Firstly let’s acknowledge the market conditions that can affect our industry.  Recruitment has never really been an ‘easy’ market, there are rolling issues from one industry to the next, one skill set to the next or from one geographical area to another. Whether this be the economy,  strength of the dollar, global skill shortage issues, global financial crisis, delays with resources and infrastructure projects and most recently change in governments and budgets.  The bottom line is tough markets exist and a slowing economy can have as much to do with opinion as fact.

But remember clients don’t stop buying. They hire less or less frequently or in a different way.  It’s how we respond to these challenges that can make the difference when recruiting in tough times.

Here are 10 tips for boosting your sales in a slow economy:

1. Assess and understand your client portfolio:
Smaller companies are bolder in their behaviours and quicker to act than their larger competitors in a slowing economy. Do not overlook the small guys.
Expect buying cycles in large companies to increase by as much as 40%.  Be patient with them; they figure they have less margin for error.

2. Work collaboratively to leverage business:
Leveraging sales from within a business has proven to be one of the most successful strategies adopted in any market conditions.
Sharing of information is ESSENTIAL!
The optimum in sales is to move from:
Selling 1:1
Selling 1 : Many
Selling Many : Many

3. Focus on your best selling opportunities:
It is quality of leads that counts now, resist chasing low-probability prospects.  Research says you have a one in 14 chance of selling something to a new prospect, unless you can create a link or referral to them through your personal or professional network.
The odds of you selling more to a current customer are one in two but this diminishes in tough times.
Your second best odds of more business – one in four – are to former customers, so make contact today.

4. Take time to qualify prospects:
70% or more of all sales calls are wasted, because sellers are talking to unqualified clients.
Whether you talk to line or HR. you need to ensure they are the MAN and have the:
Money
Authority
Need

5. Emphasise ‘can’t miss’ candidates:
Clients grow more risk-averse in slower times and tight markets. They want to invest in a “sure thing”.
Help clients to see that despite the fact that they may have more direct applications, are these the best the market has to offer?
Let’s not forget that according to the CareerOne Hidden Seeker Report 2012 that 49% of Australian jobseekers are passive.

6. Leave the sales pitch at home:
Questioning is at the heart of consultative selling, and clients today want to feel that suppliers understand them.
In tough times, listen people into buying; don’t talk your way out of the sale.

7. Stay true to your price:
It is a lie that in tough times decision-makers buy on price alone.  What they buy is best overall value.
Economic contractions are short-lived (averaging about 11 months), and tough times are always followed by a period of economic expansion.
Do not set a precedent as a discounter, it will be hard to recover from this.

8. Be flexible:
Offer value by being flexible where it is commercially viable.
Clients today place a high value on agencies being flexible with them: adapting delivery services, extending payment or guarantee terms and the like.

9. Ramp up your sales activities:
Expect most recruiters to slash their calls to clients and prospects by 30% or more.
It is a mistake, driven by attitude and mindset.
Boost your calls by 35%, and you will be in front of clients at nearly twice the rate of your competitors.

10. Communicate more:
Some companies tend to curtail their marketing in tough times.
Increase your overall communication – calls, email, marketing, advertising, sharing industry news and you will be heard louder and clearer than the competition.
Add more frequent client visits, and you cannot help but reap a return on your investment.

Recruiting in tough times

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