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My Lessons from Staffing World 2011

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Well, another Staffing World has come and gone.

It was a great time in NOLA. And as usual, it went by WAY too fast.

As happens every year, I learned a lot, and here are a few of my key take aways

  1. Nothing beats face to face communication.
    With all the hype about social media, and the increasing difficulty of getting appointments, you might think that good, old fashioned in person appointments are going the way of the dinosaur. While you can, and should, leverage every form of marketing available to get those appointments, technology will not replace an in person meeting, plant tour, or annual planning meeting–especially with your CURRENT CLIENTS!
  2. Client hatred of cold calling is universal.
    While your sales goal is to get those face to face meetings, cold calling is actually making them harder to get. Every client I spoke to about the issue of cold calling mentioned that it’s the one thing their clients dislike most about the staffing industry. So why do we keep doing it? It’s time to find new ways to make first contacts, for example by sharing ideas (through email, direct mail, webinars, seminars and even drop offs), improving networking skills via social media, and implementing inbound marketing techniques to get prospects to come to you.
  3. Clients want to know what you know.
    As a staffing professional, you have the ability to develop a unique perspective on your local labor market. Take advantage of this resource! Turn ever sales call and client visit into an opportunity to ask questions and collect market research. Then compile your results into a format you can share, such as a research report, whitepaper, ebook or presentation. Finally, leverage your knowledge on sales calls by offering to share the results of your research. The more you learn, and the more you share, the more people will see you as an expert and a trusted advisor.
  4. Watch out for preconceived notions.
    New Orleans was not what I expected. I went to Staffing World with a vision of the French Quarter that really was, to put it mildly, way off! And this got me thinking, how often do we go into sales situations with preconceived notions about our prospects? Maybe we think they are too small to afford our services. Or to big for our firm to service. Maybe we think they will be a price buyer, when they really value quality. As I learned from NOLA, when you go into a new situation, you need an an open mind…and curiosity. This allows you to ask better questions, avoid bad assumptions, and achieve the best results.
  5. Create a great experience and people will come.
    On the final night of Staffing World, we co-hosted a party with Risk Transfer, TimeshEASY and Childs Advisory Partners. We planned for it to be a true New Orleans, Mardi Gras type of experience. Great location, food, drinks, dancing and even a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. But we really didn’t know who, if anyone, would attend. Well, it turns out that more than 200 people attended, representing staffing firms that are generating more than $4 billion in revenues! We were told by countless people how much fun the event was…and we even ended up extending the party by nearly 2 hours! So how does this apply to your staffing business? Create great experiences for your clients and candidates–something truly memorable, and people will come. LOTS of them will come!

These are just a few of the many lessons the Haley Marketing team learned at Staffing World 2011. If you’d like to hear more, join us for our Lunch with Haley recap webinar on October 27. And if you are reading this after 10/27, contact us for access to the webinar recording.


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