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Best Practices for a Staffing Sales Call

When you work in the staffing industry, you often have to be creative in how you approach sales calls. You don't want to make the mistake of asking your prospect if his or her company is hiring and being told no. This completely shuts down any opportunity you had to discuss future needs. It is important to go into the sales call with a different mindset. Instead of focusing only on making sales, try to learn more about your prospect and the types of challenges he or she faces. It is only when you have a good understanding of where your customer is coming from that you can offer practical solutions.

How to Know if You're Talking to the Right Person

If you're making a cold call, you don't want to waste valuable time on your presentation if the person you are talking to doesn't have the authority to hire temporary employees. Fortunately, you can easily discern this by asking one or more of the following questions:

  • Are you personally involved in hiring contract workers? If the person responds yes, ask if there is anyone else who is also involved in the decision-making process.
  • What factors does your company consider when choosing a temporary staffing agency?
  • What can I personally do to earn your business?
  • Are you under contract to another agency at this time?

What to Ask Your Contact Person

Once you know you are speaking to someone who is in a position to make staffing decisions, you want to determine how likely it is that he or she will eventually utilize your company's services. Start by asking your prospect if his or her company already has a staffing strategy. If the answer is yes, ask the person to elaborate on how the strategy was originally designed and implemented. After your prospect explains this, try to get a sense of whether he or she thinks the strategy is still working.

If your contact person has used staffing services in the past, ask for examples of excellent service as well as service that was lacking. Although you may not agree with the assessment, this gives you the opportunity to see things from your potential client's point of view. Without dwelling on the negative experiences too much, ask the person you are meeting with what the staffing agency could have done differently to create a more favorable impression.

Getting Closer to Specifics

Your goal during the next stage of the sales call is to show your prospect specific ways that your staffing agency can meet his or her needs. Start by asking if the company has a specific goal for the percentage of its employees it would like to outsource. You should also ask your prospect to put that percentage into numbers. A small company that wants to outsource 10 percent of its workforce may only add up to a few people. You don't want to jump to conclusions about what the client actually needs.

In order to serve your potential client effectively, it is important to understand the company's seasonal variations in sales or workload. For example, a landscaping company that operates in a cold weather state would likely need extra workers during the summer and none in the winter. You need to approach this client with the understanding that you are there to fill a seasonal need. You should continually be seeking input from the client as you are speaking to him or her. One good question to ask before setting up a live demonstration is "Is there anything else I should know that would help me deliver the best possible staffing services to your company?" Establish Trust Early

Because the staffing industry is so competitive, prospects are used to hearing the same type of information that you are providing. You need to find a way to stand out from the beginning of the process or run the risk of your potential client shutting you out completely. That is why your first goal must be to establish trust. Let the person know upfront that you respect his or her time and that you can call or visit later if it is more convenient. Give your prospect plenty of opportunities to exit from the conversation before you dive into your presentation. Employers are so accustomed to having salespeople push their products and services immediately that they are sure to notice your difference in approach.

Even if you feel like a connection is forming between you and the person you are speaking to, you should always ask for permission to continue the conversation. This is yet another way that you can build long-term trust. The prospect is much less likely to act defensively when he or she feels in control of the conversation. You should spend most of the call or in-person visit listening rather than talking. Also, you should not interrupt the other person under any circumstances. This makes it appear that you aren't really interested in learning about his or her business needs after all.

Handling Common Objections

When you have completed your presentation and your prospect says he or she wants time to think about it, it is important to find out why. There is a good chance it is for one of the following reasons:

  • You didn't do a good job of establishing trust and the prospect is feeling fearful of making a mistake or anxious about trusting you.
  • He or she is considering other proposals and wants to see how yours compares. Since price is a huge factor for most people, find out if you can make a better offer if that is the only thing holding the person back from becoming your client.
  • Your prospect understands that a decision needs to be made, but he or she just doesn't feel like making it right now. Many people fall back on procrastination when faced with such an important task.
  • The person you gave the presentation to needs approval from someone else before making a final decision.

If your potential client asks for time to think about it, it is possible you may never hear from him or her again. By asking a few targeted questions, you can learn what is really behind the objection. For example, ask if there is something about your company that concerns him or her. If the answer is no, ask a few more questions along those lines until your prospect gives you something specific. You then have the information you need to begin countering the objection. However, be prepared to back off and give the person the time requested if he or she appears to be irritated by your questions.

Don't Forget About Follow-Up

If your meeting ends on a positive note, be sure to schedule another one to give your new client the opportunity to meet your sales staff. Let the client know that this is the ideal opportunity for him or her to give the sales staff a tour of the building and to meet other key people in the organization. Within a few days, the sales staff supervisor should contact your new customer to discuss his or her needs and any concerns that were brought up during the initial presentation. The sales supervisor should end the conversation by specifically mentioning a concern and how your agency can address it. For example, if chronic no-shows were an issue with the client's previous temporary agency, the supervisor can say "I look forward to meeting your temporary staffing needs by matching you with our most trustworthy employees."