‘Unselling’: Ideas for Driving Staffing Sales in Today’s Economy

Right now, many staffing firms are struggling with a dramatic decrease in sales. But in the midst of a global healthcare crisis, hard-selling is not the way to get what you want (i.e., more business).

So, what is the best way to drive revenue in a time when employers are in panic mode? To borrow from the late Zig Zigler, by helping employers and job seekers get what they want.

One way to do that is by “unselling.” Try these tactics to drive sales, build your employment brand and thrive in today’s economy:

Strengthen relationships with clients. Pick up the phone or schedule a virtual meeting to talk to them. Ask:

  • How the pandemic is affecting their business and what they’re doing to cope.
  • How they’re generating revenue.
  • What their biggest fears and challenges are right now.
  • What you can do to help – even if that help has nothing to do with staffing or hiring.

Listening, showing empathy and finding ways to be helpful builds trust and deepens relationships.

Target employers in essential industries. While much of the nation is at a standstill, many organizations remain open – and even expand their operations – to provide indispensable services. The DHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list; these employers’ contributions are imperative during the response to the Covid-19 emergency. Many of these organizations are scrambling to find talent and would welcome your help.

Pivot to serve related skill disciplines. Is it practical for a light industrial staffing firm to suddenly expand into nurse staffing – just because there’s demand? Probably not. But now is a great time to get creative and find new ways to put your associates to work in roles that share similar skills. For example, one of our hospitality clients is keeping a large portion of their associates employed right now by leveraging their customer service skills in local call centers.

Think of your talent pool’s transferable skill sets: How could they be used in novel ways to help employers that are staffing up right now?

PREMIUM CONTENT:  Covid 19 Impact Assessment on the Workforce Solutions Ecosystem

Target weaker competitors. It’s survival of the fittest right now. Make sure your agency is doing everything it can to outperform competitors in the areas of service, responsiveness, quality of talent/fit, customer experience and driving ROI for your clients. Then, target your competitors’ clients by sharing case studies that demonstrate your competitive advantages.

Help your clients plan. Are your clients struggling with hiring remote workers? Rightsizing their workforce? Find out what their challenges are, and then offer to help them develop a 30-, 60- or 90-day workforce plan to get through this crisis. By positioning yourself as a business partner, you add value that will pay off once the upturn hits.

Stay visible online. In a time when none of your sales reps can make in-person calls, you need to find new ways to stay top-of-mind:

  • Use PPC, content marketing and social media to keep your brand in front of customers.
  • Train your salespeople to be great digital marketers, using email and video to keep in touch.

Keep marketing. 

  • Optimize your website to improve lead generation and conversion funnels.
  • Do more to generate leads. Right now, digital marketing and inbound marketing are essential for replacing client visits and prospecting drop-ins.
  • Produce relevant educational content to help employers and talent manage the challenges they’re facing right now.
  • Maximize your budget with low-cost marketing. If you need to trim your budget, investigate lower-cost alternatives to stay top-of-mind, reinforce your positioning and drive sales leads. In fact, according to the Wharton School, companies that marketed aggressively during past recessions had sales 256% higher than those that did not.

Focus on helping your talent. This downturn is temporary, but the way you treat associates and candidates now will have a lasting impact your employment brand and ability to recruit once we rebound:

  • Keep in touch with them.
  • Provide advice on how to manage the psychological and financial impact of this downturn.
  • Share skill-building and training resources, so candidates can make themselves even more marketable.

Avoid Parkinson’s Law. Work expands or contracts to fill the amount of time available to get it done. If you and your team aren’t as busy as you were a month ago, use the extra time well! Be proactive and intentional about your work now – and encourage your sales and recruiting staff to do the same – so you’re focusing on high-value activities that will help drive sales:

  • Recruit aggressively so you can fill every order that comes in.
  • Plan your weekly and daily activities, so you’re sure to accomplish your most important tasks.
  • Provide a list of high-impact activities to fill gaps in your schedule (and create similar lists for your sales, recruiting and support teams).
  • Increase your visibility and reputation as an expert in helping clients during tough economic times by blogging and creating new case studies.
  • Get more active on LinkedIn. Build new connections and participate in Groups relevant to the industries and sectors you serve. Start conversations, answer questions and offer advice and free resources. The more you generate conversations, the more opportunities you’ll have to widen your sphere of influence and create new sales opportunities.

Final Thoughts

These may be unprecedented times, but opportunity is everywhere. Focus on the things employers and job seekers need most right now. Listen and help them solve problems. Stay visible. And keep marketing! Do these things, and you’ll emerge from this downturn stronger and more profitable than ever.

For more strategies and resources to help your firm thrive in this economy, visit Haley Marketing’s Covid-19 Recovery Resources page.


Mandy Wittschen

Mandy Wittschen
Mandy Wittschen is a marketing strategist with Haley Marketing Group.

Mandy Wittschen

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