet highly rewarding. Since I have been working in recruiting I have found myself paying attention specifically to industrial areas as I pass them on the road. This is because during client visits' I try to knock on as many doors as I can, it also helps me create a game plan. In addition to visually seeing places and making a mental note, the internet and several databases are great resources to locate your target market.
In order to be the most successful on field days you want to map out your route, to use your time in the most effective manner. I spend about 3 days a week in the field, trying to visit between 30 and 50 locations each day. I keep a list of every location I visit so I can reference back to.
While on location, the goal is to speak with a Human Resources professional face to face, this proves to be a challenge many times, being HR is usually busy with various tasks throughout the day and do not have time for "walk-ins". When I encounter this situation, I speak with the receptionist, explain my purpose for my visit, and leave some information on my company, in hopes that I can get a meeting scheduled.
After a full day out in the field, I come back to the office and go to work with my list. Using multiple databases, I can locate the HR's name and contact information such as email address and phone number. This is where persistence comes in to play and hopefully pays off. Using the information I collect, I can now follow up and formally introduce myself to the Human Resources Manager through email and over the phone.
I spend the other 2 days of my week in the office cold calling. Cold calling is an incredibly important aspect of business development. The goal is to make 60-70 cold calls a day. The success rate for cold calling is very low, but the reward is worth the work. For every thousand cold calls you may yield between 3-5 lunch meetings. This is where thick skin really comes in handy, as you will have a lot of hang ups and more often than not - rejection. I personally have experienced everything from the "brush off" to getting hung up on, however making a connection and scheduling a meeting makes all of the rejections worthwhile.
When you land a meeting with HR, it more often than not leads to a contract. A contract can yield big money for the company, thus making all the work and rejection worth it! In closing, Business Development in the staffing industry is much like any other industry - BRUTAL, but unlike any other industry, a good client can land you millions of dollars of revenue, Happy Hunting!