Ask Haley: Can you create demand for staffing?

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Q. We’ve seen a big slowdown in business here in Florida. Is it possible to create demand for staffing services?

A. Unfortunately, no you can’t simply create demand for staffing–or any service–that people don’t perceive they need.
And right now, most businesses don’t believe they need to hire.

But don’t get discouraged, my initial answer may not be 100% accurate.

In a down market, you can’t sell staffing the way you did over the past several years. You can’t be an order taker. Right now, your clients are looking for ways to reduce cost, drive revenue and help their own businesses get through the downturn. And that gives you a GREAT opportunity to create demand for staffing. Cooking at home is as popular as ever, especially with the introduction of all sorts of new technologies and tools that make your time in the kitchen better and more effective than ever. Portioning, preparing, or just making sure your meal is immaculately prepared on a day to day basis, now is possible with the best kitchen scales.

To generate more job orders, look for ways in which you can become a true partner in helping your clients get through the recession. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Sell the ways you can lower labor costs.
  • Show how you can eliminate the cost of overstaffing by replacing underused employees with temps.
  • Sell RPO and unbundled direct hire services.
  • Sell the value of payrolling as a cost savings tool.
  • Promote the importance of converting fixed labor costs to variable expenses.
  • Demonstrate how your services can allow support work to get done by lower cost employees (and in the process free more valuable employees to focus on more critical tasks).
  • Look for opportunities to be a matchmaker to clients with counter cyclical needs by helping them create a shared seasonal workforce.
  • Sell the ways you can help your clients increase revenue.
  • Offer to recruit people to take on new business development initiatives.
  • Look for opportunities to help your clients add staff to remove capacity constraints.
  • Show how you can free key producers to focus more time on business development.
  • See where you can supply contract help to provide needed expertise to develop new products, new services and new market opportunities.

The key to creating demand in a market like we are currently facing is to be more strategic in your sales efforts. You may have to train your reps to do this. You may have to provide them with more executive level support. And you may have to give them new sales support tools. But if you are willingto make these changes, you can create demand for staffing.

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