Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sourcing new clients (with Kung Fu!) Haaiii-yah!!!!

So let’s imagine that you are a Staffing Agency or Search Firm (to-may-toe/ toe mot-toe) struggling to get along or just getting started in the marketplace. The competition is fierce and the clients seem few and far between but fortunately, you are reading this clever blogpost of business development tips.

(Insert the theme to the 70’s TV show, “Kung Fu” and imagine a bald-headed, Kung Fu fighting Shaolin monk imparting sacred knowledge to you.) “In order to have a prosperous recruiting business grasshopper, you must sell your services to those that are willing to buy.”

“And how do I find potential clients open to retaining my services, old wise master?” you ask. “And how can I get ahead of my competition that is feverishly trying to find the clients I am so diligently seeking?”

Although I am not a Shaolin Monk (nor do I play one on TV), I will attempt to answer this question with my own bit of wisdom.

Research is the short answer but, here is the extended reply:

For argument’s sake, I will assume that you are an IT recruiter - pretty tricky since a huge chunk of technical projects are being shipped overseas. Tough break if you have X number of consultants on the bench. Maybe its time to quit recruiting altogether… and maybe not?

Consider this…

Information Technology was all the rave during the Dot-Com era, but it is a new day now (or is it? Helloooo Web 2.0) and for some, recruiting nurses is the buzz. However, that is not the only game in town. Or is it? For the answer to that, let’s trot down to the Department of Labor (DOL) and put your hard earned tax dollars to work. Besides administrating unemployment benefits, the DOL monitors the labor market nationwide, statewide and locally. Why not do a bit of poking around to see what industry is the most viable in your neighborhood and beyond.

Ah! I sense that some of your eyes are glazing over, so let me give an example for clarity’s sake. I am in Atlanta, GA, so I visit the Ga. Department of Labor’s website in search of business.

This is what I see:

Right away I notice a link that says “Workforce Professionals.” (See the arrow?) I click it.

Right away I notice that there is a lot of good info to exploit. However, my eye zooms in on the #1 most frequently asked question: “What are the fastest growing occupations in Georgia?” So of course, I click that too.

I skim through a quick paragraph of info and see, “Six of the 20 fastest growing jobs are related to health services and five are related to computer technology.” I click the “Georgia Occupational Trends In Brief” link and a nice little report pops up with data substantiating their claim. How nice of Uncle Sam to do such due dilligence for me (and you - wink).

Should I rest satisfied with only this knowledge? Nope! I also want to check out the “Georgia Economic Indicators, Monthly Report” to see which industries have the money to pay me now and “Georgia Regional Occupational Trends” to see where in the state my services are most needed.

Let’s say I read all of this information and figure that the WIRELESS industry is going to explode in the coming months. Knowing this, I can position myself as a supplier of talent to the Wireless industry. I better get started right away before everyone else catches on (wink).

ADDITIONAL NOTES
The Department of Labor is a good beginning, but it’s not the only spot for this kind of thing. Have you ever heard of “The Dismal Scientist?” Bookmark this website! It’s a keeper. http://www.economy.com/dismal/

Visit the Census Bureau Economic Programs which monitors what sectors are hot and which are not. http://www.census.gov/econ/www/

Check out the Economics Statistics Briefing Room! This is what the President reads when he considers the state of the union! http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/employment.html

The friendly folks at Briefing.com will keep you current with their live market analysis. http://www.briefing.com/FreeServices/

Okay, what if you are feeling a bit too antsy? What if after reading all of that you say to yourself, “Self, you are just too lazy to do all of that research, act on it and stay current on all of that stuff.” To that I would say, there are any number of tools designed to motivate you. Anything that helps you put the hours in to make the best strategic move might prove very worthwhile. However, if you were still unwilling, I would bring to your attention Plan B.

Plan B is to conduct a survey of old clients (if you have any) and those you would love to be your clients to gather data more directly. I can imagine the bewilderment in some of your eyes, so let me give you a play-by-play.

Scenario #1 – No clients at all

1. There are plenty of websites in cyberspace to which writers may submit their work. They are called “Free Content” sites and they generally operate as a place where online magazines can get free articles for publishing. (Take a peek at this link for example: http://www.ideamarketers.com//). Whether or not you are a great writer is irrelevant to utilizing this technique.

2. Contact the Gatekeepers and explain that you are writing an article (which you are) on industry trends. Ask Gatekeeper if you could forward a questionnaire for the purpose of routing it to specific workers/management (see the example at the end of this post).

3. Hopefully the gatekeeper will forward the questionnaire. Make sure that your questionnaire requests that all answers be emailed to you. (This of course creates a link for future contact that will enable you to follow-up after your article is completed. Who knows what can happen then?)

Scenario #2 – Old Clients

This is easy. Just call your old contacts, see where they are, ask them for their forecasts for the next quarter and begin preparing now. No gimmick needed when you already have an “in” to exploit.

SAMPLE SURVEY
Name: Job Title: What are your job functions? Do you anticipate hiring in the next quarter? If yes, in what areas? What do you think will be the future of your industry in the coming months?

Thank you for your answers! Your response will be added to a survey of employers that serve your industry. By submitting your opinion, you will automatically receive notification of this survey’s results. Please send your comments to: John Q. via email to: Recruiter@recruitersrus.com

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