In light of COVID-19’s impact on our national and global economy, we’re revisiting some of our top blog posts from before and during the Great Recession.

While it’s more than a decade old, this post provides sound advice on how to sell the value of your services during a recession.

The key takeaways?

To survive an economic downturn, be creative. Be focused. Be consultative. And be proactive.

Here’s the original post copy from 2009:

Q: When I call on my prospects, I am being told “we understand the value of your services, but we don’t have any needs right now.”  I know we can’t force people to buy, so what can I do?

A: Are you trying to sell your services or solve problems for your clients?

My guess is that the people you are selling to see you as wanting to sell them something.  Right now, they are scared, short on cash, and not interested in buying anything.  They see what you do as an expense and not a sure way to reduce costs or drive new sales.

How can you sell the value of staffing services in today’s economy?

1. Change your thinking.

Don’t sell your company and don’t sell staffing services. Instead, sell the results of using staffing services. Find ways you can show every prospect how you can reduce their current expenses and enable their company to sell more.

2. Be more consultative.

In this economy, you can’t sell by simply telling people about your services.  You really have to understand the value of what you sell, how your clients will use your services, and how using your services will change their business for the better.

You also have to help clients see the risks of doing nothing.  While you can’t be overly negative or pushy, you have to find effective ways to make people see that not investing in your services right now may be a bigger risk than investing.  In other words, the actual money they spend with you will probably not put their business at risk.  But not making smart staffing investments will definitely put their business at risk.

3. Get creative with offers.

Make it irresistible to use your services.  You will need to be creative, and everything should be open for discussion.  This can include volume discounts, deals on combinations of services and extended financing terms.

4. Don’t waste time with companies that can’t afford to use your services.

If you’re calling on employers who won’t use staffing aggressively in good times, they won’t use your services in bad times either. Focus your sales efforts on companies that demonstrate a commitment to smart HR management.

5. Be more proactive in reaching out to companies that you want to work with.

Figure out which types of companies would be your IDEAL clients, and then get aggressive about winning their business.

6. Build and leverage your referral network.

Start developing your network of business development people in your local market and in your industry, and then share referrals.

7. Reconnect with all your old leads and offer them new solutions for managing their staffing challenges in this economy.

8. Reposition your services.

Show prospects how temporaries can reduce labor costs by replacing full-time employees who are not being used at full capacity. Show them how they can use temporaries to free talent to focus on more strategic initiatives that will drive business growth. Teach them about the importance and value of proactive recruiting for future hires–before those hiring needs arise.

9. Find ways to directly deal with people’s fears.

Your prospects are more afraid than ever to spend money. You need to prove the value of your services with real examples. Show people how they can use your services to reduce costs and gain a competitive advantage.  Make your payment plans as painless as possible. And directly deal with your prospects’ perceptions about the risk of the investment.  Proving your value will ultimately reduce or even eliminate what is holding them back.

Need more sales ideas for your staffing agency?

Or tools to help you sell the value of staffing? Call us! We can provide great educational information to help you sell the economic value of staffing services.

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