Pardon the Interruption

Most everyone these days has a DVR. I personally love the technology, mainly due to the fact that I can skip all the commercials pitching products and services I don’t need nor want. Fast forwarding through these advertisements makes me think of all the wasted time and effort spent on just trying to get someone’s attention. On top of that, we are inundated with other interruptions to sell us something including radio, magazines, newspapers, buses, subways, and movies to name just a few. This inundation is making us immune to traditional selling techniques, as buyers we are looking for more.

This same dynamic can also be found in the highly fragmented world of staffing. Our buyers are inundated with calls from staffing companies. Leading many staffing managers and sales people to understand that we need to change how we market and sell our services to be heard by our clients.

Seth Godin attempts to resolve this problem in his book Free Prize Inside. Gone are the days where companies can rely on “interruption marketing” (i.e. advertising) to build a compelling brand. Seth’s assertion is that effective marketing focuses on providing more value in the product or service itself to provide something memorable and remarkable. I believe this same perspective can also apply to how staffing firms sell their services.

Many of us ask our sales team to continually interrupt our clients via email and voicemail, only to find out that email and voicemail are the DVRs of business. Buyers screen calls and emails like they fast forward through commercials. Where is the value? Where is the differentiation? Why should a buyer even listen to our voicemails or read our emails much less respond to them? Seth’s point is that in order to grab the attention of buyers, you must provide them something remarkable, something that separates you from the other 20 calls they have received that day.

While the obligatory small gifts and lunches are alive and well in our industry, becoming remarkable requires a strong understanding of your clients, creative outreach, and a lot of hard work. Here are some ideas that can help you get started.

  1. Define your Value Proposition: Every company and sales person should have a compelling narrative that is credible and consistently communicated.
  2. Communicate Expertise: Provide helpful industry information to your clients, through original or third party writings.
  3. Leverage Market Intelligence: Having even a high level understanding of your client’s business initiatives allows you to provide creative solutions and closes the gap between you and more established competition
  4. Encourage Creativity: Activity is still king, but thoughtful activity can be a lot more productive and reveal creative ways to engage your client
  5. Build Trust: The foundation of a strong client relationship. See my other post here that discusses the role of trust.

There are numerous other ways companies can rise above the noise and the things I have listed above are not new. And while there really are no set rules on how to differentiate, making value a daily priority improves how we interact with our buyers and forces us to think creatively. By doing so we will give a reason for new buyers to work with us and further solidify existing relationships.