How to sell your USP and win new business away from bigger agencies

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‘We’re different,’ ‘unique’ and ‘offer innovative solutions’ while providing ‘superior customer service’. How many of these things are you guilty of saying? There is nothing wrong with doing so, providing you can justify each term but can you…really?

The recruitment sector has never been as large or competitive as it is right now, which is great for all of us. However, in their bid to position themselves as being better than their competitors, many recruiters think that by using descriptive terms such as those highlighted above will actually make them stand out from an increasingly noisy crowd. It won’t;  and here is the reason why.

To be truly seen as different and different enough for clients to favour you over a larger and more established agency means understanding what sets you apart from those agencies you are competing with…time to get your thinking caps on now:

Why did you start your recruitment business?

Remember when you started your agency in the first place; what were your motivations for doing so? Was it a case of spotting a gap in the market that wasn’t being filled by anyone, or perhaps you could see a different – better – way of doing things using an approach that remains unique to you today?

How proactive are you in the marketplace you operate?

Large-scale recruiters are there for the taking. While they may have the strength of a ‘name’ and years’ of experience in the market behind them, their position at the top of the tree is no longer guaranteed.

We have seen a plethora of small recruitment agencies win new business away from the big players simply by positioning themselves as front-of-mind with the people they want to work with most. That means being proactive in the way their promote themselves by:

-       Maintaining an active social media presence

-       Regularly attending key networking events (and sometimes speaking at these events!)

-       Submitting articles to the local business press or trade journals

-       Keeping their agency blog updated with relevant and useful articles and cross-posting them to their LinkedIn profile; and

-       Participating in group discussions on LinkedIn that add value and shine light on a topical matter

Can you share examples of previous assignments you have worked?

Clients generally don’t care how big your agency is or how long you have been going for; what they care about is What-can-you-do-for-me? Case studies are a highly effective way of demonstrating how good you really are.

So think of a client you worked with, outline the key challenge they faced, the solution you provided and the result that was achieved. Don’t say “We successfully filled the role” – we know you did. Instead, explain how you helped the client reduce their time-to-hire and their cost-to-hire for example.

Your clients want to know that you ‘get’ the problems they face, so your case studies will show that you understand their challenges and that you’re not focused just on the numbers but on providing a true solution – how many of your competitors do that? That could be your USP.

What does your ‘brand’ stand for?

Addressing the Recruitment Agency Expo at Olympia in February, one of the speakers described a recruitment brand as something that “represents the expectation of what you will do for your clients and the experience they will have of working with you.” We agree.

To stand apart from your competitors, both large and small, you need to communicate to your prospects why doing business with you is the best recruitment decision they can make.

Avoid phrases that start with “We are,” “We will” or “We have” because these are all focused on you, not them. Rather, make your key messages about them.

For instance, you will see that our strapline is, “For Faster Smarter Growth: Making recruitment businesses be more successful.” By adopting this approach you make it clear that your job is to do the very best by your clients and that will win you more business than if you only talk about yourself!

Finally, don’t just think like the big boys, play like them too.

One of the biggest frustrations facing many agency owners is that they know they can win bigger clients but they equally recognise the difficulties in serving them.

For instance, although it would be great to win a contract supplying 50 workers for a client, these workers need to be paid each week. If that client is late in paying their invoices then the agency runs the risk of not being able to pay their workers on time; and that can spell disaster.

That’s where Simplicity can help. Our 100% recruitment finance solutions enables recruiters gain access to the funds they need within the same week of raising the invoice to their client. That means they can guarantee payments not just to their workers, but also to their own staff and suppliers.

If growth is on your agency’s agenda this year, let us help you to compete on a level playing field (and win) against those agencies vying for the same business as you. Contact us today.

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