These mantras are as familiar to salespeople as they are commonplace in the business world. Don’t take no for an answer. Create a sense of urgency. Keep calling. But while trying to land a big client or close a big deal can be daunting – especially when your prospective client is difficult to pin down – using aggressive, high-pressure sales tactics may not be the best course of action for staffing firms. If you aren’t careful, these tactics can backfire by angering potential clients, stressing out your salespeople and expending your company’s resources on dead-end leads.
Here are some sales scenarios in which your staffing firm may want to rethink a high-pressure approach.
You can’t reach a prospect after leaving multiple voicemail messages. You increase the volume of calls.
Why it may not work: If decision-makers were easy to reach, selling might not be such as tough gig. But people are busy, and more often than not, they are difficult to get ahold of. For many companies, the answer is to call people more times and more often. What you’re not considering is that your prospect is probably already overwhelmed – by work, by demands on his or her time, by other sales reps trying to pitch their value proposition.
Try this instead: Yes, you need to connect with prospects to make your value known. But landing yourself on their blocked call list is not the answer. With so many channels available to communicate, your firm is better served by showing its value through a regular marketing program – whether it’s by sharing whitepapers, blogging or participating in speaking engagements. When your sales and marketing teams work in tandem to support your growth, you’ll be able to generate more inbound leads and word-of-mouth sales, which means less cold calling for your staffing firm’s employees.
You have a client that seems ready to sign with you but who just won’t commit. You tell your contact that he or she can take advantage of your special pricing or deal, but only by signing by your deadline.
Why it may not work: If you haven’t worked with the company before, it most likely doesn’t have any real loyalty to you. Giving your prospective client a deadline may seem like a good way to urge action, especially when incentives are involved. But it can also backfire. Many people feel uncomfortable in high-pressure situations, and if your staffing firm is an unknown quantity to your prospect, putting that person on the clock can make you appear untrustworthy or solely financially motivated. Even if you promise reliable service and a great experience, have you actually showed the prospect that you are reliable, financially strong and flexible? Probably not.
Try this instead: One of the reason’s companies love the one they’re already with is because they can’t be sure that working with another vendor would be an improvement. Instead of pressuring prospects to take a chance on you, invest the time and resources to show them it’s worth it. Become allies with potential partners. Communicate with them regularly through multiple channels. If they seem unsure about taking the plunge to work with you, take time to feel out those concerns and then offer solutions. For example, could you partner with the company on a trial basis, or create a custom solution for the business?
You are asking your big prospects to make the time and the investment to work with your firm instead of a competitor. That means you also need to invest in them, even if it means waiting months or years for them to do a deal with your firm.
The competition for staffing firms is only getting more intense. By taking the pressure off your big-name prospects and finding new ways to win their attention and loyalty, you can help your firm’s sales team break through the noise, not contribute to it.