Understanding Our Competition

Many of you probably know what the term “bulletin board material” means. For those who do not, it suggests you should never speak poorly about your competition, especially in public, because the comments could end up in the newspaper or on the internet. In athletic competition, once a team member says something negative about an opposing team and the comments make it into the public forum, the opposing team will then take the comments, put it on their locker room bulletin board and use it as motivation. This is why most quotes made by athletes about opposing teams and players are rather bland and usually full of praise.

With that said, I am going to break this rule. In a word, the competition in the IT staffing and consulting space stinks. This comment represents both the sales side and the recruiting side.  According to NetPromoter.com, the industry-wide Net Promoter Score average, which measures loyalty and customer satisfaction to a particular company, is a dismal 8 on the client side and an even more disastrous -25 on the candidate side!  To give some perspective around these numbers, anything above 70 on the Net Promoter Score is considered “world class.”

This paradigm represents both good news and bad. First the bad: Because the competition is so poor on both sides of the desk, it’s much harder to build trust and respect with you clients, and candidates. They are so used to inadequate service, most of the time clients and candidates will simple assume you are just like all the rest of the professionals in our industry. We essentially get “pigeon holed” into this common perception. Think of the stereotypical used car salesmen or ambulance chasing attorney. This is the perception most candidates and clients have of sales folks and recruiters in our industry. Trust me on this.

The good news, however is the bar for separating yourself from this perception is extremely low. I encourage sales and recruiting professional to have a conversation about this perception early on with your prospects, clients and candidates. Don’t get me wrong, it will still take a great deal of time and effort to earn the trust and respect from your clients and candidates, but it’s well worth the effort.

Chris Cosmos

Chris Cosmos
Chris Cosmos is founder and managing director of Cosmos Sales Professional.

Chris Cosmos

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