You know your business and clients’ best, you understand what works, the areas you need to improve on and what success feels like. But sometimes, brushing up on the ‘business development fundamentals’ reminds us of the small things we forget to do when we’re caught up in the everyday grind. So here are our ‘beginners’ tips for business development.
Many small to medium sized businesses task recruiters with business development (winning new clients) as well as placing candidates. Both vital to the life cycle of a growing recruitment agency.
Business development is a set of efforts which achieve long term values for an organisation. Recruiters must develop a strategy for identifying, researching and analysing new clients and use this information to grow the relationship for a long-term outcome (securing and retaining new business).
With this in mind, business development should be anything but a dreaded cold call. Instead it should be the foundations of a new business relationship being built. So, before reaching for the phone, here are our best practice tips for tackling new business development.
Know who you’re talking to
To truly understand a potential client, you need to go beyond the company website. Look for any past dealings your company may have had with the client, research their social media channels and any presence they’ve had in the media. Talk to them about their business wins, recent hires and similarities in your backgrounds.
Understanding the client’s current recruitment methods, business challenges and how they portray themselves, will result in a personalised conversation. Something valued by any organisation. If you’ve come across professional and friendly, you can be sure something positive will come of it. Maybe not right away, but at least in the future.
Know what you have to offer
In the same way companies are creating their own employer brands, you too are a representation of your company’s brand and every client you work for. If a company is looking to hire you, they will want to know how you are going to source them the best person for their role. So, ensuring your values align with theirs is essential.
Think about what you specialise in and why you enjoy it? What are your recruitment methods and how have they worked for you in the past? By backing this up with data and case studies from similar industries, you will give the client confidence in your ability to fill their positions.
Be tactful in your approach
The internet has made networking a whole lot easier for all of us, and yes that means our competitors too. Social media has not only improved our access to candidates but allows us to seek out clients too. Be mindful when contacting someone on social media, there is a fine line between reaching out and “spamming” them. Your email is likely to be one of many, from eager recruiters looking to hit their KPI’s.
The same applies to calling/emailing, before you reach out, know what you have to offer. Networking should be a conversation between two people establishing a common ground to move forward. Whether this takes the form of an email, call or good old face to face communication.
In the same way people do business with people they like and trust, companies hire recruiting firms they like and trust.
Practice makes perfect (no really, it does)
Yes, you will have people hang up on you. No, you won’t receive a response to every email you send. But with these experiences, you will soon realise that it’s nothing personal. The only way to become confident with business development is to make lots of calls, write lots of emails, make appointments and learn from your experiences.
Watch, listen and learn from people around you and try out their way of doing things, over time you will develop your own style. Like with anything, once you begin to win new clients your confidence will grow and your efforts will be recognised.
Just remember, business development isn’t a one-off sale, it’s a relationship which needs nurturing, effort and regular contact. Once you’ve won a new contract the next challenge begins, making quality placements.