Ask Haley: How can I stand out from other staffing firms?

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Q: For years, we have been known for the great service we provide to our clients.  But now everywhere I turn, our competitors are talking about what “great service” they provide.  Should we change our message?

A: Great question!  Positioning may be one of the most difficult–and important–challenges for staffing firms.  It’s about clearly differentiating your company from the competition in a manner that is both credible and compelling to clients, prospects and candidates.  Your biggest challenge is to determine which aspects of your service to emphasize.
 
One of the biggest challenges that we run across with our clients is that they want to be known as the best at everything–best service, speedy service, quality of fit, etc.  While your firm might just be the best, it’s almost impossible for your clients and prospects to see you as the best at everything.  For example, Wal-Mart is conveniently located across the U.S. and offers almost every name brand under the sun, but they are only concerned with being known as the price leader.  Dominos Pizza is another great example.  While they are not known for the best pizza, they are known for fast delivery.

Now to answer your initial question, by choosing the message that you provide the best service, you are putting yourself in the same category as all your competitors who are all saying the same thing.  And your clients and prospects will see you as just another staffing firm.  If you are not unique in any way, you will not stand out.  So yes, I think you should consider changing your core positioning message.

My question for you is: What makes you different or better than your competition?

Answering this question will help you develop your core positioning message.  Take a look at the aspects of your service where you could credibly prove that you consistently outperform the competition. 

Here are 20 different ways to differentiate a search firm:

  • Speed
  • Unique service process
  • Accuracy (quality of fill)
  • Location (convenience)
  • Consistency 
  • Hours of operation
  • Access to talent 
  • Positions filled
  • Price
  • Specialty niche
  • Payment terms
  • Size
  • Guarantee 
  • Problem solving ability
  • Sales methods 
  • Technology
  • Innovation 
  • Persistence
  • Range of services 
  • “Likeability”

From this exercise you can develop the main message you want to send to your customers about your company.  Although your company provides many benefits, it should be the single most important and unique benefit that you would like to be known for by this audience.

The next step after determining your positioning is to ensure that every touch point with clients, prospects and candidates reinforces your message.  If you need help figuring out the right positioning–or putting your message into action, give us a call at 888-696-2900.

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