Everyone’s a Customer

145186335Before I got into the staffing industry, my first job out of college sponsored a class teaching mutual respect and that everyone you came into contact with is a customer. Translated, an internal customer would be a colleague or someone that you work with. An external customer is someone outside of your company such as a partner company or a potential client.

The goal of the class was to treat everyone you connected with in a manner in which you had nothing to gain but in reality, you gained the experience of treating someone the way you would like to be treated and that was a habit that subliminally created reciprocation. I’ve found that this logic should be applied to staffing as well but very often isn’t. For instance, when many staffing companies receive job orders, the only portion of the equation that is preeminent to many agencies is the customer itself. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Staffing is one of the toughest forms of sales because it is a two-way transaction in which the candidate needs to be as thrilled about the opportunity/company as the entity offering the position. When a sales representative entices someone to buy a car, the sales person doesn’t have to convince the car to go home with the customer. A key and an ignition will suffice. Through the years, candidates have often complained about not getting updates or notifications regarding their submittal or interview status and this can reflect poorly on a staffing individual or company in the long term.

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Another example is placing a consultant at a job site and the candidate never hears from either the recruiter or the account executive to see how that person is doing or enjoying the engagement. This often creates growing resentment and brings to mind the story that if you’re happy with a sales experience, you’ll tell one person. If you’re unhappy, you’ll tell ten people. Advice that I try to impart that I learned from a former mentor is that today’s candidate could be tomorrow’s client. I didn’t perceive how valuable that pearl of wisdom was at the time but the longer I stayed in the industry and saw people’s careers evolve, I found this to be a valuable lesson.

Moreover, it does benefit you to treat a potential candidate/future customer the way you want to be treated but more important, it’s the right thing to do. By going the extra mile, this has helped generate loyalty that has manifested exclusivity with many clients because you followed basic principles and treated people in a personal manner as opposed to a transactional one. I’ve witnessed account executives try to portray themselves as a true staffing partner but transparency usually becomes evident and the sales professional becomes truly seen regarding their ulterior motives from a transactional vantage point. The goal of everyone in our business should be to try and build relationships and forget about the person’s job title or company that he/she works for. If this logic is implored, more often than not, the staffing professional, the candidate and the company will all usually come out as winners.

MORE: Know your candidate, know your client


Michael Barefoot

Michael Barefoot
Michael Barefoot is senior account executive at Red Zone Resources. He can be reached at mikeb (at ) redzoneresources (dot) com.

Michael Barefoot

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