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What’s Your Offer?

“All this for only $29.95!!!”

C’mon, admit it: You’ve been tempted, at least once, to make an impulse purchase you’ve seen in an infomercial or online ad.

When it comes to staffing, most business owners ignore the most basic rules of direct marketing: designing irresistible offers. They create terrific service organizations, but they never bother to create compelling reasons for prospects to call. (PS: “Our service is better” is not a compelling reason to switch vendors).

Direct Marketing 101

In direct marketing, there’s a rule of thumb that states that the response you get to any marketing activity will be driven by three elements: your list, your creative and your offer. Now here’s the interesting part:

  • 20% of your response is determined by the quality of your creative
  • 40% is determined by your prospect list
  • 40% is the result of your offer

While most companies will agonize over every word in a sales letter, and make tweak after tweak to the look of their brochure, they pay little or no attention to the quality of the list or their offers. Yet even lousy creative when sent to the right people with the right offer will outperform beautiful materials sent to the wrong people or with the wrong offer.Simply put, to drive more sales, start making better offers!*

*You also need to develop better lists, but we’ll save that topic for a different article.

No One Needs Staffing

I’ll bet you disagree with this statement. But, before you dismiss this article as being written by some mindless idiot, think about what your clients really buy. Yes, they may purchase temporary staffing or direct placement services, but what do they really want?

Think of it this way… You go into the local Home Depot (or Lowe’s depending on where you live) and you purchase a one-quarter inch drill bit. Now is that hunk of metal what you really want? Of course not; what you want is a quarter-inch hole, but they don’t sell those!

When it comes to creating compelling offers, the secret is to first find out from your clients what kinds of holes they need. If you haven’t done so recently, schedule some time with your top clients and ask them: What is it that we really do for you? What problems do we help you solve? How do our services help your business be more successful? How do we help you be successful?

Once you’ve determined the kinds of problems you solve, and the real value you offer, creating great offers becomes much easier.

“…But wait, that’s not all!!!”

Want to learn the secret to creating irresistible offers? Watch infomercials! Love ’em or hate ’em, infomercials work. An effective infomercial will do the following:

  1. Get viewers to identify with a problem, frustration or desire.
  2. Create emotional excitement (i.e, a feeling of “I have to have this”).
  3. Build up the perceived value of their product through comparisons (i.e., how much would you expect to pay? Or other company’s charge hundreds for this type of product).
  4. Reduce the perception of cost through a payment plan (3 payments of $19.95 sounds way less than $59.85).
  5. Expand the value of their product bundle offer by adding free extras.

While infomercial style offers may not be exactly right for your business, you can (and should) learn from them. For example:

  • Before making your pitch, make sure prospects are emotionally connected to the problems you solve and value you offer.In your marketing, emphasize the problems people have that your services can solve. For hiring managers it might be the pain of the hiring process or the stress of an understaffed department. For HR managers it might be the frustration over inconsistent quality temporaries or even the pain of dealing with staffing firms.
  • Make your offers exciting.With the right wording, your offers will sound irresistible. For example, which sounds more appealing: “an article with sample interview questions” or “The 10 Most Important Interview Questions Companies Fail to Ask?”
  • Find ways to be creative about the financing.Can you offer installment payment plans, deferred payment, or other financing options that would make your services more affordable to prospects?
  • Beef up your value.For example, consider longer guarantees, better orientation, free training hours for long-term assignments, special assessment testing, or free information that could help clients to be more successful in using your services. The key is to find extras that have low-cost and high perceived value.

Unlike infomercials, when it comes to selling professional services like staffing, your offer may not be a direct pitch for your services. Rarely will you send a marketing piece that results in a job order. Instead, make offers that will help you land appointments and deepen relationships with existing prospects and clients. The best offers for staffing companies include offers for information (guides, booklets, articles) and offers for education (seminars, webinars).

How KRG Staffing Doubled its Appointment Rates

I want to wrap up this article by sharing a real life case study from one of our clients. KRG Staffing is a temporary staffing and direct placement firm in upstate New York. They started prospecting the same way most staffing firms do, with a combination of introductory letters and cold calls. As you would expect, most of their efforts resulted in the typical responses: “We’re happy with our current vendors,” “We don’t use staffing,” “We’re not hiring,” etc.

Then KRG decided to take a different approach. Rather than calling to inquire about a prospect’s staffing needs or business challenges, they began to call with an offer – an offer for a free demo of KRG Staffing’s new Staffing Resource Center. Here’s what happened over a six-week test of this new offer.

  • 590 Phone call attempts
  • 199 Prospects contacted
  • 89 Demos scheduled (that’s 44.7% of cold calls turned into appointments!)

Of the first 54 demo appointments:

  • 45 People opted-in to receive KRG Staffing’s email newsletter
  • 6 Job orders placed on the first call

According to KRG’s Director of Business Development, changing the offer “has doubled our success rate on calling prospects to get appointments. Simply having something different to offer is really separating us from the competition.”

An Irresistible Offer for You

Knowing you need better offers is one thing. Actually making them is much more difficult. If you’d like some help, just drop me an e-mail at [email protected].

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